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Tentative agreement reached in PFT talks

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

UPDATE 1-19 12:35 p.m.

Both parties see agreement as "a win-win."

UPDATE 1-19 10:22 a.m.

Tentative, multi-year agreeement reached; ratification vote meeting is Thursday night. The agreement comes after negotiations over the weekend and throughout Monday night.

Text of statement from PFT president Jerry Jordan:

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the School District of Philadelphia reached a tentative agreement on a new contract covering 17,000 employees this morning at 9:30 a.m., said PFT president Jerry T. Jordan.

No details of the tentative agreement will be released until the terms have been presented to the members at a contract ratification meeting Thursday night.

Jordan said negotiations were concluded successfully after nearly three weeks of daily negotiations, including round-the-clock talks that began on Friday and continued through this morning.

“We look forward to a multi-year agreement that will offer the opportunity for our students to be successful academically and will provide stability for the community, for faculty and for staff,” he said.

The PFT will recommend ratification of the agreement.

The joint statement from the union and School Reform Commission:

“We are pleased to report that the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers have reached an agreement on a multi-year, negotiated settlement on our teachers’ contract. We cannot discuss the details of this agreement at this time so as to provide the opportunity to PFT leadership to communicate its benefits directly to its membership for ratification shortly. That said, we are delighted about what this historic agreement will mean for our children, and we are eager to continue our work together in building a system of great schools for all Philadelphia students.”

UPDATE 9:50 a.m.

Teachers returned to work today under terms of existing contract; no word yet on any settlement. Talks are continuing.

UPDATE: 1-18 11:30 p.m.

No settlement yet, but "they’re going to work through the night till it’s resolved," said District spokesperson Evelyn Sample-Oates, just after a telephone briefing for the School Reform Commission by District negotiators. The union was not available for comment.

UPDATE: 10 p.m.

School District negotiators will be conferring with the School Reform Commission by conference call at 11 pm this evening, according to Sample-Oates. No indication whether that means a settlement is imminent.

UPDATE: 9 p.m.

"They’re still hammering it out," said Sample-Oates this evening. "They’re still negotiating." She said she expected to have another update, if not news of a settlement, before midnight.

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.

PFT president Jerry Jordan posted a private notice on the union website for members saying that they are planning for a ratification meeting, but that no agreement has yet been reached. His statement said:

"The PFT negotiating team spent its second, consecutive weekend at the bargaining table, after nearly three weeks of daily negotiations.

"We are making progress, but there is no agreement yet. We are negotiating today, Martin Luther King Day, in an effort to win a fair contract.

"We have received a few questions about benefits. All of your benefits are intact. PFT members will return to work on Tuesday, Jan. 19, under terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement.

"Beginning tomorrow, full, dues-paying PFT members will receive postcard mailed to their homes for a PFT Membership/Ratification Meeting. The date for the membership meeting will be announced as soon as we reach an agreement."

UPDATE: 1-15, 7:30 p.m.:

A 7 p.m. statement from the District says: "“The School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers have agreed to diligently continue negotiations until midnight tonight. If we don’t have an agreement at that time, we are committed to work over the weekend in the hopes of reaching a multi-year settlement to their currently expired collective bargaining agreement. We have made progress over the past several days, and we remain optimistic that a settlement can be reached."


The District just issued a statement that the plan is to continue meeting through the weekend, with a goal of settling the contract "before teachers return to work on Tuesday." Spokesperson Evelyn Sample-Oates said the District remains optimistic of a settlement.


The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and District will continue negotiations to meet the midnight deadline, according to a union statement. The contract expires today, Jan. 15.

PFT President Jerry Jordan said the talks continue "with the goal of reaching an agreement."

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