By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Blue-collar workers at Philadelphia schools are continuing their protest against hundreds of planned layoffs.

As part of its budget-trimming, the school district last month sent out layoff notices to more than 800 bus drivers, building engineers and maintenance workers. About 100 members of District 1201 of SEIU Local 32BJ turned-out to protest at this week’s School Reform Commission meeting, along with union head George Ricchezza.

“President Obama’s pushing for his jobs act to put people back to work. The Philadelphia School District is pushing their own jobs act – eliminate, eliminate, eliminate workers.”

The pink slips went out after the union rejected a tentative agreement containing $16 million in concessions, but acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery says he’s still willing to negotiate.

“Head count reduction is not the ideal, but I also take seriously what folks are saying about the quality of service inside buildings, how hard people are working.”

Ricchezza said his workers didn’t create the district’s financial mess and didn’t deserve to pay the price. But he indicated a willingness to return to the table.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio

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