Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Nutter strikes a union deal ... five years later

FILE PHOTO Mayor Nutter announced a deal with District Council 33.
FILE PHOTO Mayor Nutter announced a deal with District Council 33.

MAYOR NUTTER yesterday touched pen to paper, finally inking a deal with District Council 33, the union that represents 10,000 blue-collar city workers.

That pact comes more than five years late. The union's last contract ended in mid-2009.

DC33 members will receive a $2,800 signing bonus within 30 days of ratifying the deal, with a 3.5 percent raise on Sept. 1 and a 2.5 percent raise on July 1.

They will receive no retroactive raises.

The contract, if ratified, includes union concessions long sought by Nutter on health-care costs, work rules and pensions.

The new contract is projected to add $127 million to the city's five-year financial plan.

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, which has oversight of the city's five-year financial plan, must now review the contract to determine if the city has the resources available to afford that cost.

The new contract will expire in less than two years, on June 30, 2016. That expiration will come less than six months into the first term of the city's next mayor.

DC33 members will vote by mail on the new contract next week. The results of that vote are expected in two weeks.

Shannon Farmer, an attorney who served as the city's chief negotiator, said the deal came about after an independent mediator came up with a proposal Thursday, based on past proposals by Nutter's staff and DC33.

The new proposal also took into account the terms of a contract ratified in March by District Council 47, which represents 2,000 white-collar city workers.

"I think that set the framework for the parties to talk, using his proposal," Farmer said yesterday in a hastily called City Hall news conference. "There were a number of back-and-forths after that. But I think that made a significant difference."

DC33 president Herman "Pete" Matthews signed off on the contract proposal Thursday night but did not attend the news conference. Nutter, whose two terms as mayor have been marked by serious and protracted conflicts with municipal unions, asked the media to not read too much into that absence.

"I would hope for at least the next 24 hours we could at least look at this as a positive circumstance here in the city," Nutter said. "It doesn't mean anything else other than that the union was together last night and wanted to sign and I wasn't here last night."

Matthews seemed pleased that the contract will quickly come up for renewal in the next mayor's first year.

"I'm not going to say I can't wait but I'm glad this one is done," Matthews said. "Absolutely, I know it's going to be easier next time."


On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout.com

CHRIS BRENNAN Daily News Staff Writer brennac@phillynews.com, 215-854-5973
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