Anti-union board strikes again; Battalion Chief Porter has a spotless record
By ED FINKELSTEIN
Chesterfield, MO – In one of the most egregious actions to date by the anti-union board of the Monarch Fire Protection District (FPD), the directors have fired a 35-year fire fighter veteran with a distinguished record without telling him why he was fired.
“I am stunned by this action and the lack of any explanation or any official statement by the Monarch Board of Directors,” said fired Battalion Chief Sean Porter, who was named Battalion Chief in April 2012.
“This is outrageous,” said Fire Fighters 3rd District Vice President Andy Stecko who also serves as Fire Fighters Local 2665 shop steward in Monarch.
Porter, a father of five, although exempt as a chief from the union’s agreement, is a 35-year Local 2665 member and still pays his dues. Given the board’s anti-union attitude since new directors were elected in 2013, one has to wonder if his support of the union was in some measure the motivation for his firing.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Given the board’s anti-union attitude since new directors were elected in 2013, one has to wonder if his support of the union was in some measure the motivation for his firing.)
WHY THE SUDDEN ACTION?
“It is the union’s position this action by Directors Jane Cunningham (board secretary) and Robin Harris (board president) is an attempt to destroy the morale of our fire fighter/paramedic team,” Stecko said.
“We will take every measure to support Battalion Chief Porter, who has a spotless record, in the face of this totally unwarranted action.”
The Labor Tribune reached out unsuccessfully to Cunningham and Interim Fire Chief Chuck Marsonette for an explanation.
Cunningham is a former state senator who was forced out of her Senate seat due to redistricting by her own Republican Party in 2010. She was unabashedly anti-union in the legislature and brought that philosophy back with her to the Monarch Fire Protection District, where she has waged a relentless campaign against Local 2665.
In the state legislature, Cunningham was notorious for a bill she filed to change Missouri's child labor laws to allow businesses to employ children under the age of 14 and eliminate restrictions on the number of hours those children could during the day.
RESIGN OR BE FIRED
On Dec. 12, Chief Porter was called into a meeting with Chief Marsonette and was told the Board asked him to resign and that it had noting to do with his excellent job performance.
When Porter refused to resign and said he had done nothing to warrant dismissal, Marsonette – who offered no reasons why – immediately terminated him.
“I asked why I was being terminated but I got no response from Chief Marsonette,” Porter said.
Reacting to the unjust and undeserved termination, Stecko said: “Board members Jane Cunningham and Robin Harris have wrongfully discharged a battalion chief officer who is much admired and well liked by fire fighters and paramedics across St. Louis County and in Greater St. Louis.”
WANT TO HELP?
If you think this type of action against a distinguished fire fighter is unwarranted, Local 2665 asks that you contact the Fire Board and let them know of your dissatisfaction.
- President – Robin Harris: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Secretary – Jane Cunningham: email@example.com
- Treasurer – Steve Swyers: Swyers.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Monarch District covers more than 62.7 square miles and services over 60,000 people in all of, or part of, the cities of Ballwin, Chesterfield, Clarkson Valley, Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, Wildwood, and unincorporated St. Louis County.