Philadelphia teachers union takes stand, says 'no' to pay cuts

PHILADELPHIA - September 2, 2013

Teachers armed with signs packed the Liacouras Center.

Union leaders took the stage and reiterated their stance - no pay cuts and no end to seniority rules.

"I don't know how teachers became the funding source. The teachers did not cause this problem and somehow they've become a part of the equation to solve it," said Luis Borda, teacher.

"Our members work, they have their own families and their own children they must care for," said Jerry Jordan, PFT president.

Jordan says his membership has offered to a pay freeze in year one and increased contributions to healthcare.

However he would not say how much those concessions are estimated to save.

The district wants teachers to take pay cuts from 5-13 percent.

It's seeking $100 million in savings from the union to help close a $300 million budget gap.

"We've made some progress but we have a significant amount of work that needs to be done before we reach an agreement," said Jordan.

The district released a statement Monday night that reads in part:

We are asking the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to join the approximately 3,000 school district employees who are making significant contributions to help address the district's financial challenges through salary reductions and by making reasonable contributions to their health insurance costs.

The union says teachers will be in school next week and a strike does not appear imminent.

Both sides are expected back at the negotiating table on Tuesday.

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