IAFF Endorsement Philosophy
The IAFF believes that every IAFF member has an absolute right to vote for the candidate that he or she feels best represents and embraces that individual’s views and political philosophy. No one, including your union, has a right to tell you how to vote.
The IAFF knows that its members are intelligent enough to review the history, positions and platform of each candidate and to make a decision based on that information. The IAFF will never criticize any member for his or her choice of candidate. There are many issues that are important to all Americans – including IAFF members – beyond fire service and labor issues. Consequently, the IAFF respects its members’ right to vote for candidates who have not won the endorsement of the IAFF or your local affiliate.
However, the IAFF asks that its members respect the IAFF’s duty to make its endorsement based on fire service, employment and labor issues that directly affect our members. This union views candidates through a very narrow focus. Decisions are predicated on how candidates stand on fire fighter and labor issues such as collective bargaining rights, protection of fair labor standards (FLSA) and overtime rights, pay fairness and equity for federal fire fighters, presumption of disability for federal fire fighters, funding for first responder initiatives, full funding of the FIRE and SAFER programs, protection of pension and social security benefits, and protection and extension of health care benefits for active and retired members to name a few. These are the types of issues that IAFF FIREPAC will base its decision on when deciding whether or not to support a candidate. IAFF FIREPAC does not and will not base its decisions on issues such as Second Amendment rights, reproductive rights, the environment or other social issues that many of our members hold firm beliefs about.
The IAFF has one mission: to improve the lives and livelihoods of professional fire fighters. This union is an advocacy group similar to the NRA, Christian Coalition, Sierra Club, Chamber of Commerce, National League of Cities, etc. Its range of issues is very specific. No one expects the NRA to base endorsements on fire fighter bargaining rights. Likewise, no one expects the Christian Coalition to base its support of candidates on funding the FIRE or SAFER Acts. Consequently, no one should expect the IAFF to base its endorsement on anything other than its specific set of issues.
While you may personally disagree with an IAFF endorsement and believe that another candidate better represents your own viewpoint, please be mindful that the IAFF endorsement is about the candidate’s stance on fire service and labor issues.
In any union, association or even political party, when an organization endorses a particular candidate or a specific position on any issue, not everyone who is a member is in agreement. People are entitled to disagree and express their own opinions.Politics within the IAFF is an issue of mutual respect. The IAFF respects its members’ right to vote for whomever they choose. Please respect the IAFF’s right to endorse candidates, regardless of party, who have demonstrated their support for the IAFF and professional fire fighters. The IAFF also respects the right of state associations and individual affiliates to endorse the candidate that they believe best represents the views of their membership at the state and local level.