DELTONA, Fla. --
The city of Deltona won't let firefighters go pink. They want to wear pink t-shirts to support breast cancer survivors, but city officials say it violates their contracts. However, it may be more politics at play than just pink shirts.
Deltona firefighters are dealing with one hot issue that has nothing to do with fire.
"That affects a lot of people, and when they hear about it they find it ridiculous," Deltona Professional Firefighters' President Kurt Vroman said.
It all boils down to the color pink. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the firefighters' union wants to wear pink uniforms with a special symbol for six weeks.
City Manager Faith Miller, however, says no.
"I certainly support breast cancer awareness," Miller said.
But, she says, six weeks is a long time and specific uniforms are in the union contract; any changes would have to be negotiated.
Firefighters said the t-shirts are 100 percent cotton and, when fighting fires, they would be covered by layers of protective clothing.
"This isn't a safety issue at all," Vroman said.
But some in the community suggest it could be a political issue, that firefighters are using this to make the city look bad since the two sides have been at an impasse in contract negotiations for more than a year.
"I don't think it should be used like that," resident Audra Kuhn said.
Firefighters even sent a questionnaire to political candidates asking if they would terminate the city manager.
"We have no confidence in her," Vroman said.
Still, they deny the breast cancer awareness request is politically-motivated, but wonder if the city's response is.
"We're moving through special magistrate and impasse process, but this decision didn't have anything to do with that," Miller said.
The city labor attorney told the city manager it could also set a bad precedent and other causes could request firefighters use their shirts. Both sides plan to meet again Friday to see if they can reach a compromise.
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