Philadelphia school district bus drivers and other workers reach tentative agreement, union says

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CNN

A union representing about 2,000 Philadelphia school district employees said Friday it averted a strike by reaching a tentative agreement just three days before the start of the school year.

In a press release, local 32BJ SEIU officials said the new agreement secures “historic” salary increases, millions of dollars in funding for additional standardized training programs, protects sick leave and paid vacation and maintains employer-paid pension and health benefits.

The deal still needs to be ratified by union members, whose current contract is due to expire in five days.

Union Vice President Gabe Morgan said the new agreement “honours the tremendous contributions and sacrifices that 32BJ school workers have made, including risking their lives throughout the pandemic.” .

“32BJ members take pride in showing up for work every day and that includes the upcoming school days. I want to thank Mayor (Jim) Kenney and all elected officials for their support and for bringing us together, without which we would not have reached an agreement,” Morgan said in a statement.

Philadelphia is scheduled to start its 2022-23 school year on Monday, according to the school district’s calendar.

“We deeply appreciate the work of our staff who are represented by 32BJ SEIU District 1201,” Shambaugh said in a statement. “We continue to actively participate in conversations and negotiations to secure a new contract as soon as possible, without disrupting in-person learning to begin the 2022-2023 school year.”

Talent manager Larisa Shambaugh said district officials were excited about the deal, adding that it reflected the deep respect and value they had for the workers.

“We see the incredible work they do every day,” she said in a statement posted on social media. “We all look forward to starting the new school year with confidence that we will do so without disruption to in-person learning for our students and families.”

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