We Support NYC OTs and PTs
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We are public school-based occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs) asking the City of New York for fair pay.
OTs and PTs in all major cities earn the same as teachers and other professionals who serve students in Special Education - except in the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE). At the top of the pay scale, OTs and PTs who work for the DOE make $27,000 less and have far fewer benefits than their colleagues including speech therapists, social workers and psychologists. Occupational Therapy is an entry-level Master's Degree profession, and Physical Therapy is an entry-level Doctoral profession. For years, we asked the city to act in good faith and compensate us fairly for our level of training and the the work we perform. The latest employment contract offered by the city fails again to bridge the pay gap between OTs and PTs and our counterparts in the DOE. In addition it did not address the other working conditions that affect us and our students. We often do not have appropriate work space or supplies. Therapists full time in 1 school are required to do evaluations (often without basic tools required to perform them) on top of their full-time caseloads. We are also not automatically eligible for FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), leaving us all unsure if we will be able to take care of loved ones in an emergency.
Last month the OT/PT chapter of the United Federation of Teachers overwhelmingly voted “No” to the tentative agreement because it does not offer us the pay equality we deserve. With a budget surplus of 4 billion dollars, this ask is not unreasonable. It is simply what most other cities have agreed to do because it just makes sense.
We, the undersigned, demand the city return to negotiations in good faith and commit to pay parity for NYC's OTs and PTs. We value the hard work OTs and PTs do for students with disabilities and believe they deserve to be able to take care of themselves and their loved ones.
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