Delegates meeting on the second day of the 56th Convention voted to increase funding aimed at enhancing cancer research, improving operations of the IAFF Foundation, ensuring proper oversight of the union by its trustees, and building on programs that enhance the work of affiliates.
“The resolutions that are before you are necessary for the IAFF to fight the ongoing war on workers and position our members not just to meet, but exceed the challenge to fight for better benefits, fair wages, and safer working conditions,” General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma said at the beginning of deliberations inside the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa, Ontario.
Líma said that adoption of all nine per capita proposals would increase member per cap dues to $16.73. Noting that the IAFF is financially strong but cannot do more with less, he invoked the late General President Emeritus Al Whitehead who often said, “If you want it, you have to fund it.”
By the end of business delegates had adopted seven per capita resolutions, notably 9 ½ cents for increased cancer research and 29 ½ cents to properly fund the IAFF Foundation and the many services it provides.
In urging support for Resolution 45 to boost IAFF Foundation funding, Kentucky delegates speaking from the floor noted how quickly the IAFF responded with disaster relief assistance following recent flooding and tornadoes.
Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters President Joe Baer said he was on the phone with IAFF leadership within minutes of a tornado tearing through Mayfield, Kentucky and impacting our members of Local 1646. Within days, IAFF disaster teams arrived with two trucks of supplies. Soon after, financial assistance arrived from the Foundation for each member affected to cover emergency expenses.
The Foundation resolution also requires that, at every subsequent Convention, a report on fundraising efforts is made and a recommendation regarding the increase, reduction, or no change to per capita be considered by delegates.
Under General President Edward Kelly and GST Líma, the IAFF Trustees have been tasked with more active oversight of the union and its finances. This follows the Ethical Practices Committee report – now released in full – identifying the need for “increased accountability and oversight of the IAFF’s financial reports, records, and policies.”
Resolution 18 outlines the duties and expectations of Trustees, and also provides an annual salary of $60,000 in recognition of their work and responsibilities.
Resolution 10 was adopted adding 7 ½ cents to the IAFF Emergency Disputes Fund, used to help local affiliates defend against unwarranted attacks from employers.
Resolution 24 was adopted adding 1 ¾ cents to maintain and expand the IAFF Elected Human Relations Committee and their mission to assist affiliates with training and counseling to address diversity, equity, inclusion, and recruitment and retention issues in the fire service.
The creation of program to help better train EMS Physician Medical Directors – Resolution 43 – was adopted, adding 3 cents. It is meant to help promote the value of fire-based EMS and provide board-certified experts who can speak to, and advance, the work of unionized fire fighters and single-role EMS providers.
Two roles will allow the IAFF to provide affiliates custom assistance and expertise in seeking better wages, hours, and benefits for members with the adoption of Resolution 44. It creates two new positions at IAFF headquarters: a data analyst and a Geographical Information System specialist for 5 ¼ cents this year and 5 ¼ the next.
Resolution 28 was adopted at no extra cost, providing support navigating immigration laws for IAFF employees wishing to relocate to either the U.S. or Canadian offices.
Resolution 31 – which addresses annual and perpetual funds – was referred back to the Policy Committee for review.
“We really got a lot done today,” said GP Kelly. “The work we did today strengthens this union and ensures we are taking care of the rank and file in the years ahead.”