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July 11, 2012

Unions go after Scranton mayor for pay cut

SCRANTON, Pa. (UPI) -- Scranton, Pa., labor unions plan to ask a county judge to hold Mayor Chris Doherty in contempt for drastically cutting municipal employees' pay, officials said.

In a bold move Friday, Doherty temporarily slashed the salaries of about 400 municipal employees -- including himself, police and firefighters -- to $7.25 an hour, the state and federal minimum wage.

Doherty said once the city's immediate financial crisis is over, workers would be paid deferred wages, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Three labor unions sued the city in Lackawanna County court July 2 regarding the proposed wage cut, which the unions argued would violate workers' contracts under state law.

Thomas Jennings, a Philadelphia lawyer representing the three unions, said Tuesday he would file a motion to hold Doherty and the city of Scranton in contempt of court. He also plans to file a lawsuit against the city in federal court for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying full wages or overtime wages.

Scranton's business administrator said the city had $5,000 in the bank last week after giving the city's payroll enough money to cover $7.25 an hour for municipal employees.

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