Kevin E. Gallagher: Union Man
By Irish America Staff
April / May 2002
Kevin E. Gallagher, President of The Uniformed Firefighters Association was in the thick of things when the Giuliani administration made the decision to remove firefighters from recovery duty at the World Trade Center site, when so many of their brother firefighters and thousands of civilians were still missing.
Infuriated firefighters and family members of the missing joined the union leader for a planned peaceful march to Ground Zero, to protest the Mayor’s reduction of the recovery detail by 75 percent to a mere 25 firefighters. Although a clash ensued between firefighters and police officers at the scene, the Giuliani administration did a U-turn following a series of impassioned meetings with Gallagher and firefighter families. Gallagher said it was “gratifying to see that this union and the membership’s efforts to speak out against the reduction in manning were not in vain.”
Gallagher, a firefighter from Brooklyn’s Engine 280, has been president of the association, which represents 9000 New York City Firefighters, since 1996. He also holds the distinction of being the first UFA president in 30 years to be elected to consecutive terms.
The UFA and the UFOA, with the assistance of the International Association of Firefighters, established the 9-11 Relief Fund, which raised and distributed more than $111 million to families by the end of 2001. ♦