June 21, 2024

Their jobs change from primate keepers to ungulate keepers from locksmiths to painters to HVAC technicians and more.  

But no subject what career the personnel at The Philadelphia Zoo do, the customers of AFSCME Regional 752 (DC 47) by no means quit on their community – in this scenario, that implies both equally the human patrons of The Philadelphia Zoo and the animals in their treatment. 

This July, they stood in solidarity to provide house a contract that arrives with actual wage will increase, superior work-everyday living balance, paid out parental leave and a lot more. 

“This was a big negotiation for us,” said Ellie Caruso, a carnivore/ungulate keeper (i.e., a hoofed animal) and president of Neighborhood 752. “It was not constantly easy and it was definitely stress filled at instances, but in the close, I am so very happy to see that 91% of our membership was delighted with what we were able to earn.  

“More importantly,” extra Caruso, “our membership actually pulled collectively in solidarity and communicated and supported every single other by the entire procedure. It was a wonderful experience to see so lots of folks unify to gain a solid agreement.” 

Wage improves start out at 3.5% for 2023 (with even better wage raises for tradespeople) and include things like 4.5% raises for equally 2024 and 2025.  

For Cheryl Thome, greater position safety and scheduling gains were good reasons to celebrate. 

“With so quite a few alterations within just the Animal Section in the previous couple of a long time,” mentioned Thome, “I am so glad that the union negotiating team was able to safe each our positions and our weekend timetable in this deal. That implies a whole lot to a mother of 4 young ones.” 

In the meantime, Chris Oberlin, who works at the zoo’s amenities department, credited solidarity and preparedness with the historic deal. 

“The union workforce was tirelessly on time and totally geared up to negotiate at each and every session (contrary to their counterparts) and came out of it with the premier wage proportion increase we have gained in at the very least three contracts,” Oberlin explained.  

For Sarah Bierly, a primate keeper, the united entrance demonstrated by her fellow AFSCME customers introduced lengthy sought-following changes. 

“This agreement exhibits that management heard our worries and was at last inclined to definitely negotiate, specially pertaining to basic safety and work-daily life balance,” said Bierly. 

The victory for Philadelphia Zoo employees mirrors all those of their fellow AFSCME cultural workers. These victories trace their roots to the union variance, which suggests possessing a voice on the occupation, superior spend, much better health care, a far more secure retirement, and considerably additional.