IAFF Message to Legislators: Back Us or Else

WASHINGTON, D.C. – International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) President Harold Schaitberger issued a warning to elected officials Monday morning – work with us or else.

Schaitberger vowed to target members of Congress who turned their backs on the IAFF even after receiving thousands of dollars and support.

He made the remarks during the opening of the IAFF’s annual Alfred K. Whitehead legislative conference.

Over the next few days, the nearly 1,000 IAFF members will be visiting their elected officials to lobby for several pieces of legislation.

They include to fully fund SAFER and FIRE Act grants; ­put a stop to any efforts to tax health care benefits; and ensure mandatory Social Security participation does not extend to firefighters.

They also are asking that federal firefighters be treated the same as crews on departments.

He praised his organization for pulling out all the stops to make a difference during the election last fall, adding that they “got rid of a few enemies.”

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The general president added that by working together, the IAFF successfully lobbied legislators in the lame duck session to pass several important measures such as reauthorizing SAFER, the program that keeps firefighters and paramedics employed.

He also said he was thrilled by the changes to SAFER and the FIRE Act grants. Modifications to the latter will result in the larger departments across the country receiving the most money.

Also, Schaitberger said he was especially pleased that through a bi-partisan effort, the Hatch Act was repealed, which will allow firefighters to run for municipal offices in their jurisdictions.

“We made good decisions, and changed our tactics,” he told the crowd.

And, he vowed to keep the momentum going at full speed.

He let it known that those officials who “double crossed” the IAFF will be targeted.