APRIL 14, 1997

 woodinville.com : your home town on the world wide web

Opinion

Firefighters union responds

union response The following letter was sent to Clark Snure, attorney for the fire district, with a request for publication:
   This letter is in response to allegations of discrimination against a female firefighter. These allegations are in the commissioner recall petitions signed by Mary Baum. I am president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 2950. Local 2950 represents all full-time firefighters and Battalion Chiefs of Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District. As president of Local 2950 I am responsible for ensuring that the rights of all union members are protected.
   The firefighter in question has not been discriminated against. The district has a written policy guaranteeing light duty for pregnancy. Light duty has been provided in accordance with the policy. The "extremely lengthy debates, discussions, and concerns" at commissioners meetings that Mary Baum refers to were discussions exploring more cost-efficient ways to fill the vacancy created when the firefighter was assigned to light duty. Since this light duty assignment would be in excess of seven months (other light duty assignments have generally been two to eight weeks), it was absolutely appropriate for the commissioners to explore cost-saving alternatives to fill the vacancy.
   I would also like to respond to a statement in the recall petition on the page titled "Forced Termination of Fire Chief Jim Davis." This appears to be a summary written by Mary Baum. Paragraph three says: "Both public and personnel perception of Chief Davis was regarded with the highest integrity and esteem." I do not know if Mary Baum has been given authority to be the spokesperson for the public, but I do know that she has not been given authority to speak for the personnel of the district.
   Local 2950 represents 54 of the approximately 70 employees of the district. As you can see, Local 2950 represents a significant majority of the district's employees. As president, I am Local 2950's only authorized spokesperson. Since Mary Baum has never spoken to me on any issue, I do not know how she arrived at her conclusion of the "employees' perception."

Dale Walling, President, IAFF Local 2950