Labor Leaders Contemplated Citywide Strike to Protest SRC

The School Reform Commission’s decision to unilaterally end its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers nearly caused a shutdown of the entire city, the Inquirer reports this morning — labor leaders briefly contemplated a “general strike” that would have featured members of all area unions walking off the job to protest the decision.

They held off for two reasons: PFT president Jerry Jordan wanted to pursue legal action first. And members wanted to wait the outcome of the November 4th gubernatorial election.

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Uniforms Shouldn’t Trigger SEPTA Strike

Septa regional rail train

When I heard last week the reason SEPTA might shut down due to strike this winter — leaving tens of thousands of commuters stuck in the February cold — I was positively Iversonian in my response.

“Uniforms? We talkin’ about uniforms?”

Er, well yes apparently.

SEPTA’s regional rail electrical workers accepted the terms of federal mediation. Engineers want to settle, but are balking at two provisions: The effective date of wage increases, and uniform requirements.

SEPTA engineers want simply to wear a vest. “We feel a shirt and additional outerwear would be appropriate,” SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams told the paper.

That doesn’t sound like an excessive demand — and in reality, it’s not — but it turns out there’s a lot more to this battle than meets the eye. It’s been going on for years.

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Unions Take Pay Cut on PHA Projects

Fourteen building-trades unions in Philadelphia have agreed to take a 20 percent pay cut on projects built by the Philadelphia Housing Authority. That will reduce costs on publicly funded affordable housing projects — and could spread back into the private sector.

The Inquirer reports:

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