The union that represents white collar Philadelphia city workers has a new leader. His first priority is a new contract.
District Council 47’s new President Fred Wright was the head of the community social services portion of the union. His members have been working without a contract for more than four years and without raises for even longer. Wright says he’s ready to negotiate with Mayor Michael Nutter.
“Inflation has been increasing — even though slightly — but it’s been increasing at least 2 percent for the past six years, so that’s 12 percent that they are behind the eight ball,” Wright said. “By the mayor’s own admission, I’m not trying to bad-mouth the mayor. I respect his position, but the city is in better financial shape than it was six years ago, so we expect the city to come to the table and bargain in good faith.”
Wright says even though he’s not a city employee, he understands their needs.
“Their issues are my issues and those issues are wages, working conditions, benefits. At the end of the day, most workers want to go to work in a safe, healthy environment, come home, be with their family, and making sure they can provide for their family.”
District Council 47 is the second major city union in Philadelphia to elect new leadership in the past few months. The firefighters union, which just settled a protracted contract dispute, also has a new president.
A spokesman for the Nutter administration says it welcomes the opportunity to sit down with the new union leadership.