Changes at PHA anger unions; Money-saving move cuts 335 “provisional” maintenance jobs

Just two months into his job as interim chief of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Kelvin Jeremiah has wasted no time changing what he calls “a culture of splurge.” But with his latest move to save money at the agency, he has kicked a hornet’s nest. Jeremiah has drawn the wrath of the city’s trade unions by eliminating 335 “provisional” union jobs in maintenance. PHA pays these workers – roofers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and laborers – at a rate equal to its in-house maintenance workers. On Sept. 14, PHA will lay off all the provisionals, but is offering to hire back 212, plus an additional 45 apprentices. So far, 176 construction workers have signed up to shift to PHA. Jeremiah said the move will save PHA $10 million a year in wages and benefits. At least eight provisional workers, he said, made more than $100,000 a year.

Philadelphia Inquirer

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