Union chief wants Nutter to take away raises

Posted: December 06, 2012

HERE'S A NEW ONE: A union president is suing the Nutter administration - because he got a raise.

Michael Walsh, president of Local 2186 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has asked a judge to halt pay raises given to him and about 5,500 other workers in October because the city bypassed laws requiring public input before changing pay levels.

"You have a union president in essence trying to take money out of his members pockets, and I find that to be a little disingenuous," Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said.

Of course, it's not that simple. The raises came with employee givebacks on pensions and health-care costs, as well as possible furloughs.

The city is in a stalemate with its blue- and white-color unions, including Walsh's, over contracts, so most of those who received the new deal were nonunion workers. But Walsh's union, which represents supervisors at several city agencies, has a special status that allows the administration to manage its pay without a new contract.

The suit argues that the raises should not have gone into effect before the public could comment at a hearing next month on an appeal of the raises filed by Walsh.

"The mayor thinks he's above the law," said Ralph Teti, Walsh's attorney.

City Solicitor Shelley Smith said the suit asks the city to follow a procedure "that's never been followed."

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