Friday, July 3, 2015

Firefighters union disrupts opening of new Tacony station in protest of Nutter

About 200 activists from Philadelphia's firefighters union disrupted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the city's first new fire house in 15 years by staging a walkout as an opening prayer was being said and chanting their criticisms of Mayor Nutter outside the $6.7 million station in Tacony.

Firefighters union disrupts opening of new Tacony station in protest of Nutter

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About 200 members of the Philadelphia Firefighters Union disrupted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Tacony Fire Station, the first to open in the city in 15 years, in protest of Mayor Nutter. (Miriam Hill / Staff)
About 200 members of the Philadelphia Firefighters Union disrupted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Tacony Fire Station, the first to open in the city in 15 years, in protest of Mayor Nutter. (Miriam Hill / Staff)

About 200 activists from Philadelphia’s firefighters union disrupted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the city’s first new fire house in 15 years by staging a walkout as an opening prayer was being said and chanting their criticisms of Mayor Nutter outside the $6.7 million station in Tacony.

Union representatives said they will begin collecting signatures for a petition to hold a recall election for the mayor, who has appealed a series of legal decisions that would award retroactive pay raises and other benefits to the firefighters, who have been working without a contract since 2009.

Nutter, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison and even a Catholic priest had to raise their voices to be heard over the chants of "Re-call, re-call" and "bind-ing, bind-ing," the latter referring the binding arbitration awards that Nutter has twice appealed. 

While opening new fire houses is something the union has been asking for, it protested the event to show their continued displeasure with Nutter's policies.

One carried a sign displaying an acronym for the mayor’s name: “No Good, Ugly, Two, Timing, Evil, Rat.”

After the event, Nutter said that he respected the firefighters’ 1st Amendment right to protest and that he wanted to celebrate the opening of the new station, at Magee and Keystone.

“It’s America. People have many opportunities and certainly a right to express themselves in a variety of fashions. The community folks may not have been too happy about their timing, given that they were celebrating their new station,” Nutter said. “I’m staying focused on doing my job each and every day and people will do whatever they said they’d do.”

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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