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DC 33 Prez Says He Won't Take FOP Contract Terms

We just got a call from Pete Matthews, president of AFSCME District Council 33, which represents the city's blue collar workers. He wants to make clear that he would not accept the terms of the police contract – announced Friday – for his members.

Matthews on Friday said he thought the arbitration award, which provides police with raises, but some changes to benefits, looked pretty good. But now that he's read through the entire thing, Matthews said, no way.

"They say the devil's in the details," Matthews said. "This would not apply to our members."

The DC 33 contract expired June 30 and new terms have not been reached. They had their first bargaining session in months last week. Many think the police award will set the tone for 33 and the other two city unions, who also don't have contracts.

The FOP award changes retirement offerings for new hires. They may either join the traditional pension program at a higher cost or use a new "hybrid plan" which will combine a lower benefit pension with a 401K. Matthews said he would not agree to such an arrangement.

Matthews said he also opposed a change in how the city will pay for the FOP health care. Under the contract, the union will go to a "self-insured" plan and the city will directly pay claims instead of a set amount per member each month.

Matthews then noted that members of DC 33 are still working to dig Philadelphia out of Saturday's blizzard. "We had one of the worst blizzards in years. Our members are still out there," Matthews said.