Philly Council president wants to help city, unions strike a deal

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The head of Philadelphia City Council wants to resolve a long-term labor impasse by summer.

The goal is to help the move the contract negotiation process along for Philadelphia union employees who have been working without a deal for more than four years, said Darrell Clarke, Council president.

“We think that it’s clearly time for the contract negotiations to continue. We’re prepared to offer several recommendations in respect to the outstanding issues,” he said. “Understandably, in the negotiations, you tend not to achieve a goal in the public way but we’re prepared in whatever format to participate.”

The head of District Council 47, the city’s white-collar workers union, said he welcomes any assistance in hammering out a deal.

“I don’t think the sides are far apart at all.” said Fred Wright. “I think the city’s fund balance is in a little better shape than it was three or four years ago. With a little bit of effort on everybody’s part, I think we can settle this.”

When union members shouted down Mayor Michael Nutter during his budget address about a year ago, Clarke offered to mediate the dispute. Though there isn’t a new contract, Clarke’s representative said the Council president will not allow this year’s speech to be disrupted in a similar fashion.

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