New Phila. firehouse opens with celebration, protests

January 8, 2013 10:42:50 AM PST
A new firehouse has opened in the city of Philadelphia, but not without some protest from the Firefighters' Union.

It is the first new fire house since 1997, and Mayor Michael Nutter was on hand to cut the ribbon on Tuesday morning.

Members of Local 22 Firefighters' Union were also on hand with some old business with the mayor concerning old pay raises.

"This station is special because it's green," said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. "It is integrated with the community in more than one way, not just being green, but also with community risk reduction, and community friendly."

The new fire station is designed to be green in an ecological sense to minimize its carbon footprint.

Officials also say it is community friendly because fire safety classes will be held there.

But a not-so-friendly crowd gathered in front of the new fire station Tuesday morning.

Upset firefighters directed their opposition towards the mayor of Philadelphia for an ongoing legal battle that has held up a contract forged in binding arbitration that included raises.

That issue has dragged on for years prompting talk of a different kind of green by the Firefighters' Union.

"How about showing the firefighters some green? How about paying these guys and these women who risk their lives for the people of this city? How about showing them a little green instead of denying them a raise for more than four years," said Frank Keel, Firefighters' Union Spokesperson. "It's a disgrace, and it has to end, and we're going to be here today, and we are going to be everywhere the mayor shows up for his own publicity."

The arbitrator contract has been a long smoldering issue between the union and mayor.

Local 22 have been stepping up talk of a recall petition that they plan to start circulating in the city of Philadelphia.