Nutter To Freeze Pay Increases for City Workers

Mayor Michael Nutter announced that he is freezing wages for many city workers. (David Swanson / Staff Photographer)

Mayor Nutter is today freezing salary increases, including pay step increases or longevity increases, for union workers and non-represented civil service employees.

The move – which the city said could save about $80 million* over five years if it stays in place – comes a week after contracts expired for the city’s four municipal unions. While the city is legally required to maintain the “status quo” of employee compensation during negotiation, the state Supreme Court has ruled that status quo does not include pay increases.

“If you got it, you got it and if you didn’t you didn’t,” said Managing Director Camille Barnett this afternoon. She said the administration was not making a negotiating move, but rather trying to achieve much-needed savings.

Workers were notified of the move through a mass email. Barnett said the city was not in a financial position to continue paying pay increases. The city has said they need to get $125 million in savings from union contracts over the next four years. The city’s contract proposals to the four unions include no salary increases of any kind.

Under civil service rules, employees are hired in a pay range with four or five increasing salaries, or steps. Workers typically move up one step each year until they hit the maximum pay in their range. Some union workers are also awarded a differing amount of “longevity pay,” a salary bump after they hit a certain amount of service – like 10 or 20 years.

The city today said that any future step increases or longevity increases would be determined by contract negotiations for the almost 20,000 union-represented employees. For the 870 non-represented civil service employees, Mayor Nutter will dictate when the city can afford to start paying salary increases again.

* The Nutter administration earlier said the savings would be about $49 million over five years, which we originally reported. They later amended that number to $80 million.