• Phoenix Ends Practice Of Free Illegal Union Ads On Firetrucks

    The legal watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Tuesday that it was able to successfully end the practice of unions advertising for free on Phoenix, Ariz., fire trucks.

    The city decided to remove the AFL-CIO stickers from its fire trucks after Judicial Watch launch an investigation and made a public record request. The group sought to figure out what arrangement the city had with the union to allow the stickers.

    “The illegal arrangement has been going on for years in Phoenix,” the group said in a press release. “Vehicles in the city’s fire department have long sported the logo.”

    A lacked of documentation quickly showed there was no official arrangement. The union was instead being allowed a privilege no one else had by advertising itself on taxpayer-funded property. Realizing the legal problems, the city called for the stickers to be removed.

    “It’s reasonable to conclude that this is an example of a back-room deal between liberal mayors, enamored city council members and the longtime power of the AFL-CIO on the political arena,” Judicial Watch concluded.

    Mark Spencer, the southwest project coordinator for Judicial Watch, noted he was made aware through his own observations.

    “I had work as a Phoenix police officer for 25 years,” Spencer told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “So I was aware of it.”

    “They could have been on for decades,” he continued. “That’s part of the problem if you don’t have documentation.”

    The investigation, Spencer noted, was not about being antiunion. He noted jobs like police and firefighters are dangerous and deserve protections. Rather it was about being fair and making sure no group was being granted special privileges outside of what the rules states.

    “It’s a very unique job so labor representation is important,” Spencer went onto note. “But so is following the rules.”

    Spencer found that the city acted fairly and responsibly when ordering the stickers to be removed. It is estimated that with its existed maintenance schedule it may take a few months. In response to the order, however, fire chief Kara Kalkbrenner began removing stickers honoring fallen firefighters. Spencer noted the order clearly related to outside groups because it could be considered an advertising matter. Not memorial stickers.

    “They’re not talking about memorial stickers,” Spencer said. “It was very clear she went beyond legal counsel and it offended many firefighters.”

    Local 493, the local affiliate of the AFL-CIO representing city firefighters, condemned the order. On its Facebook page the union noted the whole thing is a waste of time and money.

    “Sad that one persons bias and ulterior motive can cost the taxpayers thousands, make the city jump through hoops and ruin the positive and prideful message of our organization,” the union wrote Wednesday. “At some point, common sense should prevail and keep things like this from happening.”

    The free union advertising in Phoenix was caught through sheer happenstance. It is quite possible other such illegal arrangement are happening in cities across the country.

    “It happened to Phoenix for decades so it could be happening elsewhere,” Spencer added.

    The AFL-CIO, Local 493 and the city of Phoenix did not respond to requests for comment from TheDCNF.

    Follow Connor on Twitter

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