Protesters Fight For Contracts at Kaplan, Scholastic

February 20, 2014 | Andy Cush

At a demonstration this morning, Kaplan teachers protested for a contract that would afford them better wages and benefits from the for-profit English school. They planned to march from an inflatable pig in front of a Kaplan office at 623 Broadway down to another pig near the Soho office of Scholastic, which is also embroiled in a dispute with its workers.

“Kaplan makes huge profits, but they pay the teachers just barely more than minimum wage,” Bill O’Meara of the Newspaper Guild of New York, the union that employees at both companies, told ANIMAL. “They can’t live in New York City on the wages that they’re being paid to do all the work that they’re asked to do.”

Most of Kaplan’s teachers are part-time, with no benefits or paid sick days, and the union has been in negotiations with the company for a contract. “They won’t even sit down and have a reasonable discussion with us about it,” O’Meara said. “It’s really horrendous.”

Capital New York has details on the dispute:

The vast majority of Kaplan International’s New York workforce is classified as part-time, though many possess advanced degrees and work nearly full-time hours despite not receiving paid sick days or benefits. Kaplan teachers say hourly pay rates for new employees have declined in recent years from $24 an hour to $17 and that management has adopted an aggressive posturing since they unionized a year and a half ago.

According to O’Meara, conditions at Scholastic are no better. “There, the company reneged on a contract that we thought that we had settled last June,” he said. “They presented us with a document that has all kinds of changes in it that were never even discussed in negotiations, and they’re saying, ‘you should sign this.’ And we’re not signing it.”

“It’s just wrong,” he added. “We’re going to fight against it, and we’re going to keep fighting until we get a fair contract for these folks.”

(Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)