Announcement

IAFF Offices Closed

The IAFF offices will be closed from December 21-January 1. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Sandy Hook School Support Fund

United Way, a global nonprofit that works to improve families and individuals’ education, income stability and health, has set up the Sandy Hook School Support Fund through its Western Connecticut chapter. The fund will provide support services to the families that have been affected by the mass shooting. Donations can be mailed to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank 39 Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470 or submitted online.

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Headlines

News from the IAFF


"Rahne Elected IAFF 9th District Vice President" (IAFF)
"Right to Work… For Less" (IAFF Frontline Blog)
"SEIA leaves ALEC" (IAFF Frontline Blog)
"Fighting Fire With Books" (IAFF Frontline Blog)

Fighting Back


"Michigan House Approves Union Limit" (New York Times)
"Nutter Again Appeals Firefighters' Arbitration Award" (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Fire Fighters in the News


"Judge Won't Stop City's Firefighter Transfer Policy" (Philadelphia Inquirer (PA))
"Firefighter Union Leader Urges Tulsa Mayor to Reconsider Safety Tax" (Tulsa World)
"University Heights Firefighters Union Opposes Merger With Shaker Heights Fire Department, Based on 'Inaccurate' Study" (Cleveland.com)
"New Plaques Mark Unsafe Structures for Firefighters" (YNN Rochester)
"L.A. firefighters back decision to overturn parole for convicted arsonist" (Los Angeles Times)
"Detroit Firefighters, Holes in Boots, Honored in 'BURN'" (Chicago Tribune)
"Mississauga Local 1212's Benevolent Fund Contributes $100,000 to Local Hospital" (IAFF)
"Runnymede firefighters first on scene to help deliver baby" (Toronto Sun)
"St. Bernard Parish Citizens Vote to Keep 79 Fire Fighters on the Job" (IAFF)

 
 


IAFF and MDA - - a Proud Tradition

The Muscular Dystrophy Association – one of the country's largest, most effective voluntary health agencies – is funded almost entirely by individual contributors and national sponsors like the IAFF. To find out more, call (800) 572-1717 or visit www.mda.orgg

News from the IAFF

Rahne Elected IAFF 9th District Vice President

Ray Rahne has been elected and sworn in as the new 9th District Vice President. He will complete the unexpired term of Randall Atkinson, who died October 9. Brother Rahne, a member of Littleton, CO Local 2086, received 6,284 votes and Brother Rocky Hanes, a member of Tualatin Valley, OR Local 1660, received 4,207 votes. Rahne says Atkinson’s untimely passing is a bittersweet time for him to follow in the footsteps of his great friend and mentor, describing the experience as overwhelming. Rahne says former 9th District Vice President Mike McNeill, who died in 2007, was also a mentor.

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Right to Work… For Less

The Washington Post has published two thought-provoking blogs on right-to-work following the decision by the Michigan legislature and the state’s governor to push right-to-work legislation in that state. Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at the University of California-Santa Barbara, gives a good overview of the rise of the right-to-work movement. He tells the Washington Post that history suggests that a liberal, progressive America won’t be able to exist without unions.

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SEIA leaves ALEC

Another one bites the dust! Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced this week it is leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The organization says: “ALEC adopted a stance that intends to take us backwards. The fact is, Americans overwhelmingly support the growth of the solar energy industry and ALEC is clearly out of touch with the way Americans feel. We have not renewed our membership to ALEC and we will work with state legislators to push back on these efforts."

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Fighting Fire With Books

A plan that may send hundreds of Baltimore fire fighters back to school in order for them to move up the ranks sparked a good discussion on Facebook  this week. Baltimore fire officials say in order to prepare the next generation of leaders in the fire service, they need formal education in addition to their experience in the field.
In Baltimore, education requirements will mean applicants for officer positions have to complete a series of Maryland Fire Rescue Institute and National Fire Academy courses. Captain and Battalion candidates would need to earn more college level credits in fields relevant to their work - such as fire science, management, business or public administration.n.

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Fighting Back

Michigan House Approves Union Limit
New York Times (12/12/12); Davey, Monica

Michigan's House of Representatives voted December 11 to approve the first part of a two-part bill that would bar workers from being required to pay union fees as a condition of their employment. Michigan has historically been a strong pro-union state, but recent decades have seen union membership in the state dwindle to 17.5 percent of residents. Democrats in the Republican-controlled House struggled in vain to attach amendments to the measures in order to stop their passage -- including putting the legislation to a public vote -- but thus far all of the amendments have been rejected. "This is being forced down peoples' throats," said Jon Switalski, a Democrat. "It's being done so in a very poor way -- in lame-duck with no committee meetings." Michigan will be the 24th state to ban compulsory union fees and the second state to do so within the last decade. "Everybody has this image of Michigan as a labor state," said Bill Ballenger, the editor of Inside Michigan Politics. "But organized labor has been losing clout, and the Republicans saw an opportunity, and now the chickens are coming home to roost."

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Nutter Again Appeals Firefighters' Arbitration Award
Philadelphia Inquirer (12/12/12); Otterbein, Holly

Philadelphia informed the Common Pleas Court on Dec. 11 that it will again appeal the contract-arbitration award for Philadelphia fire fighters. In 2010, an arbitration panel issued an award for fire fighters. The city appealed the award, after which both groups decided to send the contract back to an arbitrator, who returned an award with almost the exact same terms. The city once again appealed, and in November, a Common Pleas judge upheld the award, which includes raises for fire fighters. That ruling is now being appealed to Commonwealth Court. City officials say the award, which would add more than $200 million in extra costs to the city's general fund over the course of the current five-year plan, is cost prohibitive. Bill Gault, president of Philadelphia, PA Local 22, said the total price tag actually comes out to around $66 million. The fire fighter's union has been without a contract since 2009.

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Fire Fighters in the News

Judge Won't Stop City's Firefighter Transfer Policy
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)(12/16/12); Collins, Sean

The Philadelphia fire fighters’ union lost a legal battle this month when a Pennsylvania judge rejected their petition to stop the city’s plan to transfer senior fire fighters around the city next year. Union members testified that moving those fire fighters with 10 or more years’ experience would take away a company’s institutional knowledge of specific neighborhoods. Engine 25 fire fighter Charlie Sgrillo, who may be transferred, said that having new people who are unfamiliar with a neighborhood will slow response times. "We are going to be a little slower; fires are going to be put out a little slower," he said. But Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said the transfers will create more space at the most active companies so that rookies can get more experience. "It's not as cozy and good as we would like it to be, but it's change and we have to change for the future," he said. The judge ruled that the city has the managerial right to perform the transfers and that no harm will come to residents or fire fighters. About 95 fire fighters will be transferred beginning late January or early February.

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Firefighter Union Leader Urges Tulsa Mayor to Reconsider Safety Tax
Tulsa World (12/13/12); Barber, Brian

Chad Miller, president of Tulsa, OK Local 176, says Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s rejection of a dedicated public safety tax is "short sighted." The tax was recommended by the city’s Public Safety Task Force and would be used to increase staffing for fire, police, and 911 operations. The mayor is ignoring the citizen-led task force’s work and is taking "a path that leads in the wrong direction," Miller says. The Mayor said he was not interested in a tax and wanted instead to find "efficiencies … and slowly grow our manpower as we can afford to do so." Miller, however, says the tax would help avoid the need for major cuts when sales-tax revenue falls. "Like fire fighters, the Public Safety Task Force understands that strong public safety is an investment in Tulsa," he says. "Strong public safety doesn't just make those who live and work here safer, it makes Tulsa a better place to do business and promotes economic development."

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University Heights Firefighters Union Opposes Merger With Shaker Heights Fire Department, Based on 'Inaccurate' Study
Cleveland.com (12/13/12); Wittenberg, Ed

The University Heights, OH Local 974 executive board sent a letter to Mayor Susan Infeld objecting to a consolidation with the Shaker Heights Fire Department, arguing that the merger is based on a flawed study conducted by Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI). Local 974’s letter contended that "a merger, as outlined by ESCI, would not be more efficient, would not reduce response time, would not increase service, and would ultimately hurt the residents of University Heights." The consolidation would allow the city to cut costs by eliminating the department’s ladder truck and backup ambulance, the letter argued. The ESCI study, released in October, contains inaccurate and misleading information, according to the letter. Legal counsel for Local 974 Susannah Muskovitz says the union does not necessarily oppose consolidation in any form, but they were left out of the process and were unable to offer insight as to which changes could be made. A town hall meeting will be held in January to get feedback on the ESCI study.

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New Plaques Mark Unsafe Structures for Firefighters
YNN Rochester (12/12/12)

The Rochester, N.Y., Fire Department on December 12 began adding red placards to vacant and unsafe structures in an effort to improve safety for fire fighters. Many of the roughly 2,500 vacant buildings in the city have missing or faulty structural supports, holes in the floors, and damaged stairways, says Rochester Fire Chief Sam Mitrano. Fire fighters should not risk their lives in high hazard buildings, Mitrano says.

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L.A. firefighters back decision to overturn parole for convicted arsonist

A local fire fighters' union on Tuesday cheered California Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to deny parole to a man convicted in a decades-old arson murder of a 34-year-old firefighter. Mario Catanio of Van Nuys was convicted in 1983 of intentionally starting a fire at Cugee's Cafe in North Hollywood that killed Thomas G. Taylor and injured several other Los Angeles Fire Department personnel who responded to the blaze.

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Detroit Firefighters, Holes in Boots, Honored in 'BURN'
Chicago Tribune (12/10/12); Krug, Kurt Anthony

The documentary film "BURN" followed Detroit’s Engine Company 50 fire fighters for a year. "BURN" won the audience award at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, and producers Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez are working to raise money for a nationwide release in 2013. Putnam and Sanchez were inspired to create the documentary by Detroit fire fighter Walter Harris, a 17-year veteran who died four years ago in a building collapse while fighting a fire in an abandoned building. The volume of work that the E50 fire fighters face overwhelmed the producers, who followed the company to 21 fires on their first two nights. With over 80,000 abandoned homes, Detroit has one of the highest arson rates worldwide and averages 30 fires per day. Fire departments have also faced budget cuts, and the E50 fire fighters often do not have the equipment they need to do their jobs. After witnessing the fire fighters’ dedication, the producers decided to donate much of the film’s proceeds to the Leary Firefighters Foundation, and Detroit fire fighters have received $25,000 in equipment. "If you gave these guys a horse and bucket of water, they'd still find a way to do their job and put the fire out," said Putnam. "People like to talk about Detroit representing what's wrong with America and I think guys like the people we met represent what's best."

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Mississauga Local 1212's Benevolent Fund Contributes $100,000 to Local Hospital

Mississauga, ON Local 1212 through its non-profit - the Mississauga Firefighters Benevolent Fund- presented the Credit Valley Hospital Foundation with a $100,000 gift during the Foundation's recent Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The benevolent fund has been a dedicated supporter of the Foundation since 1985, raising a total of $329,663 to date. This additional gift of $100,000 will make a significant impact on the Phase III expansion of Trillium Health Partners, Credit Valley Hospital site.

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Runnymede firefighters first on scene to help deliver baby
Toronto Sun (12/18/12); Yuen, Jenny

When Amanda Salzberger went into labour, her white knight came to her rescue — not on horseback — but driving a red fire truck. Salzberger, 35, and her partner, Robert Huntley, were at their Lincoln Ave. home, in the Runnymede Rd. and Annette St. area, last Wednesday around 8:30 p.m. when her water broke. “There were three strong contractions, and at that point, we could see the baby’s head,” Huntley, 43, said Tuesday at their residence, surrounded by the firefighters who helped deliver her son. When he called 911, two firefighters arrived first at their home roughly two minutes and five seconds later and helped deliver Blake Robert Huntley, born 6 pounds, 5 ounces.

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St. Bernard Parish Citizens Vote to Keep 79 Fire Fighters on the Job

St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, voters passed a 10-year 20-millage property tax to maintain the current level of fire service. Without the millage, 79 St. Bernard Parish Local 1468 fire fighters and half of the parish’s fire stations would have been on the chopping block to offset a multi-million budget shortfall. The millage will bring in about $6 million annually. “We are very pleased with the outcome of the December ballot,” says Local 1468 President Troy Serigne. “Because parish voters stood with us, we can continue to do what we do best – protecting and serving our citizens.”

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December 19, 2012

 


IAFF Affiliate Leadership Training Summit
January 21-23, 2013, Phoenix, Arizona

IAFF Political Training Academy
February 9-15, 2013, Baltimore, Maryland

IAFF Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference
March 17-21, 2013, Washington, DC



The IAFF represents more than 300,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 80 percent of the nation's population. More than 3,100 affiliates and their members protect communities in every state in the United States and in Canada. In addition to city and county fire fighters and emergency medical personnel, the IAFF represents state employees (such as the California Forestry fire fighters), federal workers (such as fire fighters on military installations), and fire and emergency medical workers employed at certain industrial facilities.

The Frontline News includes summaries of news articles related to fire fighters, emergency response and the fire service. It is distributed twice a month to IAFF affiliate leaders and members.

For more information, contact:


Jane Blume
Director of Communicationsns
International Association of Fire Fighters s rs s
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Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 737-8484