In 2002, a group of firefighters put together a float for the Racine, WI 4th of July parade to re-enact the moment when New York City firefighters raised the American Flag soon after the attacks of 9/11. This 4th of July, and coming on the 10 year anniversary of the attacks that murdered 3000 people in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, one of the firefighters decided to bring that float back to the parade.
As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Daniel Bice, Racine firefighter Lieutenant Matt Gorniak, is having problems putting the float in the parade:
The problem: Gorniak had recently invoked a little-used provision in his union contract and opted out of membership in the Wisconsin State Firefighters Association.
Members of the executive board of the Racine firefighters union ultimately decided not to support or march with his float.
As Bice reports, firefighter and union officials were, at first, on board with Gorniak’s decision to revive the float, going so far as to want to invite a NYC firefighter to march in the parade with Racine picking up the cost. But, before they could get to planning, Gorniak was asked if he was “fair share,” a term designated to those fire fighters who opt out of the union. Gorniak did so just a few months ago, in the wake of the firefighter’s union’s support of the protestors opposed to the state’s collective bargaining law — the one supported by Gov. Scott Walker, and which the Democrats and unions fought. Once it was discovered that Gorniak was not part of the union, the board voted against the float idea.
Gorniak has decided to run the float in the parade, with or without the firefighter’s union, or with or without other firefighters.
Mr. Gorniak, I know thousands upon thousands of people (probably more!) who will gladly march with you on July 4th, and will support what you are doing. We are the same people who recognize that unions put unions before everything, including the nation, our national memories and the members they purport to protect.