As president of Local 1347 and on behalf of its membership, I would like to thank the residents of Watertown for their unwavering support over the years and particularly the past ten months.
Your support helped galvanize us in our fight for fairness. Your lawn signs and our picketing, done respectfully and without incident helped us carry our message forward. This agreement fairly compensates our members for the hard work they perform day in and day out. We are honored and privileged to serve you.
Although there was a lot of animosity grown during this process, your firefighters never let you down. Our executive board and members publicly continued to fight for our rights but never while on duty and we never let it have a negative effect on our performance at work.
While we were pleased with the Council’s unanimous decision to approve the agreement, we are extremely disappointed in the public comments made by a few of the councilors who made claims that they were “harassed, bullied and threatened”. I asked those councilors to provide specifics, in particular District A Councilor Angie Kounelis, and if substantiated I will address the members involved but as I stated, I do not believe these claims to be valid.
As union members, better yet as Americans, we have the right to protest the actions of our elected officials if we feel they are wrong. If the Councilor believes that by us stating we would (and still are) seeking more open minded candidates to replace her then perhaps her skin is not as thick as she believes and her claims are at best pandering.
The bottom line is that Local 1347 will always fight to protect its rights and we appreciate the community’s support to that end. We look forward to working with Chief Orangio and the Town on developing the ALS system so we can upgrade the level of services we provide you. As always, our pledge is to provide you, the residents of Watertown, with the best fire protection that can be provided.
Once again, we thank you.
President, IAFF Local 1347