For weeks, the mayor of Bristol and the firefighters' union have been battling over allowing firefighters to wear pink shirts for breast cancer awareness. Now the battle is over.
Mayor Art Ward will allow the firefighters to wear pink T-shirts and said reflecting on his mother's battle with cancer helped him make the decision to reverse his decision.
City firefighters wanted to wear the pink shirts each Thursday during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but Ward originally told them they could not wear the T-shirts while on duty.
Wearing a breast cancer awareness pin, Ward said on Thursday that the controversy had gotten bigger than the cause and he said he will allow firefighters to wear pink T-shirts for the remainder of the month.
The firefighters union stood by Ward as he made the announcement.
Ward also said the city’s firehouses will be open to the public on Oct. 28 so residents can go out and purchase the T-shirts in support breast cancer awareness. That is the day the fire department requested, according to Ward.
Some had accused the mayor of playing politics with the firefighters' union. Ward insisted that is not true and this comes down to an issue of uniforms.
Some Bristol residents have planned to hold a rally at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the corner of North Main Street and Route 6 to show their support for the firefighters.
"It should just be a breast cancer situation," Sandy Haultman said. "It shouldn't be politics at all."
Firefighters have already sold 500 shirts as part of their fundraiser.
The fire department has received so many requests that they have created the special e-mail address to take orders.