This study proposes that the extent to which fiscal stress reduces the willingness of municipal governments to compromise with public employee unions depends heavily on the role of the mayor. More specifically, it is expected that the strength of the inverse relationship between fiscal stress and the influence of public employee unions over city governments is directly associated with the style of the mayoral leadership. This hypothesis is tested using the City of Philadelphia as a case study. In order to capture the dynamic changes in the level of fiscal stress experienced by Philadelphia, this study covers the past thirty years of mayoral leadership, beginning the analysis with James Tate (1962-1972), continuing with Frank Rizzo (1972-1979), William Green (1979-1983), and Wilson Goode (1983 -1991), and concluding with the present mayor, Edward Rendell (1991- ). In determining mayoral style, four models presented by Douglas Yates (1982) are incorporated: the entrepreneur, the boss, the broker, and the crusader. The strength of the municipal unions during these years is measured primarily through the changes occurring in their members' pay histories, which reveal the increases and decreases in wage hikes and real salaries. The level of fiscal stress is indicated by a set of variables pertaining to the City's debt, credit rating, and operating budget. The integration of these three components supports the conclusion that the level of fiscal stress does, in fact, have a direct bearing on mayoral style and union strength. For example, when Philadelphia was enjoying good financial standing, Mayor Tate, acting as an entrepreneur, met close to all of the demands proposed by the newly formed unions. However, now, at the end of the third decade, Mayor Rendell has taken on the style of a crusader in an attempt to "save the City" from fmancial disaster by successfully legislating severe reductions in city workers' wages and benefits.


Burnell, James

Second Advisor

Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Urban Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150

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© Copyright 1993 Carrie M. Stoddard