A new contract for the AFSCME District Council 33 is awaiting ratification by the union's members after leadership reached an agreement with the city.
"Everyone is saying, 'Finally,'" said a city employee and DC33 member for about 30 years, who asked not to be identified. "I haven't gotten a cost-of-living raise in five years. The cost of living hasn't noticed."
Mayor Michael Nutter announced Friday that an agreement was reached, which upon ratification by the union will give every member of DC33 a $2,800 lump sum, and will call for a 3.5 percent wage increase on Sept. 1. Employees will also get a 2.5 percent raise July 1, 2015.
The deal terminates a pending lawsuit filed by the city to force DC33 to agree to some of their terms, reports say.
The city dropped their demand that they be allowed to furlough workers, but retains the ability to use temporary layoffs "when economic circumstances warrant," according to a statement from the mayor's office.
Workers will have to pay .5 percent more to their pension starting in 2015, and another .5 percent in 2016.
The city will also pay out $20 million to the union's heath care fund within 30 days of ratification under the new contract.
"It was a war of personalities, Nutter vs. [DC 33 president Pete] Matthews," said the DC33 member who asked not to be named, about why negotiations took so long. "DC 33 needs to be shaken by the scruff until all the fleas are thrown off of it."
The new contract expires June 30, 2016.
The city brokered a new contract with DC47, representing the city's white-collar workers, in February, which contract will last until February 2017.
Both unions had worked without contracts since 2009.
DC33 represents the city's blue collar workers, including corrections officers, Water Department employees, Free Library assistants, sanitation workers, Streets Department workers, and more.