The city's organization of black firefighters has settled a 2009 federal lawsuit against the Philadelphia Firefighters Union, in which it derided their local as ""a hostile, anti-minority, and offensive union for African American Fire Fighters. "
The agreement, announced Wednesday in a press release, is less a legal settlement than a peace treaty, with Club Valiants, Inc. and Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters each pledging to work together to bridge the divide that has developed between the two organizations.
"The parties have agreed to continue to work together to encourage open communication and to foster respect, unity and diversity among their members," read a joint statement from Club Valiants, Inc., the group of black firefighters that has pushed to integrate the department starting in the late 1960s; the NAACP, which joined Club Valiants in the Civil Rights lawsuit; and Local 22.
"Club Valiants will encourage its members to participate in and attend
the Local's various committees and monthly general membership meetings and
to run for Union office," the statement said. "In addition, both organizations will participate in and promote each organization's respective annual events and encourage their members to attend the events."
The union is to monitor its website, which gave rise to the original litigation when white firefighters using the union online chat room were found mocking black firefighters and using "racially harassing and discriminatory materials and comments," as described in the original complaint.
The Valiants settled with the city last year. The city agreed to pay $15,000 in legal fees and "provide additional diversity training" with input from the Valiants and the NAACP.
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