AFSCME District Council 33

Pete Matthews


Pete Matthews was elected President of 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 Manager of Local 394, the Philadelphia Water Department Employees.

As a well-known labor leader and social activist, Pete Matthews serves as an Executive Board member of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO and as a Vice President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Executive Council. He is also a former member of the AFSCME International Union’s Judicial Panel.

His civic involvement includes serving on the Executive Board of the Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP as well as membership on the Executive Board of the African-American Chamber of Commerce and, for the second year in a row, Pete Matthews has been recognized by the Philadelphia Tribune as one of the Most Influential Black Leaders in Philadelphia.

In his second term as President of District Council 33, Pete Matthews brought true union democracy to the membership. His leadership was instrumental in amending the Constitution of the District Council to allow members to have a direct vote for the Chair Officers of the District Council. This One Person, One Vote process is now being enjoyed by the membership for the first time in the 50-year history of District Council 33.

Pete Matthews is also widely recognized as a skilled, effective and tenacious negotiator and advocate for the membership of District Council 33. His leadership in the 2000 negotiations resulted in a contract that contained no layoffs, no concessions, no payroll deductions for health care benefits, job and benefits security, an end to back loaded wages and the start of both a comparable worth training program and a catastrophic leave bank.

Pete Matthews continues to fight for the retired members of District Council 33 and was successful in securing a substantial pension increase for retirees who had been neglected for over 14 years. 

Pete Matthews, through his effective leadership, has made AFSCME District Council 33 a formidable force for stability and positive change in all communities of the City of Philadelphia.


Pete has been married to his lovely wife Margaret for almost 40 years and has four children and four grandchildren. He is an avid distance runner and has completed several marathons, including both the Philadelphia and Boston Marathons. A graduate of Thomas Edison Senior High School, Pete attended Temple University and is currently pursuing Trade Union Studies at Harvard University.