Local Firefighters Say State Union Bureaucrats Want to Pick Their Pockets

The Fairness Center
Contact: Conner Drigotas, 844-293-1001, conner@fairnesscenter.org

MARCH 6, 2018, NEW HAVEN, CT.—More than two years ago, New Haven’s International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 825, ended its membership in a state-wide union, the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut (UPFFA). But since then, Local 825 has continued to receive bills for UPFFA membership dues—bills that now total over $52,000 and for which the UPFFA is demanding payment.

Today, Local 825 announced a lawsuit, filed yesterday in the Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of New Haven, reaffirming its disassociation from the UPFFA and seeking to bar the UPFFA from collecting membership dues to which it is not entitled.

“State union bureaucrats who don’t fight fires are trying to pick our pockets,” commented Frank Ricci, president of Local 825. “We left the state union more than two years ago, and they aren’t entitled to a cent from us since then—especially after they betrayed our trust by misusing our money. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying to siphon resources away from New Haven’s firefighters.

“Because the state union won’t honor our choice to leave, we’re asking the court to step in. We are risking our lives to fight for the community. We shouldn’t also have to fight state union bureaucrats.”

In January 2016, Local 825 voted unanimously to leave the UPFFA, citing a lack of leadership and diminishing return on investment. The president of the UPFFA recognized Local 825’s decision to terminate their membership but continued sending bills for membership dues while exerting pressure on Local 825 leadership to reconsider.

In February 2016, Local 825 leadership uncovered misappropriation of dues money by the UPFFA, confirming their decision to leave the state organization. The UPFFA has since hired a collections agency to intimidate Local 825 into paying monthly membership dues they do not owe.

“Our choice to leave the state union should be respected,” continued Ricci. “Union bureaucrats are trying to trap us in an organization we don’t want or need and bully us into paying for the privilege. We have no choice but to seek a legal remedy.”


Biographical Information:

Frank Ricci is the President of New Haven Fire Fighters Local 825 and a Battalion Chief. He is Contributing Editor and Advisory Board Member for Fire Engineering. In this role he serves on the board of PennWell Fire Group. He is the Drillmaster for the New Haven Fire Department and co-hosts the radio show Politics & Tactics. He has worked as a Fire Department Instructor’s Conference hot instructor and is an FDIC lecturer. Frank has appeared on Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Hardball, NBC Nightly News, Fox & Friends, and other notable news shows. He has won a landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court and has testified before Congress. Frank has been a lead consultant for Yale on several studies and has lectured at the Reagan Library.

Frank Ricci and Nathan McGrath, vice president and litigation counsel for the Fairness Center, are available for comment. Contact Conner Drigotas at 844-293-1001 or conner@fairnesscenter.org to schedule an interview.

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The Fairness Center is a nonprofit, public interest law firm offering free legal services to those facing unjust treatment from public employee union officials. For more information visit www.FairnessCenter.org.