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LOCKPORT – The city firefighters’ union will be allowed to take the city to arbitration over a health insurance error if the sides can’t work out a deal, State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. ordered Thursday.

He lifted a stay on arbitration the city obtained over the incident in which seven laid-off firefighters who worked until Jan. 3 lost their health coverage as of Dec. 31. Some of the men or their families had medical appointments Jan. 2 or 3, although Deputy Corporation Counsel David E. Blackley said no one submitted an insurance claim.

Kevin W. Pratt, president of the Lockport Professional Fire Fighters Association, said that was true, but he said, “The judge said the city was wrong and clearly erred.”

Pratt said city officials told the laid-off men to expect to pay the full cost of their doctor visits out-of-pocket.

“We’re certainly open to sitting down with the city and coming to some kind of agreement on paper,” Pratt said.