By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Local labor leaders rallied workers this afternoon outside Philadelphia City Hall, in advance of tomorrow’s budget address by Mayor Michael Nutter.
More than 15,000 city workers, including firemen, have been working without a contract for four years, and private-sector union workers came out today to show solidarity.
“We’ve got to stick together, sisters and brothers, or else he’s going to destroy all the labor in this town,” said District Council 33 president Pete Matthews, whose union represents the city’s trash collectors and other blue-collar workers.
Matthews was flanked by two giant rats, meant to represent the mayor, as he addressed hundreds of people jammed onto the sidewalk on the north side of City Hall.
Labor leaders accused Nutter of a long list of bad behavior.
(Pat Eiding, AFL-CIO Council president:) “Mayor Nutter’s actions have been disrespectful and extreme!”
(Pete Matthews, DC 33:) “He’s done nothing in this city!”
(Bill Gault, pres. of Firefighters local:) “The mayor’s a liar!”
Matthews said this was just a taste of what the unions have in mind for tomorrow’s budget address.
“We will have it packed. The stairs will be packed, out here will be packed. There’s some things going to happen after the Council meeting, too.”
The mayor’s spokesman says it’s the unions who are being intransigent and the mayor is simply trying to bring responsible reform to pension and health care benefits.