Scranton Firefighters Lead Charge Against City Paying All Workers Minimum Wage

Scranton city workers, led by IAFF Local 60, have filed suit to block the mayor’s attempt to reduce their pay to $7.25 per hour, the Federal minimum wage.

Last week Mayor Chris Doherty announced that he was unilaterally cutting the pay of 398 employees to the Federal minimum indefinitely due to the fiscal crisis. Included in the Mayor’s slashing was his own salary.

City employee unions went to court yesterday to block the action. Here is a copy of the suit, which was filed in Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas. Scranton Firefighters v City of Scranton

The basis of the suit is that under Pennsylvania law, a municipal employer is required to bargain changes to mandatory subjects such as wages with unions. The complaint specifically references recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions in other Scranton cases where the city sought to invalidate collective bargaining agreements and arbitration rulings.

Scranton has been declared a “financially distressed” municipality under the state’s Municipalities Financial Recovery Act. That designation goes back to… believe it or not – 1992. 

In the media, the Mayor has indicated that the salary reduction is merely a deferral, and that employees will receive the difference between Federal minimum wage and their normal wage once the crisis is over. The unions are alleging that the mayor made no effort to bargain with them, and the impact will result in irreparable harm as employees will be unable to pay their bills, default on mortgages and loans, and be unable to feed their families.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
x

Check Also

Airport Firefighters Seek Injunction to Prevent Retaliation Over IAFF Censure

Nine members of IAFF Local 3217, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Professional Firefighters, have filed suit against the Authority and three chief officers seeking an injunction to prevent retaliation against them for trying to bring to light safety related staffing concerns. The nine firefighters are the elected officers and executive board of the local.

Philadelphia Firefighter Claims His Officer Harassed Him After He Suffered a Heart Attack

A Philadelphia firefighter who claims he was harassed and bullied by his officer after returning to duty following a heart attack has filed suit claiming disability discrimination and retaliation. Perry Lawrynkiewicz filed suit in US District Court claiming violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and the City of Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance.