City Workers living in poverty doubles under Nutter; City Workers take their case to City Council

May 09, 2013, 08:30 ET from AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47

PHILADELPHIA, May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent Temple University study demonstrated that the number of city workers living below the poverty line has doubled under Mayor Michael Nutter. Members from AFSCME DC 33 and DC 47 visited each city council office to draw attention to the report study. 

"We have sacrificed for over five years and have saved the City millions of dollars," said Kevin Ivery, a library worker.  "My fellow coworkers in this city are suffering and the work they do should be respected and honored with a fair contract." 

"As a city worker, I set high standards in doing my job," said Maisha Brown, a city air quality chemist. "Everyday this mayor fails to do his job, more people in our City are ending up in poverty – including but not limited to the hard working AFSCME men and women who keep this city running." 

The report by Temple Associate Professor of Economics Michael Bognanno indicated that since taking office and as a direct result of Mayor Michael Nutter's refusal to negotiate fairly with the city worker unions AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47 the number of city workers living below the poverty line has doubled. In 2007, 20.7% of city workers earned below the poverty rate, adjusted for the cost of living in Philadelphia. In 2013, more than 41.9% now live below the poverty rate. Even more alarming, the study shows that fully 58% of District Council 33 members are working below the poverty line.

"City workers have suffered and been held hostage by this mayor for too long," said AFSCME DC 33 president Pete Matthews. "This report confirms what our members have felt for years under Mayor Nutter. Every day he refuses to negotiate with our members forces more and more of these hard working men and women into poverty." 

"It is an absolute disgrace that our members, who keep this city operating, go home to poverty at night," said Cathy Scott, AFSCME DC 47 president. "After graduating from college with huge debt from college loans, our members work for the City because they believe in public service.  They should not make poverty wages in order to be a dedicated public employee." 

"We have been ready and willing to negotiate with this mayor," continued Matthews. "He is the one who has refused to come back to the table, instead going to the PA State Supreme court to overturn collective bargaining rights for all public sector workers."

SOURCE AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47