Union Leaders: We'll Be Raising Our Hands, Too

Posted: April 13, 1988

Municipal union leaders were delighted to learn yesterday of Mayor Goode's decision to give raises to 12 of his aides - while refusing to consider wage increases for city workers.

"I'm sure it will be a topic of conversation at the bargaining table," said Michael Lutz, vice president of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police. ''How can he cry he's broke? During this great deficit, the mayor found room to give his aides and political appointees these raises."

The Daily News reported yesterday that Goode approved raises totaling $58,100 for 12 staff aides - two weeks before he unveiled a fiscal 1989 budget that includes no raises for workers in the city's four municipal unions.

The city's contracts with the four unions expire June 30. Bargaining over new agreements is under way.

Goode has said that the city, facing a $174 million budget deficit and a $67 million tax increase, cannot afford any increase in workers' salaries.

"I'm happy when any working person gets a raise," said Thomas Paine Cronin, president of the city's white-collar union, District Council 47, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "What's good for one, though, is good for all."

Even Nicholas DeBenedictis, who heads the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and who has been a supporter of pay raises for public officials, conceded the mayor's staff raises could have come at a better time.

"The timing is questionable," DeBenedictis said.

Earl Stout, who as District Council 33's president has been known for his ability to win raises for blue-collar workers, said through a spokesman: "I would never get in the way of anyone receiving a raise. And I hope that nobody tries to get in the way of our people getting raises for the good work they do."

The mayor responded publicly yesterday to the Daily News story, saying the staff raises he approved came through the "only . . . window of opportunity for most of these employees" during Goode's eight years in office.

"It is unfair to ask workers to work for eight years without a pay increase," Goode told reporters at a ceremony at the Bourse Building. "You wouldn't do it. The mayor has to do it. I came in making $70,000 a year and will end making $70,000 a year after eight years in office."

Goode said the salary increases for his staff would be "far, far less" than the raises any "comparable" union worker would get over the same eight years.

One of Goode's aides, Marciene Mattleman, executive director of the Mayor's

Commission on Literacy, received a 37 percent pay raise, from $40,000 to $55,000.

Diane Reed, executive director of the Pennsylvania Economy League, agreed with Goode that his staff's raises had nothing to do with union wage demands.

"Union workers' salaries usually increase every year," Reed said. ''People who have jobs in political offices usually only get an increase every four years, when the politician gets an increase."

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