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Thread: IAFF Muscle

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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default IAFF Muscle

    I thought I would start a new discussion outside of the Bronx fire thread. I did not attend the IAFF Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference but have been folllowing along a bit this week. As some of you know there was a first-ever (at least for union) Presidential Forum. Many major candidates from both parties attended. I have no idea who the IAFF will end up supporting. I have no idea who I am going to vote for. Here comes my little rant. I am always amazed how quick our own membership is to vilify our International leadership. If you remember in 2004 the IAFF was THE only union to back Kerry. This was a time when all things left thought that Howard Dean was a messiah. There was absolutely no way the union was going to back Bush. But the oft-maligned leadership pullled a gutsy and savvy political manuever. The conspiracy theorists lamented the fact that Harold was positioning himself for a big Labor Dept. position....Like that would be somehow bad for union firefighters. We have all seen the caliber of some of those who were elevated to cushy government jobs once their buddy got in. You may or may not like Mr. Shaitberger, but you cannot deny he is a smart and effective union president. Harold has lead our union during some extremely tragic and trying times. There is no doubt that the murders of 9/11 have thrust the fire service into an uncomfortable spotlight. Our union stepped up during that awful time. Same as Katrina. The letter I read from a non-union Fire Chief in our magazine was quite gratifying. Real-life stuff. Not all this article 15 paid-volly stuff that gets blown way out of proportion by both sides but things like being able to distibute 500 USD to our members who desperately needed it in the early days after the disaster. I sometimes hear how the average firefighter "hates" Hillary Clinton. I think she is a good Senator, but I am not sure how she would be as president. The simple fact reamains that she fought very hard to fund the continuing health care for those who responded in 2001. She is a strong proponent of collective bargaining for all paid firefighters. This is bad for union firefighters? Two major locals endorsed President Bush in 2004. I strongly disagreed with those endorsements. I personally thought that they should have made NO endorsement if they were unhappy with the IAFF. Rant off. I think we should be proud that our union has really seemed to find a place at the table. There was coverage in many major news outlets. There was good participation by both Dems and Republicans. The IAFF has more muscle then any other fire service organization. If you look at the BIG picture, many of the initiatives that came from the IAFF have benefitted the fire service as a whole.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD


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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    The most important statement in Mikey's post...

    The IAFF has more muscle then any other fire service organization. If you look at the BIG picture, many of the initiatives that came from the IAFF have benefitted the fire service as a whole.
    Amen, Mikey, amen.
    ‎"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

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    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    The conspiracy theorists lamented the fact that Harold was positioning himself for a big Labor Dept. position....Like that would be somehow bad for union firefighters.
    I've read that several times during the 2004 campaign by those who had blind hatred for Kerry. And when asked why that would be bad there was always some babbling about a socialist agenda. Somehow Harold's being SecLabor was going to be the end of American democracy. One could only hope to have that amount of power as an appointee.

    I've watched some of the speeches on the IAFF's website. I was particulary disappointed in Obama. His speech talks about firefighters and then dissolves into his position on Iraq. Which isn't a firefighter issue. I was impressed by Hillary and Richardson. But will withold judgement until I've seen all of them. Remembering that Nov of '08 is 19 months away. I'd be willing to bet there are candidates who emerge that no one is talking about right now.

    As far as two locals supporting Bush. I was disappointed. And amused that all the conspiracy theorists who ranted about Harold had nothing to say about the NY brothers backing Bush. Given how they've been treated by the city it's safe to say they didn't make any deals, or any deals made were immediately ignored. And in my opinion that is a waste of an endorsement.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    He certainly gets paid enough.
    This space for rent

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    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleWickman View Post
    He certainly gets paid enough.
    You think? Compared to leaders in similar private sector organizations his salary would be paltry be comparison.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    I'd be willing to bet there are candidates who emerge that no one is talking about right now.
    Man, I hope so. I like Obama and I hope he hangs in there. Hillary Clinton has ****ed me off with her initial support of the war and her refusal to admit she ****ed up. Whoever is elected will have to clean up the Bush/neocon mess in Iraq and return focus to domestic issues ASAP.
    I don't envy them in the least.

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    He is one of the highest paid union leaders in the nation.
    This space for rent

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    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleWickman View Post
    He is one of the highest paid union leaders in the nation.
    What's your point?
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Two major locals endorsed President Bush in 2004. I strongly disagreed with those endorsements. I personally thought that they should have made NO endorsement if they were unhappy with the IAFF.
    Well, don’t forget that one local made that endorsement two elections in a row. You disagree with free speech, or the right to express yourself? My, how American, I mean union.
    I think that maybe the IAFF should have made NO endorsement, I strongly disagreed with the IAFF’s decision on who to endorse. Besides, after the past two elections, I have seen just how this “brotherhood” of union firefighters is. It’s all about the “brotherhood”, as long as everyone endorses the same candidate, or as long as everyone agrees with the IAFF.
    Give me a break.

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    From Thursday's article
    Quote Originally Posted by Washington Post
    The International Association of Fire Fighters made a strong case yesterday for the title of the politicians' favorite labor union.

    Who else but the union that represents many of America's first responders -- the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001 -- can draw 11 declared or would-be presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat alike, to speak on the same day in Washington -- and along the way get into a public spat with former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was a no-show?
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...031402341.html

    One of the goals set by Schaitberger is federal legislation that provides "basic collective bargaining rights for every fire fighter in the nation." This would supercede the state right-to-work regulations that significantly cripple the ability of labor organizations to represent their members, resolve workplace problems and negotiate pay and work conditions. About 11 states have some type of right-to-work legislation.

    This will also help our brothers working in federal or military agencies, some still working a 66 hour work week at poverty wages.

    If you do not become a player at the national level of politics, how else could you accomplish this objective?

    Informational pickets, sit-ins or teach-ins? Nice way to generate press or create awareness, but not an effective way to establish enabling legislation at either the state or federal level.

    Strike? The strikes of the 1970-1980s represented a net loss in firefighter pay, benefits and working conditions.

    As a founding member of Local 2068, Schaitberger has personal experience dealing with the Virginia state legislature as they nullified the only labor contract the local had with Fairfax County thirty some years ago. Virginia does not recognize labor organizations.

    While teaching fire school throughout the commonwealth I would hear about punitive actions taken against firefighters who dared to establish an IAFF local.

    I appreciate the point about the International (or your local) endorsing candidates that you personally do not care for. The test is not whether the candidate is Republican, Independent or Democratic. The test is whether the candidate is friendly to issues important to the IAFF.

    Candidates cannot ignore an organization that provides funding and sweat equity to those that get IAFF endorsement. The last mid-term elections shows the power of a national labor organization that is skillful and focused on the democratic process.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 03-17-2007 at 06:20 AM.

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    Here is an example of one potential landmine of having this guy in a DOL leadership role:

    Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) drew a polite but restrained reception. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), who announced Monday that he will announce later whether he plans to run for president, did worse. At one point, he praised volunteer firefighters -- to the dismay of those in the union audience.
    The State rests.

  12. #12
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default Glass house ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45 View Post
    Well, don’t forget that one local made that endorsement two elections in a row. You disagree with free speech, or the right to express yourself? My, how American, I mean union.
    I think that maybe the IAFF should have made NO endorsement, I strongly disagreed with the IAFF’s decision on who to endorse. Besides, after the past two elections, I have seen just how this “brotherhood” of union firefighters is. It’s all about the “brotherhood”, as long as everyone endorses the same candidate, or as long as everyone agrees with the IAFF.
    Give me a break.
    Kind of like my right to free speech and an opinion ?
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  13. #13
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Kind of like my right to free speech and an opinion ?
    I wasn’t the one telling a group of people to either step in line with the union, or to keep their mouths shut. My remark about the international’s endorsement was just an attention getter. I was fully happy with how everything went in the last election. The international didn’t represent my opinion with their endorsement, but my local did, and I was able to fully participate in that decision making process.
    The lack of tolerance by other ‘brothers’ was immediately evident in the e-mail and phone messages left with our office.
    Your glass house comment is way off base. If the international is going to make an endorsement for president, then there should be no dispute if a local decides another person is a better choice, and chooses to endorse someone else. You opened the door for criticism with this quote.
    Two major locals endorsed President Bush in 2004. I strongly disagreed with those endorsements. I personally thought that they should have made NO endorsement if they were unhappy with the IAFF.

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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Here is an example of one potential landmine of having this guy in a DOL leadership role:


    The State rests.
    I am slightly confused by this George. How many other labor unions would have 5 Republicans and 6 Democrats address their forum ? Pretty fair and balanced if you ask me.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default It would have been 6 Republicans...

    ...except for one notable exception.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Here is an example of one potential landmine of having this guy in a DOL leadership role:

    The State rests.
    And what's your point? The IAFF invited them to the forum. Clearly those two didn't know their audience and now the members present can tell their colleagues back home why those two won't be expecting IAFF support.

    I say well done for Harold.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Let me give you my persepective as a fireman with the City of Boston. Most of the guys that I know pretty much vote Republican, despite the anti-labor mentality. Why? Because overall they believe that the Republican's views on the world fit more in line with their values than the Democrats. Our Local might encourage members to vote for Kerry, Clinton or whomever but I doubt that the average guy is listening.

    Here's how I see the average Boston fireman (these are just a few examples):
    1) against affirmative action;
    2) believes that illegal immigrants are a major problem taxing all aspects of our society and should be dealt with accordingly;
    3) because of a mostly Catholic background maintains a conservative opinion on social issues;
    4) does not want to continue to pay more in taxes;
    5) a strong belief in the Second Amendment (including legal ownership of handguns); and
    6) is sick and tired of having their tax dollars go towards welfare recipients (how many of us have responded to incidents in housing projects only to see that the cars in the parking lots and televisions in the apartments are nicer than ours?).

    The Democratic Party is not the Party they used to be. Their priorities have shifted over the last 35 years as they've gone further to the left. It's leaves guys like me with a family, trying to do the right thing, shaking my head.

    PS: We endorsed Clinton in '92 and '96. How many of you small cities that were operating with one or two FF's per company saw your manning increase to 1 officer and 3 firefighters, minimum? Not too many, I'll bet.
    Last edited by BostonJake2340; 03-17-2007 at 12:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT View Post
    I am slightly confused by this George. How many other labor unions would have 5 Republicans and 6 Democrats address their forum ? Pretty fair and balanced if you ask me.
    It most certainly was. And, for whatever it is worth, I applaud the IAFF for that. It was definitely a benefit to their members.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    What's your point?

    None really. I just don't care for the IAFF management. Kind of off the topic really, but the IAFF as labeled my union as a "rouge union." The NJFMBA has tried on many times to merge into the IAFF only to have been blocked many times. I find it ridiculous that we can not merge. Many locals here have dual membership. That's fine but why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonJake2340 View Post
    Let me give you my persepective as a fireman with the City of Boston. Most of the guys that I know pretty much vote Republican, despite the anti-labor mentality. Why? Because overall they believe that the Republican's views on the world fit more in line with their values than the Democrats. Our Local might encourage members to vote for Kerry, Clinton or whomever but I doubt that the average guy is listening.

    Here's how I see the average Boston fireman (these are just a few examples):
    1) against affirmative action;
    2) believes that illegal immigrants are a major problem taxing all aspects of our society and should be dealt with accordingly;
    3) because of a mostly Catholic background maintains a conservative opinion on social issues;
    4) does not want to continue to pay more in taxes;
    5) a strong belief in the Second Amendment (including legal ownership of handguns); and
    6) is sick and tired of having their tax dollars go towards welfare recipients (how many of us have responded to incidents in housing projects only to see that the cars in the parking lots and televisions in the apartments are nicer than ours?).

    The Democratic Party is not the Party they used to be. Their priorities have shifted over the last 35 years as they've gone further to the left. It's leaves guys like me with a family, trying to do the right thing, shaking my head.

    PS: We endorsed Clinton in '92 and '96. How many of you small cities that were operating with one or two FF's per company saw your manning increase to 1 officer and 3 firefighters, minimum? Not too many, I'll bet.

    That pretty much sums it up around here too. Although I would say a bunch of us including myself would be more independent.
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