Monday, February 8, 2016

Firefighters say 'never mind' on recall

On Tuesday, the city's firefighters said they planned to try to recall Mayor Nutter because he plans to appeal their arbitration award. Thursday morning, they said they had changed their minds.

Firefighters say 'never mind' on recall

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

On Tuesday, the city's firefighters chanted "Recall, recall" at the opening of a new Tacony firehouse, signaling their intent to try to kick Mayor Nutter out of office.

But Thursday morning, the firefighters' union issued a statement saying plans had changed.

UPDATE: Firefighters realized, apparently belatedly, that the state Supreme Court nixed an attempt to recall former Mayor Frank Rizzo, saying such efforts violated Pennsylvania’s constitution. END UPDATE

The firefighters and Nutter have been engaged in what is becoming an epic battle over pay, benefits and reassignments. The mayor continues to try to appeal an arbitration award that gave the firefighters raises and other benefits that the administration says are too costly.

Instead of gathering signatures for a recall, union officials said they would instead circulate petitions demandin that Nutter honor the binding arbitration award.

Here is the statement from Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, via the union's spokesman Frank Keel:

"After carefully weighing our realistic odds of prevailing in an uphill and costly legal battle, Fire Fighters Local 22 is dropping its planned recall effort of Mayor Nutter. This decision should in no way be construed as a softening of the fire fighters' and paramedics' disdain for this callous mayor, who continues to defy the law by denying our members their binding arbitration award, which was upheld twice by a neutral arbitrator and once by a Common Pleas Court judge. Fire fighters and paramedics have suffered many abuses at the hands of this mayor - brownouts that endanger citizens and fire fighters alike, under-staffing, the forced mass transfers of the most senior personnel, suspensions for merely getting injured in the line of duty, and the indignity of being denied a raise and a contract for more than four years. It's disgraceful. To continue to draw public attention to these injustices, Local 22 is undertaking a petition drive to collect thousands upon thousands of signatures of city residents who demand that Nutter obey the law and honor our arbitration award. We will not let up until justice is won."


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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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