General President Schaitberger addressed participants attending the 29th annual Alfred K. Whitehead Conference in Washington, DC Monday morning.

In a spirited speech, the General President said the conference comes at a seminal moment in the country’s labor movement. He denounced the political attacks on fire fighters and he vowed the IAFF will fight back with all its resources.

“We are not taking this laying down,” he said. We have faced adversity before and we are ready to fight back. Are you ready to fight back,” he asked fire fighters who stood and applauded the general president.

General president Schaitberger called the political attacks deceitful and dishonest with our political opponents using budget shortfalls and deficits as a cover to gut unions.

“We have to really listen to what they are saying,” he said. “This isn’t about budgets and deficits. The core of what is going on right now is smoke screens and mirrors. They just want to take everything from us.”

The assault on collective bargaining rights, right to work issues and paycheck deception are all efforts to kill unions. Wall Street is fighting for more control.
“I say no,” said General President Schaitberger. “I say hell no. They aren’t going to get away with this without a fight from our guys. They caused this recession. Not our members. They got bailed out by us — the tax payer while they to continue collect these gross bonuses.”

The general president praised the union leaders in Wisconsin for standing their ground. He also prased union leaders in Ohio for standing up.

“We are faced with a defining moment,” he said. “We are standing strong. This union is ready to fight with everything we got.”

You can watch video highlights of the general president’s speech here.