As the contract drama between Mayor Michael Nutter and the Philadelphia Fire Dept. continues to unfold, members of the Philadelphia Delegation of the Pennsylvania Senate are urging the Mayor to withdraw his appeal of a recent court decision to uphold the arbitration panelâ€™s contract award for Philadelphia firefighters and paramedics.
â€œThese hardworking public servants run into burning buildings when others run away and they provide emergency medical care. Time and time again, they answer the call to protect us,â€ said State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast). â€œItâ€™s wrong and the Mayorâ€™s continuous efforts to fight the contract award must end.â€
In a letter to the Mayor, the members of the delegation point out the City can afford to pay the firefighters and medics. In addition, the General Assembly gave the City the authority to increase its sales tax to pay for critical city services.
â€œThis ongoing court dispute is costing taxpayer dollars and denying our cityâ€™s first responders the contract they are legally entitled to,â€ said State Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-N. Phila.). â€œItâ€™s time to accept to the courtâ€™s decision and move forward so Philadelphians can continue to receive critical emergency responses.â€
â€œThis is not how the city should treat our first responders, who put their lives at risk every day in order to keep our citizens safe,â€ said State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-S. Phila.). â€œThe court has settled this matter in favor of the Fire Dept. The Mayor should honor the courtâ€™s decision so we can move on and give our emergency responders their long-overdue contract.â€
â€œItâ€™s been four months since I first wrote to the Mayor about this contract and, since then, firefighter families have had to spend the holidays wondering how long they will wait to be fairly paid,â€ said State Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-Kensington). â€œThe more time that goes by, the harder it will be to restore the trust between these dedicated professionals and the city administration.â€
â€œFirefighters are the unsung heroes of our community,â€ said State Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-Northwest). â€œWe must do everything we can to make sure that they are earning fair, family-sustaining wages that acknowledge their bravery and dedication to our safety.â€