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Forfeiture of pay is barred Injunction is a victory for city firefighters.


Baltimore Circuit Judge Kathleen O'Ferrall Friedman has lTC issued an injunction blocking the city from forcing firefighters and fire officers to forfeit five days' pay as part of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's budget-cutting plan.

The judge based her injunction, issued yesterday, on an earlier agreement between the city and the firefighters' union.

Faced with the threat of 252 layoffs, the union agreed Nov. 29 to give up a 6 percent pay rise it had won through binding arbitration.

In exchange, the city agreed to shift $3 million it had set aside to pay for the pay increase into the Fire Department budget, thereby avoiding the layoffs.

As part of his budget-cutting efforts, Mayor Schmoke had decided to close the city's schools for one week in February, but when that proved too controversial, he instead proposed forcing city employees to forfeit their pay from five holidays.

In response, the firefighters' union petitioned the court to enforce its order. The proposal violated the November agreement, the union argued, and because firefighters do not receive paid holidays, it would actually be an across-the-board pay cut.

"In our minds, we had struck a deal in light of the fiscal problems that were going on," said Jeffrey A. DeLisle, president of the Baltimore Fire Fighters Union. "And so we're going to make them live up to their end of the deal."

Clint Coleman, a spokesman for the mayor, said Mr. Schmoke will not press for an appeal of the ruling.

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