Herman J. “Pete Matthews” Jr., was elected President of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 33 the largest Municipal Workers Union in the City of Philadelphia, in October 1996. Prior to being elected, President Matthews served six consecutive terms (18 years) as the Business Agent of Local 394, the Philadelphia Water Department Employees.
As President, Pete Matthews brought true union democracy to the membership of District Council 33. Under his leadership in the year 2000 he had the Constitution of District Council 33 amended to allow the membership to have a direct vote for the Chair Officers (President, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer) of the District Council. Pete proudly proclaimed that, for the first time in our 50-year history, the membership now has the right to vote.
Pete Matthews is also widely recognized as a skilled, effective and tenacious negotiator and advocate for the Membership and Retirees of District Council 33.
As President of District Council 33, his union has supported and sponsored various charity and community events throughout the city. Pete has received numerous Labor and Community awards over the years and served on several boards. Fifteen years a major sponsor of the Walter E. Brandon Sickle Cell 5k Walk/Run. He hosted a radio show on WURD Radio “Labor to Neighbor” for several years, discussing and interviewing about labor and community issues.
He serves as a Vice President of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. Executive Board member of the Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP. He is also a Board member of the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr., Association for Nonviolence, Inc.; Planning and Organizing Committee of the Million Man March 1995 to present (Black Lives Matter). Chairman of the Board of Directors of John F. Kennedy Hospital 1996-2005.
For the past several years, Pete has been recognized by the Philadelphia Tribune as one of the Most Influential Black Leaders in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Magazine recognized him as one of the city’s 50 Most Powerful People.
Pete has been married to his wife Margaret for 49 years and has four children and five grandchildren. He is an avid distance runner and has competed in several marathons, including both the Philadelphia and Boston Marathons. Pete is a graduate of Thomas Edison Senior High School (1965). He attended Temple University and has completed the Harvard Trade Union Leaders Institute program on negotiations for senior executives at Harvard Law School and Harvard School of Public Health as well as completing coursework at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (continuing professional education).
Through his effective leadership, Pete Matthews has made AFSCME District Council 33 a formidable force for stability and positive change in all communities of the City of Philadelphia.
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