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Black Firefighters Depose Bloomberg in FDNY Racial Hiring Case

 August 27, 2009. New York ,NY – The President of the Vulcan NYC Chapter of International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) Is calling for Mayor Bloomberg to discontinue the fight against the organization over racially discriminatory hiring practices. Mayor Bloomberg was deposed on Wednesday  in aclass action lawsuit against the City of New York and the Fire Department (FDNY) over racially discriminatory hiring practices. The deposition by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel from the firm of Levy Ratner, PC on behalf of the Vulcan Society, the fraternal order of Black firefighters, lasted more than two hours.


John Coombs,  President of President of the Vulcans of NYC (IABPFF) said, “The court has already ruled. It is now time for the city to comply with the court rule.”


 Mr. Coombs  is referring to the July 22, 2009  ruling where United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit charging the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) with racially discriminatory hiring practices. The case, which proved the FDNY examination was in violation of civil rights laws.

 The lawsuit grew out of two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, one in 2002 on behalf of the Vulcan Society – the organization of Black firefighters – and one in 2005 on behalf of individual Black and Latino firefighters.  

New York City as a whole is 27 percent black. When the first charge was filed in 2002, New York City ’s fire department was 2.9 percent black. The numbers have not changed since then, despite the fact that the City has had seven years to try to remedy the problem.

New York City has the least diverse fire department of any major city in America. Fifty-seven percent of Los Angeles ’ firefighters, 51 percent of Philadelphia ’s, and 40 percent of Boston ’s are people of color. The fire departments are 30 percent black in Baltimore and 23 percent black in Chicago .

In fact in New York City the numbers are appalling. Out of 8900 firefighters only approximately 3% of a minority has a ranking position in the department. The number of women in the FDNY is 32. There are no appointed positions filled by a minority.


Mr. Coombs further states,” It is financially irresponsible for the Mayor to use the cities finances in this manner. Especially in these financially challenging times.”


Club Vulcan focus is clear: ”There should be a better opportunity to diversify its ranks of fire fighters in the FDNY. However, the FDNY has been repeatedly unable to do just that.  A mechanism should be in put place to insure that the lack of diversification within the fire fighter ranks is rectified.”


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