Teachers Union Challenges End to Seniority Rules

Says SRC is asking for “relief from agreements it negotiated.

The Philadelphia Public School Notebook reports that the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to strike down the school district’s recent decision to strike down seniority rules when assigning teachers to schools.

On Thursday, the PFT filed its response to the state Supreme Court, arguing that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the work rule changes and that the issues under dispute should be subject to collective bargaining as they have been in the past. The union’s attorneys argue that the “grievance and arbitration dispute resolution mechanism” established by state labor laws “is the only method for resolving these issues.”

Citing the state takeover law known as Act 46, the School District has claimed the right not to negotiate with the teachers’ union over “non-mandatory” bargaining issues — issues apart from wages, hours, and working conditions.

But the PFT’s legal response emphasizes that the SRC is asking for “relief from the agreements it negotiated over the last 13 years with the Federation while possessing all of the authority conferred on it by Act 46.” It goes on to say that in contract talks, the union and the District are still negotiating over all the disputed issues covered in the District petition and “are not at an impasse on any issue.”

 The Notebook adds that “22 state lawmakers and a league of 14 unions, led by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and representing over one million members” filed briefs supporting the teachers’ union.

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  • Oliver

    Teachers should wake up and realize it’s not the ’50s anymore. My teacher friend was recently outraged that she will have to start contributing to the cost of her health insurance – I’ve contributed since my first job that gave me insurance and I was almost 30 when I got that. For so long teachers have had too-generous benefits strong-armed by their union, now they are shocked we can’t afford those benefits and they can’t believe how awful they have it – still better than the rest of us. Let them litigate – they will litigate themselves right out of jobs at this rate.

    • critical mass

      Instead of begrudging benefits and unions–who are under attack by the rich and by the middle class (hmmm)– we should be organizing and showing solidarity so that we too can hang onto what little is still left of decent jobs, salaries, benefits, hours. The middle class is destroying itself by joining with the rich (who are meanwhile putting the middle classes out of work, cheating them out of money, etc). There would be no middle class without the unions, and without all the hard work and sacrifices and fatalities that the working classes, by forming unions, gave so that there could be middle class people with 40 hour weeks and benefits and some modicum of dignity and security. Sad that the middle class have become such dupes of the wealthy and sadly are now as rabid about destroying unions as the richest in the world, who have nothing left to fear anymore but the unions, which is why they are doing all they can to destroy them throughout this country and the rest of the world. See you in the soup lines.

      • Tmon

        what a crock of shit, unions were great…30 years ago. Get with the times, states are broke, they have to negotiate new deals and have individuals help fund the cost of their own healthcare, and retirement. what the hell do the rich have to do with teachers unions.

        • critical mass

          yeah, like I said: see you in the soup lines.

  • Right Said Fred

    Of course they are fighting anything to do with seniority. The union’s job now is to protect the bad apples so that they can keep the dues money coming in. This will allow them to continue to use the dues money to elect the 22 lawmakers who filed supporting briefs. Democratic/Union run states, cities, school districts, etc. are failures! Philly, Chicago, LA, California, DETROIT.

  • Tmon

    The union is there to protect..people in the union…so I think everybody understands why they are doing it. Nothing they do ‘is for the children’. They need to understand that those promises of the past cannot be renewed today. Teaching refuse to be evaluated but still want the raises, pensions, and fully paid for healthcare (for life). I’ve got teacher friends that complain about paying for education to keep up and it’s coming out of their own pocket….hey, welcome to the real world, they also make on average 70K and get their summers off, and have lifetime employment. I have yet to hear anybody say….yeah want to move because where we live now, Johnny can only get into that charter school. They need to wake up.