In spite of tremendous external pressure and ongoing attacks on our Union and our profession, UNITY/UFT stayed the course, fighting relentlessly for an agreement with NYC on paid parental leave for UFT members. This is something our members, men and women alike, wanted. We knew that we had to make this a priority and get the job done. And we did.
The new deal provides six weeks of time off at full salary for maternity, paternity, adoption and foster care leave. When this time off is then combined with current sick leave policies, new mothers could have a total of 12 to 14 weeks of paid leave. And, for the first time, fathers as well as non-birth parents – foster, adoptive and surrogate – are eligible for paid time off with the arrival of a child. Under the new agreement they are now eligible for six weeks of paid parental leave at full salary.
UNITY/UFT President Michael Mulgrew said it succinctly: “Our educators give so much to the children in their classrooms. Now, New York City has a way for educators to spend more time with their own children. We knew that if we are to keep the educators we have and attract a new generation of educators to our schools, there needed to be a paid parental leave policy in place that gives them peace of mind. And now we have it.”
The fight for paid parental leave is another example of UNITY/UFT’s tireless pursuit of better benefits and working conditions for our members. The battles to protect our members’ rights never stop. You can count on UNITY/UFT to always fight back in the war against organized labor. It is what we have always done.