President Obama Proposes Billions for New Jobs Initiative to
Hire Fire Fighters, Preferences to Jurisdictions for Hiring Veterans
3, 2012 – President Barack Obama, with IAFF General President Harold
Schaitberger sitting close by, outlined an aggressive plan to provide more than
$1 billion to hire and keep fire fighters on the frontlines, while giving
preferences to jurisdictions for hiring veterans after returning from their
tours of duty abroad.
Speaking to fire fighters at Station 5 in Arlington, Virginia, President Obama
acknowledged that tight municipal budgets have resulted in widespread layoffs of
fire fighters and police officers and said his Veterans Job Corps program can
boost hiring and help an economy that is struggling to recover.
“Jobs protecting our communities shouldn’t be the first on the chopping block,”
President Obama said. “Let’s get more fire fighters on call, and in the process
we will put veterans back to work. It’s good for the economy.”
to the event, President Schaitberger met Vice President Biden, Secretary of
Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about the
Veterans Jobs Corps program about how the IAFF’s union structure and experience
with mentoring and apprenticeship programs would be the perfect fit for a
multi-agency partnership to get veterans on the job. Schaitberger was the only
labor leader invited to join the president for the February 3 event.
“President Obama has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to fire fighters
and has established a clear distinction between himself and the extremist
politicians on the far right – lawmakers like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick
Scott and their ilk – who are hell-bent on gutting the wages, pensions,
benefits, jobs and the rights of those who work for a living, saving lives and
protecting our neighborhoods,” Schaitberger says.
President Obama’s unprecedented
jobs proposal would provide $320 million in 2012 funding for Staffing for
Adequate Fire and Emergency Response [SAFER] grants and give a preference for
grants to communities recruiting and hiring post-9/11 veterans. The president
also announced that law enforcement would receive about half that amount to hire
veterans – $166 million for the Community Policing Service [COPS] program in
2012, giving similar preference for veterans.
The president’s 2013 budget will also include an additional $1 billion for SAFER
Against a backdrop of fire fighters and military personnel, President Obama
praised the hard work that fire fighters do every day to protect their
communities. The Veterans Job Corps program will allow former service members to
use the skills they learned overseas to work alongside fire fighters and police
officers to protect America at home after a career of protecting America abroad,
the president said.