PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- By a vote of almost eight to one, 3992 to 513, the members of AFSCME District Council 33 today ratified the tentative contract with the City of Philadelphia that was reached in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 26, 2000. The contract ratification vote was by a mail ballot and the results were counted and certified by the American Arbitration Association. The results were released to the Union at 1:00 P.M. today. Pete Matthews, the President of AFSCME District Council 33, said that he was pleased at the results of the ratification vote and that the margin of approval "shows that our membership knows this is a fair deal." "We entered the recent negotiations with the objective of reaching a fair contract settlement and that is what we were able to achieve," said Matthews. "The fact that the tentative agreement was approved by such a wide margin shows that our membership knows this is a fair deal. It is a fair deal for the members of the union and for the citizens of Philadelphia as well." Union members will receive a $1,500 bonus called for in the agreement within 15 days, according to the terms of the agreement. In addition to the bonus, the contract calls for wage increases of 3% in each of the last three years of the agreement, as well as increases in contributions to the Union's health fund, including a fifth year of free health care benefits for retirees. District Council 33 also negotiated $100,000 in funding for the operation of working committees on career paths for clerical workers and comparable worth. AFSCME District Council 33 members had threatened to strike at midnight on Monday, July 25, 2000 if a contract settlement had not been close. The strike was averted when the Union and the City continued a marathon bargaining session into the early hours of Tuesday, July 25, reaching a tentative accord at about 5:00 A.M. Matthews noted that the Union would be working closely with the Street Administration over the next four years to make sure that all of the terms of the agreement are honored. "A contract is a living document that must be enforced in order to be of any value," said Matthews. "That is why, over the next four years, District Council 33 and all of the Local Unions within the Council, will be working very closely with the City to make sure that our members get everything they have earned under the terms of the agreement. We also want to be sure that the committees on career paths for clerical workers and comparable worth are actual working committees because these issues are very important to our Union's female members." AFSCME District Council 33 represents 11,000 workers in the City's Sanitation and Water Departments, as well as workers in the Revenue Department, Crossing Guards, Correctional Officers, the Philadelphia Airport, the Health Department, nursing homes and clerical workers.
SOURCE AFSCME District Council 33