Bill Gault, president of Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, just declared that he is "very disappointed" in a speech delivered this afternoon to his union's annual convention by Vice President Joe Biden. Gault, going through the union's leadership in Washington DC, had asked Biden to comment on Mayor Nutter's lack of action so far on a July 2 arbitration panel ruling.
"I'm disappointed that the vice president didn't say: Yo, Mr. Mayor, honor the agreement," Gault said as Biden was shaking hands with some of the 3,200 firefighters at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Nutter has until Aug. 2 to accept or appeal the decision. The union plans a massive march to City Hall Thursday afternoon to pressure Nutter to accept the decision.
Biden, in a 40-minute speech, spent most of his time focused on the notion that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney doesn't understand firefighters and the middle class. He said the Republican Party, from the U.S. Congress to state houses, are trying to cut back on the bargaining rights, pay and benefits of firefighters and other public sector employees.
"You live in the neighborhoods you protect," Biden said, stressing the union as a strong part of the middle class. "You are the community."