Philly union leader Ernest Garrett ousted as head of AFSCME District Council 33

The head of the biggest city workers union has been booted from his job over accusations that he hired more than a dozen employees, including some relatives, and spent more than $1 millions in union funds without official board approval.

The now ex-union president, Ernest Garrett, denied any misconduct, saying he substantially improved the organization’s finances during his three years in the job and was targeted by political rivals as he tried to fix longstanding management deficiencies.

Garrett was elected president of Philadelphia’s blue-collar municipal union, AFSCME District Council 33, in 2020, sweeping out a longtime incumbent and shocking the city’s political and labor establishments.

He vowed at the time to reform and bring “respect [and] dignity” to the 10,000-member union, which represents workers in a wide range of areas such as sanitation, prisons, libraries and the Streets Department. 

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