Philadelphia is appealing a $200 million arbitration award to firefighters that city administrators say is financially ruinous and unaffordable. The award earlier this month represents yet another example of how Pennsylvania's binding arbitration law, which requires that municipalities and unions go to arbitration if they reach an impasse in contract negotiations, is busting budgets in the Keystone State., where arbitrators often ignore the ability of a city to pay big awards. Scranton nearly ran out of money earlier this month thanks in large part to an arbitrators' ruling last fall that the city owed police and firefighters $30 million that the mayor says the city couldn't afford. Then the arbitrators in the Philly case awarded firefighters three years of pay raises and protection from furloughs the city was using to save money.
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