Box 1, Folder 15, Document 37

Dublin Core

Text Item Type Metadata


September 1, 1966

Dear Captain Martin:

For the last five months we have been in almost constant
communications in an effort to reach a satisfactory and equitable
solution to the problems of pay and work hours of the members of

the Atlanta Fire Department.

The Board of Aldermen and its responsible committees, the
Personnel Board, the Office of the Mayor, and an outside mediator
have given full consideration and courtesy to you and your colleagues
in the Fire Department in response to your requests for improvements

in your working hours and pay scales.

We have also given consideration to the plight of all city
employees and took positive steps earlier in the year to produce

adequate pay and reasonable hours for every employee through a

comprehensive study of pay classification by the Public Administration


Page Two

Further, we have of necessity and public responsibility, given
consideration to the citizens of Atlanta, for whom we have a legal and
moral responsibility to operate the City government within the framework

of the legal and political charter and ordinances of the City.

During this period of time, the citizens of Atlanta and the
City government have been subjected to a serious and illegal walkout,
sonstant public threats and intimidation of strikes and other unwarranted
and undeserved charges by you and the Firemen you represent. In
contrast, the City has observed at all times a dignified, sympathetic,

honest and fair attitude toward the Firemen and their demands.

In the illegal strike in June, the Fulton Superior Court ordered

the Firemen to return to work. The order of the Court was ignored
and it was necessary for the City government to ask for contempt |
proceedings against the striking Firemen. At the request of the Firemen,
the City agreed to withdraw the Court action without prejudice and with

no recriminations. This agreement has been kept.

At the further request of the Firemen, the City agreed to the
joint appointment of an impartial outside mediator to weigh all the facts

and make a recommendation on the basis of evidence, Dr, Edwin Harrison,

Page Three

the choice of the Firemen, was chosen and subsequently rendered an

impartial report which you fully rejected,

Following your rejection of the impartial report and recommendation,
the full scope and authority of the City goeernment was put at your disposal.
You have met with the Board of Firemasters, the Personnel Board, the
Finance Committee and the Public Administration Service personnel
consultants. They were all made available to you without prejudice and

with full courtesy.

I am firmly convinced and assure you that we have explored
every avenue within the legal bounds of public authority to find the ways
and means to assure the Firemen of the good faith of their elected


In view of all the preceeding action it is my intention to proceed
along the following lines if the Firemen remain at work in good faith
until the City can take appropriation action following completion of the
PAS report about September 15 and subsequent results in the new budget

which will go into effect on January 1, 1967:
Page Four

i. Iwill recommend to the Finance Committee that emergency funds
from the salary account balance be used to initiate hiring and
training of additional Fire Department personnel on October 1,
so that trained personnel will be available to implement the 56-hour

work week on January 1, 1967.

2 Iwill further recommend that the balance of the excess salary
account be utilized to implement a pay scale of one and one-half
time for hours worked in excess of 56 hours per week beginning

- October 1 and extending through the end of the year.

I sincerely hope and trust that the Firemen will not take any
overt action in conflict with their oath of office or with their moral
responsibility to their city and against the legal order of the Court
which has instructed them that they do not have the right to walk off

their jobs or to strike.

The Firemen do not have the right to strike against the public

interest of this city.

In the event of any strike proceeding, the City has no choice

but to attempt to secure a restraining order and an order to return to

Page Five

work if a strike exists. Failure to obey the no-strike order would
result in contempt proceedings. In the event this should happen the
City shall immediately declare all vacated jobs open and attempt to
fill them with qualified personnel who will accept their responsibilities
and uphold their oaths to provide full fire protection to the citizens

of Atlanta.

I urge you to persuade the Firemen to remain on the job,
help rebuild the morale of the Department and help those of us who
are seeking an honest solution to th├ędrproblem, find the means with which

to resclve it.

To those men who are not willing to follow a reasonable
course, I would point out that it is their responsibility to advise the
City of their intentions to resign and to submit their resignations at
the proper time, giving the City a reasonable notice in order that a

qualified replacement can be secured.

I hope you and all the Firemen of Atlanta will accept your
responsibilities and fulfill your duties in good faith as we seek a final



public items show