City suing firefighter’s union

Local News

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — The city is suing the firefighter’s union over its ambulance service. They filed suit Friday.

The city says the union isn’t working with them to reach an agreement to remove the ambulances, but the union says that’s just not true.

City Administrator Kyle Gill says they don’t want to pay for something which is already provided in the area. He says it doesn’t help the city’s sales tax has stayed stagnant, and property tax hasn’t risen enough to meet demands. 

Bart Owen, president of the union, believes there’s more to it. He says it has to do with staffing. It’s a battle which started last year.

The city is supposed to hire 30 firefighters. Right now, it has 22. The fire department filed a grievance and won, but Owen says their numbers haven’t changed since the win.

He says they also haven’t received any promotions. That was another grievance filed with the city. When it happened, Owen says they gave the city five months to talk about it, and the city isn’t doing the same. 

“He gave us five days the following week. He wanted us to meet with him. We have to have a lawyer, we have schedules. There’s no way we could meet within one week,” said Owen.

When they meet again, they’ll begin to discuss the impact of the ambulance service. Until then, Owen says it’ll be business as usual.

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