A coalition of community and labor groups and legislators continued its statewide campaign to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, arguing that the $7.25 an hour minimum leaves working families with incomes below the poverty line.
Governor Tom Wolf gave his fourth budget address today before the PA General Assembly and called on legislators to work together to increase PA's investment in education and programs that ensure that Pennsylvanians have "21st Century skills." His 2018-18 budget would invest an additional $225 million in education and make significant investments in workforce development.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the Congressional District maps approved by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011, ruling on Monday (Jan. 22) that the voting districts were gerrymandered to give GOP lawmakers an electoral advantage. "The court's decision is a huge victory that protects voters from being marginalized by a dominant political party. AFTPA is proud to have played a role in protecting the rights of thousands of Pennsylvania voters." AFTPA President Ted Kirsch said.
The omnibus school code bill, Act 55 of 2017, became law on Nov. 5, 2017. Despite concerns about the furlough provisions, Governor Wolf allowed the bill to become law without his signature to ensure that state funds would be paid on time to public schools and to protect other provisions in the bill, including extending the moratorium on Keystone exams, requiring opioid abuse education and ending “lunch shaming” of students. AFTPA opposed the school code bill because it changes the way layoffs are conducted, places emphasis on a flawed evaluation system and interferes with collective bargaining rights.
The Janus case is a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people. The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions. The forces behind this case know that by joining together in strong unions, working people are able to win the power and voice they need to level the economic and political playing field.
AFT Pennsylvania Convention delegates called on the state legislature to repeal the state’s teacher evaluation law, which teachers maintain has been implemented inconsistently, produces unreliable rankings, promotes teaching test-taking instead of critical thinking and punishes teachers whose students have special needs.
Seniority has less to do with teacher placements and promotions and has everything to do with fairness and objectivity in hiring decisions, says Lisa Haver, a retired Philadelphia teacher and active PFT member, in a recent op-ed in the Philadelphia Daily News.