The Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ said the new four-year contract “achieves historic wage increases and essential training for the union’s membership,” which numbers around 2,000 workers.
“SEIU 32BJ is very pleased with the wins that this contract gives our workers including historic wage increases and essential training programs,” SEIU 32BJ Assistant District Director for Philadelphia Schools, John Bynum, said in a written statement. “This contract also honors the enormous contributions and sacrifices that 32BJ school workers have made to the Philadelphia School District over the past decade, including risking their lives to keep kids in school throughout the pandemic.”
The wage increases total $3 to $5 over the course of the contract, with the lowest-paid workers immediately receiving a bump from their current $14.31 an hour to up to $20 an hour.
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An additional $2 million will go toward standardized training programs, “giving members the safety and security they need right now, with opportunities to better their skills and qualify for jobs within the district that match those skills,” the union said.
The union includes bus attendants, building cleaners, bus drivers, engineers, mechanics and trades workers.
District Superintendent Tony Watlington called the new contract a “great step forward.”
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“I look forward to the Board’s formal review and vote on this at the September board meeting as a final step,” he said. “I thank each and every one of our cleaning, engineering, maintenance, and transportation staff as we continue to work together to support healthy and safe in-person learning for every student this school year.”