[A] re-enactment of the famous photo of three firefighters raising the American flag amid the rubble of the World Trade Center … created a rush of emotions as it passed through three parade routes in Milwaukee County back in 2002. Crowds spontaneously rose to their feet, offering thunderous applause.
With the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks coming up later this year, Gorniak and his church’s youth group decided to revive the float in Racine’s upcoming Independence Day parade, one of the biggest in the area.
Conspicuous by their absence will be any of his fellow firefighters:
Gorniak had recently invoked a little-used provision in his union contract and opted out of membership in the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin.
Members of the executive board of the Racine firefighters union ultimately decided not to support or march with his float.
How that provision works:
Under state law, public employees can drop out of the union and opt to pay just their “fair share” for the cost the union incurs for negotiating contracts. These nonvoting employees don’t have to foot the bill for the union’s political, social and ideological activities.
Officials say it is highly unusual for Wisconsin firefighters to ask to go fair share. But Gorniak — who describes himself as a born-again Christian who supports conservative politicians, including Gov. Scott Walker — filed his resignation letter and became a fair-share worker in late March or early April. He said he made the move in response to the protests in Madison over Walker’s collective-bargaining plan.
And God forbid your conscience should take precedence over the all-important Ideological Dollars.
(Via Christopher Johnson.)