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Greetings from PFT President Arthur G. Steinberg

It is my profound honor to begin serving as president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and the educators, counselors, nurses, paraprofessionals, food service managers, librarians, and staff we represent.

First, I want to add to the chorus of gratitude to former President Jerry T. Jordan and staff members Arlene Kempin and Evette Jones for their years of dedicated service to the PFT.

I am proud to serve an organization that continuously punches above its weight in the fight for resources, equity, and justice that public educators have always led. The newly elected executive board team and I are excited to work on your behalf for an even stronger, fairer contract with the School District of Philadelphia that improves working conditions, increases compensation, and strengthens our ranks by making K-12 education a more tenable and aspirational career path.

That work has already begun, as we prepare to negotiate new terms for our members after the current contract extension expires on August 31st.

We are 13,600 members strong and growing, and we must grow. Too many of you have taken on professional responsibilities that were once shared among many more colleagues. You worked beyond all reasonable expectations through a global pandemic, and continue to face calendar disruptions due to facilities that cannot keep students and staff safe from extreme weather or environmental toxins.

In order to address the staff shortages our schools face, the District must offer better compensation and benefits with reasonable staff obligations and requirements. We will demand that outdated and punitive rules that push out teachers - including the anti-care, anti-family 3-5-7-9 sick leave policy - be reformed to respect our members.

We will also continue to work in conjunction with other pro-public education, pro-worker, and justice-seeking groups to ensure that the Pennsylvania legislature honors last year's monumental court ruling and makes a billion-dollar investment in K-12 education - without gimmicks like private school vouchers that pull yet more resources away from our kids,

We're also making sure that lawmakers hear directly from Philadelphia public school students- not just pro-privatization lobbyists - about their priorities. Students know that putting more resources, teachers, and staff in public schools improves their learning experience and is a sign that their futures matter.

This is both a critical and opportune time to fight for what educators deserve. District administrators and City Hall know that their pledge to make Philadelphia a "cleaner, greener, safer, and more united city" cannot be fulfilled - period - without the cooperation and labor of public school educators and workers.

We will also make ourselves heard this presidential election year. Voters continue to listen to and trust our members because they support and trust public educators. We will be in touch frequently with volunteer opportunities for those who Greetings from PFT President Arthur G. Steinbergwant to help make sure no politician who supports Donald Trump and his radically anti-government, anti-democracy Project 2025 is given power to implement it.

I know that the future of this city and our democracy is inextricably tied to public schools because I come from a family of Philadelphia public school teachers. Many of you knew my father, Jack, who helped found the PFT. He and many leaders who came after him - including our immediate past president, Jerry T. Jordan - made the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers one of the most consequential forces for working families in the Commonwealth and the nation.

I am honored to have the opportunity to build upon their legacies, even in the face of enormous challenges and unlimited funding from anti-democracy billionaires. When we organize and fight for each other, all working people win.

In solidarity,

Arthur G. Steinberg

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