The city’s blue-collar municipal union, District Council 33 turned-up the heat earlier this week when it began rolling out TV and radio ads blasting Mayor Nutter for failing to make good on a promise for a fair contract.
The city’s largest municipal union has been without a contract since it expired in 2009.
“He promised us he would be fair,” Matthews said. “He has not done that. That’s why we put ads on to let the public know.”
The ads will appear on Comcast cable systems and Channel 17 during Phillies games and on radio stations WDAS AM and FM, WPPZ, WRNB and WURD for at least another week and some ads may even run during the summer, said DC 33 president Pete Matthews, adding that there will be a rally at LOVE Park next week and they will visit City Hall during budget hearings.
Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said the city and DC 33 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have been talking on a regular basis. Matthews said the most recent meeting lasted for two hours yesterday at the Sheraton Hotel.
In the ads, the union says it saved the city more than $400 million in wages and healthcare benefits and the Nutter Administration disputes that claim.
McDonald explained that the money the union claims to have saved is in fact a pension deferral. A five-year sales-tax increase was implemented to help the city during the recession and that included withholding payments to the pension fund which will be paid back from the city’s general fund with interest.
“For the union to say it saved the city this money is just not true,” McDonald said. “We don’t know where they’re getting these numbers from.”
Nutter has said he would not agree to a contract that doesn’t include significant benefit changes, but the stalemate has affected the city’s ability to deal with a massive shortage in the pension fund.
“The bottom line is that the Mayor is certainly prepared to sign a contract that accomplishes some major goals in the area of pension reform, health care reform and changes in work rules that enable us to manage city finances.”