I believe it may be a safe presumption that most of us believe in the basic premise of democracy: wherein that each individual maintains the autonomy to voice opinions and ideas, which in turn are considered and debated by the masses. Upon completion of said debate, a vote is held, and the decision made by the majority goes forward. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t, but it is an established and accepted process, and we must respect that.
It has been said publicly in a recent letter to the editor that my union, the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 101, was guilty of bullying or mistreating individual members (Reader’s view: “Don’t be bullied when voting on amendment,” June 29). As president of this local affiliate for the past 10 years, I am personally offended by such an accusation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our meetings are run under
Atwood’s Rules of Order. All members are encouraged to bring forward issues, ideas, concerns and suggestions. If a valid motion is put before the membership, I have been adamant that any who wish to speak in favor or against get their opportunity. At the close of civil debate, a vote is taken, and the majority decides the outcome. It is the responsibility of all members to respect this decision, even though they may have been in opposition. We do not tolerate any personal attacks nor do we condone any similar activity during or outside the meeting.
Our membership has debated many sensitive issues over the years, and there have been some that may be considered controversial. We have dealt with them in a consistent and fair manner, excluding no one and respecting the process. For anyone to suggest otherwise is an unfortunate and misleading message to publicize.
The writer is president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 101.