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Unions Disrupt Traffic But Not Mayor Nutter As Contract Battles Drag On

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Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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By Steve Tawa and Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Members of labor unions representing various groups of Philadelphia municipal workers marched around City Hall today, both before and after Mayor Nutter’s budget address (see related story), to push their concerns.

Members of District Council 33 were joined by PGW workers for a few protest laps around City Hall, blocking traffic around the entire perimeter and creating a massive traffic jam in center city.  Union members say they are still looking for what DC 33 leader Pete Matthews calls  “a fair contract.”

But Matthews said today he didn’t feel the need to disrupt the mayor’s budget address this year (see related story) because several councilmembers are sensitive to their issues.

“City Council sent out a letter supporting us, and to drop the furlough days.  I really appreciate that,” Matthews (below) said today.

(DC 33 head Pete Matthews addresses a union rally outside City Hall timed to coincide with Mayor Nutter's budget address.  Photo by KYW's Mike Dunn)

(DC 33 head Pete Matthews addresses a union rally outside City Hall timed to coincide with Mayor Nutter’s budget address. Photo by KYW’s Mike Dunn)

After the mayor left City Council chambers following his speech today, 11 members of Council gathered around Matthews and PGW union leader Keith Holmes, who said the proposed sale of the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works would bring negative consequences.

“Our pensions are not guaranteed,” Holmes complained of the sale terms.  And in three years, he added, neither are their jobs.

“Everything’s off the table. There is no guarantee after that,” Holmes said.

Council president Darrell Clarke said he wants to make clear that “we are not supportive of privatizing municipal workers.”

Part of the goal of the union rally this morning was to get in the mayor’s face when Nutter entered the building.  Nutter’s security detail simply ushered the mayor in a back entrance of City Hall to avoid any confrontation.

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