PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of City municipal workers, members of AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47, today staged a Fair Contract Rally at the Pennsylvania Convention Center where President Barack Obama was scheduled to attend a fund raising event for Democratic US Senate nominee Joe Sestak.
Pete Matthews, President of the District Council 33 the City's blue collar union, lashed out at Mayor Michael Nutter's failure to negotiate a contract settlement, characterizing the mayor as a "dictator, not a negotiator."
"We know that the citizens of Philadelphia count on the services we deliver because we're part of the fabric of this city and we have members who live in every neighborhood in the City," said Matthews. "The mayor has failed to settle a fair contract with District Councils 33 and 47 because he is a dictator, not a negotiator. He dictated the closing of libraries, he dictated the closing of firehouses, he dictated changes in the DROP program and now, he thinks that he can dictate a contract settlement with our Unions. That's why we call him the Dictator."
Matthews noted that the arbitration award for the police included pay raises and protects their health benefits.
"Our members are always ready to serve the citizens of Philadelphia. We know that our police and firefighters have a hard job and they deserve contracts that are fair and recognize their service to the City, but our members work just as hard, and face conditions that are just as dangerous to our health," said Matthews. "We're doing the best we can under difficult circumstances, while severely understaffed, but we will not let Mayor Nutter play us off against each other or against our own communities."
Matthews went on to detail the ways the two District Councils have been working with the Nutter Administration over the last two years, including helping with lobbying the State Legislature in Harrisburg for over $700 million in economic relief, making due with reduced staffing levels and agreeing to substantial changes in the way the City pays into the Pension Fund, saving the City millions of dollars. He noted that in spite of the cooperative efforts by the Unions, Nutter has taken none of it into consideration.
SOURCE AFSCME District Council 33