A Goode idea for contract impasse

Posted: May 03, 2013

CITY COUNCILMAN Wilson Goode Jr. threatened to pump the brakes on raises for the city's nonunion workers and other expenditures if the Nutter administration doesn't resolve the contract dispute with the city's unions.

Goode, chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, said at a City Hall hearing yesterday that he may deny the administration's request to transfer millions of dollars from the general fund to pay for the expenditures.

"I will call up those bills that I'm comfortable calling up and those bills I'm not comfortable calling up will sit there to die," Goode said.

The administration has requested money to pay for new vehicles and equipment and overtime for the Fire Department and prison system. But the administration's request to transfer $6 million to various departments to pay for a 2.5 percent wage increases for nonunion workers and supervisors took the most heat.

The raises were part of work-rule changes imposed in October, which included significant givebacks on pension and health-care costs and the possibility of furloughs. The move was seen as a way to pressure the city's municipal unions into a contract. A similar package was offered to District Councils 33 and 47, which have been working on an expired contract since 2009.

"The administration is choosing to, without collectively bargaining, without having an agreement, arbitrarily . . . implementing work-rule changes and we still have 47 and 33 without contracts," said Councilman Bobby Henon. "It seems like it's the administration's way or no way."

Council also demanded answers from the administration as to why costs related to the firefighters' arbitration award was not included in the city's five-year plan. The administration said the award is too costly - $200 million over five years, officials say - and is appealing for the third time.

A bill sponsored by Councilman David Oh would authorize the city to set aside $66 million from the general fund for the firefighters' award in the event the city loses its appeal. But budget director Rebecca Rhynhart said that would leave the city's fund balance with negative $21 million. Council could vote on those bills as early as May 16.


On Twitter: @Jan_Ransom

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout

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