One city union without a deal – for a long time

The Philadelphia Police have a new contract, and two other city unions are already working under terms of new deals. That leaves one city union — the city’s blue-collar workers, members of AFSCME District Council 33 — still working without a new contract.

District Council 33 President Pete Matthews said if the Fraternal Order of Police is happy with their new deal, he’s happy for them. He said his union’s negotiations continue and he just wants a fair contract for his members.

“Hard workin’ city employees been out there through snow, floods, all the different things we had during the year. Pickin up trash, they’ve been out there,” Matthews said in a phone interview. “They understand. They want to be treated fairly. That’s what this is all about – being treated fairly.”

Matthews’ members have been working under the terms of their last deal for five years now.

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Mayor Michael Nutter has said he wants changes to the union’s pension and health plans.

Matthews said he’s already given enough.

“That was one of the things that the Mayor initially, years ago had said he wanted done,” Matthews said. “I can tell you over the past five years, we have done that. That’s as far as I’ll go with that and they know that. We have made significant changes in our health and welfare.”

Mayor Nutter said at a city hall news conference he knows Matthews’ members are hurting.

“It’s unfortunate that the fine men and women of the rank and file of District Council 33 have not had a raise since the Summer of 2007, or step increases for at least 5 years now,” Nutter said.

Nutter said he remains hopeful the city will negotiate a new deal with District Council 33.

“I remain hopeful that we can negotiate a contract with DC 33 and get their members the appropriate level of increase,” Nutter said, “and the need for reforms for the city that we’ve been able to do with every other union.”

Matthews said he too is optimistic a deal will be struck.

“As long as it’s honest, fair and the facts are open to both parties, I’m absolutely open to get an agreement,” he said.

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