Black Philly firefighters: Union is racist

Nov. 12, 2009 at 10:28 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Black Philadelphia firefighters have sued their union, charging it is dominated by a group of white firefighters dedicated to ending affirmative action.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Club Valiants, said the Philadelphia Firefighters' Union, Local 22 of the International Association of Firefighters, is "racially harassing and abusive." The union has no black officers and the only black employee is a janitor, court papers said.

Club Valiants said the union's leadership is dominated by a mostly white group, the Concerned American Fire Fighters Association, and had submitted a bargaining proposal that sought the end of "any and all quota-based hiring practices," the lawsuit said. That was aimed at a consent agreement the city entered 25 years ago.

"They're using my union dues to do it," Club Valiants President Kenneth Greene said. "It's a slap in the face."

Local 22 President Bill Gault called the charges in the suit "completely not true." CAFFA President Mike Bresnan said the request on quotas came from union members and that it was dropped from the bargaining proposal because of a decision that it was not up to an arbitrator.

The suit requests a court-appointed monitor for the union.

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