Amber Charter teachers ratify new contract

By Rob Callaghan

Educators at the Amber Charter School in East Harlem have a new contract.

The two-year contract, hammered out by the UFT and the school’s board of trustees, was ratified by a nearly unanimous vote on April 24.

Amber Charter School, a 13-year-old charter school, was the first charter school to organize into the UFT. The new collective-bargaining agreement, which runs from Aug. 14, 2012, to Aug. 14, 2014, is the sixth contract negotiated at the school. In that time, the UFT, Amber educators and the board have been able to craft a contract that supports educators to meet the needs of Amber’s students.

The agreement, which covers 44 teachers and teaching assistants at the school, includes salary increases, along with a $2,000 bonus, and an increase in the employer’s contribution to the teachers’ retirement plan. In addition, the contract adds a step to the school’s salary schedule, which is based on years of experience and education. The contract also includes an improved due-process structure for educators at the school.

“We are thrilled at the school’s recognition of our hard work,” said union delegate and 1st-grade teacher Llajaira Dessereau, who was part of the negotiating committee. “This contract ensures that teacher voice is truly part of this school.”

Originally published in the May 16, 2013 New York Teacher