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
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.