Phila. mayor hopes unions will deal this time around

PHILADELPHIA - September 26, 2012

"I look forward to continuing negotiations with both the leaders of D.C. 33 and 47," said Nutter.

But City Hall and its two biggest labor unions have been at an impasse for three years now. No contract.

On Wednesday the mayor imposed a small pay raise and reformed benefit package on roughly 5500 civil service and non-represented employees.

It includes 2-and-a-half percent pay raises beginning October 1st. But it also includes larger co-pays from employees for health care, larger pension contributions, stiffer work rules and the right to furlough workers as managers see fit.

The new arrangement represents $17 million in projected savings.

The mayor is trying to sell the big unions on the same deal.

"There are a lot of similarities between these provisions and what we've discussed many, many times with both D.C. 33 and D.C. 47," said Nutter.

But publicly at least the two major city unions, representing 14,500 workers are not buying in at all. In strong terms, the leadership of District Councils 33 and 47, representing the city's blue- and white-collar workers respectively, have condemned the mayor's latest plan.

District Council 47 called the mayor's package deceitful.

"This is not a pay raise," read a statement from the union. "It is a pay cut for everyone, a massive pay cut for some. Costs to employees will far exceed the 2.5%. Fifteen furlough days alone is a 6% pay CUT. 1.5 % pension increase is a LOSS. LOSS of overtime, impacting mainly social workers, is a pay CUT that will limit services to at-risk children."

Pete Matthews is the veteran leader of District Council 33.

"They say the devil is in the details. Read the details. What those boys are going to find out is, that's not a raise," he said.

City-union negotiations are scheduled to resume next week. There have been no face-to-face talks since March.

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