The members of San Antonio, TX Local 624 are demanding that the City administration do the right thing and approve workers’ compensation cancer claims. Right now, 13 Local 624 members are fighting various forms of cancer. One member, Casey Turk, died of brain cancer in April.
Section 607 of the Texas Government Code states firefighters who suffer from cancer are presumed to have developed it while on the job. Still, the City has been denying claims, forcing fire fighters to use sick days and pay for their own treatment.
At a September 11 press conference at the union hall, more than 100 active and retired members of Local 624 members filled the room. The conference announced the launch of a new web site, SAFFcancer.org.
The mission of the site is to let the public know why fire fighters are more susceptible to developing job-related cancer than most other professions. Supporters are encouraged to sign the petition.
“Our goal is 20,000 signatures,” says Nathan Alonzo, Local 624 Legislative Director and spokesperson. “The message to the City will be that the public supports our efforts to ensure that our members receive the life-saving cancer treatment they need.”
Local 624 has also taken legal action on behalf of each of the affected members. All of the cases are still in litigation.
Meanwhile, Local 624’s contract expires at the end of the month. For this contract, the City is threatening to reduce health insurance benefits to mirror civilian healthcare plans. As they have in the past, Local 624 members have agreed to discuss possible concessions including paying premiums in order to main the current level of benefits.
The City has scheduled a vote on the 2015 budget for September 18.