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Negotiations Continue as PFT Seeks Strike Authorization


The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT) tonight notified its membership that it will be mailing a ballot seeking authorization for a strike in Pittsburgh Public Schools.


If a vote is authorized, the union is required to give the school district 48 hours’ notice before the strike occurs. The authorization is often used during the collective bargaining process. It is important to note that even if teachers vote to authorize a strike, it does not necessarily mean a strike will occur; the negotiation process will continue.


An interim two-year agreement expired in June 2017. Negotiations continued through June 30, 2017, and thereafter. When no agreement was reached, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board appointed a neutral third-party fact finder, whose report was released in October 2017 and is available online at https://www.pghschools.org/collectivebargaining.


The District recognizes that the possibility of a strike represents a significant disruption for our students and their families. We continue to work diligently with PFT leadership toward a resolution that reflects our deep respect for our outstanding teachers while also prioritizing our mission of providing the highest quality education possible for every student.


“From my first day as superintendent, I have been clear about one matter: moving forward, the top priority of the Pittsburgh Public Schools is going to be the children we serve. They are the reason we exist,” said Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet (pictured). “I have nothing but the highest regard for our outstanding teachers – in fact, as a former teacher, I have walked in their shoes. But I have a responsibility to the children of this district to put their needs above those of adults, even adults I deeply respect and admire. Real change results from difficult work. If it were easy, it would have happened by now. This is the commitment I made when I accepted this position, and it is one I intend to see through to fruition.”


Source: Pittsburgh Public Schools 




Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visgitis released the following statement regarding strike authorization vote:

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers has negotiated in good faith for the last year and a half. Our negotiations team has come to the table every session fully prepared to achieve an agreement that is fair for our members and moves the District forward in its mission to provide exceptional educational opportunities for all students.

This union does not take a strike authorization vote lightly. It has been more than 40 years since the PFT has gone on strike. We are committed to continue good faith negotiations and determined to reach a resolution that is in the best interests of students and our members.

The 3,000 members of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers work hard everyday to provide an excellent education to each and every student in our District. The PFT’s proposals were designed to meet the needs of our students by enhancing the learning conditions in our schools. A strong contract both protects our students and helps the District to recruit and retain the best educators. The idea that this is adults versus children is a false narrative. We are all in this together. Our schools are better when both the needs of students and educators are met.

Education in the 21st century demands differentiation and individualization to meet the needs of students. The job of educating young people cannot be done by disempowering educators and placing the District in a less competitive position. It is time to settle these contracts and do what is best for students and educators.

The PFT is in negotiations with the District for three separate contracts: Professionals, Paraprofessionals and Technical-Clerical employees. All three contracts expired on June 30, 2017. The members of all three units have been working with out a contract since that date.

The ballots are being prepared today and will be mailed to members on Monday morning. The ballots will be counted on Monday, February 12th at 4:30 pm.

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