In a development that few would have predicted a few weeks ago, upstart Democratic mayoral candidate Milton Street has picked up his second major city union endorsement.
District Council 33 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the union representing more than 9,000 city blue-collar workers endorsed Street in a vote among about 200 union delegates last night.
The union has gone without a contract for nearly two years, and Mayor Michael Nutter has said he needs significant savings in employee pension and benefit packages as part of any new deal.
Speaking outside of City Council chambers at budget hearings last month, District Council 33 president Pete Matthews said his members have done enough to help the city’s finances.
Matthews noted that he helped lobby in Harrisburg for a sales tax hike and pension modifications Nutter needed to balance the city budget. Matthews said his members haven’t taken a strike vote, and have sacrificed tens of millions in foregone wage increases.
“During this whole administration we have not gotten a dime – health care or wages,” Matthews said. “We have not gotten anything in that period of time.”
AFSCME members did get a $1,100 bonus in a one-year deal Nutter and the union signed in 2008.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Nutter’s campaign said the endorsement is an embarrassment, noting that Milton Street owes the city $388,000 in back taxes.