Philly police get another pay raise; firefighters still fighting in arbitration

Philadelphia police officers have been awarded another raise by an independent arbitrator. That’s irritating the city’s firefighters who are upset that they still don’t have a contract.

An arbitration award three years ago came with a provision that officers’ salaries could be raised again this year, and they have been.

Mayor Michael Nutter says he’s reviewing the numbers, which include 3 percent wage increases this year and next, a 1 percent hike in what’s called stress pay — a increase every officer is awarded because of the challenges of police work.

“We care very deeply about police officers, the work they do, their dedication and commitment, and all our public employees,” Nutter said Friday. “In the arbitration with the police a few years ago, we got a number of reforms that we need. All of those certainly help us to pay for these awards.”

Firefighters union head Bill Gault says he’s frustrated that police are receiving raises and firefighters aren’t. Nutter is squarely to blame, Gault says.

“None of my members has received a raise for over four years,” he said. “But they’ve raised our real estate tax every year.”

Gault, who says he’s offered to meet with Nutter, says he wants to “move on and stop the silliness.”

The mayor says concessions in the police contract are not in the firefighters contract and that’s why the city continues to appeal a contract award for firefighters.

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