Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Philadelphia unions promise to push hard

Will Philadelphia's labor and activist community be able to draw 1,000 people scheduled for noon today at City Hall?

Philadelphia unions promise to push hard

Will  Philadelphia's labor and activist community be able to draw 1,000 people to the rally scheduled for noon today at City Hall?

The issues, from the labor side, are numerous:

The lack of a contract between the city and its public employee unions. Until recently, it seemed as if no news was good news for employees as they continued to work under an old contract that is probably more generous than can be negotiated in this atmosphere. Still, it is hard to go without a raise. Alarming to the unions is the imposition of new employment terms outside the contract. The city is seeking court approval to impose the terms -- which include a raise. The issue is the unions' losing the right to collectively bargain their contracts. That's a huge issue.

The firefighters wonder why they can't get the raises that have been awarded to them by arbitrators.

The city's teachers aren't happy about decisions to close schools, decisions that could mean job loss.

Philadelphia Gas Works' union employees worry about what will happen to them if the city privatizes the operation.

Joining in are the building trades who accuse the city of supporting a contractor who would like to use non-union construction workers.

There is probably plenty of debate about the legitimacy of many of these issues, but everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Here's the one from the union: "At almost every turn," a spokesman wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon,  "the Nutter administration is making moves that are intended to bust the municipal unions and weaken the private sector unions. Tomorrow, the union members who have been under attack by this administration will push back. Hard."

How hard remains to be seen. We'll see how it plays out at noon today and again on Thursday when Mayor Nutter presents his budget. Let me know how it goes.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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