Firefighters gunning for Cicilline

Although the International Association of Firefighters, Local 799, the union representing Providence firefighters, has taken a serious public-relations hit in recent days, union president Paul Doughty remained unbowed during a taping this morning of WPRI/WNAC-TV's Newsmakers.

Doughty rejected suggestions that the firefighters are seeking overly generous benefits, saying that arbitration has yielded results close to what they are seeking.

Asked why Local 799 continues to act against Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, considering how an outstanding contract dispute remains in arbitration, Doughty took note of Cicilline's expected 2010 gubernatorial run and said that firefighters want the rest of the state to be aware of the mayor's labor record.

While Cicilline might work the issue to his advantage, Doughty's comment suggests that firefighters may remain a thorn in the mayor's side during the next campaign season.

Newsmakers will be broadcast Sunday at 5:30 am on Channel 12 and at 10 am on Fox 64.

Off the set, there were indications that Local 799's plan to picket a disaster drill on Sunday, thereby putting a big crimp in it, might be canceled today. Amanda Milkovits has details on this in today's ProJo.

Meanwhile, writing at Anchor Rising, Andrew has this tart observation:

When you manage to get David Cicilline and Don Carcieri and Bob Kerr and Gio Cicione all aligned against an action you're taking, it's time to consider that you might be doing the wrong thing. Bob Kerr says it best in today's Projo, talking about the Providence Firefighters' Union plan to use a picket line to impede Saturday's statewide disaster drill...

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — you can earn a year’s pay in one horrible night.

But don’t do this. Don’t put a lasting stain on a fine tradition. Don’t let this showdown with the city lead you to do something that insults the very thing you’re supposed to stand for.

If you do this, if you use the picket line to screw up a statewide terrorism drill, you lose. You lose credibility and respect and professional standing. You come across as petty and arrogant, even childish. You are having a snit, and your snit is dangerous....

This one is going to stick to the firefighters union for a long time. It will be cited as an example of a union that lost its way and let long-standing grievances lead to a dumb and dangerous slap at the city union members are supposed to protect. It is a gift to anyone who sits on the other side of the bargaining table.

It is also an insult to hundreds of people who are very good at what they do.

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