General President Harold Schaitberger joined 8th District Vice President Tom Miller and Detroit, MI Local 344 President Dan McNamara and more than 200 fire fighters in Detroit for a rally and informational picket at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center to ask the city’s leadership to consider the safety and welfare of Detroit’s citizens before reducing the city’s emergency response capabilities and cutting fire fighters.
The city has already laid off 63 fire fighters, eliminated five companies, closed one battalion and demoted or reassigned a number of positions.
City leaders are now threatening additional cuts, including layoffs of up to 190 fire fighters, more company closures, and have asked for health care cuts.
“This is a very hard time for the City of Detroit, but you can’t protect the citizens of this city by cutting its emergency response operation,” said Schaitberger during the August 10 rally.
“If Detroit’s leaders think they have a problem now with urban flight, wait until the citizens have to wait longer to have fire fighters arrive at the scene of a disaster because companies are closed and fewer fire fighters are available to respond,” continued Schaitberger. “I think more people will leave this city if these dangerous cuts are made, because people ultimately are concerned about their family’s safety.”
Mayor Kilpatrick has indicated he will make a major announcement in the coming week regarding a restructuring of the fire department.