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More Scranton firefighters laid-off, firehouses closed

02.02.12

JANUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

More Scranton firefighters laid-off, firehouses closed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- January 2nd- The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 60, which represent members of the Scranton Fire Department, now have 101 members following Democratic Mayor Chris Doherty’s most recent furlough of fire-fighters.

Mayor Doherty notified the 29 fire-fighters on November 30th, 2011 they would be laid-off because of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that overturned his anti-union legislation.

“The Mayor wants to balance the budget short-fall on the backs of the union’s.

I hope the taxpayers understand that at most there will be only four firehouses open on any given day throughout the city,” stated David Gervasi, Greivance Chairman of Local 60. Mr. Gervasi was President of the union until January 1st, 2012, after deciding he would not seek another term.

Scranton firefighter Jack Gaffney is acting President until the membership of Local 60 conducts an election in February.

The City of Scranton is 27 square miles, the third largest in Pennsylvania. Only Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are larger.

Because of the lay-offs, three of the eight Scranton firehouses are closed and two others are on “brown-outs” because there won’t be enough firefighters working to keep them open. Under a “brownout” firehouses will remain open but could be closed anytime because of a shortage of personel.

Mr. Gervasi told the newspaper most of the time only four of the ten companies in the city will be in service, because of the recent lay-offs.

Because of the furloughs, neighborhood firehouses in East Scranton, Petersburg and Wyoming Avenue are out-of-service. However under brown-outs, each day two more houses will be closed. “Three houses and five companies is all that will be available most of the time in the city,” added Mr. Gervasi.

“Call them brown-outs, but your neighborhood firehouse is still closed,” he added.

The Department of Labor (DOL) Rapid Response Team, a group of people affiliated with community organizations that meet with recent unemployed workers and help them adjust to a job loss, met with Local 60 members at St. Mary’s Center on Miffin Avenue in Scranton on December 29th.

The Rapid Response Team will help the unemployed worker file for unemployment benefits, learn about job training availability, and teach them about other programs.

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