Fire Union Tension With Mclean Stems From Its Push To Remove Random Drug Testing, Funds For Four-Person Staffing

BOISE, ID — Boise’s Firefighters Local 149 has been one of the most vocal groups supporting Mike Masterson’s campaign for mayor, with union members knocking on doors trying to unseat Mayor Lauren McLean and their union hall serving as Masterson’s campaign headquarters.

But, why are the city’s firefighters unhappy with the current administration?

According to interviews and documents obtained by BoiseDev, tensions between the Boise Fire Union and McLean go back to long-simmering frustrations in the fire department over whether the city should use random drug testing to root out first responders using drugs, even in their off hours, and the city’s commitment to adding a fourth staff member to fire trucks headed out to the scene of emergencies. The conflict over these two items took center stage in the latest round of fire union contract negotiations that started last year and eventually had to go to mediation and stretch back further than that into the administration of former mayor, and staunch Boise Fire Union political ally, Dave Bieter.

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