Give Us Time To Read Our Contract!

This petition made change with 321 supporters!

As rank and file members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, we are heartened by the ongoing contract negotiations with the School District of Philadelphia, and are very much looking forward to a resolution to what has been a long and bitter struggle.

To these ends, we request that, when a contract offer is brought to the general membership, that all members be given a one-week period to read and review the contract before voting.

Our motivations for this request include, but are not limited to, the following reasons:

  • Contract reading periods are common in unions across the country. Teachers in other AFT locals such as the UFT in New York and CTU in Chicago all give their members several days (and sometimes up to a month) to review their contracts in their own buildings and discuss the terms before coming together to vote.
  • A reading period would make the voting process clearer. At the last contract vote in 2010, members only had a few hours to review an abbreviated version of the contract the same day as the vote. Most members didn't even know that the voice vote held on the floor is merely symbolic and that the official paper ballot happens afterwards.
  • We want a contract that we can vote "yes" on with confidence. Giving members a chance to review all terms means that, once it's time to vote, we will be able to speak knowledgeably to our families, students and community members about how thoroughly this contract fights for the schools Philadelphia deserves.

We know that the PFT negotiating team is doing their absolute best to win us a contract that is best for all members. In previous years, a lack of information about all the details of the contract has led to resentment among the rank and file -- resentment that we believe could be avoided with increased transparency and democracy.

We ask that you make a public, written commitment to a one-week contract reading period as soon as possible. Let's empower the rank and file to support you in bringing this long contract battle to a successful conclusion. 

If you are not a PFT member, no need to sign this petition -- but please forward it to the educators you know!

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