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Fire Fighters picket Senator McKenney fundraiser over ‘disparaging remarks’



The Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters (RISAFF) and our affiliated locals picketed Senator Senator Mark McKenney (Democrat, District 30, Warwick) at his fundraiser Thursday evening. The fundraiser was at Iggy’s, a restaurant on Oakland Beach in Warwick..

The Fire Fighters picketed McKenney because of disparaging remarks he made about Fire Fighter safety on the Senate floor during the debate on Senate Bill S0747 on May 1. The bill removes the overtime exemption for Fire Fighters unless they are paid at the rate of one and one-half times their regular rate for all hours worked in excess of 42 hours. McKenney voted against the bill, which to the Fire Fighters is not the issue.

During the hearing McKenney said, “I’ve been told there is a safety issue, but I take a look at that and it seems to me that when overtime is paid the safety concern seems to disappear.”

Uprise RI corespondent Maggie Kain was on the scene to get video and pictures.

“Senator McKenney made very disparaging comments on the [Senate] floor on May 1 when they were debating the passage of a piece of legislation that affected Fire Fighters,” said Joseph Andriole, President of the RISAFF. “We’re here, not because he voted no, which he did. That’s Democracy. We’re okay with that. Everybody gets a vote. But we’re here because of the disparaging comments he made about our safety. It made us feel that his opinion of our safety [was that it] wasn’t worth anything.

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“These comments needed to be responded to and this is the way we responded… When it comes to safety, you can’t cross that line and unfortunately he did.

“We take Fire Fighter safety very seriously because our safety is the public safety… I’m hoping that the Senator looks at what he said and realizes that he made an error by not caring about ou wellbeing.”

McKenney left his seat in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing early last night to attend his fundraiser. As people arrived at Iggy’s they were booed.

All pictures and video this page (c)2019 Maggie Kain

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