City Union Workers March On City Hall

Members of the city’s largest municipal union marched on City Hall today, demanding a new contract.

Over 150 members of AFSCME District Council 33 – which represents the city’s blue-collar workers -- descended on City Council chambers, bearing signs that read “Protect Public Services” and “We Are Taxpayers Too.”

“We’re the ones that provide city services. We come to work in bad weather,” said Daryal Brooks, 50, a sanitation worker who has been with the city for a decade. “The mayor he’s cutting back on everything. Now our department’s got mandatory overtime.”

DC 33 has been without a contract since June 30. So far the city has resolved only one of the four municipal contracts -- with the police union, who reached a deal through binding arbitration in December that provided them with raises, but made some benefit changes that should provide long-term savings to the city.

Nutter has pledged to cut the cost of the city workforce. Roughly 60 percent of the $3.9 billion general-fund budget is spent on salaries, benefits and overtime for city workers, most of whom are in unions. But so far the police contract has only added millions in unplanned expense to the city's budget woes, due to costly raises.

With three contracts left to go, Nutter is still planning on reducing annual labor costs by $25 million. The firefighters' contract, which will be resolved through arbitration like that of police, is largely out of his hands, leaving only negotiations with the two unions representing non-uniformed workers.

But negotiations with the non-uniform unions have been slow. And the workers in City Hall today said they weren’t interested in concessions like benefit cuts or furlough days.

“I shook hands with the mayor two years ago at the Labor Day parade,” said Dave Mapp, 33, an electrician in the water department who has been with the city for 4 years. “He reneged on a lot of things. I lost a great deal of respect and admiration for the guy.”