[ Fighting for you ]

Rochester Teachers Association contract a win for educators, students

By Ben Amey



he Rochester Teachers Association overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract in January, notching wins in salary increases, retention incentives, hourly rate increases and other key areas — 80 percent of RTA members voted in favor of the new contract.

“This agreement is good for students and fair to teachers,” said Rochester TA President Adam Urbanski. “I want to thank RTA members for your solidarity, for your active involvement, for your unswerving support, and for all that you continue to do for our students.”

The agreement comes after a long, hard-fought battle for the RTA and its negotiating team. The last contract with the district was signed in 2016 and members had been working under extensions to that agreement. Impasse was declared in 2021 and August 2022 under previous district administration. Negotiations picked up steam with then-Interim Superintendent Carmine Peluso, who was named permanently as superintendent the same week the contract agreement was announced.

RTA members show solidarity during contract negotiations


RTA members show solidarity during contract negotiations

The contract, retroactive to July 1, 2022, includes 3.8 percent salary increases in each of the three years of the contract. In addition, each member of the RTA teacher bargaining unit who remains actively employed by the Rochester City School District through the last day of the school year will receive an additional retention incentive of $1,500 in 2022–23 and 2023–24. The district is using federal stimulus funds to pay for the retention bonuses.

The ratified agreement also provides hourly rate increases for curriculum preparation, proposal development, testing administration, teaching in the extended day programs or at evening schools, along with giving members additional time for IEP writing. The contract includes language on capping dismissal time responsibility at 15 minutes past the established bell time and a collaborative process for developing building-level guidelines for student discipline consistent with the district’s code of conduct.

The contract was unanimously agreed to by the RCSD Board of Education.

Negotiations regarding class sizes and social-emotional support staff will continue to take place with district administration over the course of the contract.