Yesterday, we detailed how the firefighters’ union decided to tell a little fib to put the . (Let’s note here that, in our opinion, using the suspension of a life-saving program to try and grab more money for themselves seems a little exploitative, to say the least.)
But that wasn’t the only time that the Union, and Union President Matt McFarland, made headlines this past week.
The second time came when McFarland filed a grievance because HBF Chief Bill Gillespie over his desire to wear a politically divisive Black Lives Matter pin on his City-issued, tax-payer-funded uniform. Here’s a link to more on the story:
Local Firefighter Files Grievance After Being Told to Remove a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Lapel Pin From His Uniform
According to Gillespie on the matter, “McFarland’s job description requires him to work closely with police and other public safety agencies, to deliver “a high level of customer service to the public and staff” and to maintain effective working relationships, all of which, he argues, are undermined by a polarizing lapel pin. Regarding the First Amendment, Gillespie says numerous courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, “have held that a [public employee’s] uniform is not a venue for freedom of speech.””
We don’t care what side of the Black Lives Matter issue you fall on – we hope we can all agree that wearing any type of politically divisive flair on the uniform of a public safety employee who ostensibly serves everyone equally is not okay. Not to mention that it is expressly against HBF uniform policy.
If you put aside the seriousness of the clear animosity between HBF and the union, it sure is fun to watch these two go after each other again and again. (Read more on that at the links provided at the end of this post.)
And in what appears to be a win for logic, the Humboldt Bay Joint Fire Authority board upheld Gillespie’s position. More on that from LoCO:
Firefighter Cannot Wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ Lapel Pin: Humboldt Bay Fire Board Upholds Chief’s Order
Turns out that key testimony provided by witnesses called by McFarland’s Union-appointed legal representative which alleged “that many minorities see “an invisible pin” on law enforcement uniforms, one that implies they’re not entitled to the same justice afforded to whites”, was unable to sway those mean, mean folks on the board. (Of note is that Council Member Austin Allison, a yuge advocate for firefighters, serves on the board.)
Let this serve as notice: citing imaginary or “invisible” evidence usually isn’t a sound route to take.
Of course, Matt McFarland and the firefighters’ union haven’t contained their whining ways to just this past week. Here are a few THC flashbacks that help paint a picture of just what kind of organization we have looking out for us: