Philly plans to appeal firefighters’ award — again

    Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter doesn’t quit.  

    On Tuesday, the city notified the court that it will again appeal the contract arbitration award for firefighters.  

    In 2010, an arbitration panel issued an award for firefighters, which the city appealed. After both groups decided to send the contract back to an arbitrator, the arbitrator returned an award with most of the same terms, and the city appealed again. In November, a Court of Common Pleas judge upheld the award, which includes raises for the firefighters.  

    City officials argue that they can’t afford the award.  

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    “The arbitration award would add more than $200 million of additional costs to the city’s general fund over the course of the current five-year plan,” says mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald.  

    Bill Gault, president of the firefighters union Local 22, estimates the total price tag at $66 million. He blasted Nutter for appealing again.

    “The award has been won twice by an arbitration panel. A judge has said to put this into play,” says Gault. “This is kicking the can down the road.”  

    The firefighters union has been without a contract since 2009. The recent award will expire next summer.

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