A 1993 court ruling is complicating the contract negotiations between Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and labor union AFSCME District Council 33. The ruling, ultimately upheld by the State Supreme Court, dictated that a public employer cannot unilaterally impose a change of conditions of employment if the unions are still willing to negotiate. The employees can extend the terms of an old contract indefinitely as long as they continue working and negotiating.

Ballard Spahr partner Shannon D. Farmer, the attorney handling the City’s labor negotiations, noted that the state’s restriction on enforcing new contract terms is unique to Pennsylvania.

Mayor Nutter has given the union two weeks to consider his proposed terms. If he cannot strike a deal and attempts to implement his contract, it could trigger a legal battle to last years.

Related Practice

Labor and Employment