In the middle of contract negotiations with AFSCME District Council 33, Richard Lazer, Philadelphia's point man in the talks, had to deal with another labor issue - his wife giving birth to their second child.

With an agreement in sight, Lazer, the deputy mayor for labor, couldn't afford to take time off.

"We went to see the baby and Richie was in the kitchen on the phone with [DC33 president] Pete Matthews, saying 'No, we can't do that. I'll see about that,'" said Jim Engler, deputy mayor for policy and legislation and Lazer's brother-in-law.

Lazer, along with city director of labor relations Monica Marchetti-Brock and Ballard Spahr labor attorney Shannon Farmer, led a team of about 30 city officials in the negotiations with DC33, which had Matthews at the helm and other representatives.

Lazer's dedication helped establish a trusting relationship with union leaders, which ultimately led to a four-year contract with the city's 7,900 blue-collar workers - the largest of the city's unions. The $170 million contract had wins and losses for each side, with both the city and union claiming victory.