Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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

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.”

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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