Philadelphia Judge Upholds Firefighters’ Hepatitis C Benefits
Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Allan Tereshko yesterday upheld an arbitrator's decision requiring the city to contribute $4.8 million over two years to paramedics and firefighters infected with hepatitis C while on the job, the AP/Washington Post reports (AP/Washington Post, 12/21). George Casey, president of the Philadelphia Firefighters Union, said that 225 of the city's 2,112 current and retired firefighters who have been tested for the disease have it (American Health Line, 12/19). The city had refused to recognize the disease as a "work-related injury," and thus refused to provide compensation, prompting firefighters and paramedics to bring the case to court. On Nov. 1, an arbitrator sided with the workers. The city, which had originally budgeted $3 million annually for infected workers, appealed the arbitrator's decision. City officials are expected to decide within the next few days whether to appeal the ruling. "We are concerned that the award would be precedent-setting and dangerous to the overall finances and the future finances of the city of Philadelphia," City Managing Director Joe Martz said (AP/Washington Post, 12/21).