City union leader calls for round-the-clock negotiations

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Pete Matthews, president of AFSCME District Council 33, is calling for round-the-clock negotiations with the city to end a five-year contract impasse. (file photo)

Pete Matthews, president of AFSCME District Council 33, the largest bloc of  Philadelphia’s unionized municipal workers, issued a press release today calling for round-the-clock negotiations with the city to end a five-year contract impasse.

The union and the city are scheduled to resume contract negotiations Friday, Matthews said in the press release, “and should continue, around the clock if necessary, until a fair contract settlement is reached.”

There was no indication of any change, however, in the union’s position on an issue the Nutter administration has described as critical – a bid to change pension benefits for newly-hired employees.

Administration spokesman Mark McDonald declined to talk any specifics but said, “The administration is pleased that union leaders want to get back to the table and we look forward to what they have to say.”

Most of the city’s AFSCME-represented workers, in both District Council 33 and 47, have been working without contracts since mid-2009. Police officers and firefighters have had new contracts awarded through binding arbitration, along with some AFSCME units like prison guards.

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