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Phila. Lawmakers Urge Mayor to End Dispute with Fire Department
On January 8, 2013
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 8, 2013 — As the contract drama between Mayor Michael Nutter and the Philadelphia Fire Department continues to unfold, members of the Philadelphia Delegation of the Pennsylvania Senate are urging the mayor to withdraw his appeal of a recent court decision to uphold the arbitration panel’s contract award for Philadelphia firefighters and paramedics.
“These hard working public servants run into burning buildings when others run away and they provide emergency medical care. Time and time again, they answer the call to protect us,” said state Sen. Mike Stack (D-5th dist.). “They deserve our respect and gratitude, but instead they’ve been without a contract for three years. It’s wrong and the mayor’s continuous efforts to fight the contract award must end.”
In a letter to the mayor, the members of the delegation point out that the city can afford to pay the firefighters and medics. In addition, the General Assembly gave the city the authority to increase its sales tax to pay for critical city services.
“This ongoing court dispute is costing taxpayer dollars and denying our city’s first responders the contract they are legally entitled to,” said state Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-3rd dist.). “It’s time to accept to the court’s decision and move forward so that Philadelphians can continue to receive critical emergency responses.”
“This is not how the city should treat our first responders, who put their lives at risk every day in order to keep our citizens safe,” said state Sen. Larry Farnese (D-1st dist.). “The court has settled this matter in favor of the fire department. The mayor should honor the court’s decision so that we can move on and give our emergency responders their long overdue contract.”
“It’s been four months since I first wrote to the mayor about this contract and, since then, firefighter families have had to spend the holidays wondering how long they will wait to be fairly paid,” said state Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-2nd dist.). “The more time that goes by, the harder it will be to restore the trust between these dedicated professionals and the city administration.”
“Firefighters are the unsung heroes of our community,” said state Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-4th dist.). “They risk their lives day in and day out and we must do everything we can to make sure that they are earning fair, family-sustaining wages that acknowledge their bravery and dedication to our safety.”