Philadelphia contract issues could pose ‘devastating’ cost

Philadelphia’s City Controller Alan Butkovitz has some worries about the city’s five-year plan.

With the multi-year delay of contracts for the majority of the city’s unions, Philadelphia could have a big retroactive payment due to its unionized workers, Butkovitz said.

“If the city goes for eight years without a deal with the non-uniformed workers and somehow there’s a deal for a 3 percent per year retroactive payment, that could be 24 percent of payroll,” Butkovitz said. “The city could conceivably could get hit with a $300 million or $400 million extra cost in one year, which would be devastating to the city.”

Mayor Michael Nutter’s spokesman Mark McDonald says the administration’s goal is to finance any pay increases with efficiencies. As for the firefighters, the city is appealing the award that was approved by an arbitration panel.

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“That kind of award cannot stand, and we believe that when an impartial adjudicator hears the evidence we will prevail,” McDonald said. “That’s what we believe.”

The unions of blue-collar and white-collar workers have been without a contract for three years.

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