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Cutting in the middle man

Posted by Ralph Ranalli April 24, 2007 05:31 AM

NEWTON

The city and its firefighters are still facing off over a contract, but soon a mediator will step in between them.

Mayor David B. Cohen announced yesterday that the state Joint Labor Management Committee, an organization that evaluates disputes involving police and fire departments in the interest of preserving public safety, has determined that the two sides cannot reach an agreement without mediation.

Firefighters, who object to the city’s sick leave policy, have been without a contract for four years.

"It became clear to us long ago that collective bargaining with this union was going nowhere, and we needed the assistance of an outside party," Cohen said at his weekly Monday press conference.

If mediation fails, the JMLA will appoint an arbitrator to decide the case, Cohen said.

-- Connie Paige

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