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City appeals firefighter arbitration award, again

Firefighter Union leaders say its no surprise that the Nutter administration has again filed an appeal Tuesday against the firefighters' arbitration award.

Common pleas court judge Idee C Fox had upheld the award in November.

It would cost "more than $200 million over the current five year plan and an additional $84 million in the current fiscal year," said mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald, adding the city would have to trim the budget by up to five percent and that's why the administration decided to appeal.

The firefighters' union doesn't buy it.

"It's a disgrace the way the administration in this city is treating firefighters and paramedics," said Bill Gault, president of the FireFighters' Union Local 22. "All [Nutter] is doing is kicking the can down the road."

The union will have to return to the negotiating table at the end of the month to settle on a new contract.

The city appealed an award that was first issued in 2010. Over the summer, an arbitration panel issued another award that was similar to the previous one, which included three years of 3-percent raises, protection from unpaid furloughs and more funding for health benefits which the city also appealed.

City Council will hold a hearing Wednesday to investigate the city's potential financial liability and fiscal impact for the current contract with the Philadelphia Fire Fighters that will enter arbitration for a third time.