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Alabama Fire Fighters Rally Behind Accused Local President

December 18, 2006 – More than 100 fire fighters and supporters, including Alabama State Senator Parker Griffith (D), rallied November 25 to support Huntsville, AL Local 1833 President Marc Thrailkill who faced a hearing to determine whether an article he wrote for his union publication qualified as “conduct unbecoming of an employee while on and off duty.”

In the article, Thrailkill discussed how Huntsville Fire Chief Dusty Underwood had not made good on promises to stand up for fire fighters. The City of Huntsville pays its employees based on what “grade” they are classified in. Chief Underwood had pledged to help fire fighters be reclassified into a higher pay grade, therefore receiving a higher salary. But, Thrailkill says the chief has not kept that promise.

“The first amendment protects my right and everyone else’s right to free speech,” says Thrailkill. “I am really appreciative of all of the support I’m getting from my union brothers and sisters and Senator Griffith. United we stand, united we win.”

If the department hearing finds Thraikill at fault, he could receive a written reprimand or suspension without pay. The next step would be an informal hearing where Thrailkill could face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Thraikill is currently represented by Local 1833’s lawyer, Bo Emerson. If the case progresses to disciplinary action, the Thrailkill will be eligible to apply for IAFF assistance through the Guardian Policy.


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