Update: Fire Union Lawsuit Dismissed but Fight Isn't Over

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

A statement from Mayor Jean Stothert's office says they are "pleased" a judge has decided to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Fire Union but Omaha firefighters say the issue isn't settled yet and it might wind up back in court.

The Union argued that the money allotted for their department in the 2014 budget violated a contract and put public safety at risk.

According to the statement from the mayor's office, "Not only do we agree with Judge Gleason that the Fire Union's action was premature, we did not think that there was any merit to the allegations."

But a statement released Tuesday evening by the Professional Firefighters Association of Omaha, Local 385, noted, "it is apparent that the Court has not given a victory to either party. Specifically, the Court wrote that:

The evidence before the Court shows that the Defendant Mayor of the City of Omaha has proposed a budget which arguably could have a deleterious effect on the safety of firefighters and therefore may be a breach of the contract entered into between the Plaintiff, Professional Firefighters Association and the City of Omaha. However, the proposal of a budget does not create a budget and this Court determines that this case is not ripe for decision until a budget has been approved by the City Council of the City of Omaha."

The statement from the firefighters goes on to note, "There has been no finding by the Court that the City is free to pass a budget that violates the agreement the City has made with the Union." It then states that if the Council passes the budget in its current form, the firefighters expect, "the parties will be back in Court."

The Fire Department had asked Mayor Jean Stothert for roughly $96 million. The mayor said she would compromise at just more than $90 million. That's the amount currently in the printed budget.

The City Council will vote on the budget August 27th.

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