Council inserts itself into labor standoff

Mayor Nutter’s budget address on Thursday was a raucous affair, with a gallery full of agitated city workers chanting, booing and shouting slightly menacing phrases like, “Get your hand out of my pocket!”

The city’s blue- and white-collar workers have gone nearly three years without a new contract and four without a pay raise.

They got pumped up even before the mayor entered Council chambers, thanks to a resolution introduced by Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. urging Nutter “to end the … stalemate and demands for contract concessions.”

It was an unusual move.

“While Council has not historically inserted itself into contract matters, historically we’ve never gone four years without a contract,” Goode said on Friday.

He said he’s not advocating that the mayor take a certain position in negotiations, just that he should change his tone toward the unions.

“It doesn’t mean he can’t ask for concessions, but demanding them doesn’t take into account the sacrifices that have been made,” Goode said.

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