Firefighter Pink Shirt Debate - New York News

Firefighter Pink Shirt Debate

Posted: Updated:

First, Florida's Melbourne Fire Department ordered professional-looking pink polo shirts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Then, they were ordered by their chief not to wear them. Now the firemen are looking for an answer as to why they can't support the cause.

They're pink, they're bright, and they were purchased to make a statement.

"The NFL does it, Little League kids do it. I mean everyone wears pink during the month of October," says Roger Vankramer, the firefighter union president, which is why the Melbourne Fire Department wanted to get on board.

Firefighter union president Roger Vankramer says that last year, the union bought T-shirts to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And they bought them at no cost to the city. However, city leaders decided that they wanted firefighters to wear a more professional show of support this year, something with a collar. Therefore, Fire Chief Paul Forsberg says he approved the $2,500 purchase of pink Polos.

"The two ribbons were to denote all cancers and breast cancer simultaneously," Vankramer describes the design.

Now enter a memo. A few days ago, the fire chief sent out a memo that the pink golf shirts will not be approved to be worn as part of the uniform. Uniforms will not be used to advocate for causes, the memo said. Firefighters were stunned.

"Kind of baffled...kind of hurt our morale trying to understand why. When we first started this, the union purchased the T-shirts at no cost to the city. And then a directive came out that we have to wear these shirts. We have to wear them the entire month, which is fine. But now all of a sudden, the ones they picked and made us order aren't good enough. Why?" Aaron Starkey, a Melbourne Firefighter says.

FOX News spoke to Fire Chief Forsberg on the phone. He didn't want to go on camera but said, "Earlier today, we got new information that contradicts earlier information we received. We're looking at the memo and plan to modify or even rescind it[.] We plan to address the issue at the next labor management meeting September 30th."

"Our thought as a local is that he's in charge of the city, he makes and dictates the rule, and he certainly didn't come to us with this rule or rule change and ask if we thought it would be in the best interest of the city. So we don't think we should have to negotiate it back to the way it should be," Vankramer says.

Starkey agrees, "We have one of our own, Shannon, who's battling her second bout of cancer right now and it's stage four, so this is pretty personal to us."

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Obama Faces Criticism For Lack Of Strategy Countering ISIS

    Obama Faces Criticism For Lack Of Strategy Countering ISIS

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:49 AM EDT2014-09-01 13:49:53 GMT

    There may finally be some good news in the war against ISIS: Government forces have retaken a town in northern Iraq.

    There may finally be some good news in the war against ISIS: Government forces have retaken a town in northern Iraq.

  • Roxborough Fire Destroys Family-Owned Dry-Cleaning Business

    Roxborough Fire Destroys Family-Owned Dry-Cleaning Business

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:39 AM EDT2014-09-01 12:39:24 GMT

    A fire destroys a family-owned business early Monday morning in the Roxborough section of the city.

    A fire destroys a family-owned business early Monday morning in the Roxborough section of the city.

  • Revel Hotel Casino Begins 2-Day Shutdown

    Revel Hotel Casino Begins 2-Day Shutdown

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:15 AM EDT2014-09-01 12:15:23 GMT

    It is the beginning of the end for Atlantic City's Revel Hotel and Casino. The hotel shuts down Monday morning, and early Tuesday the casino will follow.

    It is the beginning of the end for Atlantic City's Revel Hotel and Casino. The hotel shuts down Monday morning, and early Tuesday the casino will follow.


  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:11:38 GMT
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
  • New MTA bus routes take effect

    New MTA bus routes take effect

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:51:36 GMT
    MTAMTA
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
  • 3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:47:41 GMT
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices