Chesterfield, MO – Tuesday, firefighters with the Monarch Fire Protection District could get permission to start wearing their pink, breast cancer awareness t-shirts — but it will likely be without their union logos.
For the past four years the firefighters have worn the shirts to help raise money for people dealing with cancer in their west St. Louis County district through the charity Pink Heals.
Last week, the recently elected board ordered them not to wear the shirts this year. Firefighters say it is an attack on their union. But the board president says it is about following policy and public safety.
He believes the union logos go against the guidelines of the organization the shirts support, and he has asked the fire chief to provide for solutions to his concerns no later than Tuesday so they firefighters can start wearing the shirts.
“Any design changes to on-duty wear must be board approved or the floodgates would be open allowing any pink shirt to be worn during October,” Board President Robin Harris told the crowd gathered at the meeting in Chesterfield.
Harris, commercial pilot who is himself a member of the union tried to assure the crowd that his concerns have nothing to do with the merit of the cause of fighting breast cancer.
“I don’t think the person that’s going to benefit from our good work… is going to really care if I got the union logo on or not,” says Monarch firefighter and union member Andrew Stecko. He says reprinting the shirts without the union logos will be a waste of money.
Harris says he is also worried that someone with a pink shirt could impersonate a firefighter and wants a solution for clearly identifying members of the department.