Union Press Conference On City Budget Relief Legislation Cut Short

A press conference by city union leaders to slam amendements added to House Bill 1828 was cut short this morning after a police officer was injured in a shoot out in West Philadelphia.

House Bill 1828 -- up for a vote in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday -- would provide budget relief to the city. But city and state unions have mounted a campaign against amendments added to the bill by 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.

A group of local and state union leaders gathered at the local Fraternal Order of Police headquarters this morning to criticize the amendements. FOP President John McNesby did not attend because he was with the family of the injured police officer.

But other attendees -- including three Philadelphia members of the state House of Representatives -- spoke against the bill.

"I believe we have to make every effort to revert back to the prior printer number," said state Rep. Bill Keller, arguing that the House should strip the amendments from the bill.

Mayor Nutter said again yesterday that if the bill -- worth $700 million over five years -- doesn't pass the state House without changes on Tuesday, he will implement his Plan C budget, which calls for the layoff of 3,000 city workers, including police and firefighters.

Bill Gault, president of the Philadephia fire fighters union, said that Nutter will be to blame, "if he's going to destroy a city."

Continue Reading