University Settlement’s Statement on New York City’s Labor Agreement on Salary Parity of Early Childhood Education

Contact: Amy R, Brenna

University Settlement’s Statement on New York City’s Labor Agreement on Salary Parity of Early Childhood Education

(New York, NY) July 10, 2019 – Yesterday’s announcement that Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson had reached an agreement to fund a path to salary parity for many of our early childhood education providers was momentous news.  In response, University Settlement’s Executive Director Melissa Aase commented:

“This is a victory for our incredible early education staff who have dedicated their careers to our children and communities while facing financial hurdles in their own lives due to unequal pay from the city.  Let’s not forget that the vast majority of early childhood staff who work in community-based schools like ours are women of color.  The indisputable evidence of pay disparity between their salaries and the Department of Education staff created very hard choices for them.

They work with 1,500 children between the ages of 0-5 years and their families every year, pioneering new models and building the evidence that high-quality early childhood programs level the playing field educationally, financially, and in terms of health and wellness for children and families that face institutionalized racism and poverty every day.

It took a village to achieve today’s breakthrough, so thank you to Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, the New York City Council and especially Council Members Cumbo, Dromm, Levin, Treyger, Rivera, and Chin, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and all five Borough Presidents who stood with us.”

Dr. Michelle Paige, the Associate Executive Director of our Early Childhood Division, led our advocacy efforts as a member of the Day Care Council Labor Negotiation team.  She said, “We’re thrilled and grateful that Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, and the NYC Department of Education partnered with us, arrived at this decision, and committed to investing in the early childhood education and development of all of New York City’s children.  This change will have a profound and positive impact on our children for the rest of their lives.  It has been an honor to be a member of the negotiating team.  This part of our journey was hard fought, and it could not have happened without our entire early education team, the families of our students, and our communities’ support at planning sessions and rallies, and by making their voices heard.”

About University Settlement
University Settlement is one of New York’s most dynamic social justice institutions with deep roots on the Lower East Side.  Each year University Settlement’s diverse programs impact 40,000 New Yorkers in the most underserved communities as they build better lives for themselves and their families. With an impressive legacy as the first settlement house in the United States, University Settlement has been an incubator for progressive ideas for more than 130 years, offering pioneering programs in mental health, early childhood education, literacy, arts education, and adolescent development that set the standard.  Building on the strength of this experience, University Settlement now provides services at 30+ locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

About our Early Childhood Programs
Every year we educate and nurture 1,500 children between the ages of 0-5 years and their families in our four early education centers.  United Neighborhood Houses, of which we are a member, has issued two reports, Losing the Best and Starting Strong, to demonstrate the high performance of CBO programs and offer a new vision for an early childhood system.

To learn more about University Settlement, visit

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