City and D.C. 33 have their first of many days in court

Mayor Nutter's administration and the city's largest union presented arguments in Common Pleas Court today over whether the city has the right to impose contract terms to end five years of fruitless negotiations between the two sides.

AFSCME District Council 33, which represents 8,000 blue-collar city employees who will be impacted by the decision, has been working without a contract since July 2009. Nutter has been seeking changes to pension benefits and overtime rules and the right to furlough workers, and the union has steadfastly rejected those proposals. 

In January 2013, the mayor presented D.C. 33 with a "final offer." After the union turned it down, the city asked the Supreme Court to grant it permission to implement the terms of the offer, arguing that negotiations had reached an impasse. (The union says there is no impasse and continues to make minor counteroffers.)

The high court declined to rule, sending Nutter's suit to Common Pleas Court, where Judge Idee Fox heard arguments today in her City Hall courtroom.

The two sides agreed to expedite the trial and skipped oral testimony. They will turn in final written arguments in 30 days, after which Fox will rule.

Any decision is likely to be appealed by the losing party.

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