This week, PFT Members learned that there is a possibility that our union and the District will reach a tentative contract agreement soon- which Philly’s educators, students, and families have all been waiting for!
Here is some essential information to think about and check in with your colleagues about, to make sure every PFT member has the opportunity to get informed, be there, and participate in this important union event:
What is a contract ratification vote? When bargaining for a contract, unions come to a tentative agreement with their employer and then bring that agreement to the union membership for a contract ratification vote. Union members generally have a period of time to look over the changes ahead of time, then vote via mail or in person on whether these changes are sufficient to approve the new contract.
What will the vote look like for PFT Members? All members of our 11,000-person union will be invited to a Special Membership Meeting at the Liacouras Center to hear about the contract, any proposed changes, and then vote yes or no to approve. This vote always occurs via private ballot, which will be counted by an outside agency the American Arbitration Association (AAA). There may be a symbolic voice vote, but the contract is not ratified until every member present at the meeting has their vote counted by the AAA. PFT Members are welcome to stay and watch the vote count.
Will we have time to read the proposal in advance? The PFT has not committed to a set contract reading period, but the union has promised that members will have time to hear about the new contract and ask questions before the ratification meeting.
What can we do now to get ready?
1. Contract Vote Postcard: Every member of the PFT should have received a red and white postcard in the mail this week. This will be your ticket into a potential contract ratification vote. If you did not receive one, call the PFT office to verify your address at 215-587-6738.
2. Members-Only Section: The PFT has also created a new Members-Only section on the website, so that when information about the tentative contract becomes available all members can read as much information as possible. Make sure your login works by following the directions to sign in at this site (if you have issues signing in, you should have received an email from Jerry Jordan with a form to get it fixed).
3. A Meeting May Come Up Quickly: Be aware that the call for a contract ratification meeting may come up quickly in the next few days (or weeks), and it’s important that every PFT member has the opportunity to be there and participate! Start thinking now about details such as last-minute childcare, and a travel plan for you and your staff to get the Liacouras center after school. Here is the parking guide for the Liacouras Center, and you can easily take the SEPTA Broad Street Line to Cecil B Moore station.
4. Schedule a “Contract Reading Party” on Tuesday June 13: When a tentative contract is available, we want every member to have the opportunity to read, discuss, and think about their needs and the needs of our union sisters and brothers. Right now, based on information available, it is possible that there will be a vote as soon as next Wednesday June 14.
Schedule and organize a “Contract Reading Party” at your school this Tuesday (either before or after school) -- then come join a city-wide discussion about the contract at the WE Monthly Organizing Meeting on Tuesday at Old First Reformed United Church of Christ (151 N 4th St & Race 19106) from 1-3:00pm. (If you can’t make it to Old First, a group will also be meeting on Tuesday at 1:00pm at Nick’s Roast Beef at 2210 Cottman Ave, Phila 19149.)
Want tips on how to organize a “Contract Reading Party?” Have other questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.