Herman “Pete” Matthews says Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is threatening the collective bargaining rights of all public employees in the state.
The president of District Council 33, Philadelphia’s blue-collar union, held a news conference Wednesday, slamming Nutter’s recent decision to ask the Common Pleas Court for permission to impose a new contract on District Council 33.
Nutter is now pressing the state Supreme Court to hear the case right away.
Matthews says that suit could have far-reaching and harmful effects on public workers. He’s been comparing Nutter to the governor of Wisconsin, who restricted collective bargaining in that state.
“He’s gone full Scott Walker on public-sector workers,” Matthews says.
City officials, however, say they are not trying to take away collective bargaining. They maintain that the union won’t negotiate, and the city should have the power to impose contract terms when talks are at a stalemate.
“They’ve refused to talk about three-quarters of what’s at issue,” says City Solicitor Shelley Smith. “Each time we meet with them, they say, ‘Give us more money for all of this. We refuse to talk to you about anything else.’”
The union, for now, is not threatening to strike.