Question: When is a contract not a contract?
Answer: When Mayor Michael Nutter doesn’t like it.
Members of the city firefighters union, Local 22, were supposed to get a new contract following binding arbitration in 2010, but Philadelphia’s mayor has thus far refused to honor the new deal. His reason, that the city can’t afford the new contract, is a poor excuse and just doesn’t hold water. The city can find ways — i.e., by trimming its fiscal fat — to pay the firefighters what they deserve. In fact, the city can’t afford not to pay them more.
While firefighter demonstrators were a bit rude when they heckled the mayor at Tuesday morning’s grand opening of a state-of-the-art firehouse in Tacony, their anger is understandable. They’re taking Mr. Nutter’s nasty attitude personally, as well they should. After all, these brave men and women put their lives on the line every day.
Considering that so many of them call Northeast Philly home, every single person who lives or works in the Northeast should bombard Mayor Nutter’s office with phone calls, letters and e-mails instructing the city’s top leader to stop appealing the contact in court and make it happen for Local 22. Without our firefighters, the City of Brotherly Love would become the City of Smothered Love.
Even Mr. Nutter’s fellow Democratic politicians are urging the mayor to stop sticking it to the firefighters.
“It’s wrong and the mayor’s continuous efforts to fight the contract award must end,” said state Sen. Mike Stack.
“The more time that goes by,” said state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, “the harder it will be to restore the trust between these dedicated professionals and the city administration.”
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