PHILADELPHIA, July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pete Matthews, the President of AFSCME District Council 33, took to the airwaves today on talk radio station WURD-900 AM and issued a challenge to Mayor Mike Nutter to hold public negotiations with District Council 33 at the time and place of the Mayor's choosing.
"The Mayor has not attended even one negotiating session for over five years and he has never acknowledged that our union has saved the City hundreds of millions of dollars," said Matthews. "Now that he has gone public with his side of the story on this radio station and in other media, District Council 33 would like to issue this challenge to Mayor Nutter: Show up, in person, and let's bargain in public so that the citizens and taxpayers of the City can get the whole story."
"A recent study showed that every day this mayor fails to do his job, more people in our City are ending up in poverty, including the hard working women and men of District Council 33 who keep this city running," said Matthews
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% of District Council 33 and District Council 47 members 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.
"We have been ready and willing to negotiate with this mayor, contrary to what he tells the media," said Matthews. "He is the one who has refused to come back to the table, instead falsely claiming we are at an impasse and going to the PA State Supreme court to overturn collective bargaining rights for all public sector workers so he could impose contract terms on our union."
"Now that the PA Supreme Court has turned down his union-busting request, it is time for our transparency mayor to do his job," continued Matthews. "We think it is far past the time for him to show up in person at negotiations. Mayor Nutter can then tell our bargaining committee why he thinks the hundreds of millions of dollars we have saved the City don't matter and why he thinks we don't deserve a fair contract. We are willing to continue negotiations at any place open to the public of his choosing as long as he shows up in person and allows the media to cover the negotiations from start to finish. "
SOURCE AFSCME District Council 33