Fire union: paramedics, they belong with us

A state court ruled Thursday that the city’s paramedics will remain in the firefighters union reversing a decision made by the state Labor Relations Board to separate them.

Union leaders applauded the Commonwealth court’s decision which is a loss for Mayor Nutter who appealed to the state Labor Relations Board in 2009 to take paramedics out of Local 22, arguing that their work differed from firefighters.  

“It’s a great victory,” said Bill Gault head of Fire Fighters Local 22. “It’s what I’ve been saying…they belong with us. I’m happy this is done.”

But, it may not be.

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said, “The administration is in receipt of the opinion and we are reviewing it and our options.”

The city could file an appeal.

The three-judge panel ruled that paramedics are employed by the Fire Department, they respond to all emergencies and while their training is different they too must attend a fire academy operated by the department.

In 2010, the state Labor Relations Board argued that paramedics are not firefighters, but the commonwealth disagreed ruling that paramedics and firefighters had the right to bargain together as they have done so for decades.

“They work together to accomplish the same overall goal of saving lives and property,” the ruling stated.

“It would be patently unfair to say that FSPs do not ‘fight fires’ when, in fact, they are present at fire scenes; they monitor the health of those persons who are doing physical battle with the fire; and when needed, they are called upon to do physical battle with the fire themselves.”

Check out the court's decision here.