From Tony's Kansas City: Lesa Gonzalez, one of the leaders of the Citizens to Save MAST movement has been forced to stop being involved with the group. Lesa is a MAST employee, and over the past two months, Local 42 has been taking steps to discourage MAST employees from becoming involved in the petition drive to bring the MAST takeover by the fire department to a vote of the people by declaring it a "rival organization". In Lesa's email, partially reprinted by Tony, she explains:
"In light of the fact that the group, Save Mast has been declared a rival organization of the entire IAFF, at the bequest of Louie Wright, President of Firefighters Local 42, I will no longer be able to participate in activities of the group, Save Mast. A member has been recruited to bring internal union charges against me and out of fear of suffering severe financial repercussions as well as problems stemming from activities of certain fellow union members, I have chosen to go this route. I will no longer participate in the group Save Mast."
This certainly goes past fire crackers next to the ambulance. This is a kind of intense pressure that is unfathomable. It' s the kind of thing that is hard even to imagine. Unions have certainly moved from organizations looking out for their workers to organizations looking out for their power base.
I hope to have more later on how you can help Citizens to Save MAST. Remember, the plan is to take a world class ambulance service, and completely change its leadership and insert it into a different culture. If you don't think that is going to change the quality of the service, well, I have this nice bridge in New York I'd like to sell you.
In the meantime, keep Lesa in your prayers.
Lesa Gonzalez speaks at the community meeting back in August.