Looking to quiet the gossipy whispers at church socials and Tupperware parties, Greg Nickels and the Seattle Firefighters Local 27 union issued a joint press release yesterday evening. If you'll recall, Nickels didn't cross a Providence, RI firefighters' picket line in much the same way that Bill Clinton didn't smoke weed or I wasn't touching my brother when I was a kid and I'd hold my hands right in front of his face and follow him around and reply to his demands that I leave him alone by saying, "I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you."
In short, the firefighters aren't happy with Nickels, whom they have endorsed twice previously (they haven't issued an endorsement yet this year), and who reassures us that he believes in unions and good-faith bargaining. Full release after the jump:Seattle Fire Fighters, Local 27 and Mayor jointly address the recent US Conference of Mayors meeting in Providence, RI.
SEATTLE - Fire Fighters in Providence, R.I., have been working without a contract for nearly a decade. Despite Mayor Cicilline making a promise to Providence Fire Fighters to resolve their contract difference within 30 days of taking office in his bid for Mayor in 2002, the dispute continues in 2009.
At the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting hosted by Providence Mayor Cicilline, Providence fire fighters set up informational protests to draw attention to their lack of a contract and a stalled collective bargaining process. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was inaugurated as President of the US Conference of Mayors at the Providence meeting.
Seattle Fire Fighters are unhappy that Mayor Nickels chose to attend the meeting in spite of the protests. As an officer of the US Conference of Mayors and incoming President, Mayor Nickels attended the business portions of the meeting where members of other unions were working. Out of respect for the fire fighters he did not attend associated
non-business events that were subject to protest.
"I strongly believe that workers, whether in the public or private sector, have the fundamental right to organize unions and bargain their wages, hours and working conditions with their employers. As public officials we need to be prudent representatives of the taxpayer while we also have an obligation to bargain in good faith with our unions,"
Kenny Stuart, President of Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27, said, "Seattle Fire Fighters fully supported the Providence Fire Fighters' protests of Mayor Cicilline's unacceptable actions and we applaud President Obama and Vice President Biden for their immediate and unconditional support for fire fighters and a fair collective bargaining
process, which they and Administration officials demonstrated by not attending the meeting."
Nickels said, "Public safety is a core responsibility for local government and labor and management must work together to maintain public safety services during tough budget times. I encourage both parties in Providence to resolve the dispute by fair collective
Seattle Fire Fighters asked Mayor Nickels if he would demonstrate his support for collective bargaining and the Providence Fire Fighters. "Mayor Nickels has bargained in good faith with Seattle Fire Fighters so we expected him to take a strong stand on this issue," said Stuart. "We understand Mayor Nickels was in a difficult position as the
incoming President of the US Conference of Mayors. But we were disappointed that he attended the meeting."