HAROLD A. SCHAITBERGER
Harold A. Schaitberger is General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, representing more than 300,000 professional fire fighters and emergency medical personnel in every state in the U.S. and in Canada.
President Schaitberger is the ninth president in the IAFF’s 95-year history, and was the first to have been elected by acclamation in 2000. He was re-elected to another four-year term in July 2012.
Under President Schaitberger’s leadership, the IAFF’s Political Action Committee, FIREPAC, has grown to more than $4.6 million and ranks among the top one percent of PACs in the nation. His commitment to ensuring that the IAFF supports candidates and lawmakers who are friendly to fire fighters and their issues, regardless of political party, has significantly enhanced the union’s power and influence at all levels of politics.
President Schaitberger also serves as a vice president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The IAFF’s partnership with MDA has spanned nearly 55 years, and with a renewed commitment to a comprehensive fundraising process under President Schaitberger’s leadership, the IAFF has raised its support for MDA every year he has been president, including a record-breaking $28 million contribution to Jerry’s Kids in 2009.
During Schaitberger’s tenure, the IAFF also raised and distributed more than $160 million for the families of the 343 fire fighters killed in the line of duty on September 11, 2001, and the IAFF raised and provided financial assistance to the fire fighters who suffered losses at the hands of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005, as well as provided significant food, clothing, water, shelter and medical and psychological assistance to its more than 8,000 members in the hurricane zones.
The IAFF Financial Corporation, an innovative for-profit corporation whose only shareholder is the International Association of Fire Fighters, was also created and launched under Schaitberger’s leadership. The IAFF-FC offers deferred compensation plans for fire fighter supplemental retirement assets, a quality mortgage and refinance program and a full range of insurance protection, all with competitive pricing for IAFF members. The IAFF-FC deferred compensation program has $1.78 billion in 457 plan retirement assets. IAFF members have registered $274 million in loans with its home mortgage program, and more than 12,500 members have taken advantage of the auto and home insurance program.
Schaitberger also serves on the AFL-CIO Executive Committee, is a vice president of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council and was a co-chair of Labor 2004, the AFL-CIO’s election steering committee. He is currently the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the IAFF Burn Foundation and a board member of the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial and the National Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial.
Schaitberger began his career as a professional fire fighter in Fairfax County, Virginia, and rose to the rank of lieutenant. He was one of the leaders who originally organized what was then a 500-member department as an IAFF affiliate. In 1970 he was elected the first president of Fairfax County Local 2068. In 1973, Schaitberger was elected president of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters.
Prior to his election as General President, Schaitberger served as a top advisor to three IAFF presidents. He came to the IAFF headquarters in 1976 to create, establish and head the union’s national political and legislative programs. He played a key role in the creation of the Public Safety Officers Benefit, the enactment of the FLSA overtime law and spearheaded the passing of the NFPA 1710 Standard which governs the deployment and staffing of professional departments – a breakthrough measure that will benefit every man, woman and child protected by professional fire fighters and paramedics. Schaitberger also worked for decades to protect fire fighter pensions and secured federal funds to create the IAFF Hazardous Materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction Training Programs.