by Pablo Ros | June 11, 2013
Back in February, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter went full Scott Walker when he tried to take away city employees’ collective bargaining rights by asking the state Supreme Court to impose his terms of a contract.
It was a dirty trick borrowed from the playbook of Wisconsin’s anti-worker governor, but one that has come to be expected from Philadelphia’s Mayor 1 Percent.
But last week, the highest court in Pennsylvania blocked Nutter’s plan. By an overwhelming majority, the judges denied Nutter’s request to fast-track his case, which would let him impose contract terms on blue-collar city employees who are members of AFSCME District Council 33.
“Mayor Nutter’s attempt to overturn more than 40 years of collective bargaining rights was turned down,” said DC 33 Pres. Pete Matthews. “Now return to the bargaining table and get a fair contract with city workers.”
This is a victory for all public employees in Pennsylvania, whose collective bargaining rights have been reaffirmed. It means public employees have a voice at the table and the right to decide on the terms of their contracts, and that right cannot be arbitrarily taken away.
It’s now up to Mayor Nutter to sit down at the table with city employees and bargain in good faith. If he wishes to learn anything from this experience, it should be that pursuing the case through the courts will get him nowhere – he needs to go back to the bargaining table.