Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

As Nutter's 'final offer' deadline arrives, admin & D.C. 33 will negotiate

Mayor Nutter two weeks ago gave AFSCME's D.C. 33 a "final offer" to resolve the stalemate over replacing the union's contract that expired in 2009. He said his administration will take some unspecified action if the union, which represents blue-collar municipal workers, doesn't agree to his terms or come to the table in a serious way by today.

As Nutter's 'final offer' deadline arrives, admin & D.C. 33 will negotiate

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (left) and Herman "Pete" Matthews (right), president of AFSCME District Council 33. (File photos)
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (left) and Herman "Pete" Matthews (right), president of AFSCME District Council 33. (File photos)

The day has arrived.

But don't get too excited.

Mayor Nutter two weeks ago gave AFSCME's D.C. 33 a "final offer" to resolve the stalemate over replacing the union's contract that expired in 2009. He said his administration will take some unspecified action if the union, which represents blue-collar municipal workers, doesn't agree to his terms or come to the table in a serious way by today.

Negotiators from both sides met yesterday and agreed to meet again this afternoon, mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said. No word on whether they are close to a deal. D.C. 33 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nutter has been vague about what he will do if there's no deal. Administration officials have said his options could include unilaterally enforcing his terms (a dicey maneuver that would likely put the city in an uphill legal battle), or some other court intervention, or nothing at all.

As of their last public statements, Nutter and D.C. 33 President Pete Matthews were miles apart. The mayor wants to dramatically alter municipal pensions and find savings in healthcare plans and work rules in exchange for marginal raises. Matthews said that the mayor's offer was not a net raise because of the addition of 15 possible furlough days and that he had no intention of making a single concession. 

Although the consecutive days of negotiation appear to be an encouraging sign that a deal could be struck, it's very possible that both sides could be putting on a show. 

D.C. 33 - if they are preparing for the possibility that Nutter imposes terms - needs to be able to prove that they are still negotiating to have the upper hand in court. And the mayor - who has been criticized before for not tackling the unions - has a public-relations interest in giving it the old college try, or at least appearing to do so.

But hey, let's see what happens. Not everyone has to be as pessimistic as a reporter. 

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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