Saturday, July 26, 2014
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State Supreme Court shoots down Nutter's request to fast-track DC33 case

It's been four years since the city's largest union had a contract - and it looks like that's not changing anytime soon.

State Supreme Court shoots down Nutter's request to fast-track DC33 case

Protesters, mainly from local labor unions, march around City Hall afrter their disruptions forced Mayor Nutter to cancel his budget address to City Council. Robert Deal of Local 403, District Council 33 is left.   ( CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer )
Protesters, mainly from local labor unions, march around City Hall afrter their disruptions forced Mayor Nutter to cancel his budget address to City Council. Robert Deal of Local 403, District Council 33 is left. ( CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer )

It's been four years since the city's largest union had a contract - and it looks like that's not changing anytime soon.

The state Supreme Court on Friday shot down Mayor Nutter's request that it fast-track his case over whether he can impose a contract on District Council 33, which represents blue-collar city employees.

The vote was 5-1, with Republican Chief Justice Ron Castille dissenting. The case will now go to Common Please Court. 

Shannon Farmer, the city's lawyer for labor negotiations, said she was not surprised by the justices' decision.

"It will continue through the lower courts and were confident that ultimately the court will make a decision that is in the best interest of the employees and the taxpayers," Farmer said.

D.C. 33 President Pete Matthews said the decision is a sign that Nutter should give up his bid to resolve the issue in the courts.

"Mayor Nutter's attempt to overturn more than 40 years of collective-bargaining rights was turned down," Matthews said. "Return to the bargaining table and get a fair contract with city workers."

The majority did not write an opinion, but Castille, a former Philly district attorney, wrote one explaining his dissent.

"An effective four-year stalemate in contract negotiations between a major employees’ union and a municipality, turning in crucial part upon a plurality decision establishing a rule this Court has never passed upon, presents a legal issue of obvious importance," Castille wrote. "The City makes a colorable claim that this interpretation fosters a state of stalemate, which is ultimately disadvantageous to both sides in municipal labor negotiations."

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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