Updated 9/23/22 to add AFSCME DC 47 Resolution in Support of UC Townhomes
Updated 8/6/22 to add the Labor for Black Lives Coalition Solidarity Statement:
387 Pro-Union Signatures!
- AFSCME Local 526
- Unity Caucus of AFSCME city workers
- SEIU HCPA
- United Homecare Workers of PA
- Workers Assembly Against Racism
- Temple Association of University Professionals
Philly is a union town! UC Townhomes residents threatened with eviction, representing 68 families, including children, elders, and people with disabilities, are asking AFSCME and other union members and workers to refuse to participate in the removal of a protest encampment against gentrification.
A judge unjustly ruled on July 22 that an encampment of housing activist supporters staying overnight in tents on the 40th & Market Street property as part of the residents’ “We ain’t going nowhere” campaign have to be removed.
Unaffordable high rents and home prices, unsafe and inadequate housing, and thousands of evictions are affecting union members, their families and all poor and working class people in the Philadelphia area. The fight to save the UC Townhomes from demolition by gentrifiers and developers is on the front line of a battle that all workers and union members have a stake in.
UC Townhomes resident Sheldon Davids and member of District Council 33 AFSCME Local 696 asks for your solidarity: “This particular instance concerns the families that reside at UC Townhomes. Their impending vulnerability is a reflection of that which befalls a massive and increasing amount of disenfranchised people across our city. That disenfranchisement is a wall which sustained union efforts have sought to chip away at in its pursuit for a better standard of living for all. With that in mind, we ask you to stand with us, to chip away with us, because our residency – in some instances more than 2 generations – has served as our chisel with which we’ve chipped away. Thank you for your support.”
The Townhomes are located in what little remains of an historic Black community long targeted by gentrifiers. Having received the land for $1 over 40 years ago and benefitting from decades of state and federal financial assistance in the form of tax credits and housing subsidies, realtor Brett Altman now stands to sell the same land for up to $100 million. His plans are a threat to the lives of dozens of families, forced to search for affordable homes by September 8 in a city with few available low-cost apartments.
Affordable housing is a union issue! We call on the Philadelphia labor movement to join our picket line and rally against the removal of the encampment, against the eviction of UC Townhomes residents, and against housing injustice.
Signed by union officials and members, community organizations, and housing activists who agree on the need for active solidarity with this housing struggle.