Mayor Parker calls for all city workers to return full-time, in person by Monday morning

The Parker Administration is calling its senior staff back to the office full time starting Monday, March 4th with plans for all city workers to return, but it may not happen without a fight.

In Center City, the signs tell the story with ‘office space for lease’ signs along Walnut Street and plastered on a building on Market. The pandemic-prompted work-from-house craze, leaving offices empty, appears here to stay.  

Center City attorney David Sorensen works from his home and the office. He said he "likes the mixture."

Mayor Cherelle Parker’s administration seems to understand that for city workers, but it wants them back. 

Tiffany Thurman, Parker’s Chief of Staff, said in an interview with FOX 29 Friday night, "we are not a virtual administration.  We’re more of a water cooler administration."

In a late Friday afternoon letter to 71 of the Administration’s senior officers, the mayor told them, and those who report to them, to be back in the office five-days-a-week starting next Monday. 

Though 80 percent of the city work force of 25,000 is already back, all city workers will return.


Tiffany Thurman said, "we are planning for and moving toward a return-to-work full time and in person for the entire city work force."

However, possibly not without a fight. 

David Wilson represents 2500 of Local-2187.  He said union leadership met with the Parker Administration Friday to say returning to work is an issuing for bargaining, but the Administration does not. 

Wilson said, "it’s sad it would destroy the morale of a lot of workers working from home. People shop in neighborhoods they support small businesses."  

Wilson said the union and Mayor Parker’s staff are planning another meeting. 

Chellie Cameron leads the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, whose members employ 600,000 workers. 

She said, "it feels so much different when there are lots of people walking the streets. We need to recreate that again and show Philadelphia can be welcoming to tourists and employees."  

Attorney Sorensen thinks there’s no going back. He said, "once people have learned you can do so much at home, skip the commute, get more time at home- -it’s hard."