Like many affiliates participating in breast cancer awareness campaigns this month, Stockton, CA Local 456 contacted us about its "Passionately Pink for the Cure" campaign. But unlike stories from other IAFF affiliates, we were disheartened to hear that late last night, the Stockton city manager emailed fire fighters with a directive that prohibits fire fighters from either selling or giving away any "Go Pink" T-shirts bearing the Stockton Fire Department name. Local 456 members face disciplinary action for violating the directive.
Local 456 funded and designed the T-shirts to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
In addition, although the Stockton fire chief had previously agreed to allow fire fighters to wear the pink T-shirts on duty every day this week, the city manager would only authorize fire fighters to wear the T-shirts for one day - today.
Local 456 President Dave Macedo tells us that this is just another attack by the city in its attempt to diminish a positive image for Stockton fire fighters. Local 456 has been engaged in a heated and well-publicized labor dispute with the City of Stockton.
Local 456 fire fighters, who publically announced earlier this week that they would be selling the pink fire fighter T-shirts today while helping bag groceries at Safeway, continued with their plans to bag groceries, and will find other ways to raise funds and donate towards finding a cure. Local 456 has also sent a press release to all Northern California media contacts, calling this is a "pure political move" to breakdown the union.
"The tactics by the City in its campaign to repeal Binding Interest Arbitration (Measure H) continue to be illegal and deceitful in many ways," Macedo says. "The city manager’s pettiness and mean-spirited actions do nothing but harm the cause of raising funds to battle breast cancer."
We think this city manager's inability to set aside his political differences with fire fighters for a cause as deserving as breast cancer research is just plain sad.
We encourage Stockton Local 456 to enter its pink T-shirt in our online "best pink campaign T-shirt design contest - we didn't see anything in the city's directive prohibiting that.