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What's Next With Union Contracts?

So what does today's police award mean as Mayor Nutter tries to get contracts settled with the other three city unions?

Like police, firefighters negotiate through arbitration, which means a three-person panel decides the contract. But the city's blue and white collar workers – represented by AFSCME District Council 33 and District Council 47 – engage in traditional negotiations.

Dave Davies this week had a good story about one key problem for the city as they approach contracts for DC 33 and DC 47. In it, he notes that Pennsylvania's labor laws have been interpreted to prohibit a public employer like the city from implementing new contract terms when it reaches an impasse with a union.

So as long as those workers stay on the job, Nutter cannot impose a "last best offer" and they can keep their current contract terms. We predict that it takes a looong time to get deals done – and that the process may get ugly.