2020 has certainly been a year for Opinions, Media and Politics.
It has also been the year of the new slogan, ‘Defund the Police’ which has drawn support and criticism from all over the world.
Indeed, the results of defunding the police could be catastrophic for Firefighters and other First Responders that rely on a multi tiered system to accomplish public health and safety.
This post is not to talk about views- instead we are going to talk about the Union representing the majority of Career Firefighters.
Unions have become very vocal in support of laws and reforms. They have become a form of political pressure groups. Pushing money and support towards candidates and other groups that they support. While we’ll talk more about Unions and the Janus ruling…
Today we are going to talk about the IAFF.
The IAFF who is supposed to represent Firefighters and Has politicians supporting them in Washington- but still hasn’t managed to secure a National Appreciation Day for Firefighters in the US and Coverage for Firefighter Occupational Cancer Patients in all 50 states.
What is the IAFF
The IAFF (also known as the Interational Association of FireFighters) is a Labor Union representing 320,000 full time firefighters and paramedics.
Directly from their About Us Page, the IAFF is one of the most active lobbying associations in Washington D.C.- with FIREPAC (their political lobbying committee) among one of the top most committees in the country.
In simple terms, IAFF represents the majority of fulltime Firefighters through Union Dues, and they are also one of the very top organizations to fund political parties through laws and elections.
The IAFF supports an Executive Board, A Board of Trustees, and Staff at a total salary expense of 14 million in 2015.
The Head of the Union in also involved in an internal audit affair that says that he misappropriated millions of dollars over the LAST 20 YEARS.
In total, the IAFF spends over 30% of member dues to pay the Board and Staff, as well as fund the Political Arm, the FIREPAC. This is where the JANUS ruling comes into place- in that you do not have to support or pay for a Union that uses money for political gain- and that Union still has to represent you if you don’t pay union dues.
A brief History of the IAFF
Starting in 1918, the Union was formed to emphasize Fire Safety.
While they started out as a Non Partisan Organization, they later removed the Article and officially endorse candidates.
What Party does the IAFF officially endorse?
The IAFF, through their FIREPAC organization, endorses a president each election cycle, as well as helps funds the candidates.
In the 2020 Election Cycle, The IAFF paid out all most a million dollars in endorsements, 80% to Democrats and 20% to Republicans.
You can view the list of endorsements to see every candidate supported by viewing this link.
When viewing the list of endorsements, you can see that the IAFF also endorsed some Democrat Candidates that believe in Heavy Police Reform, like Paul Tonko, who received $5000 from the IAFF- the most money a candidate can receive.
The IAFF also officially endorsed Joe Biden in 2019- on his very first campaign run.
According to an article by FireRescue1, even though this went in line with the IAFF’s to support Democrats (the Current President of the IAFF worked with President Obama and received positions of power because of his connections) it still drew some criticism.
The IAFF was the very first union to endorse Joe Biden, and according to their site, FirefightersForBiden.Com, they still endorse Him today.
The Current President of the IAFF, who has been in office since 2000, served as an Advisor to President Obama, and also serves as an Advisor to Joe Biden. General President Harold Schaitberger is the same president who is currently under scrutiny for cooking the books during his 20 year tenure.
What Party does the Police Union endorse?
There are several different Police Unions (compared to only one for Firefighters) and the official Lobbying Organization of Police Officers is the National Association of Police Officers.
They have officially endorsed President Trump for a second term. while they initially endorsed Former Vice President Joe Biden.
They changed their stance because of the position the Democrat Party has taken in regards to Defunding the Police.
After the NAPO changed their endorsement, many took to social media to express concern and hope that the IAFF would follow suit.
What is Joe Biden’s Stance on Defunding the Police
In an article titled “These Top Democrats Go Further Than Biden on Diverting Police Funds” we see that many close to Biden are interested in Defunding the Police in it’s Entirety.
“Interviews with 54 Democratic National Committee members, convention superdelegates and members of a criminal justice task force convened by Mr. Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders found a near-unanimous sentiment that local governments should redirect more money toward social services, education and mental health agencies.”
Joe Biden’s official statement in Interviews is that he supports allocating funds to other departments (such as mental health) and His Campaign has made the official statement that He doesn’t support Defunding the Police entirely- just that Criminal Justice Reform and moving money needs to take place.
More about the Corruption in the IAFF Pension
Above is the turnout blog that talks about the pension corruption.It’s a Fascinating read- and one of the ONLY articles I found online to discuss this initially.
Then the case was picked up by Main Stream Media- and we learn more about how The Treasurer who has been employed since 2016, has found out about the change in bylaws and funding to benefit the current General President Harold Schaitberger.
Mr. Schaitberger, 74 years old, also failed to pay roughly $1 million in taxes on more than $3 million in deferred compensation over two decades as president, according to union officials and a 105-page memo the treasurer submitted to the union’s board. (source)
What are your options if you disagree with the IAFF’s position?
There are a lot of people that are upset with the IAFF- and they’re starting to get vocal about it.
🔥 Contact them (privately or publically)
🔥 Remove yourself from the Union Knowing that the Union still has to represent you even if you do not pay them because of the Supreme Court JANUS ruling which deals directly with politics and what we are seeing above. Paying someone to represent you for work who then uses that money for Politics is directly against your First Amendment Rights.
🔥 Create your own Union for your station(s)
🔥 Do nothing / or decide to actively support the IAFF
🔥🔥🔥🔥 Most importantly- do not sign anything from the Union until all of this is settled. If the IAFF is playing with fire, they should not take you down with them.
One thing is for sure- Firefighters and Police/LEO should be an united front. On the ground, and in the White House. Time will tell what the results will be.
About the Author: Charisty Haislip has a M.A. in Human Resources and lives in Orlando, Florida with her Firefighter/Paramedic and young children.