Kevin Faulconer for Mayor
Union Boss Puts Union Benefits Ahead of Public Safety
(San Diego, CA) Lifeguard Union Boss Ed Harris threatened to “discontinue” water rescues in an effort to gain leverage to extract more union benefits from the City.
In a December 8, 2015 article, the Union-Tribune reported that Harris, Union Steward of Teamsters Local 911, boasted that he’d directed the union’s attorney “to explore the legality of discontinuing such rescues,” putting the lives of San Diegans and visitors at risk.
In response to the reckless threat to public safety, Lifeguard Chief Rick Wurtz was compelled to issue a directive to lifeguards to disregard Harris’s threat and reassured the public that lifeguards would never refuse to rescue people because of their deep commitment to saving lives.
“Ed Harris has disqualified himself as a candidate for mayor,” said Faulconer spokesperson Francis Barraza. “It is unconscionable that Harris would even suggest endangering lives in an effort to extract union concessions from the taxpayers. Public safety should never be used a political bargaining chip.”
Harris made the threat in an effort to demand presumptive benefits, which would grant union members coverage for injuries or illness unrelated to specific job incidents. These benefits would be unprecedented for California lifeguards and even drew a veto from Governor Jerry Brown.
Earlier this year, the lifeguard union voted 63-3 on a new labor contract negotiated by Mayor Faulconer. Harris was one of the three no votes, voting against 95% of his membership.