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Union, Philadelphia mayor avert strike with labor pact

SHARE Union, Philadelphia mayor avert strike with labor pact

PHILADELPHIA — Union leaders and Mayor John F. Street announced a tentative labor agreement Tuesday, virtually eliminating the chance of a strike by city workers a week before the Republican National Convention.

The four-year agreement covering 11,000 trash collectors, 911 operators, prison guards and other workers was announced six hours after a midnight strike deadline passed without a walkout.

A second union, representing 3,200 white-collar employees, was still in negotiations, but it was not expected to strike on its own.

"We are enormously pleased and proud of the great work that's been done here," Street said. "I always said all along that the workers only wanted us to be fair, and we wanted to be fair, but sometimes finding that middle ground can take some time."

Pete Matthews, president of District Council 33, the union that settled, said he was tired but "happy for the city."

The 14,200 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have worked without a contract since July 1.

The agreement covering the blue-collar workers provides a $1,500 bonus this year and pay raises of 3 percent in 2001, 2002 and 2003. It also has increased health-care allowances for employees.