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Activists Begin ‘Hunger Strike’ To Push For Philadelphia School District To Rehire Lunch Aides

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two parents and two employees of the Philadelphia school district are going on a hunger strike until the system gets additional funding.

The activists began the “Fast for Safe Schools” on Monday. They intend to drink only water until the city and state provide enough money to rehire about 1,200 lunchtime aides.

The workers are among more than 3,800 district employees who will be laid off June 30 because of a $304 million deficit.

Hunger strikers plan to camp outside Gov. Tom Corbett’s office in Philadelphia during the daytime and sleep at a nearby church at night.

The fast is being organized by Unite Here, a union that represents the aides and 700 food service workers.

Mayor Michael Nutter has been lobbying City Council and state lawmakers for additional funds.

Governor Tom Corbett’s Press Office issued the following statement in regard to the Philadelphia School District:

“Governor Corbett remains focused on finding a long-range solution for the Philadelphia School District that puts the children and their education at the forefront of all discussions.
The Governor is working with the General Assembly, School Reform Commission, Superintendent Hite, Mayor Nutter and City Council to find answers that put the school district on a sustainable path to financial recovery. Everyone has agreed that will take concessions along with a combination of new ideas and reforms to the current system in order to reset the district for the future.  For example, Superintendent Hite said he will work with district employees to help with the effort to contain costs.  Among the suggestions, he will be asking employees pay a portion of their healthcare (currently, the school district pays 100 percent of healthcare), freeze salaries until 2017 and increase the length of the workday to eight hours (currently, teachers’ workday is seven hours and four minutes).”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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