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  1. #1
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    Default IAFF or other options

    Hello all,
    I am currently employed by a municipal career fire department in Chicago-land. Right now we are weighing all the options about going Union and which particular union will fit our needs as a department.

    The reason I'm asking is because there are members on our department that feel that there are other options other than the IAFF.

    So my questions is out of those of you who are union members. Which do you belong to and what are some of the benefits that you see from your involvement with them.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
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    My department is an IAFF affiliate. Truthfully, I'm not specifically aware of any other labor unions that are specifically fire service related. There's certainly many options out there since many labor unions are willing to organize industries "unrelated" to their core focus.

    I would strongly recommend going with the IAFF. It is the largest organization of unionized firefighters, which has advantages. Some may not agree with everything done, but it's pretty much run by firefighters, for firefighters. This can be a big deal. I worked for an EMS agency that unionized several years ago. The organizers chose a non-EMS related labor union (same Local that represented the township's PD, DPW, etc.). There were many, many problems with the whole start up process and beyond because the Union "suits" didn't understand our industry and did a poor job of representing our interests as a result. That union was voted out a couple of years ago and not replaced. We really weren't more than "income" to them.

    If you haven't done so already, I'd recommend doing two things:

    1) Contact the IAFF and ask to speak with somebody to find out what they have to offer. www.iaff.org

    2) Contact the IAFF affiliated departments in your area and talk to them. You likely won't get the "sales pitch" assessment from another "customer".

    The IAFF has so many resources to assist you in pretty much all aspects of the job. Even more if your state has a State Association of it's locals. The vast majority of the time, if you have an "issue" or "problem", another Local somewhere has already dealt with that exact issue (or very close to it) and you can essentially get a road map on what to do.
    Last edited by FireMedic049; 02-23-2010 at 05:29 PM.

  3. #3
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    Agreed. If you're going to unionized, go with the IAFF. They are "pros" with the topics that FFs face and the laws in your area. They'll send a rep out to meet with you and answer questions and explain what they can do for you.

    Plus, like most unions, they have group programs for deferred comp, insurance and other discounts on a lot of other things across the US.

  4. #4
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    I'll echo Firemedic049 and zzyyzx have stated.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    I'll echo Firemedic049 and zzyyzx have stated.
    I'm with all of the above, The International put us in contact with our IAFF District VP, who then guided our incorporation. Thus far, I have been pleased at the responsiveness of the International on any issue we have contacted them about and it has allowed us to show our policy makers how underfunded and underpayed we are.

    I would also highly recommend joining your state or regional FF's association to ensure involvement in "local" issues and ensure the ability to get the most up to date information.

    Hope that helps

  6. #6
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    Befor you go any further call the A.F.F.I. which is the state orginization and talk to them. If you orginize under the I.A.F.F. which is the international orginization they will have you contact the A.F.F.I. anyway.

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