“The safety situation at Redstone Arsenal is severe. It’s equivalent to our hometowns not having adequate fire and emergency services,” said National President Bobby L. Harnage, Sr. “What makes this situation worse is that Redstone Arsenal houses fuels, hydraulic fluids, motorized missile launchers, explosives, radiation hazards and a variety of chemicals.”
Redstone has also failed to adequately staff the three companies it claims to maintain. Additionally, some of its firefighters have been hired under term appointments even though the purposes for which term appointments can be made do not cover those in the DoD fire service.
The suit asks the Court to order Redstone Arsenal to comply with the regulations by maintaining and fully staffing—at a minimum—five fire companies comprised of permanent employees.
“Employees and others have the right to reasonable protection against the risk of injury or death resulting from fire,” added Harnage. “Redstone's failure to comply with the applicable regulations has denied them this right. As a result, firefighters face an unnecessary risk of injury or death in the performance of their duties because of Redstone’s blatant disregard for the regulations.”
A favorable decision in the suit (AFGE, et al v. United States, et al., Case No. 00CV003001) filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on December 15, 2000, would be the first judicial decision upholding the staffing requirements of the DoDI.
AFGE is the largest federal and D.C. employees union, representing 600,000 workers. Go to www.afge.org to learn more about AFGE.