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Countdown, Day 9: Teachers’ union prepared to negotiate through the weekend

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

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the School District’s bargaining team returned to the negotiating table on Saturday, the day the union’s contract is set to expire.

Neither side has reported progress. Union spokesperson George Jackson said the PFT "plans to continue negotiating through the weekend," but also said the District has not offered any kind of contract extension.

District spokesperson Fernando Gallard said the District will continue negotiating up to Saturday night’s deadline. A statement from the District is expected Saturday night at the expiration of the contract.

The union has a membership meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, and teachers are scheduled to be back at school on Tuesday, with classes starting Sept. 9. Union president Jerry Jordan said this week that he does not plan to call a strike vote at Monday’s meeting.

He may not have a draft agreement for members to vote on either. An Inquirer report on Saturday quotes a union lawyer saying the two sides are "very far apart."

The District is asking the PFT for sweeping changes in work rules and the compensation system as well as $103 million in salary and health care concessions as part of its effort to cut its overall payroll and benefits costs by $133 million, or 10 percent. Three smaller unions have also been asked for concessions.

The union is now working under a one-year extension of a three-year contract with the District that originally expired in August 2012.

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