City inks contract with blue collar workers...five years late

Mayor Nutter today announced terms of a new contract with District Council 33, which represents 10,000 blue-collar city workers. (File Photo)

Mayor Nutter today touched pen to paper, inking a deal with District Council 33, the union that represents 10,000 blue-collar city workers.  

The deal comes more than five years late. DC33's last contract ended in mid-2009.

DC33 members will receive a $2,800 signing bonus within 30 days of ratifying the deal, with a 3.5 percent raise on Sept. 1 and a 2.5 percent raise on July 1.  

The union members have been working under the terms of their old contract.  They will receive no retroactive raises.

The contract, if ratified, includes union concessions long sought by Nutter on health care costs, work rules and pensions.

The new contract will expire in less than two years, on June 30, 2016.  That expiration will come less than six months into the first term of the city's next mayor.

Shannon Farmer, the city's chief negotiator, said the deal came about after an independent mediator came up with a proposal, based on past proposals by Nutter's administration and DC33.

The new proposal also took into account the terms of a contract ratified in March by District Council 47, which represents 2,000 city white-collar workers.

"I think that set the framework for the parties to talk, using his proposal," Farmer said this morning in a hastily called City Hall news conference. "There were a number of back-and-forths after that. But I think that made a significant difference."

DC33 President Herman "Pete" Mathews signed off on the contract proposal last night but did not attend today's news conference.  Nutter, whose two terms as mayor have been marked by serious conflicts with all city unions, asked the media to not see too much in the absence.

"I would hope for at least the next 24 hours we could at least look at this as a positive circumstance here in the city," Nutter said. "It doesn't mean anything else other than that the union was together last night and wanted to sign and I wasn't here last night."