[Update: The vote tally is complete -- the Collective Bargaining Team took the majority. We congratulate Jerry Jordan and all of the candidates elected to the next term of leadership. Thanks also to everyone who voted in and volunteered for our campaign. We look forward to our continued work together!]
Here’s a question we have been asked more than once since this election started:
Why did we decide to run for PFT leadership?
We didn’t do it for the money, or the recognition, or the office on Chestnut street. We did it because we want the PFT to be stronger, and this work was the best way to make that happen.
To be clear, we organized to win this election -- and we're excited to get the results. But our campaign was about so much more than just asking for votes. We believe that the true power of our union lies with the rank and file, so we seized this unprecedented opportunity to connect with educators across the district. Whether it was in schools, on the phone, or online, we got people talking and we listened to what they had to say. Here’s just a few things we learned:
Teachers want direct influence at the bargaining table. Educators told us that they want to fight for back pay owed to them after years of frozen salaries. We included that in our platform, which jump started an overdue citywide conversation about what the rank and file wants our leadership to fight for.
Schools are like islands -- but they don’t have to be. We visited every school in the district, and hosted events at half of them. Educators who had never met before suddenly got a chance to sit down, share ideas, and build a common vision for Philadelphia’s schools.
Our union infrastructure can be so much stronger. We visited an alarming number of buildings that had no active building committee, and sometimes not even a building representative. This can easily be turned around with basic union training and support.
These lessons directly influenced our election campaign as well as our plans for the future. Here’s a preview of the next phases of our work:
A One PFT Campaign to help increase unity among members both within and across buildings.
A series of Building Power Trainings that will help rank and file members chart a course to activate and strengthen their school building committees.
A Summer Organizing Institute to provide educators with a crash course version of everything we have learned over the last year, in Philadelphia and from unions around the country. And the return of our Summer Reading Groups as well!
So where’s the election results? We will share them as soon as they are made official on Wednesday, 2/24. After that, the Caucus of Working Educators will be moving forward with our work -- no matter the results of the vote.
If you’re not yet a member, join us today and support the work. Watch your inbox for announcements about upcoming events. And by all means, come celebrate with us on Saturday, February 27th at our Election Party -- for everything we have accomplished together, and everything that we will achieve in the future.