Hundreds of Philadelphia firefighters filled North Broad Street Thursday to demonstrate their displeasure to Mayor Michael Nutter for not signing off on their arbitration agreement.
Firefighters from across the country are in town for the International Association of Firefighters convention. They say they didn’t want to leave the city without sending a message to Nutter they’re upset that Philadelphia firefighters remain without a contract over an arbitration dispute.
Mayor Tony Spitaleri of Sunnyvale, California, spoke out against his fellow mayor for not giving the firefighters a contract.
“Do the right thing. Obey the law. Give these guys what they deserve,” Spitaleri said. “Make sure they have a decent wage and get back to doing the right thing for the men and women who protect the community day and night.”
Bill Gault, head of the local union involved in the dispute, rallied the firefighters.
“We are not the whipping boys. We are not going to pay for everything on our backs. We’re not going to take it anymore really,” Gault said. “We have other ways, Mayor Nutter, we have other ways.”
Gault would not be specific about the firefighters union’s next move. A statement from the mayor’s office says the city has until next week to respond to the arbitration award.