KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas City, Kansas, firefighters stepped out of their stations to picket department leadership Tuesday morning.

It comes after the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 64 passed a “vote of no confidence” in First Deputy Chief Jack Andrade last month.

In a statement following the vote, the union claimed Andrade created a hostile working environment that included threats.

“The working conditions in the fire department drastically need to improve right now. There’s been a number of issues of dishonesty, to the members, to the public, to the city leaders. Hostile working conditions, retaliations, and even the threat of violence. These policies are causing us issues,” J.J. Simran, President of IAFF Local 64, said.

The union said it’s created low morale among its firefighters, among other issues, which you can read in the full statement below.

The firefighters involved in Tuesday’s protest said they are also unhappy with operational issues in the department.

That includes a decision by the Unified Government requiring firefighters to use sick time when quarantined due to exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The union said the policy is in place even as the government received federal money to compensate workers impacted during the pandemic.

Other issues, according to the union, include decisions made that have allegedly resulted in slower response times to some emergency calls.

Dozens of firefighters participated in the protect to show their unhappiness with working conditions in the department even though a new contract has already been reached.

The Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department responded to the Local 64 protest and vote of no confidence.

“Despite continued unsubstantiated claims, the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department remains committed to working with the IAFF Local 64, supporting firefighters, and protecting the community at the highest possible level. The KCKFD does not tolerate workplace violence and we are committed to ensuring a safe environment for all employees,” the department said in a statement.

Read the full statement, including safety changes the fire department said it has implemented in recent years in the following letter.

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