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Union-Side Labor Lawyer John Bielski Discusses Firefighters Union and the City of Philadelphia

April 1, 2010

Firefighters Union Fights to Keep Paramedics (KYW Newsradio 1060)

By: Mike Dunn

Philadelphia's firefighters union was up in arms Thursday, over what they say is an effort by the mayor to remove paramedics from the union. Now City Council is planning action. 

A recent decision by a labor relations hearing examiner sided with the Nutter Administration, ruling that paramedics should be excluded from collective bargaining for the firefighters.  

John Bielski, attorney for Firefighters Local 22 said, "The city is trying effectively to take 200 members out of this bargaining unit."

The union is appealing the ruling, but the same time Councilman Jim Kenney -- whose father was a firefighter -- will introduce legislation to clarify the Fire Code to stipulate that paramedics are firefighters.

"I think its pretty clear that they are part of the uniformed Fire Department." And therefore, added Kenney, they should be part of the union as well. 

Aides to the mayor say paramedics should have separate collective bargaining because their work schedules and duties differ from firefighters.

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