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PSD United off to a great start with unanimous YES vote on first contract

Teachers and staff at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf ratified their first union contract unanimously Thursday after more than a year of negotiations. The Board of Trustees approved the agreement on December 7.

PSD United, Local 9624 (@PSDUnion on Twitter | PSD Union on Facebook), represents 170 faculty and staff of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. in Philadelphia. They voted in January 2015 to form a union under AFT Pennsylvania.

“We are elated to have a contract that provides us with the voice, job security and stability that we need and which allows us to best serve our students.  We look forward to continuing to develop even more productive relationships among staff, administrations, families, and the PSD community,” said preschool teacher and union president Sarah McDevitt.

“The union and the board reached a strong, comprehensive agreement that demonstrates their unwavering commitment to teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in a supportive, nurturing and safe environment,” said Ted Kirsch, AFT Pennsylvania president. “The new contract includes faculty and staff voices in decision making and builds a framework to support faculty and staff in their efforts to help Deaf and Hard of Hearing students succeed. Few first-time agreements are this comprehensive or collaborative.”

The contract is retroactive to September 1, 2015, and extends through June 30, 2018, and it covers about 170 teachers and support staff at the pre-kindergarten-to-12 school. It provides raises for employees, health insurance for employees and their families, tuition reimbursement for staff furthering their education, an evaluation and professional improvement program and a pension plan to which employees contribute. It also includes due process, a grievance and arbitration system and a forum for workers and administrators to explore educational challenges and issues of mutual concern.

“I am thrilled that the solidarity of PSD United #9624 remains strong and unbroken,” said Michael Ralph, a School for the Deaf Psychologist and union secretary. “It has been a long haul for the bargaining team and the staff as a whole. Kudos on a job well done. The 141-0 vote tells me that we are all in this together now and forevermore, for the good of our students and community.” 

AFT Pennsylvania represents 32,000 public, private and charter school teachers and school support employees; community college and university faculty and staff; and state employees across the commonwealth. AFT Pennsylvania is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO.

December 19, 2016

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