City, DC 33 meet for less than 10 minutes

Despite hopes that a breakthrough in their five-year impasse was possible, representatives from Mayor Nutter’s administration and the city’s largest union met at the bargaining table for less than 10 minutes yesterday and both sides reported no progress. 

In the beginning of the afternoon, the sides met at the Sheraton on Vine and 17th for about two minutes before breaking up to caucus separately. Two and a half hours later, they briefly reconvened and called it a day.

Pete Matthews (cq-front), president of AFSCME District Council 33 and John Dougherty (rear), business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, are among the local labor leaders and rank and file union members at rally at City Hall March 13, 2013, to show their displeasure with Mayor Nutter. ( TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer )

“We just don't see eye to eye," said Pete Matthews, president of blue-collar AFSCME District Council 33. "Look. Of course, there's things that we just have to talk about, and I don't know how we're going to get there. We're trying, but I don't know. I don't know how we're going to get there. I really don't."

Shannon Farmer, the city’s chief negotiator, said the union did not follow up on a promise to present new contract proposals that were first brought up at last week’s negotiations. That session was the first in more than a year between the two sides.

“We were hoping that the union would come in with some new proposals for us today,” Farmer said. “They didn’t, and we just asked them to get in touch with us when they have some new proposals.”

Matthews said it was the administration that was supposed to present a new proposal.

Either way, talks with DC 33 appear to be going nowhere fast, despite the agreement last week between the city and white-collar AFSCME District Council 47, which had been working without new contract terms since Nutter took office - just like DC 33.

Any hopes that the DC 47 agreement would speed things up with DC 33 appear to be dashed.

"I don't talk about the DC 47 deal. I just don't talk about the deal," Matthews said. "47 is 47, and 33 is 33."