San Francisco

Union Tension Cools Down After San Francisco Fire Department Receives $35.7 Million from City

The firefighters union's long-running effort to oust San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White appears to be over.

The fire department will receive a $35.7 million from the city, which will go toward emergency medical tech classes, new firefighter classes, equipment, buildings and technology. The investment in the fire department was announced Tuesday by Mayor Ed Lee.

"This is a reflection of the strong economy that our city has," Lee said. "We are glad to do this -- this is an important priority."

The new financial investment into the fire department comes after Hayes-White was blasted for slow response times for city ambulances and receiving a no-confidence vote from her battalion chiefs and rank-and-file union members.

Hayes-White admitted it was tough for her last fall when the union wanted her out as chief.

"It was tough. It got personal," she said. "But with the new investment in personnel and equipment, the fire with the unions will die down."

The president of the firefighters union made similar comments regarding the investment and past disagreements.

"We had our difficult period, but you know it's a family and sometimes you have a family feud," said Tom O'Connor, union president for San Francisco firefighters. "And now we're starting to get along again."

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