Maine fire union blasts chief for not allowing shirts supporting troops to be worn on duty
Bangor Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 772 officials say Chief Thomas Higgins refused to negotiate extending the agreement that allowed them to wear the shirts on some Fridays
Nick Sambides Jr.
Bangor Daily News, Maine
BANGOR, Maine — Bangor’s firefighter’s union criticized the fire department’s bosses on Friday for refusing to negotiate to allow firefighters to wear T-shirts that the union calls supportive of American troops.
International Association of Fire Fighters Local 772 President Jared Willey took to Facebook to claim that Fire Chief Thomas Higgins’ agreed to negotiate what had been developing into a Friday tradition — firefighters’ wearing of the R.E.D. “Remember Everyone Deployed” shirts on several Fridays — but apparently changed his mind, saying that firefighters who wear the shirts instead of their uniform tops now could face disciplinary action.
“We had high hopes to renegotiate honoring our military heroes in an ongoing Friday tradition,” according to the statement, which called the idea something “with no cost to the city and an obvious boost to morale.”
“Even worse, they were unable to justify their reason for refusing an extension to the agreement. The worst part? A member just received notification of a possible year long deployment,” it continued.
According to CBS affiliate WABI, Higgins dismissed the idea that the department didn’t support the U.S. military. He said that the Friday shirt-wearing was a short-term deal and that firefighters are more recognizable in their standard garb.
Bangor City Council Chairperson Clare Davitt supports Higgins’ position, WABI reported. In its posting, the fire union encouraged residents who support the shirts to contact the council.
©2020 the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine)