More than a year ago, faced with a budget shortfall, Chambersburg's Borough Council proposed cutting several paid firefighter positions.
Borough officials said considering the large local volunteer force, public safety would not be threatened by the decision. That was, until the local IAFF professional firefighters union wrote a letter to neighboring volunteers, who are also union members, threatening to sanction them for responding to borough calls.
In May, a local judge filed an injunction, ordering the union to "cease and desist from encouraging, sanctioning, and supporting a secondary boycott of volunteer fire services in the Chambersburg Fire Department".
Now, a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board Hearing Examiner, Thomas Leonard released a proposed opinion for judicial review.
In the report, Leornard says the IAFF's letter does not prevent all volunteers from responding to calls within the borough. He wrote, "If every one of the IADD members refused to respond to calls in the Borough, there would still be 50 volunteers not affected by President Martin's October 26 letter".
The borough says that contradicts their views, saying they believe even one firefighter can make a difference on a scene. They also believe by discouraging IAFF volunteers from responding, some of the most highly experienced and trained volunteers would not be able to assist on scenes.
"We are supporting the volunteers because the volunteers are a critical component of the entire Chambersburg Fire Department,"said Bill McLaughlin, President of Chambersburg's Borough Town Council.
He said, the report appears to discount the significant impact on public safety, and said they are prepared to take this issue to Commonwealth Court.