NYC cancels $900M payment to teachers due to financial crisis

Teachers in NYC aren't taking the decision lightly

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NYC teachers who were expected to receive their share of a $900 million payout were told those funds will not be released.

The de Blasio administration canceled the payment and is blaming the pandemic, according to the New York Post.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio elbow bumps a student at P.S. 188 as he welcomes elementary school students back to the city’s public schools for in-person learning on September 29, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The funds were due to be released this month and are a part of a series of payments stemming from a 2009 and 2011 union negotiation.

The city says in an effort to prevent administration-wide layoffs, they must hold off on dispersing the funds.

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“It is the city’s desire to avoid the necessity for layoffs, and to make a retroactive payment at this time would therefore be fiscally irresponsible,” said First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan to Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers on Thursday.

He adds, “The City regrets having to take this necessary action, particularly in light of the assistance and cooperation of the union and its members in opening schools over the past several weeks.”

But the teachers union isn’t taking the news lying down. In a video message to union members, Mulgrew said “I will go into arbitration tomorrow. We will present that case, which is very simply: We want the money that you owe us now.”

“We all understand that we’re in a pandemic; that our economy has basically been wrecked,” he adds. “Both here in the city, at the state and nationally — but this money is money that we have already earned … from over 10 years ago, and the city needs to make good on their obligation,” he added.

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Bill Neidhardt, a City Hall spokesman, says he understands all the work teachers put in, especially during a pandemic. But says the decision is necessary to keep jobs.

In a statement he said, “This action is necessary to avoid painful layoffs. But make no mistake, New York City recognizes our teachers go above and beyond for our students and schools every day.”

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