Buffalo teachers say they make tens of thousands of dollars less than their colleagues in other districts. And, they add, not only are they “poorly paid,” it takes them longer to reach retirement than their peers in Western New York.

In an effort to sway public opinion in the nine-year-old negotiations for a new contract, the teachers union president held a news conference Tuesday contending that on average, city teachers are paid $20,000 less than other teachers throughout Western New York. When compared with their counterparts in Yonkers, one of the Big 5 districts that Buffalo is grouped with, the difference is $45,000, said Philip Rumore, president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

There was no immediate way to verify the numbers, and a call to Superintendent Pamela Brown for comment was not immediately returned. Rumore said the data was compiled by New York State United Teachers, the BTF’s parent union.

Rumore said the disparities in salaries have been a point of contention in negotiations. His comments were made a day before today’s public release of a state mediator’s report about contract negotiations between the Buffalo Board of Education and the BTF.

Having a conversation about salary gaps is not an attack on other educators throughout the state, Rumore said.

“Our colleagues deserve every penny they get,” Rumore said. “But Buffalo teachers work just as hard as our colleagues.”