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Firefighters take step toward appeal

Friday, September 19, 2014 by Jo Clifton

Austin firefighters have asked U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel to reconsider his ruling to not allow the union, IAFF Local 975, to intervene in a lawsuit between the U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Austin. The city has agreed to a settlement of claims over discrimination against minorities, but firefighters have opposed it on the grounds that the 2013 hiring practices were fair to all. Firefighters claim the proposed settlement will hand over hiring decisions to the Justice Department and prevent firefighters from bargaining on the hiring process. The city says that is not true. In addition, several individual firefighters are asking to intervene because they say the failure to negotiate could result in the loss of opportunities for promotion. The motion is the first step in the union’s march to New Orleans, where members hope the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will overturn the judge’s decision. In addition, firefighters are asking Yeakel to postpone a “fairness hearing” currently set for Oct. 29.

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