In a long awaited editorial, the WDT is urging the Third Floor and the Firefighters union to cool their rhetoric and save money by agreeing to a contract quickly. Well that sounds nice but City Council has gone too far to just give up their central goal of breaking the minimum manning clause in the contract in a bid to gain control over Department costs over the long run.
The decision to hire Terry O'Neill, the downstate labor Svengali, was the Rubicon crossed for lawmakers and the managment and legal team that pushed for the move.
Council never followed the lawyer's central strategy of breaching the contract in the hopes of litigating before a judge what they believe should be a key right of management and that is the level of staffing and ultimately the cost.
Now the focus is shifting to a public relations battle to sway public opinion but so far most of the public only knows there's a nasty spat as the economics of the union contract have not been explained and the City's own study seemed to undercut their theory of the case.
For their part, the union has the built in advantage of the state's Taylor Law and there is little incentive to settle for anything unless a lot of $$$ is thrown their way or they just get tired of the acrimony.
The next step is a stated PR campaign by management to explain just why the contract's language is choking taxpayers while the union argues public safety has a cost.
Someone will get around to a FOIL for the labor and lawyer costs and that will make for a headline or two, but it's clear at least four of five on Council are committed to their goal and that means the process will continue.