Philadelphia Medics Plan To Sue City

City moved to shift paramedics into the health plan of nonunionized workers.


 
 

MIRIAM HILL, Philadelphia Inquirer | | Friday, October 8, 2010


The city's paramedics are planning to sue over Mayor Nutter's efforts to keep them out of the firefighters union.

The dispute goes back to a ruling by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board last month that gave the city the right to shift paramedics out of the firefighters union. That meant the medics would have to switch to the health plan that nonrepresented city employees get, which union representatives say is not as generous.

Nutter administration officials say their decisions are in keeping with efforts by paramedics to be held to a different overtime standard than firefighters are.

Bill Gault, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22, said the law requires the city to give the paramedics time to find a union to represent them before implementing changes.

"We plan to file a lawsuit to keep the mayor from breaking the law," he said. "The city is not allowed to change any working conditions or get involved in the process until after they have someone to represent them."

Councilman James F. Kenney has taken the paramedics' side. On Thursday, he introduced a resolution in Council asking the mayor to maintain the paramedics' current benefits. The resolution also would allow Council to hire lawyers to help the union in its efforts.

"I think that what the administration is doing is wrongheaded," said Kenney, who noted that he considers the mayor a friend. "Just because they have the authority to do it doesn't meant they should."

In 2008, paramedics won a federal court case saying they are allowed to earn overtime. The city then appealed to the state labor board to have the 220 paramedics removed from the firefighters union.

After the city won the ruling from the labor board, it moved to shift paramedics into the health plan of nonunionized workers and make other changes.

Nutter, speaking with reporters outside City Hall Thursday afternoon, said the paramedics' original lawsuit sought to differentiate themselves from firefighters.

"They asked for something, they got it, and as a result they find themselves in a different situation because of their success," said Nutter.

He acknowledged that the paramedics may not be bound by the state law that forbids firefighters from striking. "We're certainly concerned about that."

Gault said the paramedics would never strike.

"If we strike, somebody dies, and it's our conscience," Gault said.

Nutter said that he considered Kenney a friend and a "great" councilman, but said Kenney was mistaken about the city's position.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, union, Philadelphia, labor

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York First Responders Take Extraordinary Steps to Help Residents

Snow causes fire and EMS crews to go beyond call of duty.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Raw Video: Explosion and Fire at California Business

Over a dozen hurt in Santa Paula blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Workers Killed at Texas Chemical Plant

Five employees exposed to methyl mercaptan in La Porte.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Worker Killed in North Carolina Bridge Collapse

A fatal construction site collapse occurred in Wake County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Crashes into Chicago Home

Pilot reported engine trouble after takeoff.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Switzerland Landslide Kills Two, Injures Four

Slide hits residential building near Lugano.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

World Trade Center Rescue

Technical rescue work is done at nation’s tallest skyscraper.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >