Unions and city far apart on contract talks

AFSCME could strike come June 30th
 

Contracts for the city's four municipal unions expire on June 30. But so far negotiations have been moving slowly. The city has not sat down with DC 33 or the city's white-collar union, District Council 47, in more than a month.

"If we're talking concessions, meeting is pointless," Matthews said. He declined to say how much the union was spending on the ads.

With the city battling a fiscal crisis, Nutter has said employee costs must be reined in. As part of his budget, which is dealing with a $1.4 billion five-year shortfall, Nutter eliminated money set aside for raises and is counting on getting $125 million in contract savings over the next five years.

The city's opening offers to the nonuniformed workers included a four-year wage freeze and major concessions in pension contributions and work rules, as well as a major restructuring of health-benefit plans.

Contracts for the city's 10,000 uniformed workers - who cannot strike - are settled through arbitration. That process started for police last month and is scheduled for firefighters later this year.

Unlike police and firefighters, the 10,000 members of the nonuniformed unions can hit the pavement. And sources tell the Daily News that the city has begun making preparations in case of a strike.

The last major municipal strike was a 20-day walkout in 1986, when piles of garbage rotted in the July heat. Eventually, then-mayor Wilson Goode declared a health emergency and forced employees back to work.

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