Official IAFF Statement
Nov. 6, 2001 -- The Presidents of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Local 94 and the Uniformed Fire Officer Association (UFOA) Local 854, two additional senior union officials and other fire fighters have been arrested in New York on charges stemming from Friday's protest at Ground Zero.
Last week, City officials told IAFF leaders in New York they were seriously contemplating a scale back of recovery personnel. Fire fighter negotiators strongly advised City officials that a reduction would hinder the recovery of the remains of the fallen fire fighters and the World Trade Center workers still buried in the rubble. But City officials turned a deaf ear and ordered the crew be cut to 25 fire fighters and 25 police officers, down from 200.
IAFF members were shocked that the City would go back on its commitment to recover the bodies in a dignified fashion. In protest, more than a thousand marched to Ground Zero.
"This is an insult to every fire fighter and family involved in this terrible and tragic incident," said General President Harold Schaitberger. "We stand behind our New York members 100 percent."
In connection with the march, several union officers were arrested on Friday, 1st District Vice President and President of UFA Local 94 Kevin Gallagher on Saturday, and President of UFOA Local 854 Pete Gorman on Sunday. On Monday, Uniformed Firefighters Association Vice President Matthew James and the Sergeant-at-arms Thomas Manley were also arrested.
All were charged with criminal trespassing. Both Gallagher and Gorman pleaded not guilty and were released on their own recognizance. Some of the other fire fighters arrested have had their charges reduced and others have been dropped. More fire fighter arrests may be coming.
"Prior to our rally, we told the City that there were not enough searchers at the site for a respectful recovery of the bodies of fire fighters, emergency service personnel, and civilians," said Gallagher. "The least the City can do for the families of the fallen is to keep the recovery operation going. Our brothers are still buried under that rubble and we are determined to bring them home."
"I am absolutely outraged," Pete Gorman, President of UFOA Local 854 told the New York Daily News. "Two of my young fire fighters were lost, and there was a memorial visitation this afternoon. Instead, Mayor Giuliani hauled me to court. I don't think I'm guilty of anything."