Black Firefighters Sue Local 22, Philadelphia Firefighters

A group of black Philadelphia firefighters filed suit on November 11, 2009 against their union, IAFF Local 22, alleging race discrimination. The group, named the Club Valiants, is seeking class action status on behalf of aproximately 500 African-American firefighters in Philadelphia.

The suit alleges that the union does not fairly represent the interests of black firefighters, and has been "racially harassing and abusive". Among the specific allegations, the suit cited the fact that the union's internet message board has been used to mock and denigrate blacks.

According to an article in Philly.com, a related issue in the suit is the involvement of a group referred to as CAFFA. Philly.com reported that sources in Philadelphia claim the group's name is "Concerned American Fire Fighters Association", but in the past CAFFA stood for "Caucasian American Fire Fighters Association". The suit alleges that at least three of the union officials in the Philadelphia firefighters union are members of CAFFA. CAFFA and the city of Philadelphia are also named in the suit.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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