A strike threat that has clouded Philadelphia finances throughout the summer loomed suddenly larger this week, darkening prospects for a fiscal recovery plan heavily dependent on union cooperation.

The city unions' rank and file, working since July 1 under an expired contract, this week voted to authorize a strike if an agreement on a new pact is not reached soon. Despite the vote, union leaders are not expected to actually call a strike at least until the state Supreme Court rules on a pending lawsuit related to the negotiations.

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