Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday joined leaders of the city’s municipal employee union to put out a call for people to join its workforce.
The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees is sponsoring a bus tour traveling to places in need of civil service workers. District Council 47 President April Gigetts, who represents white-collar workers in the city, said they want to send a message: The city is hiring.
“During the Great Recession, America cut the jobs of city workers like us, who kept our water clean, our libraries open, our streets safe and our communities healthy,” Gigetts said. “Now our economy is doing great, but the truth is our states, cities, and towns have some catching up to do.”
Ernest Garrett of District Council 33, who represents blue-collar workers, said there are positions available for people of all skill levels.
“We have work to do here in Philadelphia. We need people of all trades, backgrounds, and educational levels from school crossing guards to correctional officers, from 911 operators to water department employees, from sanitation workers to airport employees,” Garrett said. “There are so many more job vacancies that need to be filled, and we need help.”
AFSCME national secretary treasurer Elissa McBride said Philadelphia isn’t the only place struggling to fill city worker positions.
“It would take 970,000 people to fill the Linc 14 nights in a row. That’s the number of public sector job openings nationwide,” she said.
The campaign is called Staff the Front Lines, which McBride said is designed to emphasize the importance of recruiting and retraining a new generation of health care and public service sector employees.
AFSCME District 1199C President John Hundzynski said he started in the health care field in environmental services, eventually learning how to become a certified nursing assistant.
“The opportunities are endless no matter where you start,” said Hundzynskif. He added that for the most part, these jobs include comprehensive health insurance and other benefits,
The city currently has hundreds of job openings, especially for police officers, firefighters, and prison guards, where corrections officers are working 12-hour shifts to make up for the lack of workers.
A list of open municipal jobs in Philly can be found online.
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