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PFT ready to file grievance for members recalled in violation of contract's seniority rules

PFT President Jerry Jordan's pronouncement would appear to directly challenge the district's efforts.

File photo: Demonstrators chanted and held signs in June outside Gov. Corbett's Center City office in protest of school-district cuts. (STEPHANIE AARONSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
File photo: Demonstrators chanted and held signs in June outside Gov. Corbett's Center City office in protest of school-district cuts. (STEPHANIE AARONSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)Read more

THE TEACHERS' union will file a grievance for each member recalled by the district in violation of seniority rules in the current contract, Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, announced last night during a phone call with thousands of members, sources said.

Jordan's pronouncement would appear to directly challenge the district's effort last week to suspend certain sections of the public-school code, including seniority rules and step wage increases.

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. made the request Thursday during an emergency meeting of the School Reform Commission. The five-member panel voted unanimously to suspend the codes temporarily.

"We're going to do battle at the bargaining table now, but any legal challenges of statutes and laws, the PFT will pick the time and place," Jordan said during the hourlong town-hall-style conference call - which had call-ins from about 9,000 PFT members - according to sources.

"They don't think the SRC can suspend school code legally," one of the sources told the Daily News.

Jordan, along with moderator and PFT vice president of middle schools Dee Phillips, said the union would "get very aggressive" in the local media marketplace - buying ads on television, radio and Internet - from now until Aug. 31, the date the PFT contract expires, sources said.

He also urged members to refrain from doing extra work that normally would have been performed by union members on the layoff list, according to sources, who spoke on condition that their names not be used.

A few guidance counselors said they received conflicting information from the district about the recall, which began last week after both Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke offered separate options to provide $50 million in funding that Hite said he needed to open schools next month.

Jordan also announced a PFT march at 3 p.m. Thursday beginning at the Comcast Center that will head to City Hall and then marching up Broad Street to the district headquarters.

PFT will also hold a membership meeting at the Liacouras Center at Temple University on Sept. 2.

Online: ph.ly/DNEducation