City Black and Latino firefighters are outraged over the Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union’s decision to endorse President Donald Trump for reelection.
In a statement released Tuesday, Local 22 union president Mike Bresnan said, “The members of Local 22 respectfully break with the undemocratic IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) endorsement of Joe Biden and our pledge to fully support President Donald Trump. The Biden endorsement was done without a canvas of local unions and the consideration of the rank and file IAFF membership.”
Club Valiants, the fraternal organization for Philadelphia’s African-American firefighters and the Spanish American Professional Firefighter Association, the fraternal organization for Philadelphia’s Latino firefighters said like Local 22 they were not consulted by their parent organization.
Spanish American Professional Firefighter Association President Demetrio Olivieri said, “It shows a lack of respect. There was no inclusiveness in the decision-making process.”
Lisa Forrest, president of Club Valiants, said, ”It’s a slap in the face and poor judgment. It shows poor leadership for Local 22. They didn’t even survey all the members to find out if that was the direction that they wanted to go into it. It’s a slap in the face.”
Earlier this week, Forrest made history as the Philadelphia Fire Department’s first African-American female battalion chief. She said the announcement of the endorsement was poorly timed.
“Right now I’m speaking to you as the president of Club Valiants. As president, you had the first African-American female battalion chief being promoted in 149 years. And you decided to release a statement like that on the same day that happened. That’s not even taking into account that it so happened to be me getting the promotion,” Forrest said. “I represent more people than myself. It wasn’t just for me and it wasn’t just my promotion. It was for the members, it was something positive that happened for people of color, and for you to take that moment away from us, I’m disgusted.”