"We believe that these inspectors are being fired not for their performance," said Leisha Self of the American Federation of Government Employees.
Back in July, a group of housing inspectors were fired from their jobs. Self says just like in that case, none of the commercial workers had any complaints against them, so their dismissals didn't make sense.
A spokesperson for the DCRA disagrees, saying they were given a year to be certified and they failed to take the test or pass it to become certified. The spokesperson also said it wasn't the outcome the organization was hoping for, because they wanted a fully-certified staff, but now they have to move forward.
The union maintains that the ICC Certification for the job was unnecessary because those rules don't apply in the District.
"For example, we have electrical inspectors. They were being asked to certify in plumbing boiler and elevator and various other disciplines," said Self.
There was a lot of concern after the dismissal of the housing inspectors about how all the new housing projects would be checked. It's the same issue on the commercial side, and the city says they already have a list of third party commercial inspectors.
"Third party inspectors work for profit," said Self. "The profit motive could cause them very likely to certify the work as appropriate and move on. That's how they make money, that's how they get additional business."
The union is still fighting the housing inspectors' dismissal, and they're now calling for an investigation into Friday's firings.
The city says they will have temporary certified inspectors to fill the void and they will recruit to fill the vacant jobs within the next month.