Phila. union contracts expire

July 1, 2009 3:31:38 AM PDT
Philadelphia city workers are expected to be on the job Wednesday, despite a contract that expired at midnight Wednesday.Those contracts involve 20,000 city workers with District Council 33 - the blue collar union - and District Council 47, the white collar union.

Sticking points include pay, pensions, and health benefits.

There is no strike in sight, depsite an angry union rally earlier in June, rejected city proposals for a four year wage freeze, and chopping benefits for all new city workers.

The union leakers have not even called a strike authorization vote.

"Can we get a strike vote? Absolutely," said Pete Matthews, District Council 33 President. "But we're trying to work things out and keep our members working."

"We're happy that no one is striking right now, and allowing us to continue to negotiate these contracts," said Doug Oliver, Press Secretary to Mayor Michael Nutter.

The District Council 47 has taken a similar posture.

Meanwhile, police and firefighters are barred from striking. They're going to arbitration.

So, for the rank-and-file hourly workers, all they can do is wait.

"They're treating us like we don't deserve the little bit that we asked for," said city employee Tyrone Coleman. "I feel like we gave back a lot, a lot of cutbacks and everything. We're only asking them to treat us fair."

No new face-to-face contract negoations have been scheduled yet.

The last strike by Philadelphia city workers was in 1992.

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