Brothers and Sisters:
I am pleased to report the crisis in Uniontown is over. As of today a deal has been reached that will bring all of the laid off Brothers of IAFF Local 955 back to work. In addition, they have a new four year contract, minimum staffing of three fire fighters on every shift, 3.5% wage increases for each year of the contract and several other enhancements.
This could not have been done without the support of the IAFF, especially GP Schaitberger, DVP Taylor and staff, the membership of the PPFFA delivered unwavering assistance throughout the entire crisis. Financial Secretary Schmidt, Western District Vice President Tedesco and the District Trustees RJ Johnson and Dale Hightree committed time, energy and resources to assist the members of the Local. As President of the PPFFA, I am honored and proud of these men for their service. I would also like to thank Josh Bloom, legal counsel for the Local, for his tireless efforts in securing this deal. The entire labor community pulled together to show support. Jack Shea from the Allegheny County Central Labor Council and Gregg Potter of the Lehigh Valley Labor Council both sent letters of support at the request of their respective locals and the PPFFA.
This proves that labor does and can make a difference.
Below, you will find the article that appeared today on the IAFF web page.
Uniontown Fire Fighters Back on the Job
September 24, 2010– A panel of three arbitrators has ruled that all of the laid-off fire fighters in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, must be rehired.
Six members of Uniontown Local 955 were laid off in December 2009. During the IAFF 50th Convention in San Diego, Local 955 President Mark Lovey received a letter from the City warning that all remaining fire fighters would be laid off by January 1, 2011, and that the City would replace its career fire fighters with a volunteer department.
The members of Local 955, their legal counsel and the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association responded, applying intense pressure on Uniontown Mayor Edward Fike.
Under the terms of the arbitrators’ eight-page ruling, the City of Uniontown will call fire fighters back in a matter of days, and there will be no layoffs over the next four years. Arbitrators also gave fire fighters a 3.5 percent wage increase each year for the next four years.
“Our attorney worked his butt off, but the truth is we had a lot of support from the International, the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association and members from throughout the country who heard about what we were going through. They talk about this being a brotherhood and it really is,” Lovey says.
Layoffs reduced staffing from 13 to seven.
“With the help of the IAFF, and especially General President Schaitberger and Fourth District Vice President Bill Taylor, we were able to prevail in a situation that could have been tragic for the fire fighters and the residents of Uniontown,” PPFFA President Art Martynuska says.
Delegates at the IAFF Convention unanimously passed an emergency resolution condemning Mayor Fike for announcing his intent to eliminate the city’s entire career fire department. "We are going to bring money, marbles and chalk! Whatever it takes to win this fight, we will be in union!" Schaitberger told delegates.
“Uniontown is proof-positive that when the IAFF and its members stand together and take care of their own, we prevail,” DVP Taylor says.
Fire Fighters Association