The Northampton city council has rejected the ruling of a state arbitration panel that granted the firefighters union three years of back pay raises. The Local 108 was granted 406-thousand in compensation for raises they were denied during the Higgins administration. Firefighters spoke during the public comment session urging a yes vote for the appropriation. During discussions, Council President Bill Dwight said he felt it’s important to respect the arbitrated agreement. He said the joint labor management council interviewed both sides and examined reams of evidence before making their decision. Dwight said it’s unlikely a better result will come about by voting no. Finance Committee chairman David Murphy expressed his apologies to the firefighters but said the city could not afford the 406-thousand-dollar settlement. Voting no were councilors Murphy, LaBarge, Adams, Spector and Tacy. Voting yes were councilors Freeman-Daniels, Carney, and Council President Bill Dwight. With the failure of the resolution the conflict between the Local 108 and the city goes back to the bargaining table.
(photo courtesty of the Daily Hampshire Gazette)