Workers at the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, represented by Teamsters Local 623, have voted to ratify their first ever union contract. Below is a reflection from one of the worker leaders who helped organize the union drive and negotiate the contract. Jana Korn is now the shop steward for the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO workers.

By Jana Korn

As staff at the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, we know the power of a union and a collective bargaining agreement, so it was an easy decision to decide to form one for ourselves. We know that every single worker, no matter the workplace or industry, deserves a union. We know that all workers, including those of us who work in the labor movement, share similar struggles - from a lack of a voice in the workplace to wages and benefits that are not equivalent to our value. And we know that coming together as workers to demand a say in the work that we do, through the collective bargaining process, is the only thing that has ever leveled the playing field and allowed workers to fight for what they deserve.

Jana Korn will serve as shop steward for workers at the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO  

Our new contract at the Philadelphia Council takes important steps towards truly investing in the workers that make this office run. We won increased wages and paid time off policies, a parental leave policy, and more, all benefits that will reduce turnover and allow our staff to imagine working here for years to come. These victories allow our staff to do the best work possible while also caring for ourselves and our families. We now also have grievance and discipline procedures, making sure that no worker can be silenced or taken advantage of, and that no worker will have to resolve conflict by themselves. This contract sends a message to our staff and to all workers that we will always have each other’s backs. 

The Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO’s investment in our staff and in our workplace is also an investment in the Philadelphia labor movement. Our staff show up for union members and not-yet organized workers across the city every single day. We love the work that we do, and we want to be able to continue to do it as powerfully as possible, never having to choose between caring for ourselves or doing our work. We hope this contract shows that the Philadelphia AFL-CIO and our staff are here to fight strong and win big for all union members and all working people across our city.  

When we were choosing the union that we wanted to represent us we made sure to choose a local that, to us, embodies solidarity, that understands at its core that an injury to one is an injury to all. We saw Local 623’s refusal to cross picket lines and the local’s generosity of time and resources for others across the Philadelphia labor movement and knew that was a community and culture we wanted to be a part of. As the newly elected shop steward, I am so excited to learn from and stand in solidarity with all of you.

We are thrilled to officially be part of Teamsters Local 623 and are ready to show up for our 623 siblings whenever we are needed.

“Dues make you a member, actions make you a teamster.”