Pittsburgh, PA – More than 200 concerned parents, workers and community members from Pittsburgh and surrounding areas marched through downtown at rush hour today calling on Governor Corbett to stop dismantling public education in our state. The demonstration is one of many planned across the state today.
“Governor Corbett is following the national Republican playbook – starve public schools of cash, then use their funding shortfall as an excuse to dismantle and privatize public education,” said Gabe Morgan, Pennsylvania State Director for 32BJ SEIU. “He is punishing our kids while protecting tax loopholes for wealthy corporations and Marcellus Shale drillers.”
Pittsburgh members of 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union were joined in the march today by United Steelworkers, and faith, labor and community leaders as well as teachers and public school parents. They marched from the United Steelworkers building up 5th Avenue to the Governor’s Pittsburgh office at Piatt Place to demand that Corbett reinstate funding for public education and stop the attacks on teachers, students, public employees and our communities.
School districts through Pennsylvania are desperately seeking ways to function on severely restricted budgets. Pittsburgh Public Schools recently announced another round of layoffs and closings. Earlier this year Chester Upland District ran out of money entirely, and Philadelphia has announced plans to close more than 60 schools over five years and lay off thousands of workers.
The demonstrations in Pittsburgh and around the state come as the state’s Republican-controlled legislature moves into the final debate over Governor Corbett’s proposed budget. Voters are calling on legislators to vote against Governor Corbett’s budget, which cuts millions of dollars from critical services and kills jobs while protecting tax loopholes for rich corporations.
The Pittsburgh demonstration was also in solidarity with thousands of marchers expected in Philadelphia today to protest the proposed closure of dozens of city schools, the mass layoff of thousands of school workers, and the outsourcing of critical school district functions.
32BJ represents more than 10,000 workers employed in K-12 school districts, including in Philadelphia, New York City, and other districts throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. With more than 120,000 members, including 5,000 in the Western Pennsylvania, 32BJ is the largest property services union in the country.