Bill Gault, President of Local 22 of the Philadelphia Fire Fighters Union came to the press area following the Vice President’s speech to criticize him. Unhappy that Biden made no mention of the contract situation with the City Gault made sure the press knew of the situation. Philadelphia Fire Fighters haven’t had a new contract in four years, getting awarded continuances, basically. There have been no new classes of fire fighters in five years. Givebacks and brownouts have closed seven stations and saved Philadelphia $15 million. The cost of fire fighters is $16 million so, as current conditions stand the City is paying a net of $1 million for services.
These men and women put their lives on the line every time they enter a burning building, do bomb searches or respond to accidents. Attrition is costing them numbers and, as the Vice President said today, small, understaffed crews are a danger to everyone on them.
Mayor Nutter has been a strong ally of this White House but so have unions in spite of getting little or nothing in return. Card check hasn’t passed and the Affordable Care Act is hitting union health plans hard. You’d think the least they could do is come into Philadelphia and give them a hand. That is why Gault made sure to criticize Biden to the press.