PFT President Jerry Jordan on Settlement of a Tentative Agreement

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September 1, 2021

PHILADELPHIA—"I was absolutely thrilled this evening to present our members with one of the strongest agreements in recent memory. It was the first on time agreement reached since before the SRC-era. This three-year tentative agreement was hard fought and brought us to the brink of a strike. This agreement is an incredibly strong step towards a more promising tomorrow for public education in Philadelphia. I am incredibly proud of the work this union has done in setting the agenda for an equitable public education system in our great city.

"Amidst incredible challenges, our educators and school communities continue to show up and give their all to our young people. I am so proud to represent these remarkable individuals, and I am relieved and empowered by the settlement of this tentative agreement. It was hard fought, but throughout it all, our membership remained united. Our membership has shown time and again that they are willing to show up both in and out of the classroom for our students and our city. Their fortitude and dedication paid off. I thank the School District, the School Board, and Mayor Kenney for recognizing their commitment.

"This evening, a resounding 93% of voting members voted in favor of our tentative agreement via 'voice vote'. The agreement now moves to an official vote. Members will receive the full text of the agreement, along with their ballot, in the mail. Voting will take place via the American Arbitration Association, and members will vote securely by phone, electronically, or by mail. The vote closes September 15th.

"The financial terms of the agreement are as follows:

  • Year 1: 2.75% base pay increases effective today; $1500 bonus
  • Year 2: 3.25% base pay increases effective 9/1/22; $1000 bonus
  • Year 3: 3.0% base pay increase effective 9/1/23
  • The maintenance of step movement for longevity
  • The maintenance of lane movement for advanced degrees

"We were also able to secure a new pay scale for our paraprofessionals, who are invaluable members of our school communities yet have been woefully underpaid. This agreement increases their pay by over 10% immediately, and then further accelerates the increases in subsequent years. We talk a lot about equity as a union, as a District, as a City, and as a country. And this is one important step toward bringing some of our lowest paid members, a majority of whom are Black and brown, up to a better wage.

"In addition to a strong financial package, we were able to maintain our strong package of benefits without any percentage increase in contributions.

"Further, we were able to secure important working conditions. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A robust career pathway program for paraprofessionals 
  • Doubling of the teacher allotment for classroom purchases
  • Establishment of a $50 annual allotment for paraprofessionals for classroom purchases
  • Doubling of tuition reimbursement allowances
  • Extension of the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program to ensure that high quality coaches are supporting new and struggling teachers
  • Establishment of a jointly developed Cross Schools program that will allow more students access to algebra before high school
  • Establishment of a jointly developed work-load model for our related service providers, including speech and language pathologists and occupational/physical therapists; a model that will allow our students greater access to the services they need and deserve
  • Elimination of force transferred teachers considered 'special assignment,' thus negating the need for them to move schools sometimes annually, thus reducing staff turnover
  • Establishment of two $2500 bonuses for members remaining in their current location, the first of which will be given after one year, the second given in September of the third year
  • Maintenance of language around facilities, including access to drinking water
  • Maintenance of preparation time
  • Maintenance of class size limits

"These are conditions that are good for students and good for educators. We have an enormous amount of work ahead of us as a union and as a city. This agreement is borne out of years of work, organizing, protesting, mobilizing, and demanding change. 

"This union will never, ever stop fighting for the schools our young people deserve, and the conditions in which our incredibly dedicated educators work."