Strike averted: 2,000 Philly schools workers have a new contract, raises, more training
The deal, which would give the members of 32BJ SEIU Local 1201 raises and provide requested safety training, means the union will not strike.
The Philadelphia School District and a union representing 2,000 bus drivers, cleaners, and trades workers have a tentative contract.
The deal, which would give the members of 32BJ SEIU Local 1201 raises and provide requested safety training, means the union will not strike. Its members had authorized a labor stoppage if no pact was reached by Aug. 31.
Classes are scheduled to begin for 114,000 Philadelphia School District students on Monday.
Gabe Morgan, a 32BJ vice president, hailed the deal as a win for the union. He said it would bring 32BJ’s workers “in line with comparable city workers over the course of the agreement,” and said it provides millions for additional training programs, as well as pension and health benefits.
Details of the deal, including the amount of pay raises, were not immediately available.
“We got a deal that gives our members historic pay increases, while giving them the training they need to keep themselves and students safe,” Morgan said in a statement. “This contract honors the enormous contributions and sacrifices that 32BJ school workers have made, including risking their lives throughout the pandemic.”
Morgan said Mayor Jim Kenney and elected officials’ support helped them reach a deal.
The contract is not in place until it’s ratified by members and approved by the school board, presumably at its September meeting.
32BJ represents bus drivers, bus attendants, bus mechanics, building cleaners, building engineers, and trades workers. Their salaries range from about $16,000 for the lowest-paid cleaners to nearly $70,000 for construction inspectors.
Larisa Shambaugh, the district’s chief talent officer, said in a statement that officials were pleased with the deal and said it shows the “deep respect” the system has for the 2,000 employees.
“We see the amazing work they do everyday to safely transport our students to and from school, and provide them with clean and healthy learning environments that support their academic success,” Shambaugh said. “We all look forward to starting the new school year with the certainty that we will do so without disruption to in-person learning for our students and families.”