In September of 2005, then Erie Mayor Rick Filippi ordered the closing of Fire Company 12, eliminating 12 firefighter positions. As a result of that decision, Erie firefighters Local 293 asked the city to hold off on that closing to discuss the plan in the interest of health and safety for the firefighters. When the city refused, the firefighters union filed a grievance.
After an arbitration hearing, it's been concluded that the closing and layoffs were related to firefighter safety and therefore should have been negotiated with the union. The ruling says the city did violate State Statute 111 and the collective bargaining agreement. Now, the city is directed to re-open Fire Comapny 12, and thus needing 16 more firefighters to run that engine.
This could mean the remaining laid off firefighters will return to duty, and the city may then need to hire additional firefighters.
Local 293 president Dave Chiaramonte says he's excited about the decision, but he knows there's still a long road ahead.