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Firefighters Union Condemns Rudy Giuliani

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    Firefighters Union Letter On Rudy Giuliani IAFF Fire Fighting News March 8, 2007 http://www.firefightingnews.com/article-US.cfm?articleID=27125 On March 14,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2007
      Firefighters Union Letter On Rudy Giuliani
      IAFF
      Fire Fighting News
      March 8, 2007
      http://www.firefightingnews.com/article-US.cfm?articleID=27125


      On March 14, 2007, the IAFF hosted the first bi-partisan
      Presidential Forum of the 2008 election cycle. No other union and very
      few organizations has the credibility and respect to attract top-tier
      candidates from both political parties. The lineup of speakers who
      have agreed to participate in our Forum is truly a testament to our
      great union and the reputation we have built as a powerful political
      force and a coveted endorsement.

      John Edwards, John McCain, Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, Hillary Clinton,
      Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Duncan Hunter and seven other candidates will
      make their case before the 1,000 delegates who will be attending the
      Forum and to our entire membership via same-day broadcast on our web site.

      Early on, the IAFF made a decision to invite all serious candidates
      from both political parties — except one: former New York Mayor Rudy
      Giuliani.

      We made this decision after considerable soul-searching and close
      consultation with our two New York City affiliates, the Uniformed
      Firefighters Association Local 94 and the Uniformed Fire Officers
      Association Local 854, as well as our former Local 94 President and
      current IAFF 1st District Vice President covering New York.

      The IAFF recognizes that Mayor Giuliani generally enjoys a favorable
      reputation as a result of his actions immediately after the tragedy of
      9/11. As such, we want our affiliates and every one of our members to
      clearly understand the reason and rationale behind this very serious
      and sober decision.

      Many people consider Rudy Giuliani "America's Mayor," and many of our
      members who don't yet know the real story, may also have a positive
      view of him. This letter is intended to make all of our members aware
      of the egregious acts Mayor Giuliani committed against our members,
      our fallen on 9/11, and our New York City union officers following
      that horrific day.

      Rest assured, our exclusion of Mayor Giuliani is not about any
      particular contractual or policy issue or disagreement, nor is it
      based on his unfriendly relationship with our New York City affiliates
      prior to 9/11 — which we will document and explain in additional
      correspondence later on during the campaign. In fact, we invited
      several candidates with whom we have had substantial disagreement on
      policy issues because we feel very strongly that our members have the
      right to hear from all candidates, not just those who tow the IAFF line.

      Regrettably, the situation with former Mayor Giuliani is very
      different. His actions post 9/11 rise to such an offensive and
      personal attack on our brother and sisterhood — and directly on our
      union — that the IAFF does not feel Rudy Giuliani deserves an audience
      of IAFF leaders and members at our own Presidential Forum.

      The disrespect that he exhibited to our 343 fallen FDNY brothers,
      their families and our New York City IAFF leadership in the wake of
      that tragic day has not been forgiven or forgotten.

      In November 2001, our members were continuing the painful, but
      necessary, task of searching Ground Zero for the remains of our fallen
      brothers and the thousands of innocent citizens that were killed,
      because precious few of those who died in the terrorist attacks had
      been recovered at that point.

      Prior to November 2001, 101 bodies or remains of fire fighters had
      been recovered. And those on the horrible pile at Ground Zero believed
      they had just found a spot in the rubble where they would find
      countless more that could be given proper burial.

      Nevertheless, Giuliani, with the full support of his Fire Commissioner
      Thomas Von Essen, decided on November 2, 2001, to sharply reduce the
      number of those who could search for remains at any one time. There
      had been as many as 300 fire fighters at a time involved in search and
      recovery, but Giuliani cut that number to no more than 25 who could be
      there at once.

      In conjunction with the cut in fire fighters allowed to search,
      Giuliani also made a conscious decision to institute a
      "scoop-and-dump" operation to expedite the clean-up of Ground Zero in
      lieu of the more time-consuming, but respectful, process of removing
      debris piece by piece in hope of uncovering more remains.

      Mayor Giuliani's actions meant that fire fighters and citizens who
      perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no
      closure for families, or be removed like garbage and deposited at the
      Fresh Kills Landfill.

      Our Local presidents at the time attempted to meet with the Mayor to
      stop this despicable treatment of those who perished, but he refused
      to even see them face-to-face.

      The scoop-and-dump continued. And when hundreds of family members of
      the fallen joined with our affiliate leadership and members to protest
      Giuliani's decision, he ordered senior officers of the New York Police
      Department to arrest 15 of our FDNY brothers, including a number of
      local elected IAFF leaders.

      Giuliani modified his policy after the protest because public opinion
      was so strongly with our members. Ultimately, he was forced to put the
      fire fighters back on the pile. Our protests were later proven
      justified as more bodies were ultimately recovered and those families
      given a chance for some closure and a decent burial.

      Giuliani argued that the change was for our own safety, but his
      argument was empty and without substance. Fire fighters had been on
      that pile since minutes after the twin towers fell — why all of a
      sudden, after nearly two months working on the pile, was Giuliani
      concerned about fire fighter safety?

      In our view, he wasn't really concerned. The fact is that the Mayor's
      switch to a scoop-and-dump coincided with the final removal of tens of
      millions of dollars of gold, silver and other assets of the Bank of
      Nova Scotia that were buried beneath what was once the towers. Once
      the money was out, Giuliani sided with the developers that opposed a
      lengthy recovery effort, and ordered the scoop-and-dump operation so
      they could proceed with redevelopment.

      In the first few days immediately after the disaster, Giuliani had
      said he was committed to the recovery of those lost "right down to the
      last brick." We believed him at the time. But, what he proved with his
      actions is that he really meant the "last gold brick."

      Giuliani crucified fire fighters after our protest and publicly stated
      that our members were essentially acting like babies, that they didn't
      have the market cornered on grief. His insensitive statements
      demonstrated his inability to grasp what members of the FDNY were
      experiencing.

      What Giuliani showed is a disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen
      and those brothers still searching for them. He exposed our members
      and leaders to arrest. He valued the money and gold and wanted the
      site cleared before he left office at the end of 2001 more than he
      valued the lives and memories of those lost.

      Our members deserved the right to continue with a full search for
      their lost brothers and other innocent victims. Proudly, as you know,
      the fire service has a code similar to the military, where we leave no
      one behind. Recovering even a piece of a turnout coat or helmet gave
      our FDNY brothers and sisters and the families of the fallen some
      small semblance of peace, something to honor. But hundreds remained
      entombed in Ground Zero when Giuliani gave up on them.

      The fundamental lack of respect that Giuliani showed our FDNY members
      is unforgivable - and that's why he was not invited. Our disdain for
      him is not about issues or a disputed contract, it is about a
      visceral, personal affront to the fallen, to our union and, indeed, to
      every one of us who has ever risked our lives by going into a burning
      building to save lives and property.

      We have heard from some affiliates that Giuliani's campaign is
      beginning to reach out to our locals, looking to build support. If you
      are contacted by Giuliani, Von Essen, or a representative of the
      Giuliani campaign, we hope you will say not just, "No," but, "Hell
      no." And please let the IAFF Political Affairs Department know about
      it by calling (202) 824-1582.

      Please share this correspondence with your membership. Thank you.

      Fraternally and Sincerely,

      Harold A. Schaitberger, General President

      Vincent J. Bollon, General Secretary-Treasurer and Past President,
      UFOA of NYC, Local 854

      Kevin Gallagher, IAFF 1st District Vice President and Past President,
      UFA of NYC, Local 94

      Stephen Cassidy, President, UFA of NYC, Local 94

      Peter Gorman, President, UFOA of NYC, Local 854

      Written by IAFF

      *********************************************************************

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