Nutter Fights Union Campaign Against Harrisburg Legislation

Mayor Nutter today hit back at union leaders who are pushing to kill the pension-related amendments added to House Bill 1828, state legislation that would provide city budget relief.

“Unfortunately there has been a growing deliberate campaign of misinformation and misperception,” said Nutter, who accused local and state union leadership of trying to “create hysteria.”

House Bill 1828 -- legislation that would allow the city to temporarily raise the sales tax and defer some pension payments -- is up for a vote in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. Nutter said that if it doesn’t pass without changes that day, then he will have to implement his Plan C budget, which would lay off 3,000 city workers, including police and firefighters.

“Let me be very clear,” Nutter said. “A vote against House Bill 1828 is a vote for Plan C. It it’s a vote that will put 3,000 people at risk.”

Nutter said he wasn’t sure if there were the votes in the House to pass HB 1828 on Tuesday or not.

Both state and local union heads have launched an active campaign against the amendments added to HB 1828 in the state Senate. Under the amendments, the state would take over some severely underfunded pension plans. And Philadelphia would be required to create a new lower-cost plan for new municipal hires. Union leadership says the changes would damage the collective bargaining process, hurting current and future members.

Nutter said that the new plan required of Philadelphia would still be subject to collective bargaining. He also said he was particularly outraged by claims that the changes would hurt benefits for survivors of police officers or firefighters killed in the line of duty. He said he had called the survivors of recently slain police officers to tell them their benefits would not be impacted.