Union contract: Who is the real winner? Vitriol

“We want the mayor to hear that right under the table where he’s hiding. I will roll over and die before I make a concession,” Pete Matthews as he spoke to the rally.

Before yesterday’s raucous Love Park rally, two union members asked AFCME District Council 33 President Herman “Pete” Matthews whether it’s time to consider striking and if he’d consider running for mayor.  

“If you do it, it’s gotta be 100 percent. Just look across the bridge and see what they’re giving up over [in New Jersey],” he answered to the first. The second answer: “Oh, hell no. Give your vote to Milton Street.”

Matthews then took the stage to fire up a membership that’s worked without a contract since 2009, flanked by City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, council candidates Jeff Hornstein and Bill Rubin, local NAACP President Jerry Mondesire and Street himself.

Of primary issue was holding the line against a mayor asking for contract concessions, much to the dismay of several hundred people chanting, “What do we want? A Contract. When do we want it? Now.”

Nutter’s spokesman Mark McDonald responded that Nutter’s consistent stance was finding a contract that’s fair to employees and taxpayers, but that requires changes to pension, health care and work rules, including furloughs.

“He’s not going to accept anything less than real reform that changes the arc of city spending and makes it more sustainable,” McDonald said.


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