Members of property services workers union SEIU 32 BJ District 1201, which represents about 3,500 school district bus drivers, aides, engineers and maintenance workers in the area, were in City Council again this afternoon to throw their support behind a resolution slated to go up for a final vote.
The legislation introduced by Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez states that City Council should not move forward with any proposed budget plan involving the School Reform Commission until the SRC negotiates a fair contract with school district employees and officials in Harrisburg restore proposed funding cuts to public education.
Quinones-Sanchez initially attempted to pass an amendment to the resolution and delay the final vote on it until next week to give the SRC and the union more time to negotiate. She was met with thundering boos from the crowd of union members.
Quinones-Sanchez then relented. "I have no problem doing it today," she said, thanking her fellow council members for their support in protecting what she called "some of the most vulnerable workers in the city."
The amendment was adopted and followed by a final vote after Council President Darrell Clarke quickly checked to make sure the actions were legal.
"I know that we are not at the negotiating table and some may say Council has no role to play in that, but we do," Quinones-Sanchez said. "We in this body will approve a budget with tax revenue to go to the School District of Philadelphia. This body continually in the four years I have been here has done heavy lifting for the School District of Philadelphia
and should be able to set priorities where money goes in the School District of Philadelphia."
The union members erupted in cheers as the resolution passed unanimously.