Philadelphia’s largest union of city workers has been without a contract for nearly three years. Under questioning from City Council, the Nutter administration is making it clear it’s in no hurry to sign a deal on unfavorable terms.
Philadelphia Budget Director Rebecca Rhynhart told city council that any union increases, including those awarded to unions in binding arbitration, would have to be paid for in savings.
“Our position is that an award needs to be affordable for the city,” said Rhynhart. “For example the recent award on the correctional officers we deemed to be affordable for the city and we accepted that award.” Philadelphia won an appeal of the firefighters arbitration award on the grounds it wasn’t affordable. The case is back in arbitration.”
Joseph Tolan is Director of the Mayor’s office of Labor Relations and says the talks continue to achieve a contract with the municipal unions.
“The informal ones take place on a very regular basis, the large table meetings, I’d probably say we’ve had five or seven of them in this fiscal year to date,” said Tolan.
The proposed Philadelphia budget does not include any money to pay for raises for employees working without a contract.