Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers members voted overwhelmingly to ratify the three collective bargaining agreements with the Pittsburgh School District. The new agreements will expire on June 30, 2020.
The professional unit contract was accepted by 90% of voting members, the paraprofessional unit contract was accepted by 77% of voting members, and the technical-clerical unit contract was accepted by 90% of voting members. The PFT represents 2,400 teachers, 565 paraprofessionals and 20 technical-clerical employees.
The new contract end the Bill and Melinda Gates-grant funded performance-based pay system and gives principals authority over a limited number of teacher assignments. The contract provides 2 percent raises and increases the starting pay for new teachers to $46,000 a year.
"I am pleased that our members overwhelmingly approved the three proposed agreements," President Nina Esposito-Visgitis said. "Now we can focus more of our time and energy on projects such as expanding access to high-quality affordable early childhood education, promoting career and technical education, and improving professional development for all our educators."
"I want to sincerely thank the parents and community members that had our backs. We have seen in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky what can happen when educators and community members work together to fight for the best interests of our students. We felt the community support at the bargaining table, we saw the window signs around town, and we know that the community would have walked the picket line with us if we needed them," she said.
"A strong public education system from cradle to career is essential to the growth of our Commonwealth. We look forward to continue working with the community on improving public education for all students and that starts with re-electing public education champion Governor Tom Wolf."
The PFT Executive Board unanimously recommended the three contracts for ratification. Ballots were mailed to PFT members on March 21 and were counted Wednesday, April 11.
April 11, 2018