Why Working Educators?

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Who is the Caucus of Working Educators?

We are PFT members from across the city who believe that our union can and must become much stronger if we want to win a stronger contract. We want to change the course of the PFT – from becoming smaller and weaker each year to tapping into the power of our members and our communities so we can fight for the schools Philly students deserve.   

In Los Angeles, Chicago, Saint Paul, Baltimore and other cities, caucuses just like the Working Educators won leadership of their unions -- and then went on to win smaller class sizes, higher wages, increased support staff, and so much more.  Over the past year we have met with the new leadership in those cities and learned how to build a more powerful union.   

They did this through the power of the rank and file -- through strategies like community outreach, open negotiations, and strikes, because every union is only as powerful as its members. 

 

How are WE different? 

Last negotiations we went 4 years without a contract, and ended up contributing more to our healthcare and getting minimal raises.  PFT membership has shrunk by 40%, from 21,000 to 13,000, our buildings are giving us cancer and other chronic illnesses, class sizes are too big, special education services are chronically understaffed, 30 schools have been closed, and paraprofessionals and support staff are criminally underpaid. 

We pledge to engage ALL of our members, teachers and other professionals, and to fight for the issues that matter most to all of us. We pledge to invite every member of the union to participate in the negotiations process and sit at the negotiations table, to build strong political allies to fight for increased funding for schools, and most importantly--- to build a union strong enough to win a stronger contract.

WE are ready to try something different. WE are ready to join the movement of educators that has swept the nation.  WE are ready for a democratic union that includes all of us. 

 

What is a Union caucus? 

Caucus are normal parts of healthy democratic unions that have an engaged membership.  Just like local city government, unions are democratic organizations where any member can run for office.  Some of the strongest educator unions in the country have had reform caucuses just like the WE caucus! In the past few years, the Chicago Teachers Union has had up to 6 caucuses at a time, because their membership is so active and engaged! 

Caucuses have the opportunity to run for leadership of the union every few years.  This winter, the WE Caucus will be running a slate of educators for the top leadership positions of the union.  To find out more about our slate and our candidates, visit “our slate”.  

 

Racial Justice Statement of the Caucus of Working Educators

The below statement was written by members of Working Educators' Racial Justice Committee:

The Caucus of Working Educators believes that purposeful action needs to be taken in order to eliminate the adverse outcomes derived from perpetual structural racism evident in public education.

  • WE want public school based policies that resist the criminalization of students of color.
  • WE want curriculum and pedagogy that recognizes the collective contribution of all groups to modern society.
  • WE want a full and fair funding formula that can provide for all of the needs of our students and schools.
  • WE want standardized testing to end and no longer be used as the criteria to shutter schools since these tactics adversely affect low income, Black, and Latino communities.
  • WE want to attract, develop, and retain more teachers of color.

WE are aware of the barriers that all of our students and families face that limit their chances and opportunities to achieve academic success and a positive sustainable quality of life. WE support all organizations and collective work that are against stop and frisk policies, support the fight for fair and safe housing, support a living and sustainable wage for all citizens, and the right for all to have access to affordable and equitable healthcare.

The Caucus of Working Educators believes that this Racial Justice Statement  promotes equity, human life, educational and social justice, and will develop the necessary knowledge and actions necessary to eliminate the barriers created by prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination and bias  in Philadelphia and beyond.

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