Kansas City fires 14 lifeguards

Monday, August 5, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Officials had to close six of the city's 14 public swimming pools indefinitely as a result of a work stoppage by lifeguards.

At least 14 lifeguards were fired on Saturday for refusing to go back to work. Officials shuffled staff to keep the other eight pools open.

The city probably cannot hire new lifeguards quickly enough to reopen all pools, aquatics director Ralf Emerson said. The pools that were closed, however, were smaller community pools where the season was already scheduled to end in a week.

About 30 of the city's 70 lifeguards walked off the job Friday to protest a continuing problem with paychecks. In response, the city closed several pools Friday, promised checks for back pay by 3 p.m. Wednesday and told everyone to return to work Saturday or be fired.

Managers called many lifeguards Friday evening and encouraged them to work Saturday. About half of the lifeguards who walked out Friday were too skeptical to return, officials said.

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