Here’s How Philadelphia’s New Labor Deal Will Affect Pensions

Philadelphia scenery

After years of negotiations, Philadelphia and its largest union have come to an agreement on a new labor contract that has implications for the city’s pension system and the workers that pay into it.

The union, AFSCME District Council 33, indicated that its members will overwhelmingly approve the deal.

A major provision of the deal gives employees a choice between several retirement plan options. Employees will also have to pay more into the pension system. From Business Insurance:

[The deal] will increase employee contributions to the pension fund and allow new employees the choice between a hybrid plan and the traditional pension plan, said Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Michael A. Nutter.

The contract agreement term is retroactive from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2016. Terms of the contract must be ratified by members of DC 33.

Current participants in the $4.8 billion Philadelphia Municipal Retirement System, a defined benefit plan, will have their employee contribution increase by 1% of pay over the next two years — 0.5% effective Jan. 1, 2015, and an additional 0.5% effective Jan. 1, 2016.

All employees hired after the contract is ratified can either enter the defined benefit plan and pay 1% more than current participants or enter a hybrid plan. Current employees have 90 days following ratification to make an irrevocable election to move to the hybrid plan.

The rest of the deal, as reported by ABC:

The newly reached seven year tentative agreement is retroactive from July 2009 and expires in 2016.

The deal will include wage increases of 3.5 percent this year, 2.5 percent next year plus a lump sum of $2,800 for every member. However the wage increases are not retroactive.

Also in the deal – employee contributions to pensions will increase and the city will pay a one-time $20 million lump sum into their healthcare.

In the future, the city will be able to use temporary layoffs, if needed, during an economic crisis.

The deal marks a compromise for both sides. According to WPVI, the deal will prove expensive for the city—estimates put the cost at $127 million over five years—that will require some budgetary finagling.

One major concession for the union was that sick leave will no longer be eligible for overtime pay.

Photo by Peter Miller via Flickr CC License

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