Earlier this year, the Caucus of Working Educators surveyed PFT members across the district to determine what they most want to see addressed in a new contract.
The top five priorities WE heard from our colleagues included compensation, health insurance, class size, building conditions, and retirement and pensions.
The proposed contract changes released to the PFT membership this past weekend address these priorities in important ways. We have shared this analysis to help PFT members make an informed vote about the contract offer. To be clear, we are not advocating members vote a particular way. We simply want to provide adequate information for all parties before they cast their ballot.
The tentative agreement attempts to make up for our lost time and money by giving PFT members multiple-step jumps, lump sum bonuses, and recognition of advanced-degree lanes into 2020. It also includes just one COLA increase of 2% in 2019 -- the only true raise given to the PFT between 2013 and 2020.
To see what your salary would be under this contract, go to: www.tinyurl.com/PFTsalaries
2. Health insurance
All PFT employees will have to pay a percentage of their base pay into health insurance - 1.25% for the first two years, and 1.5% in the years thereafter. Covering spouses who are eligible for insurance with their own employers will incur a monthly charge of $50 for the first two years, and $75 after that. Keystone HMO premiums and Personal Choice copays are both increasing, and the Medical Insurance Opt-Out has been eliminated. Also, the District is making fewer payments to the PFT Health & Welfare Fund.
3. Retirement and pensions
The Commonwealth manages PSERS, and our contract does not codify any agreement between the District and our union on pensions. However, PFT members leaving the District for good may face other issues relevant to them in the future. Staff hired after July 1, 2017 will receive upon retirement only 75% of the paid-out value of personal days that current staff receive. Also, resignation/retirement decisions must now be made by March 15 instead of April 15.
4. Class size and 5. Building conditions
The tentative agreement does have provisions designed to help teachers teach and students learn, including teacher collaboration during common planning time and training in restorative justice. There were no contract improvements to building conditions or class size.
Before you vote, please use this "Contract Terms: What’s There, What’s Not" flyer and this list of "Contract Offer Questions" to discuss what is most beneficial for your students, schools, families, and your profession. Bring your questions and concerns to the Liacouras Center on Monday so you are completely confident in your decision when it is time to cast your vote!
Additional resources to help you make an informed decision include:
- Wage and Health Care Costs Calculator
- Still have questions about the PFT contract proposal?
- Are You Prepared for the Contract Vote on Monday June 19?
- Teacher Contracts: How Does Philly Measure Up?
- How to Host a Contract Reading Party
- How to Prepare for a Contract Vote: Schedule Your “Contract Reading Party”
Questions? Contact us at [email protected]