Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Brown: Nutter "cut out" of future negotiations; SEPTA's offer not good enough

The transit workers union fired a shot across the bow of Mayor Nutter and criticized SEPTA’s pension offer at a morning press conference.

Brown: Nutter "cut out" of future negotiations; SEPTA's offer not good enough

The transit workers union fired a shot across the bow of Mayor Nutter and criticized SEPTA’s pension offer at a morning press conference.

Willie Brown, president of Transport Workers Union Local 234, said that Nutter is "cut out” of future negotiations with SEPTA.

Nutter “has brought nothing” to the table, Brown said, adding, “I will not meet him” because of the attacks the mayor has leveled at the union.

Brown said that the strike is primarily about funding for workers’ pensions, which he called “grossly underfunded.”

Union pensions are currently funded at about 52 percent, while management pensions are at about 95 percent — a point that Brown emphasized repeatedly.

He also called the 11-percent offer that Nutter and Rendell said SEPTA made to increase wages “totally, totally false.”

“We will accept that” deal, Brown said.

In a statement, the union argued that the 11-percent increase over 5 years would be mostly wiped out by increases in workers’ out-of-pocket pension contributions. It was not immediately clear whether the union acknowledged the existence of this offer, given Brown's comments at the press conference.

Brown declined to take questions and did not explain further how the governor and mayor allegedly misrepresented SEPTA’s offer.

Brown had nicer things to say about Gov. Rendell. Though he said that the numbers Rendell is circulating are misleading, “the governor is entitled to say what he wants to say” because he has offered state money to help close a deal.

A union spokesman said that the governor was meeting with SEPTA today and with the union tomorrow. No negotiations with the transit agency have been scheduled

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