New York City

Contract expired May, 2003

What teachers got: Previous contract talks lasted 19 months, resulting in raises of 16 to 22 percent over 30 months.

Why they got it: Political pressure to compete with the suburbs for better teachers.

What they gave: A longer school day, averaging 20 extra minutes per day. No reduction in school year.

What now: Opening bargaining session held Sept. 17. No sessions since then.

What they said: “I think the absence of anyone [at the table] who has responsibility for instruction once again shows their underlying disrespect for the people who work for the schools,” says Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers.

Los Angeles

Contract expired June, 2003

What teachers got: Status quo on compensation this school year while contract talks continue. The School Board dropped plans for furlough days, which would have reduced salaries about 1.25 percent.

Why they got it: Enormous state budget crisis.

What now: Audit of the health benefits system to reduce costs.

What they said: “We’re trying to get it to soak in [with members] that there’s only so much in the pot of money, and if you take it all for benefits, don’t look for any cost-of-living increase,” says Sam Kresner, executive assistant to the president, United Teachers of Los Angeles.

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