Judge blocks SRC-ordered health care changes for Philly teachers union

 Students protested outside the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts on Oct. 8. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Students protested outside the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts on Oct. 8. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers won a favorable ruling in city Common Pleas Court Monday in its fight with the School Reform Commission.

On Oct. 6, the SRC unilaterally terminated the PFT contract and imposed health care concessions it said would provide schools with more than $50 million in additional resources this year. 

On Friday, the PFT filed several legal rebuttals, including a request that the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas grant a temporary injunction in the case.

After four hours of testimony Monday, Common Pleas Judge Nina Wright Padilla granted the union’s request – effectively preventing the SRC from imposing health care concessions until there is a ruling from Commonwealth Court.

The SRC had previously asked the Commonwealth Court to rule on the legality of its maneuver.

In its official statement, the PFT called Padilla’s ruling “a testament to the notion that these kinds of contract changes should be decided at the bargaining table.”

“We know the school district will likely appeal today’s ruling, and that this is just the beginning of the litigious path chosen by the SRC. We, however, are confident in the legal merits of our claims and we are committed to seeing this matter to its conclusion in the courts. Our preference, however, remains to settle things via face-to-face negotiations,” said the release.

The Philadelphia School District is “disappointed with the results of the hearing,” according to a release, and intends to appeal the decision.

“The School District expects to ultimately prevail in the courts and will pursue this matter forcefully, for the cause is urgent and the children of Philadelphia cannot continue waiting,” said the release.

Counting on health care savings to begin in December, the district had been planning to infuse an additional $15 million into schools this fall.

On Monday, the district said it would evaluate “the impact of today’s court action on our ability to move forward with putting these essential resources in schools to support our students.”

Neither PFT officials nor district officials could be reached for further comment.

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