OUR OPINION: Mayor Nutter, Do What’s Right

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Mr. Mayor, you were in Washington basking in the limelight as president of the Association of City Mayors and did not feel the fervor of several thousand unionists gathered at Independence Hall to challenge you to do what is right and just. The cry of the rank and file was heard from Independence Hall to City Hall for you to commit to contracts with three of the four city unions. How much longer do you expect them to be patient?

Your continued refusal to truly sit at a bargaining table with them to come to agreement is an affront to those loyal city workers as well as to the taxpayers of this city.

It is not to your credit you finally agreed to terms with the Fraternal Order of Police which patiently awaited your approval of an arbitration decision. Nor can we understand why you continue to dismiss the members of Local 22, the Fire Fighters Union, and force your Fire Commissioner to impose changes in a proven system that has been shown to be dangerous to the public safety.

Why you have not acknowledged the cost-saving efforts of Peter Matthews and DC 32, the largest of the four unions, and come at least halfway in meeting their requests, which are not demanding in the least, remains a mystery. Nor have you understood the plight of DC 47, which represents those city employees who move the machinery of government, and sat with them to properly address their health-care costs and other concerns.

On behalf of the taxpaying citizens of this city, we ask you, Mr. Mayor, to give us an explanation of why a city contract has not yet been negotiated with these three since 2009. It is time for you to set aside your deputies and come face to face with the leadership of these unions.

Bring in Congressman Bob Brady to sit with you at the bargaining table. He has mediated other crises for you in the past and is still doing so in the present.

Your efforts to green this city and to make its management systems smarter are commendable. They’ve won you awards. But no matter what accomplishments you hope to be remembered for, your administration will only be known for your failure to make an honest and very public effort to settle those contracts.

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