Firefighters union Local 22 sues the city of Philadelphia to uphold its contract

Local 22 President Bill Gault.

The simmering tension between the city’s firefighter and paramedic union and Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration threatened to boil over today as Local 22 leaders announced they have filed a lawsuit against the city in an attempt to force it to uphold contract terms recently awarded to the union by an arbitrator.

“Throughout the past four years, the firefighters and paramedics have accepted increased risks resulting from staffing cuts, station closings and brownouts, as well as a declining standard of living due to four years without a raise,” union president Bill Gault said.

“Regardless, we will continue to go to work every day and willingly lay our lives on the line in defense of this city’s residents. In return, all we ask for is a fair shake. We’re still waiting. We’re not wiling to wait anymore.”

As city firefighters and police officers can’t strike due to public safety reasons, they turn contract disputes over to a neutral third-party arbitrator, who makes a binding legal decision.

The union claims Nutter is skirting this process by continuing to appeal the arbitrator’s findings. His administration last appealed the contract – slated to go into effect in July 2009 – two years ago, claiming it could not afford the nine percent pay increase it awarded to firefighters. A judge sent the contract back to arbitration, which two weeks ago again upheld its terms.

“It seems to me patently unfair that the city go into this process, a legal binding 42-year-old law, and simply say, ‘We don’t like the outcome so we’re going to appeal,’” said International Association of Firefighters President Harold Schaitberger.

“We just want a fair shake,” Gault concurred. “We went through binding arbitration – we live with it, they live with
it. They changed the rules. Who are they to change the rules? It’s
bizarro world where the only people making money are lawyers.”

Gault claims the contract terms are fair and the failure to reach an agreement is a reflection of Nutter’s antipathy toward the union. “I believe he has a personal vendetta against the fire department,” he said. “I don’t know why. You’d have to ask him. We’re citizens, too. He keeps preaching, ‘Well, I got to take care of the citizens.’ What are we? We live here, we spend here, we give our lives. It’s just getting old. It’s completely disrespectful.”

Nutter’s spokesman Mark McDonald stressed that the administration still has two weeks to respond to the arbitration terms. “The city of Philadelphia has until early August to come to a decision regarding this arbitration,” he said. “We are looking at what’s contained in the arbitration and reviewing our options and we will respond within the time frame.”

“Regarding the suit itself, really, the beauty of the American legal system is that anybody can file suit and that is their right and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.