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PFT Members Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize a Strike Vote

 The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers mailed strike authorization ballots to 2,955 full dues-paying union members on Monday, January 29. The ballots were due back by 12:00 pm on Monday, February 12 and were counted at 4:30 pm the same day. 2,453 ballots were returned and counted. 2,309 (94%) voted in favor of authorizing the PFT Executive Board/Negotiations Team to take a strike vote if needed and 144 (6%) voted against authorizing a strike vote. Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visgitis released the following statement regarding strike authorization ballot count:

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the Executive Board to call for a strike. Our members do not take this vote lightly. It has been more than 40 years since the PFT has gone on strike. We want to be in the classroom with our students. This is clearly a demonstration that our members feel strongly about the items that we are still negotiating and want a contract that is good for students and fair to educators.

The PFT has gone to the table for the last year and a half fully prepared to negotiate and we have reached agreement on a number of issues. However, we are still negotiating on issues that are critical to a highly effective teaching and learning environment.

PFT members want to reduce class sizes to give students the individualized attention they need. We want to retain the excellent teachers we have and attract the best teachers in the future. We want the district to stop treating our early childhood educators like second-class educators when they are the foundation of our school system.

Our educators are highly trained professionals and we want a voice in our schools and to be partners in the educational program. The best schools are always the ones with environments of mutual respect and collaboration, not ones where educators are disempowered.

We look forward to our negotiations session on Friday and hope that the District understands that our educators will fight for a contract that is best for our students and our schools.

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 PFT Executive Board meets on Thursday, February 15 at 4:30pm and they will discuss the strike authorization vote. The PFT Executive Board must vote in favor of a strike and give the District 48-hours notice of our intent to strike. The PFT and the District have an all day negotiations session scheduled for Friday, February 15th beginning at 9:00am.

PFT400 is a union of professionals working to help our children learn, grow, and succeed in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Founded in 1935, PFT400 has been a leader in educational innovation and change in our public schools.

Source: PFT400


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