Atlantic City vs. State of New Jersey lawsuit

Atlantic City firefighters, joined by Mayor Don Guardian, center, listen to opening arguments Feb. 28 in the firefighters’ case in Superior Court seeking an injunction againts layoffs planned as part of the state takeover of city finances. Judge Julio Mendez said he’d let the arguments ‘cook on my brain’ and make a decision within a few days.

Michael Ein / Staff Photographer

The Atlantic City firefighters' union plans to appeal after Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez ruled last week that the state can break its contract and change how the department operates.

The union filed paperwork for a stay on Mendez's ruling and plans to file a full appeal this week, according to court documents.

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On Friday, Mendez ruled that the state is allowed to cut salaries, eliminate benefits, increase work hours and switch firefighters to a new health care plan. The changes took effect on Monday. 

The cuts amount to a 25 percent loss of compensation for firefighters, according to the lawsuit filed by the union, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 198.

Mendez temporarily blocked the state from cutting the department’s staff nearly in half, from 225 firefighters to 125. The state wanted to lay off 100 firefighters this fall when a federal grant paying for about 80 of them expires.

This is a developing story, check back later for more details.

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