Pennsylvania Firefighters and Paramedics Demand Union Leaders Rescind Donald Trump Endorsement

Firefighters and paramedics in Philadelphia are protesting after their local union decided to endorse President Donald Trump for re-election.

A group held a gathering outside the union building on Thursday wearing shirts reading: "Local 22 members not in support of Donald Trump."

They continued to ask their local union to rescind its endorsement as it is at odds with the national organization, the International Association of Fire Fighters, which endorsed Joe Biden back in April 2019.

Those who protested outside of the building argued that the union's executive board should have put the endorsement to a vote.

The Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union announced its support for President Trump on September 29.

"The Biden endorsement was done without a canvas of local unions and the consideration of rank and file IAFF membership. Local 22 members were surveyed and overwhelmingly chose President Trump," the statement of endorsement, signed by local union president Michael Bresnan, read.

"There is tremendous support for President Trump among first responders and we encourage other IAFF locals to confer with their members".

Protests against the endorsement, demanding it be rescinded, started a few days later.

One of the members of the union disputed the notion of overwhelming support when he spoke to ABC6, a local news station: "I think it was a very unwise and foolish move by the union. Only 554 people, according to their survey results, actually voted. That is not an overwhelming endorsement."

On October 7, as the endorsement decision was protested by some members of Local 22, its treasurer issued a statement saying that the decision was mostly driven around protection of member health care coverage.

"... We know from experience that when The Affordable Care Act was enacted our Health Plan was levied with multiple fees and taxes as a funding source (PCORI Fee, Transitional Reinsurance fee, Cadillac Tax)," Brian Coughlin, Local 22's treasurer, said.

"I firmly believe that if this concept gets enacted our health care will forever be changed for the worse, and too many of our members and their families rely on the coverage they have today".

The IAFF and Local 22 have both been contacted for comment.

Philadelphia Firefighters
Philadelphia Fire Department Engine Company 20, Ladder 23 Station in Chinatown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 27, 2016. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images