PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Controversy has erupted over the endorsement of President Donald Trump by Local 22, the Philadelphia firefighters and paramedics union. It’s an endorsement the president was expected to receive in-person this weekend in the city.
Those protesting Friday say they felt blindsided by the endorsement and want it rescinded.
Trump welcomed Local 22’s endorsement on Twitter and was scheduled to visit Philadelphia this Sunday to accept the endorsement.
A number of union members want the public to know this was no unanimous move.
“Our only goal here is to force the leadership of Local 22 to rescind and withdraw the endorsement for the president and allow each of our members to make their own personal decisions at the voting booth,” Local 22 member Kurt Allington said.
A part of the issue is that the international network endorsed Joe Biden. But Local 22 President Mike Bresnan decided to break with what he called the “undemocratic IAFF endorsement of Joe Biden” and pledge full support of President Trump.
Bresnan claims the Biden endorsement was done without a canvas of local unions. Ironically, union members say that’s exactly what Bresnan did.
“We’re talking about 574 people responded of a membership of 4,700. A statement was put out in favor of Donald Trump from 574 and we have 4,700 people? That is not enough of a random sampling,” said Deputy Fire Chief Anthony Hudgins.
That email asked what candidate members would be voting for. The majority did not respond.
Those protesting now say not only was the email deceptive, but the executive board ignored every rule as their bylaws state local unions cannot endorse a national candidate.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re voting for individually, but as a union, we cannot go against our International Association of Firefighters,” said Club Valiants President Lisa Forrest.
Union members plan a no-confidence vote during next week’s meeting. Eyewitness News reached out to the union president multiple times for comment but he has no responded.
There is no word on if Bresnan plans on rescinding the endorsement.