AFSCME DC 33 President Pete Matthews responds to Mayor Nutter's lawsuit in PA Supreme Court
On Wednesday night, Pete Matthews, President of AFSCME District Council 33, presented an impassioned statement in response to a law suit Mayor Nutter took to the PA Supreme Court the day before. District Council 33 leadership and membership were joined by Pat Eiding and Liz McElroy of the AFL-CIO, Cathy Scott and Hakim Boles of District Council 47, Bill Gault of Local 22 and Henry Nicholas of 1199c.
AFSCME District Council 33, the union that represents over 10,000 blue-collar city workers, has been in a contract battle with Mayor Nutter since July 1, 2009. The Mayor escalated the process earlier this week, cutting off negotiations and taking a lawsuit againt the union first to a Common Pleas Court and now to the PA Supreme Court. If successful, this lawsuit will affect all public sector workers in the state of Pennsylvania, dismantling labor law and collective bargaining agreements in the public sector as we know it.
In his statement, Matthews said "Mayor Nutter has now escalated the dispute between District Council 33 and his administration. He has broken off negotiations, even though District Council 33 remains willing to continue talks, and gone outside of the collective bargaining process in search of a PA Supreme Court ruling allowing him to impose his 'last best offer,' thereby violating over 40 years of collective bargaining rights granted to all public sector unions in Pennsylvania."
Matthews went on to say, "The Mayor wants to make DC 33 members bear the burden, up front, for balancing the City's budget. We're fighting for our lives here. We do everything in this city. We want you to understand our plight. There will be no givebacks. Furlough days are off the table."
At Media Mobilizing Project, we see Mayor Nutter's move to file suit against DC 33 with the PA Supreme Court as just one example of many in a coordinated attack on public sector workers, the institutions they have built to represent their interests, and the public services they provide on a daily basis to support all Philadelphians’ ability to live dignified lives. We are seeing this coordinated attack across all of our public services – from the 37 public school closures and the mass layoffs of teachers and school nurses - to the closure of seven fire stations and the daily rolling brownouts of ladders and engines in our neighborhoods - to the fact that blue-collar and white-coller city workers who have been laboring without a contract since 2009. We are hopeful and inspired that sanitation workers, airport workers, city clerical workers, firefighters and teachers are coming together, in a coordination of their own, so they can fight as a unified whole for their rights as workers and for the rights of all Philadelphians' to live safe and dignified lives.
District Council 33 member speaking at a press conference on Wednesday.