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Union says Buffalo teachers substantially underpaid

Chris Caya/WBFO News

A study released by the union representing Buffalo school teachers shows they earn considerably less than their suburban counterparts. Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore says Buffalo teachers with the same years of experience and academic credentials earn about $20,000 less per year than teachers in surrounding districts.

The data shows teachers in Buffalo with a masters degree and nearly 30 years of service earn just under $75,000 annually. Rumore says over their careers, Buffalo teachers will earn $600,000 less than teachers in suburban districts. That difference in lifetime earnings, he says, means $10,000 less for Buffalo teachers in retirement.

"These figures are staggering," Rumore says. "It's not right."

"Buffalo teachers work just as hard as our colleagues in the suburbs and it's, in some cases, under more difficult conditions. All we're asking is that the public and the Board of Education understand just how disadvantaged we have been. Teachers have families too...and it's only fair that they be compensated in a rate commensurate with what their colleagues receive," Rumore added.   

BTF members have gone without a contract for nine years, though talks are underway. Rumore says both sides sat down at the bargaining table Saturday and Monday.