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14 Arrested During Midday Sit-In By Philadelphia School District Workers

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A traffic-clogging protest by blue collar workers of the Philadelphia School District resulted in more than a dozen arrests this afternoon in center city.

It was a noisy mid-day protest by 2,000 school bus drivers and maintenance workers, marching and rallying against impending layoffs and school budget cuts.

Fourteen people, mostly members of SEIU Local 32BJ, were arrested when they blocked traffic at Broad and Race Streets.   Among those arrested was union president George Ricchezza (below right).

Ricchezza_george 32bj thumb _denardo
George Ricchezza, president of SEIU Local 32BJ, was among those arrested. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

"We don't believe that we're the problem with the School District of Philadelphia," he said.  "We think we're the solution to it.  We're willing to sit down any time, day or night, to hammer out an agreement to do what's best for the children of Philadelphia and education.  And if that means concessions, we're willing to do that also."

More than 2,000 members of Local 32BJ have received layoff notices from the school district.

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