Rallying over medic emergency

Tim O’Toole is a father of five who, after 16 years on the job, still loves being a medic. These days are tougher than most, though. As labor and political leaders joined more than 150 protestors rallying yesterday outside the City Hall door through which Mayor Michael Nutter enters each morning, O’Toole said “morale’s bad” among his peers.

“We’re all going to continue doing our jobs. The public’s not at fault for any of this,” O’Toole said of the ongoing dispute between his union and Nutter. “We don’t know what’s going on. The letter we got was very vague. We have people whose children get chemo, who are pregnant, so we’re really worried about health benefits. We’re regrouping. Hopefully, we’ll come out of this stronger.”

If anything, their side of the issue got stronger with the lunchtime rally that drew roughly 200 people with signs, including some that read “Is there a fire truck in your neighborhood tonight?”

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, several council members (from Jannie Blackwell to Brian O’Neill) and representatives of other unions were there, turning a medics issue into a labor-community issue.

“We’ve been here a long time,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger, “and we’re going to be here a long time after this mayor is gone.”

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