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    Question Does your dept or union get involved politically?

    The Title pretty much says it all. Do you guys work to get firefighter friendly candidates elected? Does your union endorse candidates? Does your firefighters from your dept run a Political Action Committee? If you do get politically involved what is the publics reaction to your work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golzy12 View Post
    The Title pretty much says it all. Do you guys work to get firefighter friendly candidates elected? Does your union endorse candidates? Does your firefighters from your dept run a Political Action Committee? If you do get politically involved what is the publics reaction to your work?
    There are people around here, in the Department/Union and out, that are getting fed up with the IAFF signs saying Firefighters for fill in the usually Democratic politician.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Yes but sometimes I wish they wouldn't.

    People around here usually shy away from union backed candidates. Even more so when they see that candidate at a press conference and see a huge union banner with guys standing in the backgroung with their arms folded, wearing sunglasses, looking like a bunch of thugs.
    If our union took a more silent approach we might just get the candidate we want elected. My opinion.
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    In St. Paul, very much so. It's our only hope as we can't strike and the blue flu is out of the question. Has it bit us in the ***, of course. But for the most part, it has been very successful for us to be active and vocal in our support. The benefits have been proven over and over again with our city council. Their support has been outstanding.
    The other side is we don't have residency requirements and many don't live in the city proper. (though many of us grew up there) As we live a third of our life there, it proves to the citizens and politicians that we truly care what happens.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    St. Paul sounds almost exactly like Duluth. By the way you guys stole another one from us, he started in the early November academy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    There are people around here, in the Department/Union and out, that are getting fed up with the IAFF signs saying Firefighters for fill in the usually Democratic politician.

    In my experience, those who complain about those signs are also the same people who don't lift a finger to help the Republican endorsed candidates either.
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    I believe that Unions should pretty much stay out of the political game as far as endorsements go. I don't have any problems with the Unions doing lobbying up in DC to try to improve areas that affect their members (for example: wage laws, fire codes, public safety initiatives).

    But I don't think that unions should spend my union fees to endorse candidates and help them get elected. There is no way that the union can guarantee that 100% of its members agree with "Joe Blow for President". I could see if they handed out a summary of the candidates and their stand on positions that affect their members directly (ex: Voting record on fire legislation, labor laws, etc...). But they should not run "XY Union endorses Joe Blow" unless they can guarantee that 100% of it's members in fact support Joe Blow.

    I also feel the same way about professional organizations (NAEMT, ANA, etc...) endorsing politicians.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golzy12 View Post
    The Title pretty much says it all. Do you guys work to get firefighter friendly candidates elected? Does your union endorse candidates? Does your firefighters from your dept run a Political Action Committee? If you do get politically involved what is the publics reaction to your work?
    Yes to all of the above.

    As for the public's reaction, I really haven't heard anything negative so far, but we've only been doing this on a local level for a couple of years. On the political side, we're making a nice splash. We already have candidates coming to us looking for endorsements and campaign fundraising.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    But I don't think that unions should spend my union fees to endorse candidates and help them get elected.
    Actually there is federal law prohibiting using union dues for those purposes.

    The money used for political purposes is money that members of the union have voluntarily contributed to a political action committee (PAC), which is a separate legal entity from the Union.

    There is no way that the union can guarantee that 100% of its members agree with "Joe Blow for President". I could see if they handed out a summary of the candidates and their stand on positions that affect their members directly (ex: Voting record on fire legislation, labor laws, etc...). But they should not run "XY Union endorses Joe Blow" unless they can guarantee that 100% of it's members in fact support Joe Blow.

    I also feel the same way about professional organizations (NAEMT, ANA, etc...) endorsing politicians.
    I'm not going to tell you that your opinion is wrong and you're certainly correct that it's unlikely that 100% of the membership will agree with every endorsement, but I'll just offer this for thought...............

    We award the political offices to candidates "endorsed" by less than 100% of the voters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    I believe that Unions should pretty much stay out of the political game as far as endorsements go. I don't have any problems with the Unions doing lobbying up in DC to try to improve areas that affect their members (for example: wage laws, fire codes, public safety initiatives).
    Wage laws and fire codes? Those are local issues and exactly why your Local should be endorsing candidates.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    But I don't think that unions should spend my union fees to endorse candidates and help them get elected. There is no way that the union can guarantee that 100% of its members agree with "Joe Blow for President". I could see if they handed out a summary of the candidates and their stand on positions that affect their members directly (ex: Voting record on fire legislation, labor laws, etc...). But they should not run "XY Union endorses Joe Blow" unless they can guarantee that 100% of it's members in fact support Joe Blow.

    I also feel the same way about professional organizations (NAEMT, ANA, etc...) endorsing politicians.
    Unions do not spend members dues endorsing candidates. All PAC money is above and beyond normal dues and is given voluntarily by members for the express purpose of political action. But to your point, below is an explanation that I put on my Local's webpage as a result of people saying that they were going to get out of the Local because of Obama's position on Healthcare Reform. I think it applies here as well:

    The IAFF is a special interest group that only considers issues important to its own individual cause when deciding who to back in political elections.

    The IAFF does not review candidates positions on gun rights, abortion, health care, taxes, etc. In fact, they do not even favor party lines. The IAFF strictly endorses any candidate that has been favorable to labor - especially where it pertains to firefighter issues. Similarly, you don't see the NRA running health care reform or anti-abortion campaigns. They only endorse candidates on gun issues.

    Let's take the last presidential election for example. Since being involved in politics, Obama supported and voted for issues important to the IAFF nearly 100% of the time. McCain did not support the IAFF and voted against issues over 75% of the time. From the standpoint of a special interest group, the IAFF, the candidate to endorse was clear and as an organization - backed Obama.

    Is this to say that the IAFF expects every union member to vote for only candidates that it backs? Of coarse not. To expect so would quite frankly be delusional.

    The IAFF expects every member to be informed about the issues pertaining to it's members as they pertain to their livelyhood and safety at work. Take that information and balance it with your personal views on all the other issues that are important to you and the candidate that you endorse and vote your conscious.

    To get out of the IAFF because you disagree with a politicians or adminstrations views or plans on health care is childish and misguided at best.

    Lt. Robert Kramer - E34 / A

    South end Division Rep / A


    To answer the original question, YES our local chooses to endorse or not endorse political candidates that will be making decisions about our job. This includes Local mayor races, city council races, State House and Senate races, Federal House and Senate Races, and State Governor races.

    Has it worked? Well nearly every city you read about on this website lately is taking furloughs, cuts in pay, layoffs, etc. because of the "bad economy." Not only have you not read about us, we negotiated a 5% raise in July of 08 and a 3% raise in July of 09. I would say it's paying off.

    Furthermore, if you are a Local member of an IAFF affiliate I would suggest you get more involved and find out how your union works. Sounds like your getting incorrect information from firehouse politicians and attorneys.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 11-20-2009 at 12:24 AM.
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    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    That's just not the way it works brother. Below is an explanation that I put on my Local's webpage as a result of people saying that they were going to get out of the Local because of Obama's position on Healthcare Reform. I think it applies here as well:

    The IAFF is a special interest group that only considers issues important to its own individual cause when deciding who to back in political elections.

    The IAFF does not review candidates positions on gun rights, abortion, health care, taxes, etc. In fact, they do not even favor party lines. The IAFF strictly endorses any candidate that has been favorable to labor - especially where it pertains to firefighter issues. Similarly, you don't see the NRA running health care reform or anti-abortion campaigns. They only endorse candidates on gun issues.

    Let's take the last presidential election for example. Since being involved in politics, Obama supported and voted for issues important to the IAFF nearly 100% of the time. McCain did not support the IAFF and voted against issues over 75% of the time. From the standpoint of a special interest group, the IAFF, the candidate to endorse was clear and as an organization - backed Obama.

    Is this to say that the IAFF expects every union member to vote for only candidates that it backs? Of coarse not. To expect so would quite frankly be delusional.

    The IAFF expects every member to be informed about the issues pertaining to it's members as they pertain to their livelyhood and safety at work. Take that information and balance it with your personal views on all the other issues that are important to you and the candidate that you endorse and vote your conscious.

    To get out of the IAFF because you disagree with a politicians or adminstrations views or plans on health care is childish and misguided at best.

    Lt. Robert Kramer - E34 / A

    South end Division Rep / A
    Great explanation.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    Yes but sometimes I wish they wouldn't.

    People around here usually shy away from union backed candidates. Even more so when they see that candidate at a press conference and see a huge union banner with guys standing in the backgroung with their arms folded, wearing sunglasses, looking like a bunch of thugs.
    If our union took a more silent approach we might just get the candidate we want elected. My opinion.
    What if they folded their arms and gave crooked smiles?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Unions do spend members dues endorsing candidates.
    I think you had a bit of a typo there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    I think you had a bit of a typo there.
    Indeed. Edited accordingly.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golzy12 View Post
    The Title pretty much says it all. Do you guys work to get firefighter friendly candidates elected? Does your union endorse candidates? Does your firefighters from your dept run a Political Action Committee? If you do get politically involved what is the publics reaction to your work?
    Yes, we do work to get the FF friendly candidates elected. We do run a PAC. Our union also does question all candidates, especially regarding local elections and posts the candidates responses for all members to review. The fire dept union has established itself in the local political arena and do go out and do lit drops and so forth for candidates we back. Now this hasn't come back around and bite us, but with the issue of FD facing cuts and so forth, politics has unfortunately become a necessary evil in many cases.

    As for public's reaction, it can vary, but I would say the majority do support firefighters. A new approach though was to be more proactive when it comes to the public in educating them about all the services the FD does, why we operate at fires, why we send rigs on certain calls, and to basically give the taxpayer a sense of what they really do pay and gives them something tangible for their service. The more knowledgable people are then you see a greater sense of ownership and that helps when plugging support for FF friendly candidates.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kobersteen View Post
    In my experience, those who complain about those signs are also the same people who don't lift a finger to help the Republican endorsed candidates either.
    Not at our house. Although the hardest working two GOP guys in the station will be retireing next year, so they will probably be working harder for the candidates when the wives kick them out of the house during the day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golzy12 View Post
    The Title pretty much says it all. Do you guys work to get firefighter friendly candidates elected? Does your union endorse candidates? Does your firefighters from your dept run a Political Action Committee? If you do get politically involved what is the publics reaction to your work?

    From a Different Direction - Our County has a Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association that represents the Interests of the County's 38 Volunteer Fire companies. We created a Political Action Committee some years back, and the PAC is the Focus of our Political Efforts. We also employ a Lobbying firm as needed. The County's Career folks are represented by IAFF L-1619 and they are quite active in the Political arena as well. It's been pretty rare for us to go head to head between the two groups publicly, usually we just do our own thing and get on with life. We have worked together from time to time on items of mutual interest, such as Funding for new equipment, Safety enhancements, etc. It's been our experience that a Politician is either Pro or Com Public Safety in General, with only one or two that have ever favored one Fire Service segment over the other.

    One thing that should be pretty obvious to everyone is that regardless of whether you are Career or Volunteer, a PROFESSIONAL Apperance and Attitude is a must in the Political Arena. Here, as Volunteers, we strive to maintain that Professionalism at all times. Apperances before any Political body are always a "Class A Uniform" Event, or, if more appropriate, "Coat and Tie" dress. Recently, I was in attendance at a meeting of a local Government body where folks showed up to express their feelings on both sides of an issue. One Group sent about a dozen representatives, appropriately attired, and one person spoke for the Group, delivering a very well written message. The opposition sent about 75 to 100 people, dress ranged from Jeans/T Shirts to Slacks/Golf Shirts, and about 10 of their folks spoke on the matter, with rambling, disjointed remarks that sometimes contradicted one another. Needless to say, the Elected Officials voted for the position advocated by the First mentioned group.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    What if they folded their arms and gave crooked smiles?
    Only with blown up hair and popped collars.
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    The Union or entity representing the fire fighters should be involved in politics. They need to push for laws and regulations that favor their constituents. That said, most of these organizations push for the candidate that best suits their special interest, which to me is a bad thing. Special interest have ruined this country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    The Union or entity representing the fire fighters should be involved in politics. They need to push for laws and regulations that favor their constituents. That said, most of these organizations push for the candidate that best suits their special interest, which to me is a bad thing. Special interest have ruined this country.
    This post is the biggest contradiction I have seen in a while
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    This post is the biggest contradiction I have seen in a while

    Yep. One thing that can be said here - Consistent....
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