Philadelphia Firefighters’ Union Feuds with Mayor

The Philadelphia firefighters’ union filed a lawsuit to prevent the city from appealing a recent arbitration that could settle a contract dispute, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Mayor Nutter has until early August to decide whether to honor the award — giving firefighters three years worth of back raises and benefit increases — or appeal to Common Pleas Court. The union clearly is expecting the worst.

The union and the mayor have been at odds for years over the contract and a series of cost-cutting moves the administration has imposed — particularly the rolling closures of fire stations known as “brownouts.”

The union’s contract expired in July 2009. Because firefighters and police are prohibited from going on strike, disputes go to a three-member arbitration panel for a ruling.

Arbitrators awarded a contract in 2010 that the administration appealed as financially ruinous, costing $31 million a year when the city was counting on savings.

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