Union Leaders Slam Nutter's Plan To Freeze Pay Increases

Leaders of the city's municipal unions today slammed Mayor Nutter's plan to freeze pay increases for city workers.

"This is not a positive development for contract negotiations," said Cathy Scott, president of AFSCME DC 47, which represents the city's white collar workers. "It’s never been done before, not even in 1992. We think it’s an insult to city employees who just did a great job on Welcome America."

The city today said pay increases -- including step increases and longevity pay -- would be halted for union workers and non-represented civil service employees.

Scott said DC 47 would be filing a class action grievance tomorrow. The city is relying on a state Supreme Court ruling which states that after a contract expires, an employer must maintain "status quo" during negotiations. That "status quo" does not include pay increases, according to the court. But Scott said she believes "there are provisions in our contract that go beyond the Supreme Court ruling."

John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, and Bill Gault, president of the Philadelphia Firefighters Union, both said they were reviewing their legal options also.

"Our members are due that money and they deserve that money," McNesby said. "Whatever needs to be done, we’ll do on behalf of our members."

Negotiations with DC 47 and blue-collar union DC 33 are supposed to continue later this week. The police and fire contracts are settled through arbitration. That process has started for police and will kick off for fire in September.