Nutter gives raises and hopes for deal with Philadelphia unions

Mayor Michael Nutter is trying to send a message to unionized Philadelphia city employees by giving raises to their non-union colleagues.

It’s the first time in five years city worker paychecks will go up.

The increase of 2.5 percent is part of an overall package that requires worker to pay more for their pensions and health care.

Nutter said the raise is similar to what has been rejected by the city’s blue and white collar labor unions District Councils 33 and 47.

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“We are doing so in an approach that directly links increased pay with the need still for structural reform in the areas of pension and health care, Nutter said, “something we have been talking about for five years and something we have offered to both District Councils 33 and 47.”

The mayor doesn’t appear to be able to impose a new contract on the two unions.

“In a case involving the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which basically states that until and unless an impasse is reached between the union and the employer, a public employer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania cannot implement changes to the bargaining group,” said District Council 47 attorney Deborah Willig. She said Pennsylvania case law is very specific.

Nutter would not answer when asked if he would try to impose a contract, saying he hopes to reach a deal soon.

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