Salt Lake firefighters formally rejected a second salary offer from Mayor Palmer DePaulis on Tuesday and voted to pressure the mayor with a boycott of downtown businesses, a union official said.
The International Firefighters Association Local 1645 will ask other unions and the community at large not to shop in downtown Salt Lake City, union head Charlie Quick said, after a unanimous vote in favor of the boycott.The boycott is designed to bring DePaulis' inattention to firefighters' wage demands to public view and to garner public support in the firefighters' struggle for more wages.
"I'm sorry that citizens will be inconvenienced, but we need to tell the mayor it's more appropriate to solve the problems than to stand back and put his head in the sand," Quick said.
Quick said the AFL-CIO, representing thousands of union members in Utah, will be contacted to join in the boycott, which could be fully implemented in July.
Union members will also be contacting prospective travel groups to ask them not to come to Salt Lake City and to change their plans if they've already planned on visiting the city.
DePaulis has criticized the union for its stance with nearly a month remaining in the collective bargaining process. The city must pass a budget, including wage rates, by June 15.
But Quick said he doesn't think the union's actions are at all premature. "I think it's due to Palmer's ignorance and willingness to look the other way."