Thread: IAFF vs. AFGE

  1. #1
    FFSThomas Guest

    Question IAFF vs. AFGE

    Lets get some feed back on the pros and cons of the two unions. Which do ya like and why? Here at USMC Base in Barstow we are AFGE and there are alot of different feelings about which organization best looks out for the needs of federal firefighters.


  2. #2
    mike m Guest


    i have been out of the federal fire service for 15 years during my time in fed service i was always a member of the IAFF whether its a good union to belong to as a federal ff i cant say now,but when i belonged it started to address the needs of us feds.but recently when congress raised the retirement age,it seemed to me that the IAFF didnt help much.also when i was a fed,there was a new union starting up,it was run by fred schilref i dont know if the organization is still in exsistence

  3. #3
    JoeMZ191 Guest


    IAFF and AFGE have been working together on numerous issues in the past few years. i.e. pay reform, certification, GS-081 rewrite.

    This is good topic to start alot of flaming and set progress back another feew years. I constantly correspond with members of both union who have a common goal, the advancement of federal firefighters.

    Joe Zydel
    AFGE Local 2077

  4. #4
    HHoffman Guest


    First let me say that a Union is only as good as its Locals!!! I only wish that the two Unions could work together to get the work done. I was a member of the Federal Firefighters Assn. that union is now gone. Just to set the record straight the retirement age didn't go up you can still retire at 50. You now have the option to stay until 57 that was 55.

    Hank Hoffman
    Local F-221

  5. #5
    ArmyTruckCompany Guest


    I have been a member of both unions, and it's my personal feeling that AFGE is a joke. They didn't do anything for us (at a Naval installation where I worked) It seemed like they were more concerned with representing the GS-10+ engineers and scientists and considered the FD a nuisance. How can you expect a union that represents a vast array of people from janitors to rocket scientists to represent us???

    PROUD member of IAFF Local F-267!!!!

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  6. #6
    JoeMZ191 Guest

    Thumbs down

    I rest my case.

  7. #7
    FFSThomas Guest


    Hey Joe! RELAX! There are alot of people that feel that one is "better" that the other, as you can see! This is a discussion forum where all can voice what THEY are experiencing at thier base. After all, isn't that the objective? - Is all that cooperation and work being felt in the federal fire stations across the nation? Also, most departments don't have both as opition (that I know of). Don't dismiss the feelings of other firefighters-that's what unions should be listening to!!!!!

  8. #8
    FirescueBob Guest


    Having been in both unions within the federal service, I can say that if you can avoid them - then stay the he** out of all unions. Federal service Firefighters can't strike so that leverage is gone.... the only authority the unions have is what is given them by management this year (it changes with the MLA as you know)... I will say that the IAFF really did the west coast Federal Firefighters a wrong turn with the certification system and AFGE (much as it galls me to admit it) did ok by us here on the east coast in this area... However in many other respects, IAFF was the better union for us as firefighters - they do know us better, who we are, what we do, etc.. I personally believe that you should study your title 5 rights, base regulations, any of the orders or instructions for the service you serve (check out then use the link to publications for a list), and any opm manuals you can get your hands on and represent your own interests - at least then you know your representative is really out for your best interests and won't go giving your union dues to political parties / or groups you don't like or agree with without your say so.
    And besides, if you're like any of the rest of us - I am sure you can figure out something better for you to do with that money they require in dues...

    No longer in any union.... Never again either!

    Watch out for each other - no one else will! Be safe and somewhat sane out there.
    My opinions obviously do not reflect those of any department or organization to which I may belong.

  9. #9
    ArmyTruckCompany Guest


    Joe- the man asked for feedback on the pros and cons of the two unions, I simply replied with my opinion, based on my own expierience!! If you are a member of AFGE and feel that they are doing a good job for you when representing your rights as an employee, I & I bargaining, etc.....Then good!! I simply stated that the facility that I worked at where AFGE represented the firefighters could have cared LESS about us. The president of the union even told our shop steward to his face that AFGE could have cared LESS when we desperately needed to have I & I bargaining done when the Navy tried to shove a massive amount of forcible OT down our throats. Where was AFGE when our oven broke at 3pm on a friday of Easter weekend??? We called public works and they laughed at us!! We called the AFGE president and he said "what am I going to do"?? Then the fire chief called the XO....The XO took care of it. And when the guy from PW came to fix the oven he was bitching the whole time about filing a grievance with ...guess who.....AFGE!! And the list goes on....The IAFF on the other hand has been so much better to both myself and the firefighters that I work with now!!!!

    PROUD TO BE A MEMBER!!! F-267!!!!

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  10. #10
    Braggfire Guest


    I would love to have the IAFF at Fort Bragg. (More than you can imagine)

  11. #11
    JoeMZ191 Guest

    Thumbs up

    My apologies to anyone I may have offended. I saw too much flaming on the message boards during the pay reform legislation.

    To my fellow AFGE members, check out the Steering Committee's web site if you haven't already. They are working for us.


  12. #12
    ALSfirefighter Guest

    Thumbs down

    As a former member of AFGE, I have to agree with Army when he said they are a joke. The local I was a member of was totally screwed up, and mismanaged, which prompted phone calls and letters to the district president which still went nowhere. The IAFF is a union for firefighters, the AFGE is a union for everyone. The IAFF only deals with issues that effect us, health, safety, benefits, raises etc. It was always my thoughts that AFGE cared less about us and the issues. Not once can I remember any articles about any federal FD in their little news letter. So anyway in the end I have to say IAFF all the way, I love being part of the team, and in my opinion they keep the communication lines open.

    But finally, realistically, unions as a whole have been screwed since the early 80's. When a president other then the anti-labor laws and litigation he brought fowared, forced air traffic controllers back to work. Unions lost a lot of power that day.

    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept./agency I work for, am a member of, or deal with.

  13. #13
    James Miller Guest


    How can you change from AFGE to IAFF? I tried to change our department over to IAFF but they will not step on AFGE ( since same affiliation).

    Fed FF/EMT

    [This message has been edited by James Miller (edited 03-28-2001).]

  14. #14
    FFSThomas Guest


    Great question! We were discussng that too!! Talk only


  15. #15
    ArmyTruckCompany Guest


    The AFGE has exclusive bargaining rights on all military installations throughout the world where US civilian citizens are employed. They have the obligation and the right to represent you. You going to the IAFF all depends on your local AFGE chapter. Are you a large Fire Department?? Will loosing you cost your local AFGE chapter a lot of money in lost dues?? What it their attitude?? If you explained to them that you would be better represented by an organization of FF's, would they listen?? Regardless, the first thing you need to do is discuss it with the president of your AFGE chapter. They need to sign an memorandum of understanding, and officially release the employees of the Fire Department where you work from their exclusive rights. BUT NOT AFTER YOU CONTACT THE IAFF TO OBTAIN A CHARTER!!! You do NOT want ANY lapse in bargaining rights WHATSOEVER!!!

    Anyways, it works something like that.

    Stay safe.

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  16. #16
    FFSThomas Guest


    Thanks for the Info ArmyT. I'll pass on the info the next time it comes up. I don't think our AFGE local would care if we left other than the $$$$$.


  17. #17
    Firefiter Guest

    Thumbs down

    After long talks with my Union Brothers I would like to apologize for my comments previously posted here. My anger was not towards them and should not have been displayed as such.

    I am still, even after the talks displeased with our Dept. not the AFGE on the handling of classes. I will refrain from going any further on this subject since I know the Mgt. will now be watching here for more comments that may "make our Dept. look bad".

    I understand that AFGE can offer support in a way that IAFF may not be able to and vice-versa. I also understand now that many things have and are being handled that are not common knowledge. For their hard work and long hours put in fighting in our place I again apologize to my Brothers.

    [This message has been edited by Firefiter (edited 04-16-2001).]

  18. #18
    FFSThomas Guest


    WOW, Firefiter, Thats wrong of them to mess with your futur like that! I feel for you, I'm having similar problems here - it's the old - "He's only been here for X number of years, he should'nt be promoted" mentality
    Keep the faith brother! and take care of your own future!


  19. #19
    WVA14 Guest


    I hear you Firefiter. I work at a small federal arsenal and we have the same problem. We send supervisary firefighters to command classes, but the GS-6's can't get any thing. AFGE doesn't represent all federal bases with civlians. We have NFFE (national federation of federal employees). They do not care about us firefighters at all. We have the IAFF as an off post local, but they can't really help us with bargaining, just information. We have asked NFFE to let us have co representation, but they won't even talk to us about it. Therefor, of the 12 firefighters/emt's, 3 are members of NFFE. Yet over 3,000 people have been laid off at my post over the past 11 years. They say they have a firefighter expert in Washington, but none of us have ever seen or heard from him/her. Even by DOD's standards, we are understaffed and underequipped with ageing apparatus, but NFFE won't help us. Yet the IAFF has continued to help us where they can and give us information. Go IAFF!

    B. Nou

    (my views are mine and not necessarily that of my department or my union)

  20. #20
    crashman Guest


    "Are you a large Fire Department??"

    "Will loosing you cost your local AFGE chapter a lot of money in lost dues??"
    only 20 memebers of NAGE in FD.

    "What it their attitude??"
    attitude is "No Way, I am Prez, I am Law"

    "If you explained to them that you would be better represented by an organization of FF's, would they listen??"

    already done.

    "They need to sign a memorandum of understanding."
    Won't do it!

    Now what??? Won't allow us to proceed, what do we do now?

  21. #21
    WVA14 Guest


    Good question Crashman. We have the same problem here. Does anyone have any answers to these problems that some of us bases are having?

  22. #22
    James Miller Guest


    My department is in the process of joining the IAFF. We have a 100% to join among the fire suppression personnel, but a few of our Captains had some concerns. Can anyone who belongs give some pros and cons of the IAFF concerning the Federal Service? Has it done anything for your department? Can it help getting more personnel, Ect....?
    Thanks for any apply.

    [This message has been edited by James Miller (edited 04-29-2001).]

  23. #23
    denny Guest

    Thumbs up

    I was in AFGE over 13 years ago and they
    didn't do much for f/f's then.
    I feel the IAFF is the best you can get
    they at least can stick to fire department
    issues and not have to deal with every other
    ocupation.. It is hard to help the Fed Fire
    fighters because we can't bargin our pay,
    bennys,hr's,ect. Have to go through Congress
    which takes a long time,plus you have to line there pockets with $$$ to get them to
    help you.Plus in DOD you have ARMY,NAVY AIR FORCE,MARINES, to deal with & ect have their
    own set of rules& guidelines..
    The IAFF trys there best ,its just a long process..

  24. #24
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Wichita Kansas


    I would like to post a reply to the question of which union is better, IAFF or AFGE.

    All unions have their pros and cons and I could go on about them for IAFF and AFGE but I won’t, because, any union is only as good as its members.

    If you don’t get active in your union then you can’t change anything and if nothing changes then we are no better off and we still complain.

    No, unions cannot change everything that is wrong with the Federal Fire Service but over the years it has made a lot of changes for the better. Not any one union, but all the unions and theirs members working together have made the Federal Fire Service a better place to work.

    If there is something in your union that you don’t like then get involve and help us help you. Six years ago I did that, I got involved in my union and today I am a Chief Steward.

    I have lost some battles, won some and have been disappointed in the outcome of others. But I keep striving to do the best I can.

    As Chief Steward I helped negotiate for one of my bargaining unit members, not a union member mind you, who was facing possible termination down to just a letter of reprimand, not what I wanted for him but a lot better then if I had just let management do what they wanted.

    So don’t sit back and complain about your union, get involved, you can make a difference.

    [ 07-11-2001: Message edited by: FedFirefighter ]

    [ 07-11-2001: Message edited by: FedFirefighter ]

  25. #25
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Wright-Patt AFB Ohio


    As for switching Unions, both the IAFF and AFGE belong to the AFL-CIO which has by-laws that prevent "raiding" another AFL-CIO affiliate. We get calls all the time from various firefighters that are not represented by the IAFF and want to be, but there is nothing we can do for them. I think that the proceedure for changing exclusive representation must include being WITHOUT representation for a year. At that time, you can petition the Dept. of Labor for representation from the IAFF. It is not an easy task and is filled with dangers, which is why it isn't done.

    I believe the IAFF is the best Union for firefighters anywhere but I am rather biased . AFGE has some very good and hard working representatives for the fire service and we do work together on our issues. Base your opinions on what you have experienced personally without lumping the entire organization into that perception. We are a small group (fed fire fighters) and don't need any more division. I can't agree more with FedFirefighter, Get involved with whoever your Union is and make positive changes from the inside!

    Roy Colbrunn (Tank)
    IAFF Local F-88 Sec/Treas

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