AFSCME President Compares Philly Mayor Nutter’s “Bullshit” Union-Busting to Walker, Kasich, & Snyder

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AFSCME President Lee Saunders did not pull any punches this morning at AFSCME’s 2013 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

In front of more than 600 AFSCME members, Saunders railed against Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, comparing Nutter to anti-labor Republican Governors Scott Walker, John Kasich, and Rick Snyder.

Saunders referred to Nutter’s tactics as “bullshit,” and said that “we’re not gonna to take anymore.”

AFSCME District Council 33 members in Philadelphia have gone four years without a contract, and Mayor Nutter recently asked the state Supreme Court to impose a contract on his city’s public employees.

AFSCME has been using a variety of tactics to put political pressure on Mayor Nutter, including a mobile billboard that followed Nutter around D.C. as well as a rally with Reverend Al Sharpton

Here’s President Saunders’ speech, partially edited for length:

Many of you have heard me say this before, and it’s worth repeating: Our attackers are coming at us from across the political spectrum. No matter whether they’ve got a D or an R behind their name, if they’re not with us, they’re gonna damn well know we’re  not with them. And no matter what promises they make or excuses they offer, we must hold every one of them accountable.

I am sick and tired of the fair-weather Democrats. They date us, take us to the prom, marry us, and then divorce us right after the honeymoon. I am sick and tired of the so-called friends who commend us when they’re running for election, but condemn us after they’ve won. I am sick and tired of the politicians who stand with us behind closed doors, but kick us to the curb in front of the cameras. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit and we’re not gonna take it anymore!

Many of you know some of the people I’m talking about.

Mayor Michael Nutter in Philadelphia. Governor Pat Quinn in Illinois.

We’ve come to expect union-busting, anti-worker tactics from ultra-conservatives like Scott Walker and John Kasich.

But now, everybody’s on the bandwagon.

Look at Nutter. AFSCME members in Philadelphia haven’t had a contract in four years, and Sister Baylor knows it. What does the mayor do? He goes to the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court to get a legal decision that would let him shove his contract down our throats. He’s no different from Governor Snyder in Michigan, who went to his state’s Supreme Court to get legal cover for cutting school employees’ pay. Different political parties, same political games.

I have had enough of these turncoats, and it’s time to make them pay.

And this is not the time to lower our expectations or our sights. This is the time to raise our hopes and ambitions. This is the time to fight like hell for working and middle-class families. And across this nation, that’s what we’re doing.

For a primer on the dispute between AFSCME and Mayor Nutter, check out this TV ad from District Council 33 expressing their grievances:

About Jake Sternberger

Jake Sternberger was a contributing writer at Keystone Politics from 2011 to 2014.
This entry was posted in Ethics, Greater Philadelphia, Labor and Unions and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to AFSCME President Compares Philly Mayor Nutter’s “Bullshit” Union-Busting to Walker, Kasich, & Snyder

  1. Ed H. says:

    PLCB privatize r&d are no better than Walker, Kasich and the Rey of the lowlife Republicans wanting to kill jobs and reduce the hard fought for wages that unions have brought for their members and their nonunion counterparts.

    • Jon says:

      How does overpaying a tiny handful of the service sector help nonunion retail workers? I don’t see it. It isn’t like there’s competition between unionized liquor store workers and non-union liquor store workers that pulls up wages in the retail sector. It’s just a straightforward giveaway to a handful of people. There is no argument that this helps anyone besides the people getting the benefit.

      • Overpaying, whom? Workers? Why do you hate workers? Why not hate on the greedy bosses instead?

        • Jon says:

          Not sure what you’re talking about? If state stores, everybody involved is overpaid from the managers to the retail workers. $400 million of what they bring in goes to running the PLCB and $100 million (really $72 million the past 3 years) goes to the general assembly. Much of this is a cross-subsidy from high-earning stores to money-losing stores. We’ll still get those taxes if we close down the state stores, and then we can use the money for other stuff like pensions, Medicaid expansion, education or other things that the government should actually be doing.

          • Do you really think money will go towards Medicaid expansion, or education? Corbett would rather waste money monkeying around with the NCAA.

          • Jon says:

            They’re two separate questions, to be answered separately. Should we spend money running an alcohol retail monopoly? And if we stop spending money on that, what should we do with the money? I say no to the first question, and have all kinds of ideas for how we could spend $400 million a year. I assume Tom Corbett would disagree with most of them. So that’s why we need to win the 2014 elections. After we win, we can rejigger the budget to fund our priorities, which obviously are different from the Republicans’ priorities.

    • Jon says:

      Also, most union members disagree with you. 58% of union households support ending the monopoly.

      • Just because they want to end the monopoly doesn’t mean they want crappy jobs as well.

        • Jon says:

          The state monopoly provides no insights into how to make the service economy create better jobs. It’s an island of rent-seeking that has no consequences for service sector wages elsewhere. You can be for higher service sector wages and also be against the state monopoly. They’re unrelated issues.

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