NYS Professional Fire Fighters Association commends his devotion to protecting members’ rights.
The New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association selected Garden City Local 1588 President Thomas J. “T.J.” Michon as Union Member of the Year at its annual convention in Syracuse this week.
Michon joined the combination fire department in 2000 and became the union president in 2013 at a tumultuous time following year after year of departmental and personnel cuts. The Village of Garden City and the professional firefighters who serve the city have had a contentious history, primarily budget and staffing related, as well as culture that assumes volunteers can effectively provide fire service. Michon has led efforts to debunk this belief while fighting for the rights of his fellow firefighters.
“Without question, T.J. is the hardest working member of Local 1588,” said fellow Garden City Firefighter John Esposito, who nominated Michon. “He is not only tireless in his defense of our labor rights, he is always willing to help share his expertise and experiences with other labor unions, including those outside of the fire service.”
Michon has fought the village to maintain appropriate staffing levels, opposed budget cuts that would have decreased public safety, advocated for necessary equipment and educated the public to help maintain or common-sense departmental management.
Sam Fresina, NYSPFFA president, praised Michon’s dedication. “We fully understand the budgetary problems that hamstring many municipalities across the state, and we encourage all of our locals to be part of the solution to these problems. But they must speak up if public safety is jeopardized,” Fresina said. “Many cities, towns and villages make this very difficult; public safety becomes secondary. We commended T.J. for his leadership and hard work in a village that has been attacking his fellow firefighters for many years. He is certainly worthy of the Union Member of the Year designation.”
NYSPFFA represents approximately 18,000 men and women working full-time as members of municipal fire departments across the state. NYSPFFA advocates on behalf of members who serve in 106 local unions, 41 counties and in the boroughs of New York City.