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More 'amicus' briefs: Activists and gubernatorial candidate back union's stance

By Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 17, 2014 12:38 PM

Two friend-of-the-court briefs filed this week with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court support the position of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers that the School Reform Commission does not have the power to impose contract terms in areas that traditionally have been negotiated.

One was filed by the advocacy group the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS) and the other by Rob McCord, a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. McCord's brief was written by the PFT's attorneys.

The SRC has asked the court to rule quickly and affirm its right to impose work-rule changes on the union as negotiations have stalled. With the teacher-hiring and transfer process already underway, Superintendent William Hite has announced his intention to weaken the role that seniority plays in making assignments and deciding on layoffs.

The APPS brief, written by attorney and former District teacher and administrator Rich Migliore, says that parents and other advocates -- the District's primary stakeholders -- have not been heard in this issue.

It argues that the law authorizing the state to take over the District does not "implicitly authorize the SRC to dictate working conditions or ignore their public responsibility to negotiate a labor agreement which provides our children with the stability of their teachers which our children need and deserve." 

It says that Philadelphia's ills are caused by the state's "abdication" of its responsibility to adequately fund schools and that the SRC's policies are designed to dismantle and privatize the District.

McCord's brief repeats the PFT's argument that the SRC has not been able to "effectively respond" to state budget cuts, so now it wants to "blame the problems" of the District on teachers and other union members.


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Comments (10)

Submitted by union member (not verified) on April 17, 2014 7:18 pm
Good for Rich. Hope the court reads that brief and makes the right ruling. The SRC and Hite should be ashamed of themselves for this kind of blatant union-busting.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on April 17, 2014 8:37 pm
Cue the politicians pandering for votes. McCord actually had the PFT lawyers write his brief??? What a laugh. What we really need is state legislation to outlaw collective bargaining by public sector workers. Perhaps in Corbett's second term.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 17, 2014 8:08 pm
yes Taxpayer, Corbett's second term, when pigs fly and the cow jumps over the moon.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 17, 2014 8:34 pm
Do not feed the troll.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 17, 2014 8:25 pm
WOW Taxpayer! Is that a tone of DEFEAT in your last line or what? Best advice I can give you is to keep reading and turn the news to something other than Fox once in a while. It will broaden your vocabulary and understanding of how democracy works, make you feel better about your contribution and place in society and probably make everyone you live with happier, too!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 17, 2014 8:45 pm
This decision will be overturned by the Supreme Court because the elimination of seniority would effectively render collective bargaining moot.
Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on April 18, 2014 2:48 am
Well done, Rich, on taking this action. And if McCord is taking sides with the teachers, then good for him also. it is obvious to anyone paying attention that the carpetbaggers were all sent here to chip away at workers' rights to make seizing the school district and handing it over to private management that much easier.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 18, 2014 8:21 am
Unions in public sector positions are truly not needed. In the private sector workers have no say related to the company owners or management. The voting process allows workers and the public to have say over public sector employers.
Submitted by Lisa Haver on April 18, 2014 8:00 am
If you have a few minutes, read the brief. Since you all know Rich, believe me when I say it is very easy for the lay person to understand. The legalese is kept to the bare minimum. Rich raises a few very important points regarding the Sunshine Act that I am not sure were brought out in the other briefs (read the first and fourth footnotes). Speaking for APPS, we are very proud of the work Rich has done. We are grateful for the opportunity to publicly support the union in court. I am optimistic.
Submitted by Gabe (not verified) on April 19, 2014 4:41 pm
I read the APPS brief and the best part of it is the last section where he explains that the SRC can not eliminate tenure because it would be unconstitutional for the SRC or the legislature to eliminate it. It has to due with their due process rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution. It has to do with the right to a hearing and the right to freedom of speech. It also says that it effects the school community itself. It causes teachers and parents to leave the school district. Horace Mann would be happy with it because it fits right in with his belief that everyone is entitled to a free public education.

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