PFT members to consider contract extension

UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.

A brief statement from PFT President Jerry Jordan was just posted.  It reads:

“During this time of transition at the School District, and in a weak and uncertain economy, the PFT and the District agreed that it was in the best interest of students, teachers, staff and the community not to compound the uncertainty by opening negotiations in 2012, when the current collective bargaining agreement expires. The School District and the PFT agreed not to discuss any details of the proposed contract extension until PFT members have had an opportunity to be briefed and to discuss the proposal at a special membership meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 13, at 7 p.m. at the Liacouras Center at Temple University.”


The leadership of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has called a special meeting to discuss a contract extension.  The meeting is scheduled for next Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. A PFT spokeswoman said she had no more information.

What's curious is that Jerry Jordan has long maintained that he wasn't negotiating concessions, he wouldn't negotiate concessions, that the PFT members have already given concessions and they won't give more.  Now, it's not stated that this contract extension will mean concessions, but the writing seems to be on the wall. 

Faced with a brutal budget and $629 million+ in cuts, the Philadelphia School District has long said that it needs $75 million in savings from its five unions to make ends meet.  The PFT is by far the largest union, so it's clear that the district is banking on a significant savings from them. 

The PFT's current contract runs through 2012. 

The district's principals' union has already accepted concessions.  Last month, the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators agreed to delay raises to save 27 assistant principal jobs.  The union representing district mechanics, bus drivers, and cleaners rejected concessions, and the district has issued about 1,200 layoff notices to those workers, saying it would reconsider if the givebacks were accepted.

I've asked to speak with Jerry Jordan on this latest wrinkle.  I hope to have more details to bring you later...

PFT members: what do you think?  Would you accept concessions?