Northampton City Council Picks a Fight With Firefighters

The Northampton city council is refusing to approve a union contract for the city’s firefighters. The contract has the support of the mayor and a state mediator. The firefighters are asking the public to contact the city council and urge them to approve the contract. The public is invited to learn more at a rally on August 5 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Florence Civic Center, 90 Park Street in Florence, Massachusetts. Details are at www.NorthamptonFirefighters.org.

In recent decades, the richest Americans have gotten richer, while the middle class has gotten smaller and the ranks of the poor have swelled. Union workers in the U.S. make about 29 percent more money than non-union workers. That’s around $9,300 a year extra for the average worker who joins a union. For Latino workers, the union advantage is about 50 percent; for black workers, approximately 31 percent. This data is from www.bls.gov.

Millions of workers in the U.S. are union members, including workers at Stop and Shop and UPS. Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason. Workers who belong to a union can only be fired for just cause.

More information about unions in the Valley is at:

www.ValleyPost.org/node/134

Comments

Northampton Firefighters/city Council

I read elsewhere that the Mayor advised the Council to not support funds for the firefighters, as per the recently mediated agreement. You state here that the Mayor supports the contract. Please clarify.

On July 31, in a press

On July 31, in a press release, Scott Flynn, the president of IAFF Local 108 (web site: www.NorthamptonFirefighters.org), said:

"After three and a half years of negotiations, mediation, and arbitration, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Joint Labor Relations Committee (JLMC) issued a settlement between the City and Firefighters. This settlement was based on a process agreed to by both the City and its firefighters; this process if the sole means for firefighters and police officers to resolve contract disputes. Both Mayor Narkewicz and the firefighters approved the settlement. On July 11, 2013, the City Council chose to disregard the process [and] all of the evidence reviewed by and findings of the JLMC. Our City Council voted to reject funding our new contract; an unprecedented move for Northampton."

Mayor David Narkewicz did not immediately respond to a phone message and e-mail on August 3. The Valley Post will update this article when he responds.

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