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Relationship improves between Scranton Unions and City with new mayor

06.20.14

JUNE 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Relationship improves between Scranton Unions and City with new mayor

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 1st- The working relationship between the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 60 in Scranton and the current Mayor of Scranton Bill Courtright has greatly improved, stated Grievance Chairman David Gervasi. Mr. Gervasi served for many years as the President of Local 60. John Judge is curently the President of the labor organization, that represents Scranton’s fire department.

For twelve years the relationship between Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and the firefighters union was poor with disputes between the parties often ending-up in arbitration or the court system. Taxpayers money was often spent to settle the disputes with the union often stating things could have been worked-out if Mr. Doherty would only agree to sit and talk.

Mr. Doherty would often have the editorial support of the anti-union daily newspaper the Scranton Times-Tribune, while confronting labor unions that represent city employees.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge Number 2 Union represents the non-management members of the Scranton Police Department.

Both the IAFF and the FOP during Mr. Doherty’s three four-year terms would often be working under the terms and conditions of the previous labor contract because the unions and the city could not reach an agreement on a successor Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Mr. Doherty. Currently both are working under a CBA that was not negotiated between the city and the unions but given through the court system.

According to Mr. Gervasi, while the Doherty administration would be spending so much time and effort fighting with the unions, equipment needed by the firefighters would often go without being purchased.

Mr. Gervasi stated the department is currently being manned by the fewest amount of firefighters, likely in it’s history of being represented by the IAFF.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 2462 represents the clerical employees of Scranton while IAM Local Lodge 2305 represents the workers of the Department of Public Works (DPW). Local Lodge 2305 had the best relationship with Mr. Doherty and endorsed him while he was seeking a second and third term of mayor.

Mr. Gervasi told the newspaper since Mr. Courtright began being mayor in January approximately 18 union grievances have been settled without going to arbitration. However, there were two grivances filed by Local 60 against the city.

“We don’t agree on everything, but it is great to have a mayor that will sit down with us and try to work things out. Because of communication, we will save taxpayers’ money,” said Mr. Gervasi.