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On Scene: 56th Convention Day Four
On Scene: 56th Convention Day Three
On Scene: 56th Convention Day Two
On Scene: 56th Convention Day One
Preparing for the 56th Convention
GP Kelly and GST Lima Convention Message
Pursuant to the provisions of the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution & By Laws, the 56th Convention will be held at the Shaw Centre in Ontario, Canada, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 8, 2022, and will remain in session day-to-day until the business of the Convention is completed.
REPRESENTATION: Local unions with a membership of 100 or less shall be entitled to one delegate. Locals with a membership exceeding 100 shall be entitled to delegates as follows:
|101 – 250 = 2|
251 – 500 = 3
501 – 750 = 4
751 – 1000 = 5
1001 – 1250 = 6
|1251 – 1500 = 7|
1501 – 1750 = 8
1751 – 2000 = 9
2001 + =10
State or provincial associations or joint councils duly chartered by this Association shall be entitled to two delegates at International Conventions provided any per capita tax or portion of fees due at the International on individual members admitted to such subordinate unions is current as required by Article XIV, Section 4.
To be entitled to representation of its delegates at Convention, a local union must pay its per capita tax on its full membership as required by the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws, Article XIII, Section 2, provided, however, that representation and voting strength of the local union shall be allocated on the basis of the average amount of per capita tax paid monthly by the local from April 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022.
For local unions not in existence for the full 12 months preceding March 31, 2022, per capita tax paid will be averaged over the period of their existence monthly.
All per capita and Emergency Disputes Fund (EDF) loans must be paid in full through the month of June 2022 to be entitled to representation at Convention.
Online credential and registration process:
DELEGATE CREDENTIALS: Access to the online credential and registration process will be available to affiliate presidents, secretaries and secretary-treasurers is available for all locals that have fully paid per capita through the month of March 2022.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR AFFILIATE OFFICERS TO COMPLETE THE CREDENTIAL PROCESS PRIOR TO ARRIVING IN OTTAWA. Failure to do so could result in a significant delay in your delegation being able to register and receive credentials. If a delegate/alternate delegate does not have their credentials, they are not permitted to be on the Convention floor.
WHO CAN BE A DELEGATE AND ALTERNATE: Delegates and alternates to International Conventions must be members in good standing of the local union, state or provincial association, or joint council from which they hold credentials or International officers who shall be delegates-at-large by virtue of their office.
Local unions are reminded that the International Constitution and By-Laws requires that the credentials presented by the delegates and alternates must certify that they have been elected by secret ballot vote of the members in good standing of the local (Article XIII, Section 15).
In the case of all state or provincial associations or joint councils, an option is provided by the International Constitution and By-Laws (Article IV, Section 4). If the delegates or alternates are elected by secret ballot of the MEMBERS in good standing of all the local unions comprising the state or provincial associations or joint councils, such delegates are entitled to voice and vote and full participation in the Convention proceedings. If, however, the delegates and alternates are elected by secret ballot of the local union delegates to the state or provincial associations or joint councils, such delegates are entitled to voice and vote in all Convention proceedings.
This is a requirement of law under the Landrum-Griffin Act and also applies to our International officers who are delegates-at-large. ALL DELEGATE CREDENTIALS MUST CERTIFY BY WHICH METHOD THE DELEGATES WERE ELECTED.
The IAFF urges advanced registration payments to avoid long lines at Convention.
Convention ID badges must be picked up by 5:00 p.m., Monday, August 8, 2022. Past this deadline, a floor vote by the delegates is required before a delegate may be seated.
ALTERNATE CREDENTIALS: If an affiliate elects to send alternate delegates to the Convention, only one alternate per delegate is permitted.
PROXY: Local unions of 200 members or less who do not send a delegate to the Convention may be represented by a delegate by giving its proxy to that delegate. In addition, such local union may also select an alternate delegate to carry the proxy in the event the first delegate is unable to attend.
The following conditions must be observed if the proxy method is to be used:
- A local union granting a proxy and the delegate from the local union accepting the proxy must be in the same IAFF District;
- If a local union granting a proxy also wishes to select an alternate delegate, both the delegate and the alternate delegate must come from the same local union accepting the proxy; and
- A proxy may be authorized only after nomination and election by secret ballot among the members of the local union granting the proxy.
The procedures for authorizing a proxy apply to the selection of a principal delegate, as well as to the selection of a second alternate delegate (if any). Nominees must be named delegates of another local union in the District that has already elected such delegates to go to the Convention. Nominations may be made at any meeting of the local union, but a notice of when nominations will be held must be given and notice of the date, time and place of election must be mailed to its membership at least 15 days in advance of such election. Nominations and elections may be held at the same meeting provided the notice has been sent. The election must be conducted by secret ballot, but if only one delegate is nominated to carry the proxy (and if only one delegate is nominated as an alternate delegate to carry the proxy) it is not necessary to conduct the election. No local union delegate may accept proxies to represent membership in excess of 200 and, provided further, that in no event shall the total of proxy votes carried by all delegates within a local union exceed 300. Proxy voting shall be permitted only in a roll call vote and shall be cast by the delegate carrying the proxy. (Article IV, Section 2, IAFF Constitution and By-Laws).
DEADLINE: ALL PROXY CREDENTIALS MUST BE COMPLETED (approved by both president and secretary or secretary-treasurer) online by 5:00 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, July 13, 2022.
IMPORTANT: In order to be selected to carry a proxy for another local, the proxy carrier MUST be credentialed and registered (paid) for Convention.
REGISTRATION FEES: Payment of registration fees is required when completing the credentialing process. The following charges will be levied as registration fees:
$450 (U.S.) Each delegate and alternate delegate
$100 (U.S.) Each adult guest
CONSTITUTION & BY-LAWS AMENDMENTS AND CONVENTION RESOLUTIONS: Amendments to the International Constitution and By-Laws or resolutions for Convention action may be submitted only by local unions, state and provincial associations, joint councils of this Association, International officers, Executive Board, or by the delegates at International Conventions as hereafter provided.
Amendments or resolutions proposed by a local union, state, provincial association, joint council or by International officers or by the Executive Board shall be subject to adoption by a majority vote of the delegates present and voting at a biennial convention.
Other than censure resolutions, all resolutions to be considered by any Convention of this Association must be received by the International General Secretary-Treasurer no later than 50 days (Sunday, June 19, 2022) immediately preceding the opening of the Convention. Resolution 16, adopted at the 2000 Convention, also allows affiliates to submit copies of resolutions by email. Any resolutions received not complying with these deadlines will be returned. If you wish to email your resolution, please forward to [email protected]. In emergency situations, defined as a situation occurring between the 50-day period immediately preceding the Convention and the Convention itself, including the days during which it is in session, emergency resolutions may be received only upon unanimous consent of the Convention delegates.
All resolutions, accompanied by a cost factor summary statement – if applicable – prepared by the General Secretary-Treasurer, will be made available to the membership electronically prior to Convention.
CENSURE RESOLUTIONS: Any resolution that seeks to censure, condemn or otherwise criticize any person, including fire department personnel or entity, must be submitted in draft form 60 days (Thursday, June 9, 2022) prior to the Convention for review by the General President, who shall, if deemed necessary, rewrite the draft resolution to remove any language therein that may be considered defamatory or libelous and who shall return the resolution as modified to the affiliate for its review and approval. Any resolution that is modified in this manner shall be submitted for consideration and action by the Convention delegates only if the sponsoring affiliate first approves of the resolution in its modified form. A certain time is set aside at the Convention for discussion and voting by the Convention delegates on the censure motions, and this time shall be included in the Rules of Order.
All amendments shall become operative immediately upon their adoption by the delegates unless otherwise expressly provided.
Edward A. Kelly
James M. Slevin, 1st District Vice President
Mark S. Woolbright, 2nd District Vice President
Jay T. Colbert, 3rd District Vice President
Andrew K. Pantelis, 4th District Vice President
Thomas A. Thornberg, 5th District Vice President
J. Michael Carter, 6th District Vice President
Ricky J. Walsh, 7th District Vice President
Mark A. Sanders, 8th District Vice President
Frank V. Líma
Michael Frainier, 9th District Vice President
Stephen Gilman, 10th District Vice President
Roy L. “Sandy” McGhee, 11th District Vice President
Walter J. Dix, 12th District Vice President
Fred LeBlanc, 13th District Vice President
Danny L. Todd, 14th District Vice President
David J. Burry, 15th District Vice President
James B. Johnson, 16th District Vice President
Alex Forrest, Region 1 Canadian Trustee
Mark S. Ouellette, Region 2 United States Eastern Trustee
Anthony Mejia, Region 3 United States Western Trustee
- All per capita payments and EDF loan repayments must be paid through the month of June 2022 to be seated at Convention.
- Delegate voting strength is determined by averaging past 12 month per capita paid (April 1, 2021-March 31, 2022).
- For locals in existence less than 12 months, voting strength is determined by the average per capita paid over the period of their existence on a monthly basis. All per capita and EDF loans must be current through the month of March 2022 in order to access the online credential/registration process as prescribed in the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws Article IV, Section 2.
- Affiliate presidents, secretaries and secretary-treasurers will receive an email notice that access to the online Convention information, including credentials, registration, proxies, hotel reservation information, etc. is available.
- The ability to credential delegates, alternates and proxies is available only to the president, secretary or secretary-treasurer of the affiliate, and only to locals with up-to-date per capita payments.
It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that online credentials be complete BEFORE arriving in Ottawa.
Thursday, June 9
- Censure resolutions must be received by the General President (60 days prior to Convention)
Sunday, June 19
- All resolutions (except censure resolutions) must be received by the General Secretary-Treasurer via mail or email to [email protected] (preferred) by 5:00 p.m. EDT (50 days prior to Convention)
- Any resolution received after this deadline will be returned to sender
Wednesday, July 13
- The online process for proxies and alternate proxies must be completed by 5:00 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, August 3
- IAFF Executive Board meeting (9:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m.)
Wednesday, August 3
- Early Committees arrive: Constitution & By-Laws, Policy & Resolutions Committees
Thursday, August 4
- Credentials Committee arrives
Thursday, August 4
- Constitution & By-Laws, Policy & Resolutions Committees begin meeting
Friday, August 5
- Credentials Committee begins meeting
Saturday, August 6
- Grievances & Appeals, Rules of Order, Legislative, Occupational Health & Safety and Sergeant-at-Arms Committees arrive
Sunday, August 7
- Grievances & Appeals, Rules of Order, Legislative, Health & Safety and Sergeant-at-Arms Committees begin meeting
Sunday, August 7
Credential Check-In and Convention Registration begins
- Note: Per capita payments and EDF loan repayments must be paid through the month of June 2022 to seat delegates at Convention.
- Registration hours:
- Sunday, August 7 (9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.)
- Monday, August 8 (9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.)
- Convention ID badges MUST be picked up by 5:00 p.m. in order to be seated at Convention
Sunday, August 7
- Welcome Reception (hosted by Ottawa Local 162)
Monday, August 8
- Opening Ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m.; General Session begins at 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 9
- FIREPAC Leadership Trust Reception
Thursday, August 11
- General President’s Reception
Friday, August 12
- Convention adjourns
Important Travel Information
- The majority of the Convention materials will be shared digitally this year, so please bring a device with wireless access, such as a laptop or tablet.
- Download the IAFF app to access important Convention information.
- The Canadian government requires all visitors complete ArriveCAN (online or by downloading the app) no sooner than 72 hours before travel to provide trip details and public health information. If you don’t complete ArriveCAN within 72 hours before arriving in Canada, you won’t qualify for the fully vaccinated traveler exemption. You will need your passport and your vaccination card when signing up for ArriveCAN.
- The first question in ArriveCAN asks why you are entering Canada. You should choose Discretionary/Optional Travel. You are then asked to acknowledge that – as a fully vaccinated traveler – you may be subject to random testing. Random testing is not occurring at the Ottawa International Airport, but it is possible at the Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver airports. Even if you are selected for random testing, fully vaccinated travelers (those who have completed ArriveCAN 72 hours before traveling and have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine) do not have to wait or quarantine for test results. You may continue travel.
For any questions, email [email protected].
55 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Canada K1N 9J2
(Note: Hotel room rates are in Canadian dollars)
Delta Hotels by Marriott – Ottawa City Centre
101 Lyon Street
Ottawa, ON K1R 5T9
$219 CAD/night, plus taxes
Cut-off date: July 5, 2022
Westin Ottawa – SOLD OUT
11 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1N 9H4
$249 CAD/night, plus taxes
Cut-off date: July 1, 2022
150 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G2
$172 CAD/night, plus taxes
Cut-off date: July 6, 2022
Ottawa Marriott Hotel
100 Kent Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5R7
Cut-off date: July 5, 2022
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
1 Rideau Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 8S7
$279 CAD/night, plus taxes
Cut-off date: July 3, 2022
Lord Elgin Hotel
100 Elgin Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5K8
Cut-off date: July 8, 2022
Note: If guests have any issues with the booking link or would like to book outside of the room block dates, email the in-house reservations team at [email protected] or call the hotel at (613) 235-3333 for assistance.
Les Suites Hotel Ottawa
130 Besserer Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 9M9
$225 CAD/night, plus taxes (one-bedroom suite)
$415 CAD/night, plus taxes (two-bedroom suite)
Cut-off date: June 24, 2022
33 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 9M7
$249 CAD/night, plus taxes
Cut-off date: June 15, 2022
Delegates can contact the hotel directly at (855) 677-3033 and either ask for the IAFF 56th Convention block or quote booking code 598202.
Air Canada – WFE4Z8G1 (promotion code)
To book a flight, visit aircanada.com and enter the promotion code in the search panel.
Delta Air Lines is offering special discounts. Book your flights using the code: NMV7J. You may also call Delta Meeting Network® at (800) 328.1111* Monday–Friday, 7:00 a.m.–7:30 p.m. (CT) and refer to Meeting Event Code NMV7J. *Please note there is not a service fee for reservations booked and ticketed via our reservation 800 number.
Book online or call United Reservations Meetings Desk at (800) 426-1122 and enter the offer code ZKGZ800902 in the box to receive your discount.
Ottawa Local 162
The Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters Local 162 is proud and excited to be hosting the IAFF 56th Convention, August 8-12, 2022. We look forward to hosting you in our Nation’s Capital.
As the host local, we will be sponsoring an opening reception on Sunday evening, which will provide social and networking opportunities for all IAFF affiliates.
THINGS TO DO
Westboro Beach is 15-minute drive from the Westin.
Britannia Beach is a 20-minute drive from the Westin.
Mooney’s Bay Beach is a 20-minute drive from the Westin.
Bookstores and Libraries
The Ottawa Public Library is a 5-to-10-minute walk from the Westin.
There is a very large Chapters location 2 minutes from the Westin.
All Books is about a 10-to-15-minute walk from the Westin.
Patrick McGahern Books is 5-to-10-minute walk from the Westin.
Perfect Books is 10-to-15-minute walk from the Westin.
Lac Leamy Casino is a 10-minute drive from the Westin.
Rideau Carleton Casino is a 30-minute drive from the Westin. (Future Hard Rock)
There is also live horse harness racing at this location on Sundays & Thursdays.
Pineview is the closest at 15 minutes but would be considered an average course.
The Meadows is the second closest at 20-25 minutes and better course than Pineview.
Le Sorcier is approximately 25 minutes
The Marshes is approximately 30 minutes
Equinelle is approximately 45 minutes
Casselview is approximately 35 minutes
Montebello is approximately 55 minutes
All Ottawa area golf courses can be found at
Canadian Museum of history is 20-to-25-minute walk from the Westin.
Canadian War Museum is a 30-minute walk from the Westin.
Canadian Museum of Nature is a 20 to 25 minute.
National Gallery of Canada (art) is a 10-to-15-minute walk from the Westin.
Canadian Aviation and Space Museum is a 15-minute drive from the Westin.
Canada Science and Technology Museum is a 15-minute drive from the Westin.
International Fireworks Competition. While tickets are hard to come by these fireworks are visible from several locations just steps from the hotels.
The Byward Market has lots of restaurants with outdoor patios and outdoor shops. This is a 5-minute walk from the Westin.
Rideau Canal Cruise is right in front of the Westin.
There is an extensive network of bike / jogging paths right outside the Westin. It goes all along the Rideau Canal as well as the Ottawa River.
You can rent a bike right outside the Westin hotel.
Haunted Walks of Ottawa is a 5-minute walk from the Westin.
There is zip line across the Ottawa River that is a 30-to-35-minute walk from the Westin.
Northern Lights is a free and unique multimedia experience that allows you to discover Canada’s great achievements and key milestones. Thursday to Monday at 10 PM on Parliament Hill a 5 -10-minute walk from the Westin.
Northern Lights 2022 – Sound and Light Show
Gatineau Park is the National Capital Region’s conservation park. The largest green space in the region, the Park occupies an area of more than 361 square kilometres and is a place of rich and unique biodiversity. It is the second-most visited park in Canada, and a destination for outdoor enthusiasts to engage in recreational activities that respect the environment.
Places of Interest
Parliament Buildings are a 5-to-10-minute walk from the Westin.
Rideau Centre is attached to the Westin and is probably the best shopping mall in Ottawa.
Tanger Outlets is a 25-minute drive from the Westin.
Nestled in the picturesque village of Old Chelsea in the Outaouais region on the outskirts of Gatineau Park, Nordik Spa-Nature is the largest spa in North America and about a 15-minute drive from the Westin.
Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football league play Friday, August 5th at 7:30 PM against the Calgary Stampeders. For tickets go to:
Ottawa Athlético of the Canadian Premiere League (professional soccer) play Sunday, August 7th at 2:00 PM against FC Edmonton. For tickets go to:
Ottawa Titans of the Frontier League of Independent Baseball have several home games during the days surrounding the Convention dates.
Calypso is the biggest theme waterpark in Canada and is a 35-minute drive from the Westin Hotel.
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Rideau Canal Atrium
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exhibition Area Open
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Delegates’ Welcome Reception Hosted by Local 162
Monday, August 8
Fit To Thrive
Colonel By Foyer
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Rideau Canal Atrium
Doors Open for Opening Ceremonies
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exhibit Area Open
Doors Open for Business Session
1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Behavioral Health Support Group
Tuesday, August 9
Fit To Thrive
Colonel By Foyer
Exhibit Area Open
Doors Open for Business Session
General Business Session
Behavioral Health Support Group
FIREPAC Chairman’s Council and Leadership Trust Reception
(By invitation only)
Wednesday, August 10
Fit To Thrive
Colonel By Foyer
7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Exhibit Area Open
Doors Open for Business Session
General Business Session
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
District 12 Reception
Heart & Crown ByWard
67 Clarence St., Ottawa, ON K1N 5P5
Behavioral Health Support Group
Thursday, August 11
Fit To Thrive
Colonel By Foyer
Doors Open for Business Session
General Business Session
Behavioral Health Support Group
General President’s Closing Reception
Canadian Museum of History
Friday, August 12
General Business Session
1st District Vice President
2nd District Vice President
3rd District Vice President
Andrew K. Pantelis
4th District Vice President
5th District Vice President
6th District Vice President
7th District Vice President
8th District Vice President
9th District Vice President
10th District Vice President
Roy L. “Sandy” McGhee
11th District Vice President
Walter J. Dix
12th District Vice President
13th District Vice President
14th District Vice President
15th District Vice President
James B. Johnson
16th District Vice President
Apply to Exhibit/Sponsor
• Opening Ceremony Sponsor
• Premium Booth Space Location
• Logo on Website
• Logo in Event Email Communications
• Ad in IAFF App
• 30-Second Video Commercial on Event Website
• Exhibit Area Signage
• Opening Ceremony Signage
• Recognition During Opening Ceremony
• Recognition in Fire Fighter Quarterly Magazine
• Booth Space
• Logo on Website
• Logo in Event Email Communications
• Ad in IAFF App
• Exhibit Area Signage
• Recognition During Opening Ceremony
• Recognition in Fire Fighter Quarterly Magazine
A LA CARTE SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES:
• Exhibit Booth – $5,000
• Website Ad (per month) – $1,000
• Ad in IAFF App – $500
• Reception Sponsor
• Premium Booth Space Location
• Logo on Website
• Logo in Event Email Communications
• Ad in IAFF App
• Exhibit Area Signage
• Recognition During Opening Ceremony
• Recognition in Fire Fighter Quarterly Magazine
• Booth Space
• Logo on Website
• Logo in Event Email Communications
• Exhibit Area Signage
• Recognition in Fire Fighter Quarterly Magazine
• Booth Space
• Exhibit Area Signage
• Recognition in Fire Fighter Quarterly Magazine
Advanced Shipping Warehouse
Advanced shipping warehouse will receive shipments until end of day August 4.
1785, 55 ieme Ave Dorval, QC H9P 2W3
Direct to Facility
Direct to facility shipments will not be received before exhibitor move in unless arrangements are made in advance.
55 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1N 9J2
Customs Exhibitor Contact
ConsultExpo Inc has been selected as official Customs broker by the Shaw Centre and will be pleased to assist with the customs clearance and shipping of your display material. Please contact [email protected] or (514) 709-0781) to receive your customs documents and order form. If shipping via a courier, you will still need customs clearance services. Please return the completed order form and your carriers tracking number to [email protected].
Onsite Booth Services
GES is a global, award-winning organization, which provides integrated services for face-to-face marketing and brand building events, including expositions, conventions, corporate events, meetings and exhibit programs. Services include the rental, installation and dismantling of booth and special event furnishings, including hard wall panels, pipe and drape, furniture, carpet and accessories. They also offer custom booth fabrication, installation and dismantle services, graphics and banners, exhibit transportation and customs clearance, advanced storage, and many other client-driven requirements.
All graphics orders need to be submitted by July 29.
As an exhibitor, you will receive:
- Draped booth space
- 1 – 6’ skirted table
- 2 – side chairs
- 1 – wastebasket
Electrical / Rigging / Audio Visual / Internet:
Food & Beverage
Please send names of all exhibit hall staff to [email protected].
Location and Hours
55 Colonel By Drive
|Saturday, August 6||9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, August 7||9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m|
|Monday, August 8||11:00 a.m–5:00 p.m.|
|Tuesday, August 9||7:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.|
|Wednesday, August 10||7:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m. (followed by breakdown)|
Monday, August 8 – Cancer Roundtable
Dr. Karen Knudsen is the CEO of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). As a well-respected cancer leader, researcher, and advocate, Dr. Knudsen guides the organization in the goal of improving the lives of cancer patients and their families – and is committed with us to Extinguish Cancer.
Andrea Seale is the CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), Canada’s largest national health charity. CCS unites and inspires all Canadians to take control of cancer by funding cancer research and providing a support system for all Canadians affected by cancer. With 20+ years of non-profit leadership experience, Seale is dedicated to empowering people to build the causes that make our world more compassionate, healthy, and just.
Alex Forrest is an IAFF trustee and captain in the Winnipeg Fire Department with 33 years of service. He is also president of the Manitoba Professional Firefighters and president emeritus of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg. Forrest has been an attorney for more than 25 years, written dozens of articles about fire fighter health and safety, and coauthored an occupational health book for medical professionals.
Joe Schumacher is the Chief Operations Officer (CFO) for the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) and the Virginia Assistant State Director. He started with FCSN in 2013 after his second battle with cancer. In 2018, Schumacher retired from the City of Fairfax Fire Department at the rank of captain after a 30-year career. He remains an active member of the City of Fairfax Professional Firefighters Association Local 2702.
Tuesday, August 9 – Financial Wellness Roundtable
James Estep is a 26-year member of the IAFF and the president of Miramar, FL Local 2820. In an effort to provide financial advice specifically to fire fighters, James became a certified financial planner and in 2010 he started his own financial advisory firm in South Florida. Estep also serves as a trustee of a multi-jurisdictional healthcare trust in South Florida.
Cory Hogan is an 18-year member of the IAFF, the executive vice president for IAFF Local 2665 (Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri), the Legislative Affairs advisor for the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters, and a captain in the Cottleville Fire Protection District in the St. Louis Metropolitan region.
Greg Markley is a 38-year member of the IAFF, has served as the secretary/treasurer of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters (WSCFF) for the last 19 years and is a proud member of Kent, WA Local 1747. Markley chairs the IAFF Retirement Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP) serving over 8,600 IAFF members as well as the IAFF Health and Wellness Trust serving over 4,000 families across the United States.
Darrell “Doc” Roberts is a 24-year IAFF member who serves as the president of Chula Vista, CA Local 2180, California Professional Fire Fighter’s 1st District Vice President, an IAFF Strategic Campaign Specialist, and as a member of our IAFF Financial Corporation’s Board of Directors.
Wednesday, August 10 – Wildland Urban Interface Roundtable
Mark Brise has been the secretary for Kamloops, BC Local 913 since 2011 and represents the 6th District on the IAFF Wildland Fire Fighters Task Force and as an IAFF Responding to the Interface instructor and cadre member. He worked for the Province of British Columbia Wildfire Service for 12 years and has fought wildfires across Canada, the United States and Australia. Brise has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia.
Randy Denzer is vice president of Austin, TX Local 975. He spent 29 years in the fire service and recently retired as battalion chief from the Austin Fire Department. He is an appointed member of the IAFF Wildland Fire Fighters Task Force and one of the designers of the IAFF Responding to the Interface program. Denzer has extensive background in both wildland firefighting as well as prescribed fire management. He was assigned as the Austin Fire Department’s wildland firefighting training coordinator from 2003 through 2016 and has responded to many large urban interface and wildland fires throughout his career in both Texas and in California.
Tim Edwards is the president of CAL FIRE Local 2881. He started his fire service career in San Bernardino, California, in 1992. In 1999, Edwards was promoted to Firefighter II in the Riverside Unit. He became CAL FIRE Local 2881 state rank and file director in 2013. Edwards would spend the next six years in this position, supporting our members and fighting for their wages, benefits, and working conditions. In 2019, he was elected president of Local 2881, a position he is proud to hold today.
Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell was appointed by President Joe Biden as the U.S. Fire Administrator on Oct. 25, 2021. She began her fire service career in 1987 as a fire department paramedic in the City of Memphis Fire Department, in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to her appointment as U.S. Fire Administrator, Dr. Moore-Merrell served nearly three years as the president and CEO of the International Public Safety Data Institute, which she founded after retiring from a 26-year tenure as a senior executive at the IAFF.
Thursday, August 11 – Behavioral Health Roundtable
Frank Leto is retired from FDNY Local 854 and has been a leader in fire service behavioral health since the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Leto travels nationally and internationally developing behavioral health protocols and aiding communities after major events. He is a member of the IAFF Behavioral Health Committee, sits on the advisory board to the IAFF Center of Excellence, and is a master trainer and member of the IAFF Disaster Response Go Team.
Dr. Suzy Gulliver is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with the fire service. Her major clinical research programs include telehealth treatment for fire fighters, assessment of factors that mediate and moderate stress and trauma response, and developing evidence-based peer support. Dr. Gulliver is passionate about helping increase resilience in fire fighters and detecting behavioral health problems before they become deeply entrenched.
Dr. Abby Morris is currently the medical director of the IAFF Center of Excellence in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, a treatment center for first responders with PTSD and/or addiction. She completed her psychiatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Morris is a double board-certified doctor in psychiatry/neurology and addiction medicine.
Darrin Taylor is the national director of Business Development of Edgewood Health Network (EHN) of Canada. Taylor joined EHN of Canada in 2019 after 14 years in private practice. As an experienced substance abuse professional (SAP), he has helped employers of all sizes develop, implement, and manage policies to address the impact of substance use in the workplace.
Scott Robinson is one of two behavioral health specialists at the IAFF in the Department of Occupational Health and Medicine. He has been a fire fighter for 28 years. Robinson is currently a lieutenant with the Cranston Fire Department in Rhode Island. He served as secretary and then president of Cranston, RI Local 1363 for 12 years. He also served as vice president of the Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters. Robinson has been a peer support master instructor for the IAFF, teaching IAFF Peer Support and IAFF Resiliency trainings to IAFF locals in the U.S. and Canada, since 2017.
Shaw Centre Room 204
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
As necessary during the week
Shaw Centre Room 212
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
Tuesday, August 9 / 8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, August 10 / 8:30 a.m.
Shaw Centre Room 205
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
Daily at 8:30 a.m. as necessary
Shaw Centre Room 206
Monday, August 8 / 12:00–2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 9 / 8:00–9:00 a.m. as necessary
Shaw Centre Room 209
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
Daily before General Session as necessary
Shaw Centre Room 213
Sunday, August 7 / 4:00 p.m.
Monday-Thursday / 8:30 a.m.
Shaw Centre Room 201
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
Tuesday-Thursday / 8:15 a.m.
Shaw Centre Room 214
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
As necessary during the week
Shaw Centre Room 203
Monday, August 8 / 12:00–2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 10 / 8:00–9:00 a.m. if necessary
Shaw Centre Room 208
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
As necessary during the week
Shaw Centre Room 207
Monday, August 8 / 5:00 p.m. (following end of Business Session)
Shaw Centre Room 102
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
As necessary during the week
Shaw Centre Room 215
Sunday, August 7 / 3:30 p.m.
Shaw Centre Room 104
Sunday, August 7 / 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday / before start of Convention
Shaw Centre Room 215
Sunday, August 7 / 3:30 p.m.
Monday, August 8 / 11:00 a.m. (following opening ceremonies)
Shaw Centre Room 211
Sunday, August 7 / 4:00 p.m.
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Report of the General President
I am proud to provide this report – my first as General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters – as we gather for our union’s 56th Convention. Let me be among the first to welcome you to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city and home to our host Local 162.
COVID-19 impacted many aspects of our personal and professional lives, including the IAFF’s plans for its 55th Convention. As a result, I have proudly served as your General President for a little more than 16 months. That short time has flown by. Yet, as I take stock of all we have accomplished since the last convention, I cannot help but celebrate our wins. Carrying out the mission of the IAFF for our 330,000 members and their families is why I get out of bed every morning. I have said it before, and I will keep saying it – my focus as General President is on you, the members.
Our theme for the 56th Convention is Commitment to Excellence. The size of your Local, where you call home, or how long you have been on the job does not matter. Excellence demands a contribution by all of us. As I have traveled across the United States and Canada, I have been amazed by the level of commitment shown by each of our IAFF affiliates in changing lives and making communities better.
This IAFF is here to join in that commitment – that pursuit of excellence – with the singular goal of improving the lives of our membership. We continue to imagine the previously unimaginable, creating new initiatives and improving existing ones to make the job and the lives of our members better.
As I said several months ago after urging a mayor to bargain with IAFF members over a vaccine mandate, “If you want to be valued at work – if you want your voice heard at work – join a union!” We are seeing a rebirth of the labor movement. Public perception of unions is on the upswing and organizing is working in places and within industries never seen before.
Together with General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma, your 16 District Vice Presidents, our elected Trustees, and the staff of our U.S. and Canadian offices, I commit myself every day to protecting and advancing each IAFF member’s battle for better wages and benefits, safer working conditions, and a dignified retirement.
To accomplish that, the IAFF must make sophisticated use of its resources. Those resources, by and large, are the hard-earned dues monies of the membership. If we can’t account for how every nickel of your dues are being spent, then we are doing something wrong. My time as General Secretary-Treasurer gave me a bird’s-eye view of the historical operations of the IAFF. Many areas needed refinement and I came into the role of General President with one absolute: you would always get the straight truth from me. Whether easy or hard, direct honesty is the only way to lead, and to live. It doesn’t always make friends – but it does make the path forward clear.
My Transition Team studied every facet of our operations, including all IAFF programs and services under the purview of the General President. Members from both of our great countries stepped up to produce the first top-to-bottom review of the IAFF in over a generation. The hundreds of recommendations they provided has guided us as we have worked to build a stronger, more transparent union.
A major takeaway from the Transition Report was the importance of a union that is beholden to our membership, a union that works for us. As affiliate leaders, one of our responsibilities is that our membership, regardless of Local size, has access to top-notch, professional services that support their work and make their lives better. That is why the IAFF exists.
I was pleased that the Executive Board accepted my recommendation to appoint the legal firm Mooney, Green, Saindon, Murphy & Welch, P.C., as IAFF General Counsel. The firm was founded in 1996 to provide legal services to labor organizations and support their efforts to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for members. I have been impressed by their legal acumen, the breadth and depth of their attorneys, and their responsiveness to the organization’s legal needs. Peter Leff, who is our dedicated counsel, earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan and he has diligently provided relevant, accurate, and trustworthy legal advice to the IAFF and affiliates.
I am committed to the health and safety of our brothers and sisters. That’s why one of my top missions is extinguishing cancer from the fire service. The days of accepting cancer as a condition of the job must become a thing of the past. Change starts with us.
In an historic decision, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), re-evaluated firefighting and classified fire fighter occupational exposure as a group 1 carcinogen. The classification, announced July 1, marks a dramatic shift in IARC’s position on occupational cancer. There is no higher carcinogenic classification than Group 1. This designation will likely have a major impact on the fight against cancer in the fire service, from improving ongoing medical research to highlighting the need for presumptive laws. I am grateful to Alex Forrest, IAFF Region 1 Canadian Trustee, for his participation in the working group of 25 international experts that worked on this reclassification – and for his commitment to making firefighting safer.
Other national and international agencies are quickly recognizing the dangers that the “forever chemicals” Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) pose to everyone, firefighters included. On June 15, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued interim health advisories for PFOA – a type of PFAS – for drinking water, reducing it from 70 parts per trillion (ppt) to 0.004 ppt.
We are burying too many brothers and sisters and we, at the IAFF, are doing all we can to change that.
The IAFF having a Chief Medical Officer was long overdue and there was no better person for the job than Danny Whu, M.D., MPH. I appointed Dr. Whu in May 2022 to ensure we expand on the medical, health, and safety resources available to members. Importantly, he also understands our job – and all the dangers that come with it. Dr. Whu is a fire fighter-paramedic who has been a member of Metro-Dade Local 1403 for more than 32 years. He rose through the ranks of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, serving as Chief of Operations and as Assistant Director of Miami-Dade’s Office of Emergency Management. He helped Miami-Dade write the book on pandemic response in these capacities.
Dr. Whu has been a medical team manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Urban Search and Rescue Team and responded to multiple disasters, including the attacks on September 11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Surfside condominium collapse. Danny will be an incredible asset to the IAFF as we look to extinguish cancer from the fire service, and I know he is honored and ready to join the ranks at IAFF Headquarters.
One of my first major initiatives as General President was creating the IAFF Science and Research Department to increase and improve our partnerships within the scientific and academic communities. Neil McMillan was named our new Director of Science and Research this month. He has 14 years of service with Ottawa Local 162, where he served as the Workers Compensation Representative for active and retired members navigating occupational injury and illness claims. Neil has also lobbied the Canadian government for the expansion of presumptive cancer legislation, and through his work, has built close relationships with scientists, medical professionals, and researchers addressing the needs of the fire service.
This work has also benefited from the appointment of Derek Urwin, Ph.D., as the IAFF’s Chief Science Advisor. Dr. Urwin – who received his doctorate in chemistry from UCLA this year – has been a fire fighter for 15 years and is a member of Los Angeles County Local 1014. He has collaborated with other academic researchers to better understand how cancer affects the fire service, and his thesis examined how carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on the fire ground damages DNA.
A Chief Medical Officer, Director of Science and Research, and Chief Science Advisor allow us to expand and develop relationships in the academic, medical, and scientific communities. It also provides the IAFF an opportunity to verify studies and conduct our own research. We now have the internal know-how to capitalize on the opportunities in front of us. And, because Dr. Urwin, brother McMillan, and Dr. Whu speak our language, our voice is amplified across all disciplines to guarantee our seat at the table when our lives are being discussed.
Since our last convention, we have completed three studies that have taken a closer look at the dangers of PFAS. The studies have looked at fire fighter blood, fire station dust, and fire fighter turnout gear. We are presently developing a project with the Environmental Working Group to develop a new blood study that quantifies PFAS levels based on years in the fire service.
Research staff is also participating in a “station wear screening study” that will screen multiple wear materials for contaminants. We have strengthened our commitment to the Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study and have been collaborating with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on the development of the “first of its kind” Fire Fighter Cancer Registry.
We cannot succeed alone. We need trusted partners in the battle against cancer. That’s why, in December 2021, I was proud to announce the IAFF’s new alliance with the American Cancer Society (ACS). Next to the U.S. federal government, ACS is the largest funding source for cancer research in the United States. The collaboration will make sure fire fighters and EMS personnel have more access to what matters: helping us detect, treat, and prevent cancer.
The joint commitment has already reaped benefits for our membership. Together, we have advocated for increased screening protocols and offered support services like housing for members traveling for cancer treatment. The ACS has reach and impact, as does the Canadian Cancer Society, which we can also count as a trusted friend. The Firefighter Cancer Support Network rounds out our team of partners, offering one-on-one support to members diagnosed with cancer.
The fight to extinguish cancer must be a zero-fail mission. It needs to be our highest priority, and the IAFF is devoting the resources necessary to bring about the change we need.
Our commitment to the health and safety of our brothers and sisters must be total and unwavering. This IAFF will meet every challenge, clear every hurdle, and overcome every obstacle to reach our goal: the long and healthy life of every professional fire fighter.
Our work in support of fire fighter health cannot be confined to the physical. Our union also takes the lead to ensure our brothers and sisters have the behavioral health and wellness programs that make them better family and community members. Since becoming General President, we have now trained more than 8,000 members to serve on Peer Support Teams.
While the COVID-19 environment provided challenges, we were able to transfer to a virtual presentation of our behavioral health curriculum, including Peer Support and Resiliency Training. Our Peer Support Training is the most popular class requested by affiliates. As we all know, sometimes the hardest part is asking for help. The IAFF is tearing down the walls and erasing the unfair stigma around behavioral health.
Our IAFF Mental Health Clinicians’ course is set to launch this fall. It is a three-part program and will further educate area clinicians on the fire service culture. Successful graduates of this course will be available to provide aftercare services to our members recovering from behavioral health or substance use disorders.
Through our partnership with Advanced Recovery Systems, we have treated more than 2,300 IAFF members at our Center of Excellence in Maryland. Our new West Coast center, in California, is expected to open in 2023 and I was happy to execute an agreement this year with the Edgewood Health Network of Canada to provide best-in-class services to our Canadian brothers and sisters. These moves will expand our capacity to serve all members.
Our focus on wellbeing puts value on work-life balance, fitness, nutrition, and sleep. New programming – such as the groundbreaking Fit to Thrive (F2T) – has trained 1,823 ambassadors, reaching 539 departments and 131,000 members.
Financial wellness has a direct impact on both physical and behavioral health. Financial stressors affect our everyday life, leading to health and family problems and, sadly, contributing to an increasing rate of suicide. Since assuming office last April, I have prioritized improvements to the offerings available through the IAFF Financial Corporation (IAFF-FC).
The IAFF-FC exists to make sure members and their families have everything they need to live their best lives, and I am committed to making sure those services are available at the best price.
In 2010, the convention delegates passed a resolution requiring the IAFF to create a healthcare option that affiliates can go into contract negotiations with and collectively bargain over with their employer. Twelve years later, we are delivering on that order members gave us.
This past January, the IAFF-FC approved a strategic partnership with the Northwest Fire Fighters Benefits Trust to launch the IAFF Health and Wellness Trust. This innovative partnership will enable the IAFF-FC to offer a comprehensive health insurance program that will provide benefits for both active and retired members. The IAFF-FC has set a goal to become the United States’ largest provider of health insurance to our active and retired members.
The IAFF-FC has also taken a hard look at the worsening problem of post-retirement healthcare costs. That’s why we launched a Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP). Contributions are made to the MERP and, upon retirement, immediately received as monthly benefits that can be used for any IRS-approved healthcare expense, including premiums and co-pays. The amazing aspect of the MERP is that the benefit never expires, it is a lifetime benefit. On average, after 61 months of retirement, a participant will have received benefits totaling the contributions made while working. The retired participants benefit continues through the contributions of active participants in the MERP, just like a defined benefit pension plan.
Another exciting addition to the offerings of the IAFF-FC is the newly created IAFF Wealth Management Initiative. This program will provide IAFF members and retirees with qualified wealth management, financial planning, and financial education. As hardworking people, we lead busy lives and do not always have the time to pay attention to our financial wellness. Yet, it is closely connected to our quality of life, and we might not realize that until it is too late. These next-generation offerings by the IAFF-FC reinforce this IAFF’s commitment to our members, from the probationary fire fighter to the retired paramedic.
As we continue to improve services and enhance programs, we are seeing a correlating increase in affiliate demand. Our Technical Assistance and Information Resources (TAIR) Division continues to roll out new and improved offerings to our affiliates. The IAFF maintains its vital presence on several key stakeholder boards, including the Committee on Accreditation for the EMS Professions, Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), and the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA).
Since our last convention, the IAFF has continued its work to secure accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE). This will result in the IAFF being declared a recognized provider of EMS continuing education. Our affiliate membership will benefit as many of our routinely offered IAFF education classes will qualify for continuing education credits.
We have also seen an increase in affiliate requests for assistance around fire and EMS operations. This demand for services has been looked at by staff and a more thorough evaluation is now performed as part of the intake phase. The way we deliver information to our affiliates has also improved. Reports that were historically produced on paper are now produced in a variety of mediums, including web-based applications. These innovative advancements have been well received by our affiliates.
At our 55th Convention, delegates approved the funding for additional staff to enhance the deliverables of the Fire and EMS Operations Department. This has resulted in a much faster turn-around time between case assignment and delivery of the draft report to the affiliate.
Our Geographic Information System (GIS) disaster team continued its implementation of the Disaster Assistance Response Tool (DART), which enables our Disaster Go-Team to track and manage recovery assistance operations more effectively. When every minute counts, this improvement provides real-world, real-time aid to members in need.
Our TAIR Division took a lead role in the IAFF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our IAFF “COVID Team” became a recognized source for reliable and timely information, gathering and distributing best practices around office operations as well as IAFF-sponsored events. The TAIR Division’s collaboration with our Health and Safety personnel was impressive and resulted in thoughtful and fact-based decision-making across both countries in our continuing response to the pandemic.
Our Instructional Design Department is working on the continual improvement of existing programs, as well as the creation of new deliverables. We are constantly doing the work to identify needs from the field and creating programs and services that will directly fill that need. The IAFF Emergency Response to Terrorism program is being reimagined, with a new offering scheduled for this coming fall. We secured funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation and are developing a Liquified Natural Gas educational course. The delivery of an online module is scheduled for a few months from now and an eight-hour program will be available in Spring 2023.
Since the last convention, we have trained more than 200 members via our Partnership Education Program (PEP) online module. The online delivery was very well received; the initial offering sold out within 36 hours, and this will likely become a standard offering as we move forward in the world’s new normal. Our next online PEP is scheduled for an October delivery.
IAFF Executive Board policy permits both PEP-assisted and PEP-subsidized offerings for our affiliates, and the last year has seen the successful execution of both. The current fiscal year saw the delivery of 16 events, resulting in the further education of hundreds of members.
Our HazMat Training Department continues to deliver life-saving instruction. Fully funded by U.S. federal grants, we have delivered 531 classes to nearly 10,000 members since our last convention. This is all accomplished at zero cost to IAFF affiliates.
Technical grant assistance provided by the IAFF helped 63 local affiliates secure $258 million in Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) funding to increase staffing levels, and 490 local affiliates received $119 million in equipment/apparatus funding. The constant fight for proper staffing and equipment requires a team effort. The IAFF is here to help as we navigate the path to safer working conditions and becoming better fire fighters.
As your General President, I have committed the IAFF to providing the top, practical tools our affiliates need to ensure safe working conditions, fair treatment in the workplace, access to quality healthcare, and a dignified retirement.
The first major IAFF, in-person event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was held in January. The 2022 Vincent J. Bollon Affiliate Leadership Training Summit/Ernest A. “Buddy” Mass Human Relations Conference (ALTS/HRC) – held in Lake Buena Vista, Florida – had nearly 1,300 affiliate leaders in attendance. A new format was presented, and we offered 135 workshops, totaling 307 instructional hours. Over four days, 132 ALTS/HRC speakers spoke on important and impactful topics. Each affiliate leader left the conference better equipped to serve their membership. After all, the IAFF is here to support our affiliates and their leaders. Our obligation to educate you is at the forefront of everything we do, and it is one of the things that binds us together as we work to improve the lives of every professional fire fighter and paramedic.
Our Canadian Operations Division continues its integral work in support of our Canadian brothers and sisters. After the well-earned retirement of former Assistant to the General President for Canadian Operations Scott Marks, I asked Sean McManus to assume those responsibilities as we studied the best path going forward.
The newly named Jack Jessop Biennial Canadian Policy Conference, held earlier this year, saw a record number of delegates participate in the virtual format. Jack Jessop was the IAFF’s first Canadian Director and the renaming of the conference in his honor was a fitting tribute.
One of the highlights of the conference was the public signing of the contract establishing the IAFF’s partnership with Edgewood Health Network (EHN) Canada. Our Canadian members deserve access to profession-specific behavioral health services and the partnership with EHN provides access to its First Responder Program. Our goal is to soon see the day when all IAFF members in Canada have nationwide access to treatment centers specifically tailored to the issues of our profession.
Over the course of the past year, we have also earned some important legislative victories. Our relationships with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his administration, and the Liberal Government continue to pay dividends.
Montreal Local 125 laid the groundwork, and in late January, legislation was introduced to assist our continuing battle to extinguish cancer. The legislation received unanimous support before the House of Commons, and it is scheduled to go before a parliamentary committee this fall. We will need to continue to push the legislation to make sure it comes successfully out of committee and back for a full vote.
I had the chance to thank Liberal MP Sherry Romanado, the maker of the legislation, when I attended the Canadian Legislative Conference just a few months ago. Sherry comes from a firefighting family, and she is proud to sponsor this legislation, which has provisions to increase awareness and assist with the prevention and treatment of fire fighter cancer.
Several provinces secured significant local victories in increasing the number of presumptively covered cancers in Canada. Provincial associations are to thank for their hard work on this issue. We all need to dedicate ourselves to the day when firefighting and cancer are not synonymous. Until then, we need to do everything we can to help our brothers and sisters, and their loved ones.
The federal budget was released not long after the Canadian Legislative Conference. Included within it was the IAFF’s requested funding for Responding to the Interface (RTI) training. This funding will recur annually for the next five years and will go a long way toward preparing our Canadian members for this ever-increasing threat to our way of life. This achievement can serve as a template for our U.S. legislative agenda.
Like it or not, just about everything we do as IAFF leaders is dependent upon government and politics. Our relationships with elected officials, and our ability to educate them on the importance of our issues, is vital to the life of this union. The IAFF does not have Republican or Democratic issues; we have fire fighter issues. If you are with us, we will be with you. Politics is a good way to spot those who pay us lip service, but do not deliver when the time comes. It also helps us identify our true friends.
By all metrics that are important to this union, President Joseph Biden is a friend to the IAFF. Starting with his cabinet appointment of Martin Walsh as Secretary of Labor and Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell as U.S. Fire Administrator, President Biden has demonstrated his commitment to organized labor and to the IAFF. Not heard since the times of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, we have a president who proudly proclaims that the National Labor Relations Act does not merely tolerate labor unions, it encourages them.
Significant funding and benefits for fire fighters and emergency medical personnel were included in the March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (APRA). Among other highlights, it provided $200 million in supplemental funding for the SAFER grant program to retain fire fighters at risk of layoff and rehire laid off fire fighters, and $100 million in supplemental funding for the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grant program.
The ARPA also authorized Medicare reimbursements for Treatment in Place during the public health emergency, provided $80 million for state and local governments to address behavioral health conditions in public safety and healthcare workers, established a COVID-19 presumption under federal workers’ compensation to ensure federal fire fighters who become ill from COVID-19 receive necessary benefits, and gave an additional $50 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to reimburse fire departments and other government entities for COVID-related activities and purchases at 100%.
Working with the Biden administration, we have secured several key legislative and regulatory victories since our last convention. Our Government Affairs Department has successfully advanced the IAFF’s agenda at all levels of government.
In November, we worked with Congress to pass legislation that expands the Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB) program to provide benefits for trainees, protect the unborn children of fallen fire fighters, and improve benefits for permanently disabled fire fighters. President Biden has also announced that he will sign our federal cancer presumption law when it gets to his desk. We have worked tirelessly lobbying members of Congress on the need for this long overdue legislation. It has already passed the House of Representatives and received unanimous approval before a Senate committee. We are pushing for a vote before the full U.S. Senate and expecting passage this year, as either a part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or as a stand-alone bill.
The Fiscal Year 2022 NDAA included key provisions which allow our federal brothers and sisters to swap shifts and gain access to new family leave benefits. It also shortened the probationary period and made the construction of two new fire houses – in Letterkenny, Pennsylvania, and Andrews Air Force Base, in Maryland – a reality.
The creation of a Special Claims Handling Unit within the Department of Labor will make it easier for our federal fire fighters to receive the benefits they are entitled to and expand apprenticeship opportunities. The IAFF has seized upon this opportunity and has applied for funding to create a Fire and EMS Apprentice Program. We will continue to advocate for the creation of this program, which will greatly improve our programs and organizing capabilities.
President Biden is also keenly aware of the dangers of PFAS in the fire service. I have personally spoken with the president about this, and he has pledged to do something about it. He signed an Executive Order which directs all federal agencies to prioritize the procurement of PFAS-free products.
The “Cancer Moonshot Initiative,” announced by President Biden earlier this year, is a rededication of our collective capabilities to change cancer as we know it. We will extinguish cancer from the fire service.
We are working to win reauthorization of the AFG and SAFER grant programs. Last year’s infrastructure bill doubled the funds for the IAFF HazMat training program, and we were able to secure funds totaling $625 million to help affiliate fire departments address COVID-19 response costs such as staffing, PPE procurement, and other costs.
Our work on Capitol Hill is important, but no less important is our decision to deploy the resources of the IAFF at the state and local level. It is a new approach to the work of our Government Affairs personnel, and it will continue to reap rewards. I was happy to travel to North Carolina and help win a cancer presumptive law for our brothers and sisters in the Tar Heel state. We also helped secure victories for collective bargaining rights in places like South Fulton, Georgia – the first time this has happened in the state’s history.
The IAFF was back in force at our recent Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference. A new format, including success stories from the field, a breakfast reception attended by scores of congressional members, and a collective bargaining rally in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol were all met with enthusiasm from both our membership and elected leaders. The work is never-ending, and worth every minute.
As is the nature of politics, our Political Action Department had some victories and some losses. We doggedly pursue candidates who support our issues and work just as hard to defeat those who do not. IAFF FIREPAC supported 215 gubernatorial and federal candidates and we had a win rate of 92%.
Forty-nine IAFF members stepped up and ran for office across the country and FIREPAC was there to support their campaigns. Our FIREPAC program is so important to the life of this IAFF. It allows us to support those we can count on and to neutralize those who work against us. Money is a reality of our political process, both in the U.S. and Canada, and the IAFF will continue to be a big-time player.
Our Strategic Campaigns continues its work as a “boots on the ground” operation that provides critical assistance to our local affiliates. We provide public and media relations assistance, crisis communications, and strategic advice in local battles. Since last convention, we have helped secure major victories in Alexandria, Virginia, with the passage of a collective bargaining ordinance; Greenville, Pennsylvania, where we defeated a referendum that would have replaced an IAFF local with a volunteer department, and Shreveport, Louisiana, with passage of a local referendum that established a $70 million funding bond to update the local fire department.
We combined this year’s Political and Communications Training Academies (PTA/CTA). We trained 100 affiliate leaders from across the International in the critical skills needed to achieve political success. Our state PTAs hit the road again this year and we have four scheduled this fall.
Make no mistake, government and politics is key to everything we do. It is the work that has been the backbone of every major advancement the IAFF has made over the course of its 100-plus year existence. If we are on the sidelines, we will become an afterthought. The work has only just begun, and we will see a new generation of advancement. It takes total commitment.
Our need to effectively communicate has never been more critical. Whether it is with our local affiliates, like-minded partners, decision-makers, or the public, the ability to advocate our positions is paramount. Our Transition Report spoke loudly and clearly about the need for better communication. Members need to know what the IAFF is doing to improve their lives.
The use of IAFF SMART has provided a comprehensive member engagement system for our union, offering the ability to digitally connect and unify the entire IAFF. At the international, state and provincial, and local levels, affiliates have recognized the benefit of simplifying union processes. As of July, 99.7% of all locals have signed up to use SMART, with enrollment adoption growing by more than 48% in the past six months. The platform is also enabling direct, automated collection of dues and streamlining monthly reconciliations for affiliates.
We are constantly studying our communications, and the effective messaging of all we do is a daily area of focus. From our internal and external communications to our social media platforms, we must continue to find our members and other key stakeholders where they are. Without this focus, we will not be able to advance our mission. We need your help in spreading the word on the impactful work being done by the IAFF for fire fighters and paramedics.
Our union has a long and proud history. That doesn’t mean we haven’t had our challenges, and we will face more in the future. Change is never easy, and generational change is that much more difficult. A commitment to excellence requires each of us to take an honest look at what we do and figure out a way to do it better. For me, that means how we can best improve the lives and livelihoods of our membership and their families. It’s about looking at how we can be the best stewards of your dues monies so that we can provide the best programs and services, adding value to your membership in this IAFF.
I am proud to usher in a new era at the IAFF of being an educated buyer of goods and services. I am focused on making sure your money is allocated and used properly. This has already brought significant savings to our International union, and when asking a question, I will never be satisfied being told, “That’s how we’ve always done it.”
Committing to excellence requires more than that. It demands full and total dedication to each other, every single one of us that puts our lives on the line day-in and day-out. It is about doing right for the membership. We, as their leaders at all levels, owe it to them to take a fresh look at how we can do things better. I am grateful for your partnership in this endeavor, and thankful for the ways everyone at the IAFF – particularly our Headquarters staff – works to bring excellence to life.
Excellence requires unvarnished truth, tough conversations, and an unwavering dedication to the mission. It’s part of my commitment to you and this IAFF as your General President. Let’s all make that commitment to excellence.
Edward A. Kelly
Report of the General Secretary-Treasurer
Sisters and Brothers,
In accordance with the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution and By-Laws, Article VI, Section 2, I respectfully submit this report of my activities as General Secretary-Treasurer (GST) to the General President, Executive Board, and the delegates at the 56th Biennial Convention of the IAFF.
Even before taking office on April 9, 2021, the plan to build a strong team to perform the duties of the GST office and deliver services to our affiliates was put into place. Our Senior Transition Team, chaired by 14th District Vice President (DVP) Danny Todd, went straight to work building the foundation of a plan to put the IAFF on its best financial footing by addressing areas of concern from the past but also recognizing growth opportunities and identifying ways to build accountability and transparency through simplicity.
This report will highlight some of the accomplishments of our GST office, a more comprehensive final GST Transition Report can be found here.
The Transition Team knew early on that to accomplish our goals and meet the constitutional, financial, and ethical responsibilities of the office, institutional knowledge, innovation, and creativity would be important as we built our senior staff to the GST office. We did just that with our GST Team. Bringing some of the strongest leaders from across the IAFF on board let us tap into their various experiences and talents, where we have created an impenetrable resource to protect the financial health of our members while prioritizing explaining that work in clear, concise, and easily understandable ways.
With that in mind, one of our GST Team’s first missions was to establish an online financial library that allows our Executive Board access to comprehensive reports to better assist them in their decision-making. DVPs can now, for the first time, view the bank statements for all thirty of our accounts and drill down to see every individual transaction if they wish – it doesn’t get more transparent than that.
When it comes to assisting the Executive Board, our team also implemented a process to send a detailed monthly update to each of the 16 DVPs about their annual discretionary budgets. This reminder helps them to know the remaining balance in their budget so that they can adjust their planned expenses accordingly. As a past DVP, I have created many systems such as this which ultimately helps our DVPs to better do their job.
Since taking office, I have attended all IAFF events and made it a priority to visit dozens of state and provincial and local events both in person and virtually. It is important to me and my team that we speak to our members making them aware of our efforts and work to protect the IAFF’s financial health, but also to hear from them about what we can do better and how we can meet the expectations of our local leaders and members.
The creation of an Assistant to the GST position to oversee pensions and investments was long overdue, and it is something that is already paying dividends, not just in the prevention of problems that may linger as they have in the past, but in cost savings. In fact, it already has when we challenged actuarial assumptions that resulted in recalculations that saved the IAFF nearly a million dollars. The AGST position also allows for more stringent monitoring of the investments on a regular/daily basis. This oversight ensures that our members’ investment is prudent and accomplishes the returns that our budget anticipates. It provides the consistent management of investments that our members deserve. Additionally, the AGST of Operations was crucial in implementing a change to a recent issue involving the separation and subsequent contracting of an employee. If gone uncorrected, this could have resulted in additional issues surrounding the IAFF pension and caused another Voluntary Correction Program with the Internal Revenue Service. The AGST involvement likely saved not only legal fees associated with the IRS filing but also avoided fines and repayments. With the release of the Ethical Practices Committee (EPC) reports, it is my humble opinion that if the AGST of Operations position was in place decades ago, there most likely would have been no need for any of the EPC reports.
Our GST Team also realized that as we were working to implement our vision to build stronger programs to protect the finances of the IAFF, we needed to communicate work to our local leaders and our members clearly and concisely. One of the most visible effects of that communication is the Per Capita Chart which breaks down our members’ investment on an individual level. Taking the current $15.68 that each member pays and showing where each penny is allocated allows our affiliate leaders and members to better understand our $80 million budget. Our GST Team has presented this chart and the explanation and rationale behind it at district meetings, state and provincial conventions, an online forum, and a GST Workshop at ALTS in 2022. Our efforts at better communications have also expanded to include monthly emails to local leaders, each highlighting a different aspect of either the IAFF finances or providing ways to help the affiliate secretary-treasurer. As we begin our planning for post-Convention, affiliate assistance and education will be at the top of our list of new programs to execute.
That dedication to making IAFF finances easier to understand was a driving force behind our work to change our allocation functions in our line item fields, by clearly delineating that each penny per capita represents $35,000 in funding, planning, and budgeting has become more uniform and efficient.
That clarity was especially important as we collaborated with the General President to pass a balanced budget that reflects our priorities for FY 2022. Making sure that the entire Executive Board was involved and brought up to speed earlier in the process than ever before allowed their input to be captured making for one of the smoothest budget approvals in recent history. That budget funded all the programs that our locals rely on while adhering to the adage of my predecessor and friend, GP-Emeritus Al Whitehead: if you want it, you have to fund it. After the budget was approved, our team printed a complete budget book for every manager in the IAFF to help them by giving them the tools they need to control their budget line better and prepare for the FY 2023 budget. Proactive measures such as this make the overall operation of the IAFF office run smoother and more effectively.
Our commitment to efficiency and cost savings was evident with two other projects in the GST office. Taking our per capita billing to a paperless system eliminated the need to print and mail paper invoices to all 3,400 locals every month. Not only did this make the system less complicated, but it also saved the IAFF more than $30,000 per year. Working with the GP’s office and the Executive Board, Team GST took the lead in creating a much-needed Procurement Policy. This policy dictates how purchases are made and approved. It was also recommended by the EPC and our auditors and is an industry best practice that has been long overdue at the IAFF. Our team has and continues to conduct training for all employees on the importance and implementation of the Procurement Policy. We also are constantly working with the GP’s office and Executive Board to make slight modifications to the policy as we go so that it best fits the needs of the organization while still providing the needed oversight that it was intended to provide. This Executive Board has seen more contracts in the past year than in the past five years total.
Working with locals on protecting their financial interests, our team realized that our bonding program, which provides each affiliate with $5,000 in bonding insurance with the option for locals to purchase additional coverage, needed to be addressed. Our internal list of bonding amounts did not match that of our insurance provider, some locals were not covered, while other disaffiliated locals were. This confusion and inconsistency had potential cost impacts on the IAFF, but more importantly, it could negatively impact our locals. We had our Membership Department get to work quickly, coordinating with our provider to make sure that every local had the correct bonding amount and that we were only covering our affiliated locals per the Constitution and By-Laws. This was meticulous work with incredible attention to detail, and I am thankful to our incredible staff for recognizing and fixing the issue in a professional and timely way.
Another issue that our team dealt with was getting better control of our IAFF Disaster Relief Debit Card program. Providing financial relief to our members during a natural disaster is at the heart of our disaster relief efforts. To provide greater accountability and tracking of the cards and their distribution, our team established a consistent process for making sure that the cards not only get to members at the right time but that we track those cards on the back end so that when our members use them the card has the appropriate balance.
As I close, just as I mention when I speak to our members at district, state, and provincial meetings – kindness matters. Do not let kindness be confused as a weakness. Let us remember that as we do our tough work, not just in Ottawa for Convention, but back at home in everything we do. It’s important to be kind to one another and all those we work with. I challenge our GST Team to strive to meet that challenge every day, and it does make a difference.
The 16 months since taking office have been a whirlwind, I want to thank my incredible staff for their diligent work, professionalism, and dedication to our members and our union. I also want to again thank our members for your overwhelming trust in electing me as your GST. It is an honor that I strive to earn every day with everything I do. I look forward to continuing to evolve the Office of the GST and bringing additional services and innovative ideas to the table to better protect the finances and reputation of our great union and our 329,000 members.
It has been an honor fixing what needed to be fixed, but even more so putting prevention measures in place to ensure that the IAFF’s financial house is left much better than I found it.
In Solidarity – Unite. Fight. Organize.
Frank V. Líma
Mark Ouellette, Eastern Region Trustee
Tony Mejia, Western Region Trustee
Alex Forrest, Canadian Trustee
Brothers and Sisters,
As your International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Trustees, we would like to take this opportunity to report on the inspection and review of the financial records of our International.
Pursuant to Article 6 of the Constitution and By-Laws of the IAFF, the Trustees began our inspection and review of the financial records of our IAFF Union and subsidiary and affiliated entities for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021.
We began the process on January 13, 2022. We concluded and submitted the audit on June 29, 2022. The following is a recount of events that took place between those dates.
The Trustees met in Washington, DC, at IAFF headquarters on January 13 and developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new auditing firm. The Trustees also interviewed District Vice Presidents, randomly reviewed expense reports in Concur for accuracy and made requests for documents to satisfy our due diligence. Upon departure form headquarters on January 23, the RFP was sent out to CPA firms throughout the DC area.
On March 6, the Trustees reported back to IAFF headquarters to perform interviews and site visits of the final three CPA firms in the process. Prior to leaving DC, the Trustees announced Calibre CPA Group PLLC as their choice for auditing services and signed a three-year contract.
Calibre started work the last week of March. The auditors planned and performed the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatements.
All assets and liabilities were recorded in the books and records of the International and included in the financial statements for the year ended September 30, 2021. The auditors had free access to all financial and other records that they deemed necessary to determine the accuracy of the financial information. Calibre also interviewed the General President, General Secretary-Treasurer and other IAFF personnel.
The following funds were reviewed to confirm that revenue and expenses were properly classified in the proper funds. General Fund, Emergency Disputes Fund, Grants and Contracts, Political Action Committees, Political Referendum Operations Partnership Fund and the Alumni Association.
Also reviewed were related Affiliates and Subsidiary financial information as part of the consolidated audit for September 30, 2021. The IAFF Foundation encompasses the Redmond, Disaster Relief, Burn, Fallen Fire Fighter, Center of Excellence and the McClennan funds. The separate audit report of the IAFF Financial Corporation, which was consolidated to include the IAFF’s media arm, E-18 Media, LLC, was reviewed as well.
The International Association of Fire Fighters is a labor union whose primary mission is the representation of fire and emergency medical service professionals (members) in local affiliated labor organizations across the United States and Canada. Primary sources of revenue are per capita paid by members, grants and contributions.
The IAFF Financial Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association organized and incorporated as of December 10, 2001, under the laws of the State of Delaware. It is primarily engaged in working through service vendors to provide financial services, investment options, college finance programs, and insurance protection to professional fire fighters and government employees.
The IAFF FIREPAC Educational-Treasury was organized as a Political Action Committee on April 30, 2001. The Committee was formed to raise the federal government’s conscience level on fire fighter issues such as staffing, labor issues, safety, and equipment. Its contributions have helped prevent station closings, secure federal funding, and train members to become active in local government policies.
The International Association of Fire Fighters Foundation was organized on August 2, 2010. Its mission is to support IAFF members and their families in their time of need, promote fire and burn prevention, advocate for health and safety, and provide public education on how to prevent and recover from traumatic events.
E-18 Productions, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the IAFF Financial Corporation and was incorporated on September 28, 2012. The Company’s purpose is to produce educational and promotional videos and media in support of causes relevant to firefighting and emergency response professionals.
The Trustees and our auditors met with General President Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Líma, the Executive Board and staff to review the auditor’s report; the International’s consolidated financial statements; the accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements; and the overall operation of our International Union, its subsidiary and affiliates.
The Board of Trustees believes it is our responsibility to be able to describe the financial position of our union and the following gives a brief description of that, but if a more in-depth description is needed, please don’t hesitate to contact your District Vice President, the General Secretary-Treasurer’s office or the Trustees.
The auditors recommended areas of improvement for the International’s financial reporting system, and it is the opinion of the Trustees that General President Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Líma and the Executive Board will properly address these recommendations.
With that being said, your Trustees find the financial aspects of the operation of this union are in a stabilizing fiscal position. Unrestricted net assets total $26.5 million, including $2.4 million in the Financial Corporation and $3.7 million in the Foundation. In addition, PAC net assets total $10.1 million and restricted net assets within the Foundation total $2.4 million.
The Trustees want to thank the General President, General Secretary-Treasurer and their staff for their tireless assistance in accomplishing this audit in such a short timeframe.
It is an honor and a privilege to represent the membership as IAFF Trustees. We look forward to the future and the increased presence of the Trustees to assist in the financial oversight and become a more integral part of the checks and balances of the IAFF financial system.
General Counsel’s Report
Peter Leff, IAFF General Counsel
Sean McManus, IAFF Canadian Legal Counsel
The IAFF’s General Counsel’s Office provides an array of legal services to IAFF’s International Officers, locals, affiliates and members. Our mission is to defend the IAFF and its members, ensure that their rights are protected and to support the IAFF in its efforts to improve the wages, benefits and working conditions of its members.
Guardian Policy Cases
The “Guardian Policy,” in appropriate circumstances, makes available legal representation by and/or through the International’s General Counsel’s Office (referred to here as “GCO”) where: a local, an affiliate, officer, or a member of a United States or Canadian local or affiliate has suffered, or is subject to suffering, adverse harm from an employer because of their union-related activities; or where a court decision could establish a precedent that would have a significant impact upon other IAFF locals and affiliates.
The first category of cases covered under this policy includes situations where an IAFF local, affiliate or member has engaged in the following “protected activities”:
- organizing, leading, or supporting an IAFF local or affiliate;
- participating in union affairs;
- participating in political activity or a political campaign supported by the local or affiliate (such as supporting a candidate for local government office);
- participating in claims supported by the local or affiliate (such as an OSHA claim, an FLSA claim, a state or provincial law claim, a whistleblower claim, or a grievance or arbitration claim); and
- speaking out on a matter of public concern affecting the IAFF, a local, an affiliate, or its members.
The second category of cases covered under the policy includes litigation involving a local, an affiliate or a member which is reasonably expected to have a precedent-setting impact (i.e., helpful or harmful) on other matters of significance to the IAFF, its locals, affiliates and members beyond the particular local or affiliate which is directly involved.
The IAFF’s General Counsel’s Office offers legal opinions on Guardian Policy applications and legal representation for locals, affiliates and members who qualify for Guardian Policy coverage.
Emergency Disputes Fund
The General Counsel’s Office assists the Emergency Disputes Fund (EDF) Committee with reviewing, evaluating and making recommendations to the International Executive Board concerning requests for financial assistance under the International’s EDF Fund.
The purpose of the EDF is to “financially assist in the resolution of emergency disputes in which locals or affiliates of this association may become involved.” Loans and grants from the EDF can be awarded “when requests for such financial assistance are made in conjunction with job actions, disciplinary actions against union officers for union related activities, employer’s refusal to implement an arbitration award, or such other occurrences as may be considered bona fide emergencies by the Executive Board of the IAFF.”
Matters eligible for an EDF grant are those involving lawful job actions, an employer’s refusal to implement an arbitration award, approved Guardian cases, administrative challenges to substantial disciplinary action taken against a union leader for their union-related activities (such as grievances, arbitrations, unfair labor practice proceedings, and civil service/personnel board appeals), and other “bona fide emergencies.” For purposes of eligibility for a grant, a “bona fide emergency” is a serious situation that could not have been anticipated by the local or affiliate, for which an adverse outcome would result in significant loss of jobs and/or companies and stations.
An local or affiliate is eligible for an EDF loan for “bona fide emergencies” which, for purposes of eligibility for a loan, is defined as situations where the local or affiliate has been forced to pursue resolution of a contract negotiation impasse, an unfair labor practice, or a grievance involving the application or interpretation of a contract or a civil service (or comparable) provision (except those involving routine or ordinary disciplinary action – see below), before a third party adjudicator (for example, a labor or civil service board, an arbitrator, or a court).
Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance
The General Counsel’s Office evaluates claims of unlawful failure to pay overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and represents members in federal court litigation who have been wrongfully denied overtime pay.
If an FLSA action is brought to recover the unpaid overtime, impacted members are entitled to recover liquidated damages in addition to their unpaid overtime.
Under the IAFF’s FLSA Enforcement Policy, the IAFF provides for financial assistance to locals and their members who wish to pursue a court action to protect their FLSA rights to overtime pay and obtain backpay relief. The locals and members do not pay any attorneys’ fees or costs related to FLSA litigation.
Fighting Back Program
The General Counsel’s Office assists locals and affiliates in the Fighting Back program.
The Fighting Back Program establishes a procedure for disbursement of funds for locals and affiliates requiring financial assistance in the defense of attacks on their pay, benefits, and working conditions. It also establishes a protocol for assistance requests of a non-financial nature through the IAFF’s Strategic Campaigns Department. Attacks include any and all attempts to reduce pay, layoff and/or demote members, close fire stations, reduce pensions and healthcare benefits and any other attack on our members as determined by the General President.
Union Activities Justice Fund
The General Counsel’s Office assists with the Union Activities Justice Fund (UAJF) which provides financial relief to union leaders who are qualified for the IAFF Legal Guardian Policy and who are terminated.
Front Line Policy
In some circumstances, the negligence or intentional acts of a third party may have caused a line of duty death. The IAFF’s Front Line Policy makes available legal representation by and/or through the IAFF’s General Counsel’s Office for legal cases in which it is determined that the IAFF and/or its members have a significant interest arising from the death or serious injury of an IAFF member because of: (a) defective products; or (b) the negligence of a third party.
Constitution and By-Laws Assistance
The General Counsel’s Office reviews local and affiliate Constitution and By-Laws to ensure that they comply with applicable law and the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws.
The General Counsel’s Office also provides assistance and advice to IAFF locals and affiliates that have questions about their Constitution and Bylaws or the laws that apply to them.
Collective Bargaining, Negotiation, Contract Compliance, and Grievance and Arbitration Assistance
The General Counsel’s Office provides assistance and advice to District Vice Presidents, locals, affiliates and members with respect to collective bargaining, negotiations, contract compliance and grievance and arbitration handling, including discipline, leave, health and safety and other contract issues.
Prohibited Practices and Unfair Labor Practices
The General Counsel’s Office pursues and assists with prohibited practice charges and unfair labor practice charges, including bad faith bargaining, unilateral changes, anti-union retaliation, and deprivation of union rights.
The General Counsel’s office provides legal assistance and advice in support of efforts to organize all full-time, paid employees engaged in fire fighting, emergency medical or rescue service activities, or related services into the IAFF.
The General Counsel’s office enforces the IAFF logo and other trademarks and pursues incidents of misuse or unauthorized use of them.
Eliminating cancer-causing substances in fire fighter gear is a top IAFF priority. The General Counsel’s Office provides legal support for these efforts.
Assisting with Beneficial Legislation and Fighting Anti-Fire Fighter Legislation
The General Counsel’s Office provides legal support and advice to defeat enactment of legislation harmful to the IAFF and its members and to promote legislation beneficial to the IAFF and its members.
Assisting with All Other Legal Issues
These can vary from filing discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims to pursuing violations of protected First Amendment rights as well as health care, pension and jurisdictional issues.
About the General Counsel’s Office
IAFF General Counsel Peter Leff and the firm of Mooney, Green, Saindon, Murphy & Welch, P.C. (Mooney Green) are committed to ensuring that the IAFF, its locals and affiliates, and all of its members receive the highest level of legal representation and advice.
The attorneys at Mooney Green who represent the IAFF combined have well over 100 years of experience representing unions and their members before every type of tribunal, from arbitration hearings to administrative proceedings to every level of state and federal court including the United States Supreme Court.
IAFF Canadian Legal Counsel Sean McManus similarly protects and advocates for the interests for IAFF locals, affiliates and members throughout Canada.
During the period since the last Convention, the General Counsel’s office has represented the IAFF, its locals, affiliates and members in a number of court cases, administrative hearings, arbitrations and other matters protecting and promoting the interests of the International and safeguarding and championing the rights of our local leaders and members. Additionally, the General Counsel’s Office has provided assistance and advice to IAFF officers and leaders on many aspects of the law that impact IAFF locals and affiliates and their members.
In addition to establishing favorable court precedents and obtaining relief for adversely affected members, the IAFF was also able to recover substantial court-awarded litigation fees and expenses against employers who have violated the law. This permits the recovered funds to be used again in the next deserving case.
- GUARDIAN POLICY CASES
- IAFF Local 1366 (Cedar Falls, IA)
The case challenges the City of Cedar Falls violations of Iowa’s civil service laws, giving rise to two separate legal actions to challenge the City’s unlawful actions. The first action challenged promotion of police candidates with less stringent qualifications over fire fighter candidates to hybrid public safety positions. The second action challenged the City’s move to eliminate the Fire Fighter position entirely in favor of a public safety model. The City also initiated a third legal action, seeking a declaratory order from Iowa’s Public Employees Relations Board regarding the status of the Local given that it had been reduced to one member.
Current Status: The court ruled in the first action that the city must rewrite its qualifications for the hybrid positions in the interest of public safety but did not order that any of the promotions be re-run. Neither party appealed and the matter is CLOSED.
Regarding the second action, on June 25, 2021, the Iowa PERB issued a proposed decision and order in Local 1366’s prohibited practice case, finding that the City’s passage of a resolution resulting in placing the City’s Fire Fighters on administrative leave pending layoff was retaliatory, discriminatory and motivated by anti-union animus. The parties held a mediation on February 2, 2022 but did not reach agreement on settlement terms. A hearing on the City’s appeal of the proposed decision took place before the PERB board on March 23, 2022. The parties are awaiting a ruling.
Regarding the third action, on June 23, 2021, the Iowa PERB issued an order dismissing the City’s petition for a declaratory order regarding the viability of the bargaining unit represented by Local 1366 as a one-member unit because the legality of the City’s Fire Fighter layoffs that created the one-member unit was a material fact that had yet to be determined. The third legal action is CLOSED.
Continuing Guardian Policy application action was approved to pursue legal action on behalf of Local President Scott Dix who was laid off for anti-union reasons and for pursuing legal action against the City to ensure that supervisors were properly trained in fire suppression.
- IAFF Local 2612 (Sedgwick County, KS)
This case involved allegations that the Sedgwick County Fire District #1 committed a prohibited personnel practice when it unilaterally implemented a two-year labor contract in violation of Kansas law.
Current Status: On December 7, 2020, the Kansas Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) issued a Final Order in the Union’s favor. PERB found that the District had committed prohibited practices under PEERA in each instance that it unilaterally imposed contract terms on the Union with respect to mandatorily negotiable conditions of employment which were inconsistent with the tentative agreements reached by the parties during negotiations, on which impasse was never declared, or having failed to negotiate them at all. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 786 (Stamford, CT)
This case follows the termination of Local 786 member and former Local President Brendan Keatley in retaliation for his years of union activities and advocacy against the City’s misuse of public funds by allowing the Fire Chief and his Assistant Chief to collect in-service pension payments.
Current Status: Former-President Keatley grieved his termination resulting in a favorable settlement. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 3666 (Jones v. Frederick County, MD)
This matter relates to deficiencies in the County Council’s enactment of a voters’ referendum allowing fire fighters to bargain over wages, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment.
Current Status: A suit for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief was filed in the Circuit Court for Frederick County in October 2020. The Circuit Court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss on March 12, 2021, on the grounds that plaintiffs’ case was not ripe because the parties were not in collective bargaining, the County had not failed to bargain over any topic, and the Council had not repudiated or failed to fund any arbitrator’s impasse decision. Local 3666 elected not to appeal the dismissal and this matter is CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 215 (Milwaukee, WI)
In January 2021, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission approved a resolution permitting the City to add four “residency preference points” to Fire Department promotional examination scores of candidates who have lived within the city limits of Milwaukee for 2 years prior to the promotional process. The addition of 4 points to final examination scores will effectively preclude non-City residents from being promoted within the Department. As such, Guardian Policy coverage was granted on behalf of Local 215 in order to challenge the Residency Preference Points Resolution as a violation of Wisconsin law.
A Complaint and Motion for Temporary Injunction in state court was prepared in late December 2021, after the written exams for two promotional processes had occurred, the Commission resolved that the residency preference points resolution was “not in effect” during its December 2, 2021, meeting. As a result, this matter is CLOSED. If the Commission concludes that the preference points resolution is “in effect” in the future, this matter can be revisited.
- IAFF Local 321 (Racine, WI)
This matter addresses a potentially precedent-setting matter that would negatively affect Wisconsin fire fighters. On February 19, 2021, the City of Racine filed a petition to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (“WERC”) for a declaratory ruling that health insurance premium payments for Union members upon their retirement, among other related matters, are prohibited subjects of bargaining. If the City were to be successful, it would have precedent-setting impact on fire fighters across Wisconsin that would allow public employers to eliminate provisions regarding health insurance premium payments from their CBAs, allowing them to make unilateral changes to the premium payment benefits or possibly eliminate retirement health insurance benefits all together.
Current Status: The parties have fully briefed the matters asserted by the City in its petition. The parties are waiting for a decision from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (“WERC”).
- IAFF Local 5026 (Dells-Denton, WI)
Spencer Nett, President of Local 5026, was terminated for engaging in union activities and protected speech about a matter of public concern. On May 27, 2022, Local 5026 posted a message on its Facebook page criticizing recent staffing reductions in the Department and expressing concern for the community’s safety as a result of the reductions. On June 1, 2022, President Nett was discharged for sharing the post from his personal Facebook page.
Current Status: General Counsel is in the process of filing a First Amendment lawsuit on President Nett’s behalf in federal district court and charges for anti-union retaliation with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.
- IAFF Local 3270 (Saskatoon, SK)
The President of the Association wrote a number of high level government officials to express his concerns about the mistreatment of bargaining unit members. The employer commenced a court action alleging that the President’s communications were defamatory. The employer also complained to the College of Paramedics.
Current Status: A Statement of Defence has been filed in response to the Court action, and the complaint is being investigated by the College of Paramedics.
- IAFF Local 4739 (Leduc, Alberta)
This case involves a disciplinary suspension imposed on the President of the Association in relation to private and confidential texts the President sent to a friend and former employee of the City. After the City sought out and obtained the information in question, it did not initially impose discipline. The City retained the information in the eventuality that there remained ongoing conflicts with the President. Much later, the City decided to discipline the President for his earlier texts.
Current Status: A grievance has been filed challenging the discipline, and the grievance has been referred to the final step in the grievance procedure prior to a referral to arbitration.
- IAFF Local 5214 (Nampa, ID)
This matter arises from the disciplinary actions the Idaho National Guard Orchard Combat Training Center Fire Department issued to the Local President and Vice President in retaliation for their union activity.
Current Status: A complaint was filed in Idaho state court on March 14, 2022. The Eleventh Amendment and doctrine of sovereign immunity prevented the Local from bringing its claims against the State of Idaho in federal court without its consent. Fortunately, defendants filed a notice of removal to federal court on April 12, 2022. As a result, the case is now pending before the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, plaintiffs’ preferred venue. Defendants filed an Answer on April 19, 2022, and the case was set for a scheduling conference on June 29, 2022.
- IAFF Local I-66 (Boeing FFs)
Casey Yeager, President of Local I-66 representing Fire Fighters employed by Boeing, applied for Guardian coverage on behalf of a shop steward that was allegedly terminated in retaliation for his union activity and certain activity by the Union in general.
Since at least 2017, Boeing has engaged in a serious and sustained campaign of antiunion conduct. The Local Union has prevailed on several unfair labor practice charges and grievances challenging these actions, and recently secured a $1.2 million settlement to remedy certain Fair Labor Standards Act violations by the Employer.
Scott Pilon, a Local I-66 shop steward and vocal supporter of the Union, was involved in the Local’s claims and frequently challenged his supervisors about issues concerning Fire Fighters’ working conditions. Boeing terminated Mr. Pilon for alleged misconduct. In so doing, Boeing issued a more severe form of discipline than required or typically administered for the violation alleged, indicating that the discharge was likely related to Mr. Pilon’s union activity.
Current Status: Local I-66 is using its own counsel for the grievance and arbitration, and legal is monitoring the situation.
- IAFF Local 365 (IAFF Local 365 v. East Chicago, IN, et al.)
This matter concerns ongoing retaliation against the affiliate and its members for engaging in constitutionally protected activity, including political campaigning and legislative lobbying. After the Local and its members unsuccessfully supported a candidate for Mayor of the City of East Chicago, the new mayor and (now former) Fire Chief imposed a new rotating 8-hour shift schedule detrimental to the health and safety of the fire fighters, eliminated shift trades, and prohibited the members from accessing benefits historically provided by the Department.
Current Status: On May 4, 2021, Local 365 and 38 members of the union filed a federal lawsuit against the Mayor, the former Fire Chief, and the City alleging First Amendment violations in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. With the City unwilling to reach an agreed resolution, the parties submitted their post-hearing briefs, and, on March 28, 2022, the Court granted the fire fighters’ motion for preliminary injunction, ordering the City of East Chicago back to a 24-48 schedule.
The City has appealed to the Seventh Circuit, with briefing to be concluded August 22, 2022. While the appeal is pending, discovery on the full case (including damages owed to the plaintiffs as a result of the defendants’ unlawful treatment) will continue, with the preliminary injunction in full effect.
- IAFF Local 764 (Wooster, OH)
This case concerns the wrongful termination of Local 764’s President Brandon Hewitt for his union activities, which included his successful efforts to fight back against the Town’s anti-union actions.
Current Status: President Hewitt grieved his termination. This process is being monitored and, if it is not successful, a federal lawsuit alleging both due process and First Amendment violations will be filed.
- IAFF Local 1536 (Wickliffe, OH)
Two of the Local’s officers were denied promotions because of the Union’s position in contract negotiations. After Local 1536 and the City of Wickliffe tentatively agreed to a successor collective bargaining agreement, and after the agreement was ratified, the City sought to include additional provisions on healthcare that the Union had previously rejected. When the Union refused to sign the agreement with the belatedly-added healthcare language, the City enacted a staffing ordinance eliminating scheduled promotions for the Local Union’s Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer, removing bargaining unit work, and allocating more managerial control over the Fire Department to the City.
Current Status: On April 29, 2022, as the Guardian Policy application was pending, the Local reported that it had reached an agreement with the City on a successor agreement and the disputed promotions. The Guardian Policy application was subsequently withdrawn. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 4480 (Palos Park, IL)
Joe Lenzen, President of Local 4480, was investigated and disciplined in retaliation for his union activity and his attempts to protect Local 4480 members amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. After finding advance vaccines available for Local 4480 members and arranging for them to be informed when they may have been exposed to the virus on the job, President Lenzen received discipline for these activities, the Fire District filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Union, and President Lenzen was also disciplined for communicating with the District’s Trustees, which is required for the CBA’s grievance process, among other things.
Current Status: President Lenzen is challenging the demotion and discipline because of his union activity through the grievance and arbitration procedure, and Legal is monitoring the situation.
- IAFF Local 312 (Youngstown, OH)
A former Local 312 officer and vocal supporter of the union was reassigned and required to undergo retraining in violation of the relevant Collective Bargaining Agreement because of his support the Union. On May 25, 2022, while the Local’s Guardian application was pending, its grievance challenging the reassignment and retraining was sustained in part, resolving the matter to the Union’s satisfaction. Accordingly, the Local Union withdrew its application for coverage on June 13, 2022. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 1505 (Garett Hall v. Summit Fire District, AZ)
This case involved a Local 1505 representative who was terminated by the Summit Fire District, Arizona, after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). Prior to his termination, the representative was instrumental in negotiating the Fire District’s first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the spring of 2013, and often spoke publicly for the Union.
Current Status: Suit was filed on the representative’s behalf and a jury trial was held from October 23-29, 2018. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on Hall’s primary claims under the ADA. The parties reached a positive settlement prior to the commencement of a second trial. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 3657 (Snider v. City of South Pasadena, CA)
This matter involves an Unfair Practice Charge before the California Public Employee Relations Board over the City of South Pasadena’s unlawful termination of Local 3657 President Cliff Snider in retaliation for protected union activities. PERB found that the City’s termination was in retaliation for Snider’s union activities. Following the California appellate court and California Supreme Court’s upholding of the PERB decision, Snider was returned to work and awarded backpay.
Current Status: On April 20, 2022, the City Council conditionally approved the backpay, compensatory damages, and other payments owed to Mr. Snider, which will total more than $500,000. The City Council was set to meet again in early June to vote on final approval on payment of the backpay, compensatory damages, and other payments owed to Mr. Snider, as well as interest, and pension contributions the City owes on Mr. Snider’s behalf to CalPERS. CalPERS will then have the opportunity to review and approve the contributions calculations before the City makes payment on Mr. Snider’s behalf.
- IAFF Local 975 (Pulliam v. IAFF Local 975 and City of Austin, TX)
This is an anti-union, precedent-setting suit in which two plaintiff taxpayers, backed by the Goldwater Institute, are challenging the association business leave provisions in Local 975’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the City of Austin.
Current Status: The court ruled in favor of the Local 975 and the City on all claims. The Plaintiffs appealed the decision. The appeal has been fully briefed since February 10, 2022, and the parties are awaiting decision or an order setting oral argument.
- IAFF Local 1329 (Montague, et al. v. City of Arlington, TX)
This case involves the retaliatory response by the City Council in Arlington, Texas to a 2017 referendum adopting a civil service system for Arlington’s fire fighters.
Current Status: The Texas state court ruled against Local 1329, and plaintiffs appealed. After the appellate court remanded plaintiffs’ retaliation claims to the trial court, the parties agreed to a trial setting during the week of October 31, 2022.
- IAFF Local 868 (East Point, GA)
This case involves a series of threats that the Fire Chiefs of the City of East Point made against lieutenants in Local 868 in response to their union activity. The Chief told the lieutenants that they had to choose between the Union or their rank. The lieutenants in Local 868 all disassociated from the union in fear of immediate disciplinary action, including Local 868 President, Douglas Stanley.
Current Status: A “pushback letter” was sent to the City. Thereafter, the City Attorney and counsel negotiated a settlement under which the City informed the lieutenants that they could be part of IAFF Local 868 without fear of reprisal. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 3623 (City of Ocoee, FL)
This matter involved an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the City of Ocoee, Florida on behalf of Local President Allen Savoie, who was terminated in connection with his union activities.
Current Status: The parties reached a settlement agreement. This matter has been resolved and is CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 4131 (Gradia, et al. v. Escambia, FL)
This Guardian policy matter was brought on behalf of IAFF Local 4131 President Nick Gradia and Treasurer Scott Hunsucker, who were suspended because of a social media post made by the Union that criticized the lack of staffing and resources available in Escambia County in the wake of a fatal structure fire.
Current Status: The parties settled the case on the eve of arbitration, with the County agreeing to rescind the suspensions of the Union leaders and replace them with minor letters of counseling that will be removed within six months, to provide them backpay for all of the time they were unable to work, to pay them a COVID-related bonus to which they had not been previously eligible to receive, and to pay the arbitration fees and costs, which would otherwise have been split between the parties. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 4140 (Ponce Inlet, FL)
This case challenges the termination of Local President Derek George and active member Kyle Oberst, both of whom were fired after engaging in protected union activity by actively campaigning for a pro-public safety candidate for the Town Council.
Current Status: An unfair labor practice (ULP) charge was filed against the Town of Ponce Inlet on February 8, 2022. A Public Employees Relations Commission (“PERC”) hearing on the ULP took place on June 2-3, 2022.
- IAFF Local 4173 (Lakeland, FL)
On February 23, 2021, the Fire Chief issued a written reprimand to President Shannon Turbeville, alleging various instances of “making or publishing false or malicious statements,” against LFD management. The alleged “false” statements were related to President Turbeville’s requests to bargain, and follow-up requests for further information, in his capacity as Union President. A ULP was filed against the City on April 16, 2021. The charge was amended on June 7, 2021, to include an allegation that the City unilaterally and involuntarily transferred Local 4173 members, Lt. Michael S. Gilman and Lt. Matthew Burns, to new stations against past practice and in retaliation for their opposition to President Turbeville’s written reprimand and support of the ULP action.
Current Status: On May 19, 2022, the Hearing Officer issued his recommended order strongly condemning the City’s actions and finding that the City committed unfair labor practices when it reprimanded President Turbeville and involuntarily transferred Lieutenants Burns and Gilman in retaliation for their protected activities. The Hearing Officer ordered that the discipline be immediately rescinded, the personnel files expunged, and that the two lieutenants be immediately returned to the station and shift assignments before the unlawful, retaliatory transfers. Thereafter, counsel negotiated a settlement with the City under which all of the above-mentioned remedies are included as express terms of settlement.
- IAFF Local 4593 (McKinney v. Weaverville, NC)
This matter arises from the termination of IAFF Local 4593 Secretary-Treasurer Austin McKinney in retaliation for his union activity.
Current Status: On September 24, 2021, a complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina alleging First Amendment violations and state law claims. The parties are engaged in the discovery process.
- IAFF Local 5160 (Elario, et al. v. Town of Leland, NC)
This case arises from the Town of Leland’s unlawful termination of three members of Local 5160 from their positions as fire fighters with the Leland Fire/Rescue Department after participating in Union events related to COVID-19 relief and advocating for the Town to provide masks to fire fighters.
Current Status: The parties attended court-mandated mediation and successfully reached a settlement of all three plaintiffs’ claims on January 28, 2022. The settlement agreement provides each plaintiff with a significant portion of their lost backpay, as well as some compensatory damages. The settlement agreement also ensures that their employment records do not reflect the unlawful termination and that the Town will tell any prospective employers that they resigned and are eligible for re-hire. The Town also agreed to pay the full cost of the mediation and a portion of the depositions. This matter is CLOSED.
- IAFF Local A-39 (Mahaffey v. Parker Sewer and Fire Subdistrict, SC)
This Guardian case challenges John Mahaffey’s termination from his position as a Fire Fighter/EMT with the Parker Sewer and Fire Subdistrict in South Carolina following his attempts to organize an IAFF affiliate within the Parker Fire Department.
Current Status: A complaint was filed in the US District Court for the District of South Carolina on against the District and Fire Chief on November 12, 2021. Discovery must be completed by August 23, 2022, with motions for summary judgment due on September 6, 2022. The parties are engaged in the discovery process.
- IAFF Local 1375 (Hollywood, FL)
Charles Tullio, President of Local 1375, was placed on administrative leave and reassigned to a more onerous work schedule because of his union activity. In particular, President Tullio confronted and admonished a Division Chief for disparaging the Local Union to its members and advocating for members to stop paying union dues. Shortly thereafter, President Tullio was removed from shift duty, assigned a forty-hour work week requiring him to commute four hours each day, and placed on administrative leave without pay pending an investigation into an anonymous and unsubstantiated complaint about President Tullio.
Current Status: On May 11, 2022, charges were filed against the City of Hollywood with the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). PERC has set a hearing on the charges for September 27, 2022.
- IAFF Local 3967 (Isle of Palms, SC)
Pete Gray, President of Local 3967, was terminated because of his union activity and advocacy for Fire Fighters’ interests. President Gray was engaged in a prolonged dispute with Isle of Palms over the City’s appointment of a Fire Chief, made frequent calls for the City to better staff and equip the Fire Department, and organized support for certain opposition candidates for local political office. President Gray was terminated on April 7, 2022, allegedly for misconduct related to a state-affiliated benefit fund. Guardian Policy application was recommended for approval, because there is sufficient evidence that his termination was due to his fierce advocacy for fire fighters and political candidates who support fire fighters and not because of the alleged wrongdoing.
Current Status: In discussions with President Gray on proceeding with legal claims against the City.
- IAFF Local 465 (Oshawa, Ontario)
This case involves a suspension arising from social media comments made by the President of the Association. The President regularly criticized the Chief and the City, in social media, for failing to provide sufficient staff and resources to achieve an appropriate level of fire safety within the City. The President was subject to a second short suspension for his behaviour at the grievance hearing in relation to his initial discipline.
Current Status: Both suspensions have been grieved, and are working their way through the grievance procedure.
- IAFF Local 87 (Thomas v. Jackson, MS, et al.)
The matter arises from the discipline the City imposed on the Local President for speaking to the press on issues related to the City’s subpar Coronavirus response.
Current Status: A complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on November 16, 2021, alleging that the City of Jackson and Fire Chief Willie Owens violated Thomas’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association when it suspended him for five (5) shifts and placed him on a six-month overtime restriction for speaking in his capacity as Local President to the media. The parties are engaged in the discovery process.
- IAFF Local 1784 (Smith, et al. v. City of Memphis, TN)
This Guardian Policy case involves a lawsuit to challenge an Ordinance enacted by the Memphis City Council which substantially changes the City’s Pension System.
Current Status: With the agreement of the plaintiffs, this matter was dismissed with prejudice by the court on March 23, 2022. This matter is CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 2269 (Cryer, et al. v. Dyersburg, TN)
This Guardian Policy court action involves challenges to changes made by the Dyersburg Board of Aldermen to the City’s Pension Plan.
Current Status: Following an adverse decision in state court, Plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Tennessee Court of Appeals which upheld the lower court’s decision on March 2, 2021. Plaintiffs filed a petition for review to the Tennessee Supreme Court on April 28, 2021. On September 27, 2021, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, but ordered that the lower appellate court’s decision be marked “not for citation” so that it will not have any precedential value. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 3640 (Spencer v. City of Hendersonville, TN, et al.)
This matter involves a lawsuit filed by a private citizen against IAFF Local 3640 Secretary- Treasurer Paul Varble. Chris Spencer, a private citizen of Hendersonville, TN, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee against the City Hendersonville, TN, Scotty Bush (in his official capacity as fire chief of the Hendersonville Fire Department (“HFD”)), and Local 3640 Secretary-Treasurer Paul Varble (in an individual capacity and his official capacity as Fire Marshal). Specifically, in the Fall of 2018, when Spencer ran against Jonathan Hayes for the Fifth Ward Alderman’s position, Spencer claimed that Varble coerced HFD fire fighters to canvass for his opponent and that the fire fighters engaged in political activity while on duty and on City premises.
The trial court dismissed the action against all defendants in its entirety. Spencer appealed the district court’s decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Sixth Circuit first found that because the 2018 election is over, Spencer failed to show present harm or likely future harm. As a result, the district court properly concluded that Spencer lacked standing to pursue his claims for declaratory relief based on state and local laws. The Court also found that because Spencer did not allege that the defendants violated his First Amendment rights to express his political views and associate with voters, that the district court properly dismissed his First and Fourteenth Amendment claims. Similarly, the Court upheld the dismissal of Spencer’s First Amendment Retaliation claim, finding that “[a]ll of the pre-election activities in which Spencer alleged that Varble engaged— supporting his opponent, recruiting HFD employees to campaign for his opponent, and campaigning door-to-door for his opponent—are elements of an adversarial campaign.” The Sixth Circuit also upheld the dismissal of the Equal Protection claims, finding that Treasurer Varble was entitled to qualified immunity, because Spencer failed to point to a controlling “case with a similar fact pattern that would have given ‘fair and clear warning to [Varble]’ about what the law requires.”
Current Status: This strong decision should be helpful in the event similar lawsuits are brought against politically active IAFF locals and/or leaders in the future. This matter is CLOSED.
- IAFF Local F-89 (San Antonio, TX)
IAFF Local F-89 filed two unfair labor practice charges in January 2021 due to the Department of the Air Force’s behavior during contract negotiations. First, the Local filed a ULP due to bad faith bargaining when the Agency attempted to force the Union to negotiate the substance of a successor collective bargaining agreement prior to agreement on ground rules. Then, the Local filed a second ULP when, on January 15, 2021, the Agency unilaterally implemented a new collective bargaining agreement without negotiating at all over the substance with the Local. The ULPs have been combined for processing by the FLRA.
On September 30, 2021, the FLRA filed a Complaint relating to the Local’s ULPs. The parties participated in a settlement conference with an FLRA mediator on January 3 and 18, 2022 and were able to fully resolve the matter. As part of the settlement, the Agency agreed to rescind the unilaterally implemented contract and reinstate the three contracts that had previously covered the Local’s bargaining unit employees. The settlement also included a required posting, in which the Agency acknowledged the violation and agreed to abide by the earlier contracts until a successor agreement is reached with the Local. The FLRA Regional Director approved the settlement on January 21, 2022, and this matter is CLOSED.
- IAFF Local F-253 (Ft. Myer, VA)
This Guardian case arose from the denial of official time to Local President Michael Jackson to attend training at the Harvard Trade Union Program for which he had received a scholarship from the IAFF.
Current Status: The local grieved the issue and the Arbitrator sustained the grievance and ordered the Agency to pay backpay. The Agency filed exceptions to the award with the FLRA. On May 12, 2022, the FLRA denied all of the Agency’s exceptions. The Arbitrator has retained jurisdiction to oversee implementation of the remedy, including the backpay and interest owed to President Jackson. The Union was required to file a petition for attorneys’ fees and expenses with the Arbitrator within 60 days of the FLRA’s decision if unable to otherwise resolve the issue.
- IAFF Local F-147 (Colts Neck, NJ)
This Guardian case challenges the Agency’s decision, at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck, New Jersey to contract out certain wildland fire fighting services rather than rely on the bargaining unit of Local F-147.
Current Status: On May 17, 2021, at the start of the scheduled arbitration, the arbitrator heard argument on the motion and suggested—if indeed the Agency’s concern was that the grievance was premature—that the parties agree to hold the grievance in abeyance and reinstate the grievance if the Agency moved forward with contracting out. The parties subsequently agreed to hold the grievance in abeyance, allowing the Union to reinstate the grievance before the same arbitrator if the Agency takes action to contract out the wildland fire fighting.
- IAFF Local F-169 (Picatinny, NJ)
This case arose from the Army’s decision to brown out fire stations at the Picatinny Arsenal. The Agency’s decision violates the parties’ collective bargaining agreement, negotiated standard operating guidelines regarding minimum staffing, and applicable NFPA and Agency policies and regulations regarding minimum staffing. The Local filed a grievance on November 8, 2021 and invoked arbitration on November 22, 2021.
Current Status: After the parties selected an arbitrator, the Agency insisted on the parties holding a hearing on the issue of Arbitrability first, and then following it up, if necessary, with a hearing on the merits of the Local’s grievance. The arbitrator concluded that the collective bargaining agreement demands this interpretation. A hearing on arbitrability was held on June 9, 2022.
- IAFF Local F-317 (Pease Air National Guard Base FFs)
Local F-317, a newly chartered affiliate, is seeking to represent a unit of thirteen Fire Fighters working on the Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire. Fire Fighters working on the Pease Air National Guard Base were recently reclassified as federal employees. In January 2022, the Fire Fighters were moved without their consent to a bargaining unit represented by the Association of Civilian Technicians (ACT).
On March 2, 2022, Local F-317 filed a representation petition with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) seeking an election to separate the thirteen Fire Fighters working on the base from their existing ACT unit and be represented by Local F-317 as a distinct unit of Fire Fighters.
Current Status: The representation petition will be withdrawn and refiled to ensure that it is not subject to a contract bar. The IAFF will argue that there are sufficient “unusual circumstances” in this case to sever the Fire Fighters from their existing bargaining unit and allow them to vote to form a standalone bargaining unit with the IAFF.
Pending Guardian Policy Applications
- IAFF Local 25 (Dubuque, IA)
A Guardian Policy application was filed asserting that President Martin FitzPatrick was investigated and disciplined in retaliation for participating in union affairs and representing union members.
- IAFF Local 5157 (Hutchins, TX)
Paul Hobin, President of Local 5157, was terminated for participating in union affairs and speaking out about a matter of public concern. Specifically, President Hobin asserts that he was discharged because the Fire Chief believed that President Hobin told other members of the Department that the Chief was unfit for the position and was organizing a letter of no confidence in the Chief.
DISTRICT 2 / DISTRICT 7
- IAFF Local I-66 (Boeing Fire Fighters, WA and MO)
This matter involves Boeing’s failure to compensate members of Local I-66 in Washington for all hours of work during their 24-hour shifts when their designated rest periods are interrupted, as well as Boeing’s failure to compensate members in both Washington and Missouri at one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.
Current Status: The parties agreed to toll the statute of limitations in order to engage in early settlement discussions on both the overtime and sleep time claims in Washington, as well as the overtime claim in Missouri, and the parties reached a settlement on May 2, 2022. The settlement agreement provides all Washington and Missouri fire fighters who submitted an opt-in form with full backpay for Boeing’s failure to pay overtime for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek, plus backpay damages for Boeing’s failure to properly calculate the fire fighters’ regular rate of pay, and an additional amount as liquidated damages equal to 100% of the backpay amount. For fire fighters in Washington, Boeing also agreed to pay damages on the sleep disruption claim. Payments to all fire fighters were due on or before June 1, 2022.
- IAFF Local 539 (Stuart, et. al. v. Portsmouth, VA)
This case challenges the City of Portsmouth’s violation of both the FLSA and Virginia’s Gap Pay Act. The City’s pay practice was to only provide paramedics overtime compensation at a rate of one and a half times the regular rate when paramedics work all of their scheduled shifts, totaling over 40 hours in a week, which violates both the FLSA and the VGPA.
Current Status: A complaint alleging FLSA and state law violations was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on October 6, 2020. The parties reached a settlement agreement in principle during a settlement conference on May 26, 2021. Under the settlement, the plaintiffs received three years of back pay plus an additional 50% of the back pay amount as liquidated damages. Plaintiffs were also reimbursed their reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses under the settlement. The Court approved the settlement on August 10, 2021, and payment was made within 20 days. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 1590 (Huovinen, et al. v. City of Wilmington, DE)
This case was filed on behalf of Captains and Lieutenants who were wrongfully misclassified as exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA.
Current Status: A complaint was filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware on June 8, 2021. After exchanging initial discovery, including payroll and timekeeping records and damages calculations, the Parties reached a settlement to resolve this matter on April 26, 2022. The settlement agreement provides for full backpay to all plaintiffs for a three-year recovery period, liquidated damages equal to 70% of the backpay, and attorneys’ fees and expenses. Significantly, the City also agreed to re-classify Lieutenants and Captains as non-exempt effective April 1, 2022. The Parties filed a motion with the Court for approval of the Settlement Agreement on May 26, 2022, which was approved on July 6, 2022.
- IAFF Local 1619 (Ormerod, et al. v. Prince George’s County, MD)
This case, brought on behalf of Fire Investigators employed by the County’s Fire Department, was filed pursuant to the FLSA in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland on June 18, 2020.
Current Status: The parties were able to resolve the matter through settlement. Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, the Fire Investigators recovered the full amount of backpay and other damages that they were owed, as well as attorneys’ fees to fully reimburse the IAFF for the FLSA grant. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 2924 (Armey, et al. v. City of Virginia Beach, VA)
This case was filed in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court on July 15, 2021, on behalf of single-role Paramedics employed by the Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services for violations of the Virginia Gap Pay Act.
Current Status: The City expressed interest in settlement and has been working on providing payroll and timekeeping data to calculate damages. Settlement discussions are ongoing.
- IAFF Local 2924 (Baust, et al. v. City of Virginia Beach, VA)
This case was filed on behalf of eight EMS Captains who work in the Department of Emergency Medical Services and are misclassified as FLSA exempt by the City of Virginia Beach.
Current Status: The parties reached a settlement agreement in August 2021. Under the settlement agreement, the plaintiffs will receive three years of backpay and reimbursement for their attorneys’ fees and expenses. In addition, all EMS Captains were re-classified as non-exempt effective August 26, 2021. The Court issued an Order approving the parties’ settlement on December 10, 2021, and payments were made promptly thereafter. As such, this case is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local I-17 (Boeing Fire Fighters Ridley Park, PA)
This matter involves Boeing’s failure to properly compensate members of Local I-17 for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.
Current Status: Because Boeing provided payroll data for the Ridley Park fire fighters, the Parties were able to reach an early settlement on May 2, 2022. The settlement agreement provides all plaintiffs with full backpay for Boeing’s failure to pay overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek plus additional backpay damages for Boeing’s failure to properly calculate the fire fighters’ regular rate of pay, over a three-year statute of limitations. Boeing also agreed to pay liquidated damages equal to 100% of the backpay amount. Payments were due on or before June 1, 2022.
- IAFF Local 5201 (Quinn, et al. v. City of Eaton, OH)
This case involved the misclassification of three Captains and one Lieutenant in the City of Eaton Fire and EMS Division.
Current Status: The parties reached a settlement agreement, which was approved by the Court on August 17, 2021, in the total amount of $185,000.00, including back pay, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs, which will fully reimburse the IAFF for the FLSA grant. Importantly, the City also agreed to reclassify the Captain and EMS Lieutenant positions as non-exempt going forward, ensuring that the plaintiffs as well as future Local 5201 members will receive overtime pay for their work. This matter is now CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 112 (Ingstead et. al v. City of Los Angeles)
This matter arises from the City of Los Angeles’ failure to pay Canine Handlers overtime at one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours of work spent engaging in canine care.
Current Status: Counsel has been working with Local 112 to ensure that all eligible union members join the case. Additionally, counsel has interviewed Canine Handlers who work both Platoon and 40-hour weekly schedules to gather allegations for the Complaint, and the Complaint will be filed soon.
- IAFF Local 176 (Lamb, et al. v. Tulsa, OK)
This matter arises from the City of Tulsa’s failure to pay its fire fighters time-and-a-half overtime for their regularly scheduled work since April 2021, as well as a claim for regularly recurring delayed payment of overtime in violation of the FLSA.
Current Status: A Complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma on February 1, 2022, pleading two counts of FLSA violations: (1) failure to pay overtime since April 2021 for regularly scheduled overtime work; and (2) unlawfully late payment of overtime reaching back three years from the date of filing. The City has expressed interest in early settlement and has stated it will provide the payroll documents required to calculate damages.
- IAFF Local 2041 (Blue, et al. v. City of Chickasha, OK)
This case was filed on behalf of 34 fire fighters and Captains who work for the City of Chickasha, Oklahoma over the City’s failure to include longevity payments in the plaintiffs’ regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime in violation of the FLSA.
Current Status: On August 2, 2021, the parties reached a tentative settlement for a total payment of $141,710.91, which amounts to full back pay for a three-year recovery period, plus a significant amount in liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees and costs, which will fully reimburse the IAFF for the FLSA grant. The parties submitted their executed settlement agreement to the Court for approval on September 15, 2021, and it was approved on October 14, 2021.
- IAFF Local 3169 (Garcia, et al. v. Marion County, FL)
This case is based on Marion County, Florida’s longstanding misclassification of its Captains as FLSA exempt, despite their primary job duty as first responders. On September 18, 2019, plaintiffs filed suit in the Middle District of Florida against the County, seeking back pay, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
Current Status: On April 13, 2021, the parties entered into a settlement for all 17 plaintiffs’ claims for a total recovery of $725,000.00, including back pay, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. On May 11, 2021, the Court approved settlement, and the County administered payment of the settlement amount and the case was dismissed. The recovery under the settlement agreement amounts to full back pay for a three-year recovery period, plus a significant amount in liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees and costs and fully reimbursed the IAFF for the FLSA grant. This matter is CLOSED.
- IAFF Local 2546 (Sarasota County, FL)
This case arises from Sarasota County’s unlawful deprivation of overtime pay for Battalion Chiefs in violation of the FLSA. Specifically, the Sarasota County Fire Department has taken the position that Battalion Chiefs are exempt under the “executive, administrative, or professional” exemption of the FLSA. Battalion Chiefs, however, have a principled contention that they do not meet the criteria for the executive exemption and should receive overtime FLSA compensation.
Current Status: A Complaint was filed on July 15, 2022.
- IAFF Local 454 (Blom, et al. v, City of Gadsen, AL)
This matter arises from the City of Gadsen’s failure to properly calculate the overtime pay rate for fire fighters serving at the ranks of Driver and Fire Commander pursuant to the FLSA. Additionally, City fails to include longevity pay or EMT/Paramedic pay in any employees’ regular rate of pay for overtime purposes.
Current Status: A Complaint was filed on May 5, 2022.
- IAFF Local 5014 (Woolsey, et al. v. City of Blytheville, AR)
This case involves the City’s failure to pay 21 plaintiff fire fighters and captains for on-call time that regularly disrupts their off-duty activities. The City’s onerous restrictions place plaintiffs on call 24/7 and violate the FLSA. During litigation, it was also discovered that the City failed to pay fire fighters the correct regular rate for overtime and had plaintiffs regularly working pre-shift.
Current Status: The parties conducted mediation on January 20, 2022 and reached a settlement that involved both monetary and non-monetary terms. The City agreed to pay $250,000 to resolve the plaintiffs’ unpaid overtime time claims, which amounts to $160,000 in backpay and liquidated damages to the plaintiffs, and $90,000 in attorneys’ fees and expenses. Additionally, the parties agreed through the Settlement Agreement to revise the City’s “on call” policy so that it is substantially less burdensome. Specifically, it agreed to lower the required call-back rate from 50 percent to 35 percent, reduced the time period for reviewing on-call percentages from quarterly to biannually (thus giving fire fighters more flexibility in attending call-back fires), and will no longer require fire fighters to fill out “absentee forms” detailing why they missed a fire (thus protecting fire fighters’ rights to privacy in their free time). On March 21, 2022, the Court approved the Settlement Agreement. Shortly thereafter, the City made all payments owed under the Agreement and the IAFF was reimbursed for the $10,000 FLSA grant. This matter is CLOSED.
- IAFF Locals F-298 and F-61 (Anello, et al. v. United States)
This is an FLSA court action on behalf of the IAFF members of Local F-298 (Coast Guard, Petaluma, CA) and Local F-161 (NIST, MD), because they were required to work without pay during the partial shutdown of the Federal Government lasting from December 24, 2018, through January 19, 2019.
Current Status: This case is currently on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and has been consolidated with 11 other cases asserting the same claims. All of the consolidated cases submitted a joint brief on October 28, 2021, and briefing concluded on November 18, 2021. The Court is in the process of scheduling an oral argument for the second half of 2022.
- FRONT LINE POLICY CASES
- IAFF Local 1249 (Stroble, et al. v. City of Roswell, NM, et al.)
This case was initiated on behalf of the fire fighters who were injured and one who died when an explosion occurred in a City-owned warehouse while they were preparing fireworks for the City of Roswell, NM’s 2019 Fourth of July fireworks show.
Current Status: Suit was filed on June 19, 2019, against the City of Roswell and the fireworks distributor alleging claims for negligence, strict liability, unavoidably unsafe products, and punitive damages. In late April 2021, plaintiffs reached a confidential settlement with the fireworks distributor. On February 9, 2022, the Court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against the City of Roswell, NM. Plaintiffs have appealed that decision.
On February 22, 2022, the Roswell Sertoma Club filed a motion for summary judgment against plaintiffs, which they have opposed on the grounds they have not had an opportunity to complete discovery. The motion was scheduled for oral argument on June 13, 2022.
- OTHER CASES
- Lon Cyr (Maine Human Rights Commission Charge)
On May 23, 2019, Fire Fighter/Paramedic Lon Cyr filed a Charge of discrimination with the Maine Human Rights Commission against the City of Caribou Maine, the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine (“PFFM”), and the IAFF alleging that the City discriminated against him on the basis of disability by refusing to return him to work with a reasonable accommodation based on his reliance on a particular medical device. Mr. Cyr also alleged that his local PFFM representative (Michael Crouse) struck an improper deal with the City to subject him to an unwarranted fit for duty examination after he was cleared for duty by his personal physicians, naming IAFF as a party due to Mr. Crouse’s use of an iaff.org email address.
Current Status: On December 23, 2020, the investigator issued a report in which she concluded that the IAFF did not discriminate against Mr. Cyr because she “did not find the record contains sufficient information that [Mr. Crouse] was acting as an agent of IAFF in this matter and that IAFF only had an advisory relationship with PFFM… The claim against IAFF fails …” On February 10, 2021, the MHRC formally dismissed the portion of Mr. Cyr’s complaint alleging that the IAFF discriminated against him on the basis of disability.
Mr. Cyr then filed a complaint in state court. The IAFF filed a motion to dismiss, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment on March 25, 2022, seeking dismissal of IAFF as a party to the lawsuit. On June 15, 2022, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the IAFF, dismissing it from the case.
- Amicus Brief – Local 187 (Pocatello, ID)
This matter arises from a request for an amicus curiae brief in support of Richard Nelson, a fire fighter who contracted chronic lymphocytic leukemia (“CLL”) after an 18-year career. The Idaho Industrial Commission ruled in favor of Mr. Nelson, but the City appealed the ruling to the Idaho Supreme Court, arguing that Idaho’s fire fighter cancer presumption law—which was championed by IAFF affiliates when it was passed in 2016—violated the Equal Protection Clauses of the Idaho and U.S. constitutions.
Current Status: After hearing oral argument, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s judgment in favor of Mr. Nelson, specifically referencing IAFF’s amicus brief in its discussion, concluding that the state’s workers’ compensation law presuming that certain illnesses are work-related is constitutional and that the City failed to rebut the presumption by attempting to prove that the legislation was not scientifically sound, rather than proving that Mr. Nelson’s leukemia was not related to his employment as firefighter. This matter is CLOSED.
- Amicus Brief – Local 493 (Phoenix, AZ)
This matter arises from a request for an amicus curiae brief in support of defendant/appellant AFSCME Local 2384, which represents City of Phoenix employees, in the case of Gilmore, et al. v. Gallego, et al., which is presently pending in Arizona’s Court of Appeals. This case involves a lawsuit, supported by the Goldwater Institute, challenging whether a union release clause violates the principles in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 and the Arizona Constitution.
Current Status: Although authorized to prepare an amicus brief, the defendant/appellee union requested IAFF not submit a brief before the Court of Appeals, as they anticipate the matter will be further appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, where an amicus brief will be more powerful.
- OPINION LETTERS
- Guardian Policy (Coverage Not Approved)
- IAFF Local 2460 (Chillicothe, MO)
Local’s bargaining dispute with the City of Chillicothe did not meet the criteria for coverage under the Guardian Policy, but Local was advised that if they are unable to reach a successor agreement through further negotiations, and the parties reach impasse as a result of the City’s regressive bargaining, the Local should seek coverage under the IAFF’s Fighting Back policy for assistance.
- IAFF Local 2882 (Strongsville, OH)
Connection between affiliate leaders’ protected activities and non-promotion was too attenuated to support First Amendment retaliation claim (July 28, 2021).
- IAFF Local 305 (Camp Parks, CA)
Although the proposed suspensions of two labor leaders potentially violates the just cause provisions, management ultimately withdrew discipline prior to finalization of Guardian Policy approval (June 10, 2021).
- IAFF Local 2736 (Nogales, AZ)
Local Vice President alleged retaliation based on Union activity, but had not engaged in protected activity (May 21, 2021).
- IAFF Local 2736 (Nogales, AZ)
Local President alleged retaliation based on Union political activity, but had not experienced adverse employment action (May 26, 2021).
- Local 2736 (Nogales, AZ)
Local President alleged that he was denied a promotion because of his union activity, but there was insufficient evidence that his treatment was due to his union activity (Apr. 7, 2022).
- IAFF Local 3924 (Avondale, AZ)
Although the President of the Local has been subject to potential retaliation and harassment, Guardian Policy approval was not recommended as he had not suffered an adverse action (August 31, 2021).
- IAFF Local 3924 (Avondale, AZ)
After City issued restrictive outside employment policy, which had not been detrimentally applied to any affiliate member, the General President sent a pushback letter (Oct. 21, 2021).
- IAFF Local 3609 (Mission, TX)
Local Executive Board member alleged discipline (two written reprimands) in retaliation for Union activities; cease and desist letter sent by IAFF (Oct. 28, 2020).
- IAFF Local 4063 (Missouri City, TX)
Delaying approval of Guardian Policy coverage while criminal charges and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint addressing same facts are resolved. (Dec. 10, 2021).
- IAFF Local 2969 (Brevard County, FL)
Local President alleged retaliation based on Union political activity but had not experienced adverse employment action (Oct. 28, 2020).
- IAFF Local 3623 (Ocoee, FL)
Local president alleged retaliation based on Union activity but had not clearly engaged in protected conduct (May 5, 2021).
- IAFF Local 1576 (Oromocto, New Brunswick)
The President of the Association was disciplined and ultimately dismissed for an alleged abuse of sick leave and failure to cooperate on his return to work. Although there was merit in challenging the discipline and dismissal, it was determined that there was not sufficient evidence to link the discipline to the grievor’s role as President of the Association. As a result, the Legal Guardian application was not approved.
- Second Legal Opinions and Other Legal Opinions
- IAFF Local 1799 (Ogdensburg, NY)
Addressing whether City’s attempts to invalidate no-layoffs, minimum staffing, and hazard pay provisions of existing collective bargaining agreement violate applicable laws (Nov. 17, 2020).
- IAFF Local 3950 (North Hudson, NJ)
Addressing potential retaliation against Local President by employer (Mar. 15, 2021).
- IAFF Local A-29 (Professional Fire Fighters Association of New Jersey)
Determination that pension system’s collection of unpaid loan is legal, despite failure to collect for many years (Oct. 26, 2021).
- IAFF Local 68 (Norfolk, VA)
Unlikely employer will be able to require some, but not all, fire fighters to participate in Social Security and the Virginia Retirement System (June 11, 2021).
- Fourth District
Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Interim Final Rule does not cover providers of ground ambulance transportation (Nov. 15, 2021).
- IAFF Local 215 (Milwaukee, WI)
City could use American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide additional sick leave to employees. (Jan. 26, 2022).
- IAFF Local 311 (Madison, WI)
City policy that employees who are deployed and/or on a leave of absence for military service do not accrue leave or other non-seniority benefits did not violate USERRA. (Dec. 13, 2021).
- IAFF Local I-18 (Grand Forks, ND)
Local I-18 sought assistance from the IAFF in connection with a bargaining dispute with its signatory employers. Specifically, the federal contractors employing the Local’s members sought to divide the Local’s existing, singular bargaining unit into two separate, smaller units to be covered by different collective bargaining agreements establishing disparate terms and conditions of employment.
An advice memo was issued to Local I-18 on March 8, 2022, explaining the legal grounds for asserting that the contractors constituted a singular “joint employer” under the law and refusing the contractors’ request to fracture the existing bargaining unit, as well as advice navigating any National Labor Relations Board actions that may result. Additional advice has been provided related to subjects of bargaining, the delegation of the Employers’ bargaining representatives, the Service Contract Act, and possible misconduct with an employer’s PPP loans.
- IAFF Local 4811 (Paint Creek, OH)
Employer’s collection of social security taxes on sick leave sell back funds for employees who were members of a pension fund violated Social Security Act (Nov. 4, 2021).
- IAFF Local A-48 (Federal Fire Fighters of Wyoming – Cheyenne)
Legal analysis of issues regarding filing amicus curiae in pension case (June 28, 2021).
- IAFF Local A-43 (Professional Fire Fighters of Utah)
Employer’s indefinite suspension of employee for possession of legal medical cannabis card likely violated Utah state laws. (Feb. 8, 2022).
- IAFF Local 112 (Los Angeles City, CA)
Addressing whether Local’s Political Action Committee can contribute to union campaign for international officers (Nov. 5, 2020).
- IAFF Local 112 (Los Angeles, City, CA)
Addressing whether full-time Union release time to Local’s Executive Board members or Local members elected to International office violates California constitution gift clause (Mar. 16, 2021).
- New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association (NMPFFA)/Local 4251 (Deming, NM)
Provided assistance regarding a default judgment entered against Local 4251 by the Deming Local Labor Board in New Mexico that imposed the remedy of decertifying Local 4251 as the exclusive bargaining representative for the firefighters in Deming in response to a complaint filed over an allegedly illegal strike.
After the successful negotiation and signing of a new CBA, the city of Deming filed a complaint with the local labor board in Deming alleging that a threat of resignations (with no actual work stoppage) that the Local made earlier in the negotiations was an illegal strike. Local 4251 did not respond to the complaint and the local labor board issued a default judgment.
An advice memo was issued to NMPFFA on May 5, 2022, explaining how to petition to reverse the default judgment, the process for appealing the decision in court, and recommendations for complaints that the union could file with the local labor board over the city’s bad faith actions in bringing the complaint.
- IAFF Local 111 (McAlester, OK)
Oklahoma law requires treatment of scheduled overtime pay for certain retirement purposes (June 15, 2021).
- IAFF Local 975 (Austin, TX)
Federal grant recipients are not required to test workers for Delta-9- THC (or any other controlled substances) or discipline employees who test positive on drug tests. (Jan. 31, 2022).
- IAFF Local 2563 (Cobb County, GA)
County treatment of incentive pay for certain individuals breached contract Cobb County had with lateral employees at time of hire (June 25, 2021).
- IAFF Local 3697 (St. Andrews, SC)
Addressing whether City’s military leave policies violate Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (Oct. 26, 2020).
- IAFF Local A-32 (Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics of North Carolina)
Employees of certain fire departments that are also nonprofit organizations organized pursuant to IRC 501(c)(3) may have the right to organize (Oct. 14, 2021).
- IAFF Local 2969 (Brevard County, FL)
Provided assistance regarding the possibility of Florida municipalities requiring criminal justice information services (CJIS) background checks performed by the FBI and/or Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”) for existing fire department employees.
Local 2969 was told that upgrades to Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems in the state to integrate the CAD system with the local sheriff/law enforcement office would expose fire department employees to sensitive personal information necessitating periodic background checks.
Advice provided that background checks for existing employees is a mandatory subject of bargaining and recommended that Florida locals demand bargaining if any of these proposals become more concrete.
- IAFF Local 2765 (Benton, AR)
Addressing legal options after City demanded multiple retirees reimburse at least $10,000 in pension overpayments (Oct. 16, 2020).
- IAFF Fourteenth District
Addressing constitutionality of anti-union legislation pending before the Arkansas Legislature (Mar. 10, 2021).
- IAFF Local I-97 (Ingalls Shipyard, Pascagoula, MS)
Assistance provided to Local regarding a dispute with a newly organized employer. Shortly after Local I-97 was certified as the Fire Fighters’ bargaining representative, their Employer issued negative evaluations to the Fire Fighters, failed to respond to requests to bargain over a collective bargaining agreement, and implemented unilateral changes to certain terms and conditions of employment.
The Local filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Employer, and the Employer subsequently began negotiating with the Union to reach a contract. The matter is currently pending with an NLRB Regional Office.
- IAFF Local 1374 (Jefferson Parish, LA)
Detailed options following an adverse decision in a Title VII discrimination lawsuit in federal district court in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
- IAFF Local I-66 (Lake City Army Ammunition Plant)
Addressing whether Department of Labor’s determination that fire fighters are not covered by the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act is subject to challenge (Nov. 6, 2020).
- IAFF Local I-83 (Idaho Nat’l Labs Fire Dep’t)
Addressing implementation of arbitration award containing conflicting terms (Nov. 24, 2020).
- IAFF Local I-94 (Fiore Industries)
Addressing whether Fiore Industries is a perfectly clear successor for collective bargaining agreement (Apr. 23, 2021).
- IAFF Local I-94 (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Employer’s last, best, and final offer on wages violated Service Contract Act with respect to some employee ranks (Nov. 16, 2021).
- IAFF Sixteenth District
Addressing legality of schedule and staffing plan proposed by the Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, and whether plan conforms with the requirements set forth in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for the Fire Fighters Alternative Work Schedule Demonstration Project for the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services (Mar. 29, 2021).
Legal analysis of Department of Labor’s authority to establish presumptive benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (“FECA”) (July 7, 2021).
- FLSA Policy Opinion Letters
- IAFF Local 3249 (Voorhees Township, NJ)
Township’s elimination of compensatory time from employee leave balances violated Fair Labor Standards Act (Mar. 30, 2021).
- IAFF UFOA Local 854 (New York, NY)
Request for assistance as to whether Battalion Chiefs as exempt under the FLSA and what factors considered by courts when determining whether fire fighters are exempt under the FLSA (April 13, 2022).
- IAFF Local 3981 (Greece, NY)
Examined whether longevity pay was being included in the “regular rate” for purposes of paying overtime (May 20, 2022).
- IAFF Local 644 (Lincoln, NE)
City’s failure to include contractual premium pay in overtime rate violates Fair Labor Standards Act (Jan. 19, 2021).
- IAFF Local 2543 (Poplar Bluff, MO)
City’s fixed overtime payment fails to compensate fire fighters for unscheduled overtime in violation of Fair Labor Standards Act (Apr. 6, 2021).
- IAFF Local 801 (Danbury, CT)
Issue of whether a new Administrative/Staff Captain position qualified for the partial exemption under Section 7(k) of the FLSA. Specifically, the Union inquires as to whether the City could establish the same 24-day work period for purposes of calculating FLSA overtime as was used for line personnel.
IAFF Legal Counsel issued a legal opinion stating that, based on information provided, the new Administrative/Staff Captain position would qualify for the partial exemption under Section 7(k) because the position would engage in “fire protection activities” within the meaning of the FLSA (Mar 9, 2022).
- IAFF Local 1339 (Waterbury, CT)
A proposal to pay time and one quarter (1 ¼) for all hours worked over 42 hours in a week for 24 hour employees violated the FLSA, because it only requires time and one quarter rather than time and one half for hours worked in excess of the applicable 7(k) threshold (May 12, 2022).
- IAFF Local 215 (Milwaukee, WI)
City was improperly calculating the “regular rate” for purposes of calculating overtime under the FLSA (May 11, 2022).
- IAFF Local I-66 (Seattle, WA)
Issued legal opinion regarding whether Boeing’s implementation of certain “sleep-time” provisions of the CBA violated the FLSA or CBA (Apr 18, 2022).
- IAFF Local 4536 (Maumee, OH)
Exclusion of lump sum payments (made to offset pay decreases) from overtime regular rate violates Fair Labor Standards Act (Nov. 19, 2020).
- IAFF Local 2 (Chicago, IL)
City of Chicago failed to properly compensate certain employees for time spent working as instructors or attending as candidates mandatory training programs at the Chicago Fire Academies in violation of FLSA (March 9, 2022).
- IAFF Local 439 (Elgin, IL)
City of Elgin failed to include certain premium payments in its calculation of the “regular rate” for purposes of overtime in violation of the FLSA. Specifically, the City of Elgin failed to include longevity pay, the paramedic stipend, mechanic stipend, and/or the engineer stipend (required by the terms of the CBA between the City and Union) in its calculation of the “regular rate” for purposes of calculating overtime (April 5, 2022).
- IAFF Local 365 (East Chicago, IN)
Issues of whether (1) under the FLSA does substitution of time between fire fighters have to be paid back and if so, is there a time requirement to do so? (2) do documents related to trade records need to be kept within the department? And (3) if a fire fighter chooses to compensate another fire fighter for a shift trade, would this action be strictly between those fire fighters to work out?
On April 7, 2022, President Mata informed IAFF Legal Counsel that the fire chief dropped the issues related to shift trades and has allowed the fire fighters to engage in shift trades as they had in the past.
- IAFF Local 2846 (Delta Township, MI)
Reviewed whether Township is improperly averaging overtime hours over a full year and failing to include all required premium payments in its calculation of the regular rate in violation of the FLSA (June 21, 2022).
- IAFF Local 362 (South Bend, IN)
City is improperly calculating the “regular rate” used to determine the amount of overtime owed to firefighters in violation of FLSA (June 8, 2022).
- IAFF Local 542 (Amarillo, TX)
Reviewed legality of the Amarillo Fire Department’s call-back policy under the FLSA and Texas law (May 20, 2022).
- IAFF Local 5269 (Sansom Park, TX)
City is improperly calculating the “regular rate” used to determine the amount of overtime owed to firefighters in violation of FLSA by: (1) improperly averaging the number of hours worked across multiple work periods; and (2) not including longevity pay in its calculation of the “regular rate” (June 11, 2022).
- IAFF Local 4331 (Longview, TX)
Reviewed whether Department’s call-back protocol violated the FLSA (July 14, 2022).
- IAFF Local 4660 (Hurst, TX)
City violated the FLSA by failing to include certification and longevity pay in a fire fighter’s regular rate of pay when calculating overtime for hours worked in excess of 106 in a 14-day work period (July 14, 2022).
- IAFF Local 548 (Raleigh, NC)
Reviewed whether the City of Raleigh, NC could legally exclude fire fighters from its Living Wage Policy (May 20, 2022).
- IAFF Local 1365 (Orlando, FL)
Exclusion of District Chiefs from receiving overtime pay violated FLSA (July 14, 2022).
- IAFF Local 4647 (Daphne, AL)
City shift swap policy violates Fair Labor Standards Act (Apr. 22, 2021).
- IAFF Local 2269 (Dyersburg, TN)
City of Dyersburg unlawfully deprived Shift Captains of overtime pay in violation of the FLSA (May 19, 2022).
- IAFF Local 4510 (Springfield, TN)
City’s failure to include certain premium payments in its calculation of the “regular rate” violated the FLSA (May 24, 2022).
- OTHER LEGAL ISSUES
- IAFF Local 64 (Kansas City, KS)
Draft and send pushback letter to the Mayor and Board of Commission for Local 64 regarding attempts to interfere with, restrain, coerce, and retaliate against members of the Kansas City, Kansas Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 64 for exercising their First Amendment rights causing damage to Local 64’s members and the safety of Kansas City, Kansas’s citizens (June 10, 2022).
- IAFF Local 1476 (South Portland, ME)
Draft cease and desist letter to City Manager and Fire Chief over housing AmeriCorp volunteers in Department’s fire stations (June 22, 2022).
- IAFF Local 2773 (Petersburg, VA)
Draft and send pushback letter to Mayor and City Council of Petersburg, VA over the near complete lack of operational frontline and reserve fire engines and aerial ladder trucks at the Petersburg Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, as well as retaliatory threats against members of Local 2773 for speaking out on public safety matters (June 17, 2022).
- IAFF Local 1923 (Wauwatosa, WI)
Assist Local with cannabis drug testing standards for fire fighters.
- Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters (KPFF)
Provide assistance regarding a bill in the state legislature to further restrict public sector dues deduction. Legal Counsel researched recent court cases on the subject and provided KPFF with talking points to defeat the legislation or preserve the carveout for fire fighters. The legislature adjourned for the session on April 14, 2022 without passing the dues deduction bill.
- Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI)
Monitored State of Illinois request for interpretation over whether fire suppression equipment can only be driven by operators with CDL during non-emergency time until State concluded that this was not a requirement.
- IAFF Local 2479 (Ponca City, OK)
Provided assistance regarding Oklahoma’s Open Records statutes to ensure that the Local’s requests for information was properly structured.
- Professional Fire Fighters of South Carolina (PFFSC)
Investigate potential wrongdoing with South Carolina 1% pension fund.
- Vicksburg, MS
Research whether captains could be included in a bargaining unit with rank-and-file firefighters
- IAFF Local 87 (Jackson, MS)
Draft and send pushback letter to Mayor, City Council, Director of Personnel Management and Fire Chief over unilateral changes to the established vacation and sick leave provisions (June 6, 2022).
- Legal Memos
- Draft memo addressing the currently pending per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) related litigation.
- Draft memo addressing substantive arbitrability and treating probationary employees as at-will employees.
- Draft memo addressing the eligibility of Majority Time Fire Fighters to join IAFF.
- Draft memo regarding whether part-time ambulance drivers are within IAFF’s jurisdiction.
- Draft memo regarding whether surveying non-union employees, but not union employees, about benefits issue violated the law.
- Draft memo regarding excluding non-members from voting on a collective bargaining agreement.
- Draft memo regarding not owing a duty of fair representation to supervisor outside of the bargaining unit.
1st District Report
1st District President
This report is respectfully submitted in accordance with Article VI, Section 7 of the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution and By-Laws. This report contains a summary of my activities as 1st District Vice President since the last convention
On behalf of the entire 1st District, I would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to all the delegates and alternates attending the 2022 IAFF Convention. It is an honor to continue to serve as the 1st District Vice President. For over 104 years, we have been fighting for the betterment of our brothers and sisters throughout the USA and Canada. Every day our fights get tougher, the challenges get more difficult, while our membership gets stronger. We continue to provide quality education and resources to our membership that are unmatched by any other union.
This convention report is dedicated to the memory of all the members that have made the supreme sacrifice in the Line of Duty throughout the 1st District since our last convention. Their sacrifice is why we fight so hard for the members. Their legacy will live on with each victory we have.
Since the 2021 Convention, I have attended state conventions, Executive Board meetings and membership meetings. I have encouraged members to get involved politically and to participate in FIREPAC. FIREPAC has been able to provide crucial support for our endorsed candidates in both New York and New Jersey.
COVID continues to be an issue for our members. Unfortunately, some politicians continue to put politics before collective bargaining rights. Through unilateral implementation of policies, members have been threatened with unjust termination unless they get vaccinated. In New York City, some members were in fact terminated and others are facing future termination. The IAFF was on hand for press conferences, rallies and meetings with administration officials to fight for our members. This will be an ongoing fight.
PFANJ President McConlogue and his Executive Board continue to do strong work on behalf of their members. They have been working hard to bring new locals into the IAFF/PFANJ. The increased number of inquiries in regard to joining the IAFF is a result of seeing what the IAFF has to offer and what we can accomplish. They have organized new locals as well as expanded the size of existing locals. It is expected that we will see an increase in new locals that are currently represented by the FMBA.
The PFANJ is focused on getting results at the statehouse, which has resulted in many successful legislative initiates becoming law. Among their successes are:
- Cancer screening for career fire fighters was signed into law at the beginning of this year. This came out of research and data that was provided to the legislature by the IAFF.
- 10 million dollar grant program through the state of NJ for PPE and equipment. This is the immediate result of the PFANJ and IAFF meeting with Governor Murphy. The announcement of this program was done in Hackensack Fire HQ with GP Kelly in attendance.
- The “Marino Bill,” which provides a minimum pension for a LODD. This is moving through the legislature.
- PTSD bill to provide workplace protections for fire and police facing PTSD issues. This is moving through the legislature.
The NYSPFFA continues to increase its activity with President Fresina and his executive board in place. There has been a lot of success legislatively for both the NYSPFFA and the NYC Locals. The following pieces of legislation passed and became law since the last convention.
- Special Accidental Death benefit COLA
- Parkinson’s disease presumption
- PFAS chemical restrictions
- FAS Pension Tier Equity for NYC
- Disability benefits for fire fighters employed by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs
- $750k health and safety grant for NYSPFFA, Local 94 & Local 854
In closing, I want to thank the members of the 1st District, especially the affiliate leaders for the work they do every day to represent our members. Additionally, I want to thank IAFF General President Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Líma and the entire IAFF staff for supporting the 1st District.
2nd District Report
2nd District Vice President
The IAFF 2nd District staff has worked diligently with 2nd District affiliate local leadership on a number of issues and initiatives since the last IAFF convention, including but not limited to: organizing, negotiations, member representation, wrongful termination/disciplinary action, elections, grants, arbitration, mediation, state legislator lobbying, political action, municipal financial analysis, wage comparisons, line of duty deaths, leadership training, strategic communications, media, peer fitness, health and safety issues and legal assistance. We would like to thank the very talented IAFF staff for all the ongoing help and assistance.
Below are summaries from each state over the last two years provided by Iowa State President Ryan Hanghian, Kansas State President Matt Jackson, Missouri State President Demetris Alfred and Nebraska State President Darren Garrean.
Since the last convention, we have taken the (MSCFF) and reconstructed it so the smaller locals in the council could have more representation. In doing so, every local that has more than 400 members will have a vice president spot. The smaller locals have more input on selecting their vice president, thus having better representation. This has worked great and even helped grow the council. Additionally, Independence Local 781 has reaffiliated with the MSCFF.
We all had a challenge with COVID-19’s effects on meetings, getting PPE, information on the effects of COVID and dealing with misinformation. We rose to the challenge by keeping in touch with the IAFF staff and working together with DVP Woolbright to make certain our members were serviced and safe. With that, we were able to get the Governor to sign an executive order of protection if a member was affected or quarantined because of contamination of COVID.
Our last legislative session was a big win for the Council. We were able to get legislation passed on cancer presumption. This coverage is tied to a medical trust as well as secured funding by the state in the amount of $5 million to start.
We are all excited about the future because we see the success we have when we work together as a union! We would like to thank you and all the assistance we received from the IAFF and for the leadership that you all provide.
Iowa is currently governed by a Republican-controlled super majority (i.e., House, Senate, Governor). With that being said, the IPFF is on the brink of passing a substantial pension enhancement bill. The bill includes the addition of cumulative injuries, including mental health (currently the system only recognizes a specific time/place/event injury as work-related). The bill also includes a five-year look back on presumptive issues (heart/lung/cancer) post-retirement. Lastly, the bill cleans up “member in good standing” language that was changed in 2017 during Iowa’s Legislative attacks on organized labor in the state.
More specifically, the current IPFF Executive Board has reshifted focus and has prioritized individual local membership assistance. We have worked diligently on centralizing and centering legal advice/counsel for all our locals to ensure that any and all rulings are setting good precedence for all fire fighters across the state.
We have established a statewide peer support program/team, recognizing the significance and impact peer support has on our members. We have allocated resources, as well as funding, to help ensure success when it comes to protecting the mental health of our members.
Along with that, we have started rolling out “Mini ALTS” classes on a regular basis with topics in high demand, such as negotiations, grievances, union representation, etc. We have recognized that across the state we have many new, young local leaders, as well as many seasoned leaders with institutional knowledge, and we are working towards merging those two perspectives and ensuring success for our organization in the future.
That’s a quick snapshot of the last couple of years in Iowa. We have assembled an incredible team at the Executive Board of the IPFF and are laser-focused on our current issues with an eye on the future.
The KSCFF did not have an annual State Conference in 2020 due to COVID-related issues. The 75th Conference was moved to 2021 and held in Junction City, Kansas (Local 3309). At the conference, three board members did not seek reelection. President Bob Wing, Treasurer Mike Gunther and East VP Ed Lynn Jr. all stepped down. All three were nominated and elected as Emeritus officers. President Emeritus Bob Wing of Local 64 served for 30 plus years, Treasurer Emeritus Mike Gunther of Local 179 served for 45 plus years and East VP Emeritus Ed Lynn Jr. of Local 64. These are the first officers elected to emeritus in the history of the Kansas State Council of Fire Fighters.
New officers were elected as follows:
- Matt Jackson; Local 3309 – President
- Matt Schulte; Local 135 – Secretary
- Patrick Weathers; Local 179 – Treasurer
- Joe Chizmar; Local 64 – East VP
- Charles Helm; Local 135 – West VP
- JJ Simma; Local 64 – Trustee
Legislatively in 2022, we were able to host our annual Legislative Reception in February and it was very well attended. Our lobbyists were able to stop two anti-union bills, both in the House and Senate. We were also successful in stopping legislation that would change our pension system from defined benefit to defined contribution. We were also able to get a bill passed that would allow our Kansas Police and Fire Pension members to purchase non-federal employment time just like purchasing federal time.
We were unable to get bills passed that would give our pension members a COLA, which they haven’t had since the early 90s. We also worked on legislation to have Work Comp recognize PTSD as work-related but were not successful this year.
The KSCFF assisted locals in several areas, including participating in a march to reopen Station 15 in KCKS, contract negotiations and anti-union activities.
There are three primary items that the NPFFA has been working diligently on progressing forward with over the last couple of years.
After years in the making, we came to a working agreement with a healthcare group to create a comprehensive healthcare screening program for our members. This is a pilot program consisting of 100 members from five different locals. This screening program includes cardiac issues, cancer and mental health care components – all in one screening. The member gets their results and can share them with their primary physician.
When this two-year pilot program is completed, we will have a white paper produced that we will be able to utilize for helping our members obtain better screenings and monitoring long-term healthcare goals.
This data will be invaluable as we move forward with this program.
This program is through an Accountable Care Organization where a network of physicians and specialists work together to share both the financial and medical responsibility of patients through high-quality care and cost savings. Its primary goal is constantly working to evolve its services for the better in an effort to improve both overall patient outcomes and patient satisfaction.
We will be continuing to look for growing these long-term objectives and overall growth for this program. We also continue to look for funding methods for this research.
We also established a mental health resiliency program. This program was often requested by our members to help assist in navigating mental healthcare crises and developing a plan if something should occur. Mental health continues to be a priority of our members.
We continue to recognize the need to be able to retire with dignity. We continue to fight for a better First Class City Fire Fighter retirement. This includes all locals other than Omaha and Lincoln. We introduced legislation (LB478) that, unfortunately, has not come to fruition yet.
We also continue working to incorporate healthcare cost improvements for our locals as well as overall retirement capability. Omaha’s healthcare trust has opened up to inviting another department. We are looking to incorporate beneficial options for other locals as well.
Our larger accomplishment is the passing of a Line of Duty Death Benefit of $250,000. Two years ago, Nebraska did not have a LODD benefit from the state, and we now do. We have not had the draconian attacks on collective bargaining that we feared and continue to strive for improvements where we can.
The NPFFA hits way above our weight class and looks forward to improving on this with the delivery of the IAFF Political Training Academy this August.
We were able to hold our biennial convention in Lincoln in addition to the 2nd District Leadership conference, even though dates had changed due to COVID a couple of times.
Lastly, we would like to recognize and remember the 2nd District brothers we lost in the line of duty since the last convention:
- Benjamin J. Polson; St. Louis City, Missouri Local 73
- Mark R. Godbold; Olathe, Kansas Local 2542
- Donald G. Gross; Lincoln, Nebraska Local 644
- Michael L. Baker; Kansas City, Kansas Local 64
- Ivan D. LaGrand; Cape Girardeau, Missouri Local 1084
- Joshua Bruggeman; Wichita, Kansas Local 135
- Jeff Sanderfield; Dubuque, Iowa Local 25
3rd District Report
3rd District Vice President
Pursuant to the Constitution and By-Laws of the IAFF (Article VI Section 3), I am submitting this report for the activities in the 3rd District for the period between February 5, 2021, and August 1, 2022, to General President Edward Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma, all IAFF Executive Board members, officers and delegates in attendance at the 56th IAFF International Convention. I have attended all the Executive Board meetings and carried out all the assignments given to me by General President Kelly.
I have been appointed by the General President, and am currently serving on the following committees, Chair of Health and Safety, Chair of Interim Resolutions, Chair of Information Technologies, Vice-Chair of Finance, Vice-Chair of Government Affairs and Political Action, Vice-Chair of Policy. I also serve on the Canadian Affairs, Communications, Employee Benefits and Human Resources and the Legal Services Committees.
Since we last convened virtually in February of 2021, the 3rd District has had the privilege of seeing one of our own, Edward A. Kelly, elected as the General President of the IAFF. Since 2005, I have had the honor to serve side by side with Edzo through all three levels (local, state and the International) of Union leadership. In those 17 years, I have had the opportunity to see his tremendous leadership skills up close, and I am convinced there is no one more capable of leading this great International as we move forward.
It has been my privilege to serve as the IAFF 3rd District Vice President, representing the almost 23,000 fire fighters across New England for the past two years. I have engaged in a host of activities in and around the District, including but not limited to, organizing, legislative matters, arbitrations, state meetings, local meetings, state conventions, retiree meetings, political campaigning, legal inquiries and member representation.
The six New England states that make up the IAFF 3rd District are led by some of the hardest working, most knowledgeable, well-respected leaders in the entire International. Their tireless efforts representing their members are one of the main reasons that the 3rd District has some of the best presumptive, collective bargaining and benefit legislation in the entire IAFF. I would like to personally thank all six state presidents, Joe Andriole RISAFF (Rhode Island), Rich Mackinnon PFFM (Massachusetts), Brian Ryll PFFNH (New Hampshire), Michael Crouse PFFM (Maine), Chris Dube PFFV (Vermont), Pete Carozza UPFFA (Connecticut) as well as their entire Executive Bboards for their continued efforts and support.
With the COVID pandemic and its effects finally waning and our in-person gatherings starting to resume, I hope to continue getting out and around the District and seeing most of you in person. Although Zoom may have been a suitable alternative during the shutdown, I’m convinced there is absolutely no substitute for face-to-face interactions.
The following state reports have been submitted by the 3rd District state presidents.
Rich Mackinnon PFFM (Massachusetts)
Michael Crouse PFFM (Maine)
Brian Ryll Professional Firefighters New Hampshire PFFNH
Joe Andriole RISAFF (Rhode Island)
Chris Dube PFFV (Vermont)
SUBMITTED BY PRESIDENT MICHAEL CROUSE
The Professional Fire Fighters of Maine (PFFMaine) has been on the frontlines protecting and representing IAFF members throughout the state of Maine since May 7, 1945.
The PFFMaine’s Executive Board, working with the IAFF and our 3rd District Vice President, is committed to protecting our members and their families. Our Executive Members have the knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences at the local, state and international level that represents all aspects of the fire service, our Union and our membership and is fully committed to fighting for all our members throughout the state! The PFFMaine continues to be on the frontlines fighting to better our members’ wages, working conditions, and health and safety. We fight for our members’ interests at the contract table, in the legislature, political and social landscape.
To this end, we have been assisting our existing affiliates in negotiating their successor CBAs, Impact and Implementation Bargaining as necessary, grievance/arbitration preparation and presentation, preparing and processing ULP charges, representing employees exposed to disciplinary actions, provided training for local union leaders and legal assistance as necessary. We continue to provide training to our affiliate local leaders through the IAFF PEP program or other Zoom training sessions on various labor relations topics. Our Organizing and Field Services Program continues to be a great resource for our affiliates.
In July 2021, the PFFMaine updated its Constitution & By-Laws to include “mandatory” affiliation of all PFFMaine’s IAFF affiliates with Maine’s AFL-CIO as part of their monthly membership dues with the PFFMaine. We now have 100% membership affiliation with Maine’s AFL-CIO. Progress Through Unity!
The PFFMaine has been on the frontlines with our affiliates since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. The PFFMaine and its affiliates have experienced the same issues that other IAFF affiliates have experienced throughout the IAFF. Early on, we had difficulties in getting and maintaining adequate PPE, testing and/or access to federal funding. We have had many of our members exposed to COVID-19 and with approximately 126 members testing positive for COVID-19 that have returned to work without incident or severe illness. Many of our affiliates did receive financial recognition for their efforts during the pandemic through the ARP funds their employers received. Utilizing the IAFF’s COVID-19 Toolkit, our Association and affiliates have been better prepared to face the impact that COVID has had on our members and the municipalities they live and work in.
On the legislative front, we had several bills advance in the 130th Session and get signed into law that improved the living/working conditions of our members. They included but were not limited to:
- Adding all female reproductive cancers to our cancer presumptive statute.
- Extending PTSD presumptive coverage for another three years.
- Passing legislation to ensure that our female fire fighters have properly fitting PPEs.
- Increasing the percentage of our retirement healthcare subsidy from 45 to 55% to assist IAFF retirees in paying for healthcare after they retire.
Politically, we remain vigilant in finding and electing fire fighter-friendly candidates for our local, state and federal levels in preparation for the upcoming mid-term elections and our current endorsements include, but are not limited to:
- Federal Endorsed Pingree 1st CD and Golden 2nd CD
- Governor’s Elections (TBD)
- Supporting fire fighter-friendly candidates in state House/Senate races
- Supporting three fire fighters who are running for state positions
As the IAFF has focused on fire fighter behavioral health issues and wellness, the PFFMaine has a growing concern about behavioral health issues and the significant impact on wellness in our Maine firehouses. As the IAFF has stated, the stresses faced by fire fighters, paramedics and EMTs throughout the course of their careers – incidents involving children, violence, inherent dangers of firefighting and other potentially traumatic events – can have a cumulative impact on mental health and well-being.
The PFFMaine in working with the IAFF, its Center of Excellence and the behavioral healthcare medical providers here in Maine we continue to develop resources that educate and support members on behavioral health concerns.
To this end, the PFFMaine has partnered with New Perceptions and has recognized that first responders are faced with traumatic experiences on a regular basis as part of their jobs. They have unique challenges that have a long-term impact on their personal and professional lives. New Perceptions has 10 years of experience working with our members. They specialize in trauma treatment for first responders, EMS personnel and military personnel as well as their family members. They are certified and have extensive experience with critical incident stress debriefing and crisis management and are certified with the IAFF Peer Support Training Program and act as a peer support clinician and director of the behavioral health program for the PFFMaine.
New Perceptions is supported by various psychologists and clinicians along with the PFFMaine’s 38 peer teams members that are spread out in all five districts that comprise the PFFMaine. Our Behavioral Health Response Team provided informational resources to our affiliates and members as well as responded to individual and/or group needs. They have responded as a CISM Team to two LODDs in the state and have assisted in providing training to our affiliates and members on various behavioral health subjects. Our program also assists IAFF members returning from the IAFF’s Center of Excellence program in ensuring that they have the adequate outpatient treatment needed to continue addressing their behavioral health wellness.
All the successes outlined in this report could not have been achieved without the full support and involvement of IAFF 3rd District Vice President Jay Colbert. DVP Colbert has provided timely advice and guidance to the PFFMaine’s Executive Board and our local union leaders. DVP Colbert has assisted the PFFMaine in responding to the needs of our affiliates and provided access to all of the resources the IAFF has available to our affiliates. His continued support and involvement at the International, district, state and local level are second to none. His leadership is noted and greatly appreciated.
This report is submitted by the PFFMaine’s Executive Board and is an overview of what we have done and/or are doing here in the Great State of Maine. With the continued support of DVP Colbert and the IAFF, the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine and all our locals will continue to work for our member’s rights and benefits, taking our members One Step Further. We are looking forward to a very productive Convention.
SUBMITTED BY PRESIDENT RICHARD D. MACKINNON Jr.
Brothers and Sisters,
As the PFFM President, it is an honor to represent the over 12,000 members from over 232 locals throughout the Commonwealth. I believe the PFFM is the premier state organization within the IAFF.
I would like to personally thank Secretary-Treasurer Billy Cabral. Billy and I work side by side as your principal officers, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner to support the PFFM in all our endeavors.
Recognition is deserved for each member of our Executive Board for their dedication and high level of commitment to the PFFM and the labor movement. We truly have a great team and have done some outstanding work for our membership. I look forward to the next two years working together shoulder to shoulder in solidarity.
Members of our professional staff also play a pinnacle role in performing the day-to-day operations and tasks of the PFFM. I’m extremely grateful for all their hard work and dedication to the organization.
We have many appointed members that have stepped up to serve on all our committees: COPE, Legal Defense, Human Relations, Funeral, Pension, Staffing, Information, Member Assistance and EMS.
Over the past two years, unlike any other two-year period, we have faced adversity and challenges, yet the PFFM has emerged stronger. The pandemic affected all aspects of our union, profession, and, unfortunately, our families at home. As always, we came together and persevered. We embraced new technology to ensure that our lines of communication and information remained open and that we could navigate this pandemic together. Our COVID-19 data text line is an excellent example of our collective strength. Without your participation and the real-time data on how COVID was affecting our members, we would not have been as effective when lobbying for priority testing, proper PPE and priority vaccine access.
We have maintained and focused on the basics of unionism prioritizing collective bargaining, wages, hours, working conditions, retirement security and health/safety. In our roles as union leaders, we must focus on strong union values when representing our members.
While politics will continue to be a divisive topic in our society, it remains our area of strength. We will continue to be heavily involved in politics at every level. Our collective brand translates to our political influence. In order to maintain and strengthen the core values of unionism, we have to be successful in the political arena. The PFFM continues to be very successful during legislative budget cycles, meeting all of our budgetary priorities
Additionally, during the chaos of this past legislative cycle, I am proud of our lobbying efforts for the flame retardant bill that was signed into law, a law that will profoundly impact the health and safety of our members. This work is all part of our enduring efforts to address the cancer epidemic within our profession. Currently, our priority legislation is moving forward through all committees and branches at our State House. This legislation includes PTSD Presumptive, Infectious Disease Presumptive, Parkinson Disease Presumptive and banning PFAs from our PPE.
Legislators know that PFFM leadership will be present and vocal on Beacon Hill and, more importantly so, that local union leaders in their home communities will do the same. These relationships at all levels of politics are what lead to our success.
I would be remised if I didn’t mention my close friend and a friend to us all, Ed Kelly. We all are fortunate to know what a tremendous leader Edzo is, and now the rest of North America will benefit from his leadership at the highest level of our union. We should all be proud of the incredible amount of support that Massachusetts provided to Edzo during his campaign for General President. Massachusetts and all of New England served as a solid base for an impressive and historic campaign. That rock-solid foundation is a reflection of the leadership we enjoy from the 3rd District of the IAFF. Jay Colbert leads from the front and is unapologetic about his passion for this labor union. The PFFM is well positioned within the IAFF with strong leadership from GP Kelly and DVP Colbert.
As we look ahead to the next two years, the PFFM will focus on innovative ways to communicate with our members. We need to ensure that members remain engaged and involved with our union. We will use whatever technology is necessary to reach all generations of our members, from recruits in the academy to retirees. An active and engaged membership at all levels of our union is part of our roadmap to continued influence and success.
We have a dangerous yet rewarding profession that oftentimes comes with great sacrifice. I ask that you always remember those we have lost and their families who have to carry on without them. We must continue to NEVER FORGET those we have lost in the line of duty, including those who lost their battle with occupational cancer and diseases associated with our profession.
In closing, I am beyond proud and forever grateful to lead the premier state organization within the IAFF.
SUBMITTED BY RISAFF PRESIDENT JOSEPH A. ANDRIOLE
The Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters (RISAFF) has continued to provide all our locals with full-service representation, consisting of the following:
- Contract Negotiations
- Interest Arbitration for Contracts
- Rights Arbitration for Contract Enforcement
- Labor Relation Representation & Rhode Island Labor Board Representation
- State Legislative Lobbying
- Federal Legislative Lobbying
- Member’s Assistance Program
- Health, Safety & Labor Relations Education and Training
Since our last Convention update, RISAFF has successfully negotiated numerous multi-year collective bargaining agreements, providing secure labor relation benefits and financial security to our members. There were two contracts that were of special significance, the first was for North Kingstown, Local 1651. Approximately a decade ago Local 1651 was unilaterally leveraged from their four platoon, 42-hour per week system, into a three platoon, 56-hour per week system that resulted in approximately a 33% pay reduction. I am pleased to report that we successfully negotiated a contract that put the workforce back to their original four platoon, 42-hour work week system. The contract also provided for close to 15% compensation increase over a three-year period.
The second contract was for Central Falls Local 1485. In 2011, the City of Central Falls filed for bankruptcy. In the aftermath of the bankruptcy, the local had lost significant minimum staffing and received reduced benefits and compensation. Recent negotiations have resulted in fifty percent of the staffing that was lost in the bankruptcy being restored, along with substantial increases in compensation and benefits, including the establishment of a rank structure within the rescue division of the department.
RISAFF also presented dozens and dozens of arbitration cases that have resulted in victories for the vast majority of the cases affecting our Locals. These arbitration cases ranged from minor to major contract violations, including personnel suspensions and terminations. The COVID pandemic has had a large impact on our State due to mandatory vaccinations. Because the fire service here in Rhode Island is a fire-based EMS system, the vaccination mandate had a substantial impact. RISAFF was successful in having an extremely high vaccination rate among our members. Having said that, we still sustained close to a dozen employment terminations. RISAFF has been able to get all our members who wished to return back on the payroll with the exception of one case which is currently slated for arbitration this summer.
On the legislative front, RISAFF has been successful in passing legislation that has secured pension benefits for West Warwick Local 1104. Their private pension plan had been grossly underfunded and not efficiently managed. RISAFF was able to merge its plan into the State Pension System, which provided a secure pension that will benefit our members for decades to come.
For many years, there has been no fire fighter representation on the State Pension Board, we finally were successful in getting a fire fighter representative elected to that board. RISAFF was also instrumental in getting labor-friendly fire/EMS appointments to the Department of Health Ambulance Service Board, as well as appointments to the State Fire Training and Education Board, which directly affects our training within the fire service.
RISAFF is working diligently to pass several pieces of legislation that will have a direct positive impact on our members and the fire service as a whole. Legislation currently introduced and that we are currently lobbying is as follows:
- PFAS Chemical Ban regarding fire fighter gear and foam, including other commercial products
- Increase pension benefits and COLAs
- PEER Support and MAP communications to be considered privileged information
- Establish a designated fire fighter position to the State Pension Board
- PTSD Conclusive Presumption
- Increase fire department funding for marine services
- Secure funding for new PPE and PFAS-free foam
- Secure funding for Integrated Mobile Healthcare
In addition to these legislative efforts, we are continuously protecting and safeguarding the many laws in effect that provide collective bargaining benefits and safety protections for fire fighters and EMS personnel in Rhode Island.
One situation of particular concern is regarding Central Coventry Local 3372. That local is experiencing, yet again, some extremely difficult labor relations with the District Board that is currently in control. The local has been threatened with inadequate budget funding, personnel layoffs, and reductions in benefits and safety requirements. RISAFF is committed to providing them with the necessary legislative representation and labor relation representation needed to overcome these unwarranted challenges imposed by the District Board.
RISAFF had two major events thus far in 2022, one being our legislative dinner in Washington, DC, during the IAFF Legislative Conference, in which RISAFF assembled our entire Congressional Delegation to support the legislative agenda of the IAFF. The other event was our Biennial Convention, in which RISAFF assembled every statewide officeholder, including the leadership of both chambers of our state legislature. RISAFF was also appreciative and proud to have the leadership of the IAFF in attendance as well. This outpouring of political strength shows the strength and benefits of RISAFF membership here in the State of Rhode Island.
RISAFF is currently preparing for a robust MAP training during the summer of 2022 and also a large-scale Health, Safety and Labor Conference in the fall.
The above-cited report is just a brief overview of some of our recent accomplishments and items we are currently working on. RISAFF appreciates all the support that the IAFF has continuously given us. RISAFF endeavors to advance our mission, our cause, our agenda, and our commitment to all our RISAFF locals and members.
SUBMITTED BY PFFNH PRESIDENT BRIAN RYLL
Brothers and Sisters,
On behalf of the Professional Fire Fighters in New Hampshire, it is my honor to submit to you a biennial report for the IAFF New England Conference of Fire Fighters.
Since we last met, the PFFNH welcomed new leaders into the roles of president, secretary-treasurer, district vice president, trustee, government and political affairs, and virtually every Governor-appointed commission and committee. We have picked up where many leaders of our past have left off and we continue to advance the mission of this state and our IAFF.
The red wave that overtook our state in 2020 left us with many anti-labor politicians controlling all three chambers of our state house. But much like the rest of the 3rd District of our IAFF, we didn’t let this deter us. In 2021, we were able to work with our allies to defeat a number of harmful bills that would have undermined our collective bargaining process as we know it. These bills would have forced negotiations into a public forum as well as required each tentative agreement to be posted for 30 days prior to a vote from a governing body. Additionally, we fought against SB 61 – 2021’s version of the so-called “Right to Work Act.” I am proud to report that the PFFNH stood shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters at the unity table and defeated this legislation once again.
In addition to collective bargaining, the first year of the biennium had us fighting to repeal the Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact (REPLICA). In a resolution voted on by the delegates assembled at the 54th IAFF Convention, it was determined that we are in opposition to the compact, as it negatively impacts EMS jobs and wages and compromises quality care. Currently, 21 states participate and New Hampshire became the first state to successfully repeal this harmful legislation, withdrawing from the compact altogether.
In 2021 we focused our efforts on behavioral health. Our PTSD presumption took effect, and we were successful in extending the commission to study the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder among first responders. Additionally, in 2022 we passed legislation to classify suicide as a LODD.
Our highlight bill of the biennium was HB1587. This was a $43 million retirement bill that modifies the calculation for a member’s average final compensation, increasing pension benefits by potentially thousands of dollars a year for more than half of our members. This bill received incredible support and was recently signed by the Governor making it the most prominent piece of retirement legislation passed in New Hampshire in well over 10 years.
In addition to our legislative success, we have accomplished so much more. In 2020, in addition to hazard pay and presumptive Covid-19 coverage, we were successful in working with the Governor’s office to secure tier 1A status for vaccine administration for our members. Additionally, our union partnered with Homeland Security and Emergency Management to develop a model which allowed our members to work at vaccine clinics across the state. A program that made our communities safer, while providing virtually unlimited opportunity for our members to be compensated for overtime.
Brothers and Sisters, I am proud to say that the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire is firing on all cylinders, despite many who would like to stand in our way. It is my hope that our hard work will continue to make the IAFF’s biggest local – the 3rd District, proud.
SUBMITTED BY PFFV PRESIDENT CHRIS DUBE
The Professional Firefighters of Vermont has seen a lot of change and growth over the past two years. Below is an overview of the changes and significant highlights.
- Brad Reed stepped down from President’s position to pursue career goals and becoming the Chief of St.Johnsbury Fire Department. We wish Brad well in this endeavor and thank him for his time with the PFFV. Brad began as a trustee, moved to the 1st District Vice President position then to Secretary/Treasurer, and ultimately to president in 2016.
- Secretary/Treasurer Christopher Dube moved the President’s position in 2021.
- Will Laliberty moved from 2nd District Vice President to the Secretary/Treasurer’s position.
- We also saw movement with the District Vice Presidents over the past two years with people getting promotions and leaving the PFFV. In the past year, we have appointed two new District Vice Presidents. 1st DVP – Josh Kirtlink (Burlington, VT L3044) and 2nd DVP – Kyle Goodrich (Rutland, VT L2323).
- Two locals have come on board with the IAFF and PFFV over the past two years.
- Woodstock L5323 with eight members organized in the Spring of 2021 and over the winter successfully secured their first contract.
- Colchester Local 5350 with three new members organized in the Fall of 2021 and are currently finalizing theirfirst contract.
- Both locals are in locations that are seeing significant growth and will no doubt be growing in the near future.
- Brattleboro Local 4439 recently won a battle to take over EMS transport for their community within the next year.
- Burlington Local 3044 added a staffed third ambulance in the city and hire an additional six personnel to staff the ambulance.
- Williston Local 4611 won a referendum at a town meeting to add nine additional firefighters, doubling their
- Hartford Local 2905 is adding four additional staff to allow for staffing a second station in their community.
- This past legislative biennium was a challenging one, to say the least. The first half was fully remote via Zoom and the primary focus was COVID-related legislation with very little moving. During the last 10 weeks of the session, the Statehouse started reopening to in-person visits/testimony.
- PFFV worked with various interested groups to move and pass a medical monitoring bill related to exposure to chemicals. The bill mandates that the person responsible for the release is to pay for any medical expense related to the health monitoring of the person exposed. This bill has been passed before but vetoed. This year the Governor did sign it.
- PFFV worked with the Vermont State Employee’s Association (Union) to prevent changes related to punishment of individuals who assault protected workers. The change would have lessened the penalty for repeat offenders who assault Fire/EMS, nurses, corrections employees, etc with a lesser penalty.
- Cancer Fix bill, which would have added language that allows for “initial and any subsequent clean screening” would provide the presumption. Some Locals have missed the initial screenings. This bill stalled in committee due to the focus on COVID-related legislation and funding. We will be working to reintroduce this at the start of the next biennium.
- The state association also worked to get some funding related to Emergency Services in a large Workforce Development Bill. Some money was added for EMS training. We will be working more closely on this as it continues to develop and move.
- It is an interesting year for politics in Vermont with a lot of legislators retiring and moving on.
- Leahy is retiring and the PFFV has formally endorsed Rep. Peter Welch for this position.
- Congressional Seat – Have multiple candidates seeking Welch’s seat and the PFFV has been approached by most of them seeking our endorsement. No endorsement has been given at this time.
- Governor Molly Gray is running for Welch’s seat and there are multiple individuals running and reaching out to us.
- Treasurer Beth Pearce is stepping down due to health issues and will be greatly missed. Only one candidate is seeking the position at this time.
- of State Jim Condo, another ally and friend, is retiring. There are two candidates seeking hisposition.
- Atty General T.J. Donovan is stepping down. Donovan is another strong ally and friend of the PFFV.
- At this time, one third (10 members) of the Vermont Senate are not seeking reelection, a major turnover.
- Numerous House Committee Chairs are not seeking reelection.
SUBMITTED BY UPFFA PRESIDENT PETE CAROZZA
UPFFA recent accomplishments:
Cancer Bill – During the 2022 legislative session, the UPFFA was able to make improvements to the existing cancer legislation including securing a dedicated funding stream for the wage replacement provision and statutorily requiring municipalities to provide two sets of turnout gear for all members and turnout gear washers. The organization continues to fight for full presumptive cancer protections for all members.
S-15 – In 2021, the UPFFA assisted S-15 in fighting a unilateral change to their work schedule without collectively bargaining over the impact. Utilizing both UPFFA and IAFF resources, S-15 successfully restored their original work schedule and avoided any potential reduction in manpower.
Post-Janus protections – In 2021, the UPFFA worked with other unions to lobby the legislature to pass post-Janus public sector union protections. The bill, which overwhelmingly passed both chambers, includes a guarantee for union leadership to attend new employee orientation meetings and provides time during normal work hours for grievance discussions and addressing union issues.
Election success – Due to the hard work of the UPFFA Political Action Committee and strong participation from rank and file members, the UPFFA, along with their affiliated locals, were able to help elect numerous endorsed candidates over the past two election cycles including a significant mayoral victory in Stamford, which has led to improved working conditions for Local 786 members.
4th District Report
Andrew K. Pantelis
4th District Vice President
Pursuant to Article VI, Section 7 of the Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters, I respectfully submit the following report of my activities as Vice President of the 4th District to General President Edward A. Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank V. Líma, the IAFF Executive Board, and all officers and delegates in attendance at the 56th Convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters assembled in Ottawa, Ontario on August 8-12, 2022.
Since our last convention, I have had the opportunity and honor to travel throughout Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and Washington, D.C., working in support of the 202 locals and four state organizations that make up the 4th District.
During this reporting period, I was appointed by the General President to serve on the following IAFF committees: Finance (chair); Legal Services (chair); Administrative Committee of the IAFF Officers Retirement Plan (vice-chair); Communications (vice-chair); Employee Benefits & Human Resources; Government Affairs & Political Action; Information Technology; Organizing; and Policy. I have also been appointed to serve as a member of the IAFF Financial Corporation’s Board of Directors, our tremendously successful subsidiary that provides supplemental services and benefits to our members.
It was also my privilege to serve as Chair of General President Kelly’s Transition Team. From the beginning, our goal was to facilitate an open, member-driven effort that speaks to what is possible in our IAFF — and our transition followed this philosophy. More than 70 highly respected local, state and provincial leaders representing IAFF members in locals large and small in every district across the United States and Canada came together to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations that provide a blueprint for our work as a union.
The Transition Report included a multitude of recommendations that range from easy to hard, narrow to broad, and practical to visionary. They reflect both the recommendations of our working groups, as well as input from our members as we now chart a course to actualize our vision for a better IAFF. Several key themes run throughout the recommendations: advocacy, connectivity, innovation and transparency. It is important to remember that this document is not the culmination of our efforts, but a starting point from which we will work together to turn this blueprint into a reality as we build a better IAFF.
As most of you are aware, in 2020, the District Vice Presidents of the IAFF were made aware of several serious allegations, questions, and concerns involving our finances, pension plans and internal business practices. In accordance with our internal policies, an Ethical Practices Committee (EPC) was established, and I was appointed as the chair, to investigate the allegations, review evidence, conduct interviews and issue a written report of findings and recommendations to the Executive Board.
On January 20, 2021, the Executive Board authorized the release of the EPC’s first five reports as well as the Investigative Reports completed by the Schnader law firm. At that time, I advised that additional reports would be released as they were completed and authorized by the Executive Board for distribution.
I am pleased to report that on June 9, 2022, after extensive debate amongst our leadership and our ranks, the Executive Board passed a motion to release the remaining EPC reports and independent counsel’s Reports of Investigation. These reports may now be viewed by all affiliate officers on the IAFF website.
Our IAFF leadership has already implemented many of the recommendations that were suggested in the EPC reports. Now, our Convention delegates will have the opportunity to adopt several others. Like many of you, I look forward to getting back to dedicating our focus and energy on our mission – protecting the livelihood, safety and working conditions of our members.
I would like to thank General President Edward Kelly for his leadership and advocacy for an honest and transparent union – one which must operate in the light of day. Additionally, I extend my appreciation to the members of the EPC for their work throughout this demanding process. Our committee dedicated thousands of hours of work and a tremendous amount of our members’ resources to investigating several complex and polarizing issues. Finally, we owe a profound thanks to all of you – our affiliate leaders – for your feedback, patience and support throughout this difficult period in our IAFF history.
While we may be facing our share of internal and external challenges, our members continue to rise up and take advantage of the opportunities we have been provided. A little more than three years ago, the landmark Supreme Court decision of Janus v. AFSCME led to a crippling blow to organized labor and was certain to test our resolve. However, our affiliate leaders have worked harder than ever to show the value of our IAFF and the benefits that we provide to our members. Our members should rest assured that no matter what the issue is, your leadership, be it your local level or the IAFF, will continue to identify solutions and curb detrimental consequences. Even while operating in an anti-labor environment, our ranks continue to swell – now more than 329,000 members strong.
Since our last Convention, we have also continued to place a strong emphasis on expanding the educational resources available to our members. Our district’s Partnership Education Program (PEP) event has been a tremendous success, providing quality affordable educational programs to hundreds of affiliate leaders each year. Members have received training in communications, legal services, negotiations and non-collective bargaining environment strategies. The district PEP’s have been followed by a district caucus where attendees received information about trending legislation, cancer in the fire service, and an overview of the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery. Our next district PEP is scheduled for May 2023 and will include nearly 20 information sessions and course modules including the IAFF Peer Support Trainer Program.
During the past two years, we also have had the pleasure of welcoming several new locals into the 4th District. Our leadership team continues to evaluate and improve upon our organizing efforts across the district. Our focus is geared toward chartering prospective affiliates that have growth potential and that we can effectively service to ensure their success.
We are no doubt in unchartered territory as a union, as professional fire fighters and EMS workers, and as a nation. Not since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic has there been a national emergency with such a globally devastating impact as COVID-19. As our members on the front line are currently battling this pandemic, your IAFF officers and staff are working at the local, state, federal and provincial levels to make sure that you have the resources you need to stay safe on the job and return home safely to your family.
I want to thank the General President, General Secretary-Treasurer, their outstanding staff, and all of the IAFF departments for their service and assistance to our members. I also want to extend my personal appreciation to District Field Service Representatives John Gardell and Paul Hebert, our IAFF Service Representatives, and State Association Presidents Myron Boggess, Robert Bragg, Robert Brooks and Jeffrey Buddle for all they do on behalf of members in the 4th District.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not personally thank the entire affiliate leadership in the 4th District who do the work, day in and day out, in the trenches and on the frontlines to deliver critical services to our members when they need support from their union the most. We depend on a strong team to accomplish our goals and achieve results. We cannot do this without each of you. It is the greatest honor of my life to represent and serve you and our members.
To all delegates, alternates, and guests at this 56th IAFF Convention, I hope you have an outstanding and productive week as we work for the betterment of the fire service, organized labor, our members and their families.
5th District Report
5th District Vice President
In accordance with the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution and By-Laws, Article VI, Section 3, I respectfully submit this report as 5th District Vice President to General President Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Líma, the IAFF Executive Board, and all officers and delegates to the 56th Convention being held in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. This report is a summary of my assignments and activities as 5th District Vice President from my last report through April 2022.
This report comes as we are entering our third year of the Coronavirus pandemic. As we are still encountering new variants of this sickness, we have begun to learn to live with the disease or seemingly work around it somewhat. In-person meetings along with hybrid in-person/virtual meetings are taking place, while a year ago we were only meeting virtually. It is good to get back to seeing our Brothers and Sisters face to face and not on camera.
Since my last Convention report one and a half years ago, we have elected a new General President and General Secretary/Treasurer of the IAFF. I once again offer my congratulations to General President Kelly and General Secretary/Treasurer Líma on their victories. I am looking forward to our continued work together along with the IAFF Executive Board, which includes two new members – 9th DVP Mike Frainier and 10th DVP Steve Gilman. I have no doubt that our work will continue to make this great IAFF even better.
The General President has appointed me to, and I am proud to serve on the following Executive Board committees: Canadian Affairs, Communications, Emergency Medical Services, Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, Interim Resolutions, and Finance, Health & Safety. Over the last year and a half, I have attended, either in person or virtually, every meeting, conference and seminar that I have been authorized to attend.
The meetings I enjoy the most are those within our District, and I try to attend as many as possible. Now that in-person meetings are becoming more common, I am happy to be getting on the road again.
Throughout this pandemic, I am so proud to say that the work the IAFF does for its members has not faltered one bit. Our members have become accustomed to the high-quality services they deserve, and the IAFF continues to deliver those services. The affiliates of the 5th District continue to utilize all the services offered by the IAFF, and I continue to educate them on what is available. I encourage them to use these valuable services to help them do their difficult jobs as affiliate leaders.
Some of the greatest services offered by the IAFF are through the District Field Service Representative and Service Representative program. The work they do for affiliates in the district is remarkable. Our team consists of DFSRs Jerry Biggart (WI) and Mike Woodzicka (WI), SRs Jose Carbajal (WI), Mike Eliason (SD), Patrick Kilbane (WI), Derek Matykowski (WI), Darren Schimke (ND), Greg Sikora (WI), Mike Smith (MN), Lance Tryggestad (WI) and Scott Vadnais (MN). Thank you, gentlemen, for all you do for the 5th District!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our state associations and the tremendous work they do on behalf of their/our members. The work they do at the state houses is truly amazing. Along with state elections, referendums, city and town elections, help with organizing and so much more, these leaders deserve our thanks for all their hard work.
Organizing in the District has slowed some due to the pandemic but since our last convention, we welcomed one new local – West Fargo, ND Local 5307 and several affiliates to locals. I am currently in talks with five groups considering membership in the IAFF. I expect this trend to continue as we move forward and our numbers increase.
Charitable work in the District has been very difficult during the pandemic but, like everything else, it is now picking up. Our fundraising numbers were pretty dismal for the last couple of years, but we continued as best we could under the circumstances. I expect we should reach, if not exceed, pre-pandemic levels this year.
Education opportunities for the members of the 5th District are resuming as well. We are holding a District PEP event this month in Minneapolis and the PFFW and PFFND are scheduling state PTAs.
This is a report of my official acts as 5th District Vice President of the International Association of Fire Fighters. I thank General President Kelly, General Secretary/Treasurer Líma, and all of the IAFF staff for the great work and support of the 5th District and the entire IAFF.
Thank you to the leadership and members of the 5th District for their continued trust and for allowing me the honor to serve as their DVP.
Thanks to my family, my beautiful wife Cathy, and my IAFF member sons, Kyle and Cody, who are also leaders in this great Union. Without their love and support, it would be impossible to do this work.
Thank you Ottawa Local 162 for hosting this convention. Your hard work is very much appreciated.
I wish a safe, productive, enjoyable and successful convention to all of the delegates and guests attending this convention.
6th District Report
6th District Vice President
In accordance with the provisions of Article VI, Section 3, of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Constitution and By-Laws, I respectfully submit this report of my activity as the 6th District Vice President to General President Edward A. Kelly; General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma, the IAFF Executive Board, and all officers and delegates in attendance at the 56th Convention.
This report contains a summary of my activities and those across the District from October 2020 through May 2022. I have attended all Executive Board meetings and IAFF events and carried out all assignments as directed by General President Kelly.
The 6th District is comprised of over 10,000 of some of the best fire fighters and union leaders in the world. Representing British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, we proudly cover the largest geographic area in the IAFF and service our members, citizens, and municipalities with pride and professionalism.
During my time as the District Vice President, I have attended, both in person and virtually, the respective provincial conventions, provincial educational seminars, and IAFF training events (e.g., Fire Ops, Peer Support, FGS, PFT, HazMat, human relations). Additionally, I have attended provincial meetings and various political events, as well as any local meetings and campaigns where required. A large portion of my time is dedicated to providing advice, guidance and advocacy, and coordinating the incredible depth of services offered to our locals by the IAFF staff.
Throughout the pandemic, virtual meetings were conducted on a regular basis to assist affiliates and provide regular updates and education throughout the District.
The programming, events and teamwork demonstrated across the District have impressed me and are second to none. I want to take this opportunity to thank my DFSR Rob Weeks, my amazing team of field service representatives, and District communication and IT teams for their advice and guidance. I’d also like to thank the provincial and affiliate leaders for their support, hard work and steadfast focus on improving the lives of our members and their families.
I was honoured to have been acclaimed in 2021 at our 55th Convention as the 6th District Vice President for a second term. I pledge to continue my work to support all of our locals through these extremely challenging times.
The following is an overview of the business occurring across the various areas within the District.
Multiple locals across the District continue to struggle with poor municipal and fire department leaders. This is a constant battle across the IAFF. It is a goal for myself and others to continue to influence the citizens and decision-makers to ensure support for our members, appropriate staffing levels, and fair and reasonable contracts. The negative impact poor department leadership has on our membership’s mental and physical health is dramatic, and addressing these issues is a top priority across the District. We have developed a strong response team to these pressing issues with the assistance of the IAFF strategic planning team and district experts, such as Jason Curry and Mike Holiday.
There are also multiple examples in the District of solid labour/management relationships. Their joint efforts are shown to provide a more efficient, cost effective and dynamic fire service for their citizens. Furthermore, these strong relationships demonstrate the highly positive impact on our members’ physical and mental health, which creates the cyclical effects of a more effective fire service.
Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal, provincial, territorial and most municipal governments instituted states of emergency and vaccination mandates. The vaccination mandates were the catalyst for the most emotional and damaging division in our membership and society that I have ever witnessed. On a daily, if not hourly, basis, our affiliate leaders were forced to manage extremely difficult members on every side of the issue while they worked to hold municipal administrators to account and deal with inaccurate and inflaming comments from all types of social media.
I can’t stress enough the pride I had in the ability of our District leaders to navigate such a challenging situation while long-time friends berated them for issues that they had no control over. Compounding the challenges was the inability of our leaders to see each other in person; this vital component of our infrastructure and resilience was diminished due to the government restrictions. Thankfully, the restrictions have eased, and reconnecting with our fellow labour leaders has reinvigorated many of us.
The locals within British Columbia and the Yukon have a solid provincial organization that assists with coordinating and providing services within the province and across the District. While the pandemic hampered our ability to host several key events, the affiliates had regular meetings and assistance over the last 18 months.
The growth of our 6th District field service representative team, incorporating key leaders from across the District, has made a significant impact on service delivery and communications, and ensuring affiliate support.
We are working extremely hard to maintain strong relationships with our elected officials and have successfully achieved a significant increase in presumptive cancers in B.C. and the Yukon. In the Yukon, pancreatic, multiple myeloma, prostate, skin, breast, cervical, ovarian, penile and thyroid cancers were added, bringing their total to 19 cancers. And in BC, ovarian, cervical and penile cancers were added for a total of 16 cancers presumed to be occupational.
In 2021, the residents of BC suffered through the phenomenon of a “heat dome” where temperatures reached 49.6 degrees Celsius, killing 595 people. The tragic events of the heat dome magnified the underfunded and under staff provincial EMS system, resulting in our members being forced into action under extremely challenging circumstances to fill the void. Our members stepped up and made a significant difference in hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. The BC government was forced to recognize the important issues, and through the strong work of the BCPFFA and our IAFF affiliates, the government conducted a comprehensive review of the pre-hospital care system, resulting in our members having a much broader scope of practice to assist our citizens in.
The AFFA has been working hard to build connections and bridge the significant gap left when the New Democratic Party (NDP) government lost the last election to the United Conservative Party (UCP), a far more right-wing and anti-labour party. To the credit of the AFFA executive board, they have done just that.
There are significant challenges in Alberta with the current government introducing and passing anti-labour legislation, requiring unions to declare the status of their dues collection as “core” or “non-core,” with vague definitions and the threat of heavy fines. The IAFF was extremely supportive of the affiliates in drafting forms and evaluating our dues structures, with all IAFF dues deemed “core” to union functions.
The challenge of the EMS medical response system is paramount in Alberta as well, with long wait times, no ambulances available and staffing shortages. Seven of our Alberta IAFF locals run an integrated system whereby our members are staffing ALS engines and ambulances. The funding shortfalls and poorly managed provincial health systems are taking their toll. However, our affiliate leaders have stepped up to work with all the stakeholders on provincial government advisory committees to find solutions to a problematic situation.
Our members in the Northwest Territories continue to strive for increased and appropriate staffing levels and recently made significant gains with increases to the company officer ranks and safe staffing levels.
They are also working diligently on increasing their members’ presumptive cancer coverage to match those jurisdictions around them.
Our locals in Saskatchewan have long been dealing with a challenging provincial government, but through long hours and hard work are continually improving legislation to assist their members. A significant example of this hard work was their ability to add six additional presumptive cancers in 2019. Multiple myeloma, ovarian, cervical, breast, prostate and skin cancers are now included as occupational workers’ compensation presumptions.
The locals have also been able to achieve some significant freely negotiated contract settlements. Through their unity and the support of the IAFF, some of the smaller locals, who have tiered abilities to access interest arbitration hearings, are standing up for their members and are headed towards improved collective agreements and the protection of members’ jobs.
Additionally, there has been significant effort in membership growth within the EMS providers and to achieve fair and reasonable working conditions for those new members. Due to an entrenched employer, this has been a long road for those new members. However, through the steady work of the local president and IAFF field service representatives, we finalized a new collective agreement.
We, as an IAFF, faced unprecedented challenges through the global pandemic. It threatened the very foundation of our societies by impacting the health of our loved ones and our economic stability. The division that this created within our membership shook the very foundations of our Union, making this 56th IAFF Convention one of the most important in our history as we reconnect, restrengthen, and remember what our brother and sisterhood is all about.
Take care, be safe, and stay strong…IAFF Strong.
7th District Report
7th District Vice President
The following report of the 7th District Vice President is respectfully submitted to General President Edward Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma, the IAFF Executive Board, and all officers and delegates to this 56th Convention held in Ottawa in accordance with the provisions of Article VI, Section 3, of the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution and By-Laws. The report contains a summary of activities within the 7th District from March 2021 through May 2022.
Since the date, Union Fire Fighters and EMS personnel honored me with the privilege of representing the members of Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, I continue to faithfully serve the members of the district and this International to the best of my ability. I have attended all Executive Board meetings and completed all tasks assigned to me by the General President. My actions and votes during board meetings were made with the needs and the concerns of the 7th District members in mind, but also with great regard for the interests of all IAFF members on the front lines every day as well as those in retirement. A specific duty as a member of the IAFF Executive Board is to serve on a number of committees, including Education/Human Relations/Grants, Communications, Organizing, Finance, Governmental Affairs, Legal Services, and Policy. It has been my honor to attend and participate in all IAFF functions and sadly far too many line-of-duty memorials honoring our fallen brothers and sisters.
I write as we at the IAFF and in the 7th District are commencing our gatherings once again as we venture out of the COVID lockdown that caused nearly two years of cancellations and far too many replacement video conferencing meetings. I, for one, am pleased to be back out on the road and interacting in person with all of you. We continue to work on COVID-related issues in the 7th and at IAFF HQ to keep all of our members as safe as possible while we work in this inherently unsafe industry.
You can find 2022 7th District events posted at www.iaff7thdistrict.org, and we invite you all to attend if you are in the area. We have a recap of our last 14 months as follows.
The office of the 7th District actively creates new programs to benefit affiliate locals while continuing existing programs with constant review and improvement. With the assistance of District Field Service Representatives (DFSRs) Curtis Smith (Pocatello Local 187) and Tim Hoover (South County Local 1828), a 7th District program known as “mini-education seminar series” has been enhanced and will continue to educate members with workshops offered at the local grassroots level providing our affiliate leadership the tools to manage their local and deal with management when issues arise. The venues included firehouse training rooms, hotel meeting rooms and college campuses. Training topics were primarily workshops previously offered at ALTS, but also included specially designed courses specific to the location in which the training was delivered or the “hot issues” of the day. The customized courses were developed by the DFSRs or me.
I thank Director Will Newton and Executive Assistant Jessica Fagiolo for their continued support and assistance to me in this endeavor. I also thank former DFSR Rod Harris (six years as DFSR) for his long service to this Union and this Magnificent 7th District and wish him good luck in his new role continuing to serve our membership.
The 7th District website continues to deliver information to all IAFF members with an interest in the activities of the IAFF 7th District on a 24-hour/7-day basis. Links to all state associations in the 7th District are accessible from this site as are the 7th DVP editorials, announcements, photos and other important documents. In addition, the website contains a 7th District Library that houses labor publications so any member registered to the site may checkout. The website is available at www.iaff7thdistrict.org. We have also established 7th DVP Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. All of which are now utilized to disseminate information to the District members and beyond. Also, a 7th District podcast was implemented in 2019 where we chat about the issues of the day. Special thanks to the 7th District PR Team served by Reece Williams (L3219), Jasper Stenstrom (L726), Matt Lowery (L3520), Cameron Abel (L521) and Jay Wilkins (L3711) for their assistance to keep these social platforms fresh, timely and accurate. We will continue to consider various avenues of message delivery to assure timely uptake of news and other information by IAFF members.
On another front, the 7th District Caucus has been an overwhelming success thanks to the commitment of the state association Executive Boards and 7th District IAFF State Representatives. While we were forced to cancel the 2020 Caucus, we rebounded and had our largest caucus to date in Helena, Montana in August of 2021. States, partners, and the 7th District headquarters are the primary sponsors of the Caucus. The 2021 Caucus focused on the 7th District on Diversity Equity Inclusion issues and how we as the primary driving factor can be the difference maker to revamp hiring practices in the Northwest. We also team build at our Caucus, and this meeting was no exception as we “played together” at a rock-climbing gym. This talented group of 7th District leaders needed to reconnect, and where better than a playground to reacquaint ourselves with the kid within all of us. The 7th District State Leadership Team functions together as one with full effort given to all members of the 7th District allowing for the opportunity to grow and be successful. The 7th District Caucus is also sponsored by DiMartino Associates and MDA.
The Magnificent 7th District and the associated state organizations continue to invest in education. Annually, each state association, in partnership with the 7th District Office, presents a joint education conference. The subject matter varies from generic classes to topics specific for the state in which the conference is held. Instructor backgrounds vary from local union members with expertise to state agency representatives. The 7th District office also partnered with the WSCFF, PFFI, MSCOPFF and AKPFFA to conduct an annual FIREOPS 101.
After 15 years at the HAMMER facility in Richland, Washington, our team decided to alternate between HAMMER and the Boise Fire Department training facility. Odd years in Boise, even years in Richland commensurate with the timing of the state legislatures. We held successful events in 2021 and 2022. Invitations for the event are sent to all 7th District locals encouraging them to bring their local (or state) policy makers for “a day in the life of a fire fighter.” During the event, policymakers from the Northwest interacted and experienced a small part of what fire fighters go through on a daily basis. When at HAMMER, Tri-City Locals 1052, 1296, 1433, I-24 and Walla Walla Local 404 deserve acknowledgment for the success of this program, as well as my tail-boardman at retirement, Travis Leonard, who I count on heavily to make this program happen and act as the Incident Commander for the event. When in Boise, Local 149, Local 804, Local 4165 and Local 4627, as well as IC Josh Zimmerly, deserve acknowledgment. To date, the 7th District team has graduated over 500 policy makers/shapers from the FIRE OPS 101 program. I wish to thank the many dedicated union leaders and fire service professionals who work to make these events a success. Special thanks to former Assistant to the General President Lori Moore-Merrell who was paramount to the success of this program and continues to serve us all as Director of the United State Fire Administration.
Looking to the future, a new and exciting educational program was born out of the 7th District office in 2014 titled the “New Member Conference,” formerly the “Young Fire Fighter Conference.” The program is designed to be a part of succession planning for every local and state office, as well as this office as we educate and mentor new leaders. The New Member Conference is limited to those local affiliate members born in 1990 and after or on the job for less than five years and those persons thought (by local leaders) to be a shining star on the horizon for consideration for union leadership positions. This is a new concept versus, the “it’s your turn in the barrel” concept, practiced by too many of our affiliates. Since its inception, over 1,500 new members have participated in this two-and-a-half-day seminar learning IAFF history, labor history, politics, state association history, real-world views and where to gather information. This conference is an annual event in the 7th District.
As exciting as the program mentioned above appears to be, another new program born out of the 7th District office titled “Executive Leadership Series” is equally exciting. This program is tailored to those that have attended most IAFF classes in the past and have vast knowledge and experience. This program consists of one, four-day in-person meeting and seven, two-day in-person meetings over the course of a full year. The meetings are held at locations throughout the 7th District.
The focus of the meetings is to pass on knowledge, skills, education and training to members seeking higher office within the 7th District. Items learned are advanced negotiations, organizing, mediations, presenting arbitrations, labor history, kindness, empathy and state politics. This is real successor training to assure the locals in the 7th District are served as our experienced leaders move on and new leaders come into high-level union office. Class I graduated (March 2019) with 15 members in total. Class II (16 members) graduated in March of 2022. All of these members are now ready to take the reins from leadership to continue the success and commitment the 7th District exhibits daily and serve as state reps. Class III starts their journey in April of 2023.
This office continues to service the locals of the Magnificent 7th with the assistance of IAFF headquarters and the state Executive Boards. The work of IAFF State Representatives, appointed by the General President after consulting with me, cannot be overstated. The work of contract assistance, jurisdictional issues and local business model formulation are just some of their assignments. This office could not achieve the success it has without the dedication of these Sisters and Brothers.
The Magnificent 7th District office continues to oversee the 7th District Benevolent Fund, organized primarily to assist 7th District members when they hit bumps in the “road of life.” This has been a highly successful endeavor that has truly hit its target of existence. The dollars for the fund are generated by the members themselves through annual events such as the Shad Fishing Derby, the Rum and Diet Golf Tournament, the Longview Salmon Derby, and the sales of Magnificent 7th District clothing. Bi-annually, the 7th District Gala, held at the IAFF Convention, is the largest fundraiser for the program. The Fund is also available to 7th District locals who have community needs but lack the resources of a charitable fund. In addition to assisting members or affiliate communities in their time of need, annually 10 college scholarships are awarded to children of 7th District members entering their first post-high school educational experience. Special acknowledgment goes out to Brother Bill Dodd (Local 710) for his expertise in the initial setup and continued support as the official 7th District Benevolent Fund accountant.
The 7th District perseveres in its support of IAFF FIREPAC continuing to top the previous year’s total. I want to recognize and give thanks to all IAFF state and local officers for their efforts and attention to FIREPAC, their state association PACs, as well their local affiliate PACs. The entire staff of the IAFF Governmental Affairs Division is to be commended for assisting me and the members of the Magnificent 7th in achieving more dues check-off locals than any other district translating to more contributing members. Even during the dark COVID times, the Mag 7th had nearly 40% of its members contribute to our IAFF FIREPAC. We will not stop here; we have goals to raise that bar even higher. They are truly there when we need them!
The Magnificent 7th District not only gives dollars to political activity but also gives time and effort. All state associations were heavily involved in politics. In Alaska, the AKPFFA made great strides in electing friendly politicians to their state house in their bid to regain a defined benefit pension plan for their members hired since 2007. During these last two years, gains have been made and, at the time of this writing, the AKPFFA has the ball on the one-yard line to pass a DB bill and give the Alaska fire fighters the dignity in retirement that is due for their service to their communities.
In Washington, the WSCFF was actively engaged in elections and continues to make great strides to the point they have cleaned their “wish list.” This includes a pension improvement that equates to dollars for our retirees now and in the future. The WSCFF legislative team secured an additional 5% for a person completing 25 years of service. This is a testament to seeds that were planted over 20 years ago that required patience and vision. Past leaders in the WSCFF deserve and have received a huge thank you.
The PFFI worked hard in the governor’s race and has been given credit for electing Brad Little who is working out very well for fire fighters and working Idahoans. Several bills were passed benefiting public safety and signed by the Governor as well, the eye was always on the ball and several “bad bills” were killed by the work of the PFFI’s experienced team. Long-time PFFI President Tom Lovell (former PFFI S/T and Local 149 President) decided to retire from his union position and the department. We thank him for his dedicated work and wish him the best as he embarks on new adventures.
MSCOPFF and the rest of Labor worked diligently to fight off many anti-worker bills in this heavily red legislature. This is due to reaching out to the new Governor and cultivating a relationship. It is still too early to call – the next convening of the legislature will be a telling moment in Montana for working families.
The 7th District continues to grow in the number of locals and in membership. New locals have been chartered in every state in the District during the last 14 months, with many potential efforts still to be explored. Our continued growth, even in these uncertain political times, is a testament to the hard work of the members of the Magnificent 7th District.
I would be remiss if I did not mention and wholeheartedly thank the following state president and secretary/treasurer teams for their overwhelming support: (WSCFF) Dennis Lawson and Greg Markley, (MSCOFF) George Richards and Scott DeMarois, (AKPFFA) Paul Miranda and Dominic Lozano, and (PFFI) Rob Shoplock and Curtis Smith. As well, thank you to the State Association Executive Board members, 7th DFSRs, and all IAFF 7th State Service Representatives. Without their sacrifice and support, the task of working for you would be beyond difficult. Additionally, I thank all the staff at IAFF headquarters as they exhibit talent and dedication daily to assist the DVPs, state associations, and locals of this great International. It is difficult to express the proper gratitude in words, to GP Kelly and GST Lima for their guidance and assistance to the 7th District and this District Vice President. I can only say thank you, and I enjoy the journey that we share.
Lastly, and for those that may not have heard, my beautiful wife Kelly passed away on April 8 of 2021. She had just turned 58 years old. As a team, Kelly and I battled her cancer for three years, but when we ran out of tools to fight back and the outlook was certain, she made the courageous decision to stop and enter hospice. She died at our home surrounded by me, our children (and their spouses), one of our seven grandchildren, her dad and one sister. She exited this world with calm and dignity. She started her new journey with the same. For those lucky enough to have met her, she made a positive impact on you whether you knew her for 10 minutes or 10 years. Her smile and notable laugh are etched in all our minds. She will surely be missed as she was a staple at our state association events, the 7th District events and IAFF events as well. My best friend, Kelly Walsh, was the shining example of sacrifice for something better and good as she served our members, alongside me, for over 30 years. I love her and miss her greatly.
Her passing has left me vulnerable as I stand before all of you; however, with the help of counseling, my children and my close friends, I persevere. I thank them for allowing me to lean on them when I was in a dark place and needed them the most. It was that support that allowed me to fulfill my commitment to the members of the 7th District and the IAFF.
In closing, the above represents a mere summary of the highlights of the last 14 months in the Magnificent 7th District. It could not entirely reflect the continued dedication, difficult work, and sacrifices of the local and state leadership or its members on behalf of this great International Association of Fire Fighters. It is an honor and truly a privilege to serve all of you. I urge you to consider and debate the resolutions presented to you by the Executive Board as they address issues that will benefit the members of this great International Union. This week demands your attention but is also a time of growth. Cultivate new relationships and solidify old friendships- they are valuable beyond words, never to be taken for granted. Above all, enjoy your experience at our IAFF Convention. Stay safe!
8th District Report
8th District Vice President
In accordance with the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution and By-Laws, Article VI, Section 3, I respectfully submit this report of my activities as 8th District Vice President to the General President, General Secretary-Treasurer, Executive Board, and the delegates at the 56th Biennial Convention of the IAFF. This report briefly summarizes activities on behalf of the members in the IAFF 8th District for this last reporting period between IAFF Conventions.
I’ll begin this report by thanking the 8th District local affiliate and state association leaders for their support and assistance with the operations of the district. Their leadership is invaluable in providing and delivering services to our members and keeping the 8th District’s 803 local affiliates and five state associations operating at full capacity. That steady and consistent support has helped to create effective operations throughout our Great Eighth District.
In the time since our last Convention, I have represented the 8th District at all scheduled IAFF Executive Board and committee meetings along with completing assignments designated by the General President. Those assignments include the following Executive Board committees: Chair of the Emergency Medical Services; Grants Administration/HazMat/WMD; Education, Human Relations and Grants; Canadian Affairs Committee; Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial; Technical Assistance.
The following is a brief synopsis of the services and resources delivered throughout the district during this reporting period.
Since September of 2016 and my taking office, the 8th District continues to be a leader in growth, adding over 50 new locals bringing the number of local affiliates in the 8th District to 803. Over 2,000 new and active-retired members have been added to our ranks. The number that jumps out to me is the 8th District has added nearly 50 new locals of the 132 (net) added to the entire IAFF. This represents over one-third of the new local affiliates that have joined the IAFF since the 53rd IAFF Convention. Congratulations to you, our 8th District affiliate and state association leaders, for your work to assist in the IAFF’s growth. It is your actions and representation of the IAFF that make others want to be a part of our Great Union. Thank you.
Services delivered from the IAFF Technical Assistance and Information Resources take up the bulk of requests from the 8th District. The IAFF Labor Issues Division is the most used single division in the IAFF by 8th District Affiliates. During the past 20 months, over 200 Municipal Financial Analyses have been processed and 20 MFAs are currently being worked up by staff. Another 29 Wage Comp Reports have been completed with four in the process. This data supported state and local unions in their efforts to improve wages, benefits and working conditions for IAFF members in dozens of successor agreements.
This information, as well as the IAFF’s First Contract Policy, has been key in establishing 12 first-time contracts throughout the 8th District. A big Thank You goes out to District Service Reps for their work in establishing those first contracts and forever changing the lives of our members and their families for the better.
The IAFF Fire and EMS Division ranks closely behind with 91 requests for various reports consisting of 57 standard GIS analyses, 21 workload analyses and 18 EMS integration reports.
8th District Field Service Reps delivered more than 270 days of service in the District. Working with our state associations, IAFF staff, DFSRs and Service Reps, we have organized 19 new locals welcoming over 275 members into the IAFF and the 8th District.
Service Reps provided locals with assistance in collective bargaining, public relations, media collaboration, health and safety, political action, legal issues, EMS and strategic campaigns assisting with ballot initiatives and proposals to generate local revenue through tax levy/millage votes.
The IAFF Legal Department has been hard at work for the 8th District. Several programs, such as the IAFF Legal Guardian Policy, Emergency Dispute Funds (loan/grant) Policy, FLSA Policy, and Legal Opinion Policy have been initiated through IAFF Convention action serving as a lifeline for affiliate leaders or locals that find themselves unjustly under attack from their employers or assisting in advancing a local through contract negotiations where the employer is out to “break the bank.”
Through the foresight of IAFF officers and Convention delegates, these programs were established and continue to do good work for our local affiliates. We must continue to fund these most important programs to keep them effective. In support of our goals to protect local leaders and to secure just compensation, important benefits and safe working conditions, 8th District affiliates have been awarded over $335,000 through EDF loans/grants, Legal Guardian and/or FLSA protections provided through the IAFF Legal Department.
These programs have been vital in our local affiliates’ efforts to fight back against jurisdictions that refuse to bargain in good faith and in some cases fail to honor and/or implement a favorable award resulting from the negotiations or grievance process. Thanks to this important program, local affiliates are better able to defend themselves when necessary.
The 8th District Partnership in Education Program (PEP) started in 2012 with the goal of providing two days of training annually for local union officers. Since the inception of this program, thousands of affiliate leaders representing locals throughout the 8th District have attended the training. With a historical annual average of 250-300 attendees, this program has been a great success here and throughout the IAFF. We are proud that the 8th District was the pilot program for what is now a staple in every IAFF District. Although the last two years have been postponed due to COVID, we plan to be back at it on November 21- 22 of this year.
The District has taken advantage of the IAFF Strategic Campaigns operation and the staff specialists assigned to assist local affiliates in their support of local ballot initiative campaigns. The implementation of this program has already paid dividends to many locals across the 8th District. With the assistance of our IAFF team, locals have prevailed at the ballot box, which has secured the resources needed to maintain professional fire and EMS response. This assistance is invaluable to our members and locals. It has become a staple in the menu of services provided by the IAFF.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank General President Kelly and General Secretary-Treasurer Líma, their staffs and our employees at IAFF headquarters for their work on behalf of the members of the 8th District. Every day, one of our great members of IAFF staff is working on something to benefit the local affiliates and members of the 8th District. Hats off to the IAFF staff and principal officers for your work on our behalf.
The state associations in the 8th District play a crucial role in representing IAFF members on critical issues in their respective state capitals, partnering with the IAFF in providing training and education programs, and working in conjunction with the IAFF to deliver resources and services to our locals in your states. Our collaboration is vital in successfully delivering resources and providing service to local affiliates and their members. Once again, Thank You.
It is with much hope that we all gather at the IAFF’s historic 56th Biennial Convention, in good health, in order to continue to do what we do – take action on the important issues to protect our members and their families. Some emergency social changes may be our new normal. What will always remain as the “norm” will be our support and trust in one another when the chips are down. We can be proud of our work and legacy!
I am very fortunate and grateful to have the opportunity to represent IAFF members in the 8th District. We are an outstanding trade union that provides unparalleled service to our affiliates and represents our members well in every facet of our profession. We are the best at it in the house of Labor. I am proud to be a part of this great association. My thanks to all of you for your support of the 8th District and its’ operations and programs.
Good luck and good health to all.
9th District Report
9th District Vice President
Pursuant to Article VI, Section 7 of the Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters, I respectfully submit the following report of my activities as Vice President of the 9th District to General President Edward A. Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank V. Líma, the IAFF Executive Board, the IAFF Trustees, Delegates and Alternates in attendance at the 56th Convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters assembled in Ottawa, Canada on August 8-12, 2022.
The 9th District would like to welcome all Convention delegates, alternates, IAFF staff, vendors, and families who have traveled to Ottawa, Canada, for the 56th Biennial International Association of Fire Fighters Convention and its Commitment to Excellence. The IAFF has been built over the past 104 years. It is now our turn to build on that foundation. Together, at this convention, we can help develop the playbook for the future. We can create a vision that will honor our history but bring a fresh perspective, value and accountability to our future direction. I am honored to represent the brothers and sisters of the 9th District and hopefully bring a voice for all members serving in their communities in the United States and Canada.
I am humbled to have been elected as the IAFF 9th District Vice President. Since being sworn in on April 10, 2021, I have had the opportunity and honor to travel throughout the 9th District, working in support of the 162 locals and five state organizations that make up the 9th District. I have attended all five state conventions, IAFF ALTS with over 1,500+ attendees, IAFF Legislative Conference with 500+ attendees, Committee and Executive Board meetings, and have carried out all other assignments delegated to me by the General President.
As we move the IAFF forward, we can never forget the brothers and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities. We have an obligation to address and confront the greatest challenges our members are facing today. The IAFF has been the leader in “ringing the bell” on cancer in the fire service and will continue to bring a vision to reduce this plague we all face today. Hiring our own team of experts in the IAFF Health and Safety Division and bringing on our own IAFF Chief Medical Director will only provide a greater voice to NFPA, OSHA and the legislators who are defining our safety.
The IAFF Behavior Health Committee has continued to bring more options for our members who are seeking assistance. The IAFF Center of Excellence (COE) is celebrating five years of providing behavioral health services to our members. Since its opening, 2,000+ members have been admitted to the center. The COE West Coast Facility contract has been signed and, hopefully, the facility will be opening by year’s end. IAFF Canadian Mental Health Program – The Edgewood Health Network (EHN) is a national provider, and our partnership contract is signed and moving forward. The Behavior Health Committee will continue to provide peer support, behavior health awareness and resiliency training.
Education and training have always been a top priority for the IAFF and with their resources, the 9th District is off to a great start in 2022. We hosted the first IAFF 9th District PEP and Leadership Forum in Las Vegas, Nevada in June. There were 16 members from each state who attended the Communications Training Academy and Political Training Academy in May, and multiple state Political Training Academies are also in the queue. Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming continue to offer state educational events with assistance from the IAFF.
The 9th District has been once again busy changing legislation at the state level that will only continue to improve the landscape for all brothers and sisters in the future. Here are a few accomplishments from our year.
- Made changes with increased disability payments, $5 million for fire fighter grants each year for the next 10 years, $1 million for behavioral health initiatives, and adding breast and thyroid to cancer coverage.
- Legislation that will no longer penalize a member on disability who gets secondary employment.
- Strengthening presumptive cancer that now includes the reproductive system and bladder. Developing and instituting a statewide fire fighter apprenticeship program.
- PFFU, Ogden L552 and the IAFF successfully fought a disciplinary action of Ogden Local 552 member on the use of medical marijuana card that was already clearly defined in state legislation.
- Legislators agreed to fund, in whole, the pensions of all members hired before 1981.
A special thanks to the IAFF staff and the brothers and sisters of Ottawa Local 162 for all their support in hosting the IAFF 56th Biennial Convention!
10th District Report
10th District Vice President
Brothers and Sisters:
It has been 17 months since I took office as Vice President of the 10th District, the largest of the IAFF’s 16 Districts, representing the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, New Mexico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. To say the least, the days and nights since the March 2021 election have been full – full of air and car travel, full of Zoom and in-person meetings, full of far too many memorials for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, and full of countless meaningful moments in representing the almost 50,000 fire fighters and EMS professionals who work in the 10th District of the IAFF.
Since the election, I have attended and represented the 10th District in multiple capacities. The work has included negotiations, grievance hearings, pension meetings, and advising local leaders. I took pride in organizing new IAFF affiliates and swearing in newly elected union officers, mentoring and guiding them along the way to become strong and successful union leaders. I performed extensive research and educational efforts that dealt with the COVID-19 vaccinations and mask mandates. Team10 and I assisted in deploying resources for IAFF Disaster Relief efforts during catastrophic incidents in multiple states, made fire station visits, and, sadly, visited our injured and burned members in hospitals and attended funerals for our fallen fire fighters.
I have had to opportunity to attend local general membership and Executive Board meetings, in addition to our state meetings and conventions, in Washington, DC, and in the states of our District. I visited with members of the House of Representatives and Senate, various State Legislatures, mayors, governors, and even the President of the United States to advocate for our 10th District members on policy that impacts our work as your union.
I attended numerous meetings and conventions to assist our 10th District members. I spoke at conventions held by the California Professional Firefighters, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona (PFFA) and the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association (NMPFFA), along with participating virtually in meetings with the Hawaii Fire Fighter Association (HFFA).
Throughout my time as your 10th District DVP, Team10 and I prepared District communications and social media content, worked on several political campaigns, attended political campaign events and legislative hearings, assisted in preparing SAFER grants and offered Public Safety Officer Benefit (PSOB) guidance.
I want to thank the members of the 10th District for the opportunity to serve them and our great organization. It remains an honor to work alongside such a talented team and to leave no local behind in our push to make the 10th District and the IAFF the best organization it can be. Thank you for all you do – and for all of you that allow me to continue to work on your behalf.
In closing, I would like to say it has been a great honor representing the 10th District. I would also like to welcome our newest locals who have joined the Team 10th since the last Convention:
- Summerland Fire Fighters Association
- Victorville Professional Fire Fighters
- Tulare Professional Fire Fighters
- La Habra Heights Fire Department
- Encinitas Fire Battalion Chiefs
- Northern Marianas Professional Fire Fighters Union
- NASA/WSTF Fire Department
- Fillmore Professional Firefighters
The following report has been submitted to IAFF General President Edward Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Lima, and the IAFF Executive Board in accordance with the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws. This report is written explicitly for the IAFF Trustees, Officers, Delegates, IAFF Members, and guests in attendance at the IAFF’s 56th Annual Convention in Ottawa, Ontario. This year’s event marks a return to in-person attendance for our Convention after the virtual event held in January 2021. I look forward to seeing many of you face-to-face and getting a chance to spend quality time with the delegates representing the 10th District and every District.
Below are brief state reports on noteworthy events since the 2021 virtual Convention. For more detailed information, please read the minutes from past Executive Board meetings. Thank you.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona (PFFA) continue to have strong positive momentum, both politically and in terms of representing its membership. Currently, the PFFA is approaching 8,000 members and growing. Despite the state’s right-leaning political environment – and Arizona being the lone “right to work” state in the 10th District – the PFFA legislative team has won numerous victories since the 2020 IAFF Convention. Over the past several years, we have brought MOU bargaining rights to 33 of our Arizona locals. Below are highlights of passed and pending legislation.
- SB1231 Public Safety; Residency Requirements; Prohibition: Prohibits a city, town or fire district from imposing a residency requirement on a fire fighter or peace officer as a condition of employment.
- SB1526 Firefighting Foam; Prohibited Uses: Prohibits the discharge or use of class B firefighting foam that contains intentionally added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals for training or testing purposes unless required by law or done in a facility with proper containment, treatment, and disposal measures.
- SB1451 Workers’ Compensation; Rates; Firefighters; Cancer: Adds ovarian cancer and breast cancer to the qualifying cancer types for workers’ compensation presumption. Eliminates the onerous requirement, to qualify for the presumptions, that a fire fighter or peace officer: Be exposed to a known carcinogen reasonably related to the cancer and have informed the department of the exposure. Raises the standard for rebuttal of the cancer presumptions to clear and convincing evidence, rather than a preponderance of the evidence, that there is a specific cause of the cancer other than an occupational exposure to a carcinogen. Extends, to fire investigators who meet eligibility requirements, the cancer presumption of compensability. Allows insurers covering fire fighters and fire investigators to adjust their premium rates to cover anticipated increased costs from cancer claims and adds information sharing and reporting requirements.
- SB1827 Revenue; Budget Reconciliation; 2021-2022. Establishes the Municipal Firefighter Cancer Reimbursement Fund consisting of fees charged to each city and town that receives state shared revenues for the purpose of reimbursing municipalities for fire fighter cancer claims.
- SB1220 Mental Health Professionals; Trauma Counseling: For the purpose of programs to provide peace officers and fire fighters with traumatic event counseling, the definition of “licensed mental health professional” is expanded to include mental health professionals who are licensed by the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners and who hold either a master’s or doctoral degree related to the mental health profession, and licensed mental health nurse practitioners or psychiatric clinical nurse specialists
- SB1453 Community Colleges; Four-Year Degrees: Expands access to higher education attainment and college affordability by allowing community colleges to offer accredited four-year bachelor’s degrees including fire science degrees through a workable and equitable pathway. SB1453 makes a four-year degree more affordable and attainable for many of our PFFA members and Arizonans across the state.
- SCR1049 Arizona Fire District Safety Act: The legislation would place a proposed tax increase on the November 2022 General Election ballot for voter approval. The proposal would implement a 1/10 of 1 cent sales tax increase dedicated to new revenue for Arizona Fire Districts. This will create a secondary revenue source of approximately $150 million to help fund fire districts and will reduce the burden on local property taxpayers. This is currently pending.
Since the last IAFF Convention, the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) has had a string of legislative wins for members across the state. A key win for CPF was AB 450: EMS Paramedic Disciplinary Proceedings. The disciplinary process for paramedics was fraught with multiple layers of discipline for CPF members causing undue stress and loss of opportunities for members, as they waited years for the decision of one person at EMSA who acted as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury.
The new law sets up an independent board comprising four working paramedics, one emergency room doctor, and two members of the public to make final determinations regarding appeals of paramedic disciplinary matters, bringing impartiality and fair due process into the current system of licensure discipline.
Another important win was SB 278, which disallowed compensation. A number of retired fire fighters and other public workers were hit by huge bills and retroactive takebacks from CalPERS citing overpayments that were no fault of the employee. Retirees were expected to pay CalPERS large lump sum payments and have their monthly pension drastically reduced because of a calculation error on the employer’s part. SB 278 closed this loophole and requires the employer to make the retiree whole, while also implementing procedures at CalPERS to prevent future errors.
To protect members responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, CPF won a COVID-19 presumption in 2020 that was renewed this past legislative session. CPF also gained an important victory in AB 845 which creates a disability retirement presumption for members who contract COVID-19 on the job but are unable to fully recover and return to work.
When labor rights were threatened with AB 1993, a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate bill, CPF worked round the clock to stop the bill. CPF fully believes in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, vigorously educating members on its benefits and encouraging vaccination. However, this bill would have upended collective bargaining agreements and the meet and confer process. Nearly every department in the state has an agreement in place regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and AB 1993 would have negated those agreements with a stroke of a pen. CPF worked to protect good faith negotiations between employers and employees at the local level and successfully stopped the bill from moving forward.
This election year, California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom is up for reelection and has been endorsed by CPF. Just last year, the Governor successfully defeated a recall, and CPF along with the IAFF were early supporters of the Governor in that recall election.
The Hawaii Fire Fighters Association, Local 1463 has had a number of important successes over the past 18 months.
The HFFA successfully concluded interest arbitration. The respective funding bills in each jurisdiction (state and county councils) are currently making their way through the legislative process.
The following bills were introduced in the State Legislature:
- HB 1644 – Prohibition of the manufacturing, sale, distribution, and use of Class B firefighting foam that contains PFAS. Sent to Governor.
- HB 1789 – Requires the exclusive bargaining unit representatives to nominate and submit to the governor for confirmation, a nominee to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board
- HB 2510 – Increase of minimum wage from the current $10.10/hour to $18/hour by January 2028. Sent to Governor.
Appropriation measures for Collective Bargaining Funding are before the county councils.
The start of the 2022 Legislature was marred with the indictments and guilty pleas of a State Senator who retired in May 2021 and a State Representative who resigned immediately after being indicted. Both pleaded guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for favorable consideration of legislation.
The State Legislature’s focus was on restoring and providing additional funds to program areas that have been on the table for decades. The annual required contributions for retirement pensions and Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB), i.e., future retiree medical coverage liabilities were funded in full. The CARES and American Recovery Plan funds provided an infusion of funds to address these programs.
Hawaii elections are conducted by mail. This year, all 76 state seats (25 Senate, 51 House) are up for election due to redistricting. A few incumbents have been redistricted to the same districts while a number of other districts are “open,” having no incumbent. Hawaii’s primary election is on August 13, 2022.
Hawaii’s current governor is termed out and both his position and the lieutenant governor position are up for election. Both Maui and Kaua’i county mayoral seats are up for election.
Hawaii U.S. House of Representatives Kai Kahele is vacating his seat to run for Governor, leaving his seat up for election. Fellow U.S. Rep. Ed Case and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz are both up for re-election.
New Mexico represents 20 IAFF locals, and unprecedented political action has benefited our members throughout New Mexico at every level of government recently.
On April 5, 2021, Governor Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 90 (SB 90). SB 90 includes certain overtime pay for a regularly scheduled tour of duty paid to eligible fire protection and law enforcement employees in the definition of “salary” under the PERA Act. Effective July 1, 2021, SB 90 also increases employee contribution rates for all eligible wages under Municipal General Fire Plans 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 by 1.5%.
On July 2, 2021, Governor Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 256, which enables local fire departments across New Mexico to access 100 percent of the available capital in the Fire Protection Fund. Before this bill, state law required that most capital in the Fire Protection Fund revert to the General Fund, which left dozens of New Mexico fire departments — many in rural areas — without the necessary funding. In Fiscal Year 2021 alone, fire fighters lost out on $13 million in possible funding. These funds can now go toward the purchase of essential equipment like water tanks, fire fighting vehicles, and protective equipment.
Through significant Roundhouse advocacy, the NMPFFA assisted IAFF local affiliates and their associated departments secure $8 million in 2021 and over $10 million in FY 2022. These purchases went towards fire apparatus, PPE, fire facilities, and other major projects – significantly improving fire protection and safety of our members.
On August 6, 2021, the NMPFFA formed the New Mexico Firefighters Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Chaired by President Sanchez and Secretary-Treasurer Warden, the NMFF has already raised over $12,000 for the direct support of our members working the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires. NMFF and NMPFFA secured food and supplies for fire fighters, families, and local evacuees, where the area displayed significant needs. NMPFFA also engaged the IAFF and the IAFF Foundation for members needing additional assistance.
The NMPFFA continues to provide technical assistance to local affiliates. Several locals have engaged in hard-fought battles for pay parity and fights for a dignified retirement after serving their communities. Unfortunately, some municipalities do not value the people who provide public safety, but with the help of our executive board and legal counsel, we have prevailed in most circumstances.
The NMPFFA conducted its bi-annual convention on July 23, 2021. The delegates worked diligently on several cleanup resolutions, strengthened our executive board by providing staggered terms, and provided financial solidarity for our association.
11th District Report
11th District Vice President
In accordance with the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution and By-Laws Article VI, Section 3, I am respectfully submitting to the officers and delegates assembled for the 56th IAFF Convention in Ottawa, Canada. This report of my activities as the District 11 Vice President covers the period from April 2021 through April 2022.
Traditionally, this report would be longer and more detailed. However, due to the timing of the 55th IAFF Convention and pandemic-related issues, my report is necessarily briefer.
During this reporting period, I have attended, either virtually or in person, all IAFF Executive Board and related meetings. I have also attended as many Texas State Association of Fire Fighters and Professional Fire Fighters of Oklahoma Executive Board meetings as possible.
While travel was restricted by COVID, the work of our Union did not stop.
We continued to field calls from potential new affiliates. The Mighty 11th District now encompasses 299 locals and 28,026 members. Our work in this area is ongoing. Service Representatives Daniel Buford and Daniel Calhoun are working with us as we continue to develop our district organizing efforts.
Our District is well represented as over 500 IAFF members of the Mighty 11th have been trained through the Peer Support program. That number is expected to increase due to in-person training opportunities once again becoming available.
The IAFF District 11 Benevolent Fund was created in 2017. Since that time, the Fund has worked to assist fire fighters with out-of-pocket expenses related to care at our union’s IAFF Center of Excellence in Marlboro, Maryland, or our soon-to-be-open facility in California. The Fund is actively pursuing long-term sustainable funding for the needs of over 28,000 IAFF members across the Mighty 11th.
Training and Education
Our mission of outfitting local affiliate leaders with the education and training tools they need to be successful was paused during the pandemic. We look forward to resuming our district training program beginning as soon as practical.
Service and Consultation
During this reporting period, I continued to consult daily with the affiliate leaders in District 11. I worked as interest arbitrator, consulted on grievance and disciplinary issues and worked on negotiation issues for numerous locals in the district. I have consulted with countless local affiliate leaders and assisted them as they faced the challenges of leading a local union.
During the reporting period, the Mighty 11th saw the addition of several new Texas locals that won the right to bargain. The District also saw new Oklahoma affiliates that can negotiate with their employers under the Oklahoma Fire and Police Arbitration act. Notably, we were in Groves and Port Neches, Texas in November 2021 as these two locals won the right to bargain. District Field Service Representative Joe Tellez is working with both locals as they prepare to bargain. The number of bargaining locals across the district is growing. We now have 50 Texas locals that can negotiate under the Texas Meet and Confer statute or Chapter 174 of the Texas Local Government Code. All 76 Oklahoma locals are recognized as the Sole Exclusive Bargaining Agent in their respective jurisdictions. I’m proud that our District is part of the new wave of trade unionism and collective bargaining that is growing across the United States.
Words are not adequate to express my sincere appreciation to all the staff in every department at the IAFF. The work and service of our Union never stopped because of your hard work and dedication. I appreciate your assistance and all that you do for this International and the members of District 11.
I would be remiss if I did not thank the leadership of the two outstanding state associations in District 11 for all the support and great work that is done on behalf of IAFF members in Texas and Oklahoma. President John Riddle and Secretary-Treasurer Brandon Day lead a great organization in Texas that provides outstanding service in all the areas that affect professional fire fighters. Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma President Ricky Burns and Secretary-Treasurer Michael Korb and their Executive Board are always on the frontlines for Oklahoma fire fighters. To both organizations – keep up the good fight.
District Field Service Representatives Joe Tellez, Rick Beams, and our team of District 11 Service Representatives are outstanding union leaders and great assets to all the affiliates in our District. I thank them for their loyalty and commend their efforts and commitment to advancing the agenda of professional firefighters. Without the support and hard work of every one of these exceptional leaders in the district who have shown an unwavering commitment to improving the overall well-being of professional fire fighters, I would not be able to do my job or deliver the service that is deserved by the members of the Mighty 11th District.
With the blessing and support of my wife, Tina, and my family, I remain humbled by the experience and truly honored to serve as the IAFF District 11 Vice President. Thank you!
12th District Report
Walter J. Dix
12th District Vice President
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Welcome to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and the 56th Biennial Convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters, our first in-person convention since 2018 in Seattle. The 12th District proudly represents the IAFF members across South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands.
In accordance with the provisions of Article VI, Section 7, of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Constitution and By-Laws, I respectfully submit this report of my activity as the 12th District Vice President to General President Edward Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Lima, the IAFF Executive Board and all officers and delegates in attendance at the 56th IAFF Biennial Convention. This report contains a summary of my activities from January 2020 through June 2022. I have attended all Executive Board meetings, virtual and in-person. I have diligently carried out all assignments given me by General President Kelly and humbly represent the members of our great 12th District.
Let me start my report by personally thanking General President Kelly and General Secretary-Treasurer Líma on a successful first two years in office together. The IAFF has made several great advances, and I look forward to continuing our work.
2021/2022 has been yet another challenging year in a host of ways for our members; the ever-changing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our first-ever online virtual convention, just to name a few. Our members faced another unprecedented hurricane season, massive wildland fires and horrific acts of gun violence. Yet despite all these challenging moments, our affiliates have stood strong, and responded with the utmost courage, compassion and professionalism, proving time and time again the invaluable service our members perform for their communities each and every day.
Throughout this time, General President Kelly’s Office, General Secretary-Treasurer Líma’s Office, all District Vice Presidents, and IAFF Staff have provided exceptional service during a continued time of improbabilities. These leaders are a genuine reflection of why our Union continues to flourish. As you walk about the convention exhibits, please take the time to say thank you to all of our officers and staff for their outstanding service.
As of the writing of this report, our members’ response to COVID-19 virus variants outbreaks is slowly declining with the widespread use of vaccinations and emerging science as we learn more about the virus. Now another new threat facing our members is the monkeypox variant of smallpox. It is apparent these viral threats will continue and as has been our history, our members will rise to the challenge. I continue to pray for all our members’ health and safety during these unprecedented times.
Working together, our IAFF is now better prepared to face the unknown challenges that lie ahead.
With a very busy 20 months in the 12th District, since our last convention in January 2021 (virtual), our District activities have continued to increase with new local organizing, contract negotiations assistance, arbitration assistance, first contracts and member legal representations.
- Fire and EMS Comprehensive Operational Reports – Total 14
- EMS Integration/Enhancement Comprehensive Reports – Total 3
- GIS Analysis Comprehensive Reports – Total 10
- Workload Analysis Comprehensive Reports – Total 1
- Disaster Relief Support Work Hours by Staff – Total 51.5 (including overtime/double-time)
- Municipal Financial Analysis Reports – Total 103
- Wage Comparison Reports – Total 52
- Organizing Requests – Total 21
As of the writing of this report, membership in the 12th District has continued to grow from 31,090 in 2017 to 37,563 in January of 2021 and now stands at 38,898 in May of 2022. I expect our membership will pass 39,000 by the time we reach Convention in August 2022 – another impressive milestone.
Our collaborative organizing efforts with Strategic Campaigns and the ongoing work by our DFSRs and SRs in the District affords me an opportunity to meet and work with new local affiliate leaders. These affiliate leaders give me the inspiration and drive to keep pushing ahead with their own enthusiasm and desire to learn about all the services and support the IAFF has to offer.
Legal Assistance Provided to Affiliates
Providing legal assistance and support to affiliates is an important function of the IAFF legal team. We recently confirmed the General President’s selection of Mooney, Green, Saindon, Murphy & Welch, P.C. (“Mooney, Green”) as new General Counsel for the IAFF. Please join me in welcoming aboard our new legal firm and General Counsel Peter Leff. This is a brief list of legal work and filing on behalf of affiliates in the 12th District. As you review these cases, you can see the vast number of resources the IAFF places on legal matters for affiliates.
Emergency Dispute Funds Assistance
- Local 5147 Highland County, FL
- Local 5160 Leland PFFs and Paramedics Assoc., NC
Fair Labor Standards Act Policy Cases
- IAFF Local 2546 (Sarasota County, FL)
- Sarasota County Fire Department has taken the position that Battalion Chiefs are exempt under the “executive, administrative, or professional” exemption of the FLSA. This is a concerning trend around the District.
- Local 3996 Sanford, FL
- Specific to recovering unpaid overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) related to off-duty training that the fire lieutenant members were required to attend for the purpose of attaining a “Fire Officer 1” certification.
- Local 3169 PFFs of Marion County, FL
- Specifically based on the County’s longstanding misclassification of its Captains as FLSA exempt, despite their primary job duty as first responders.
- Local 2795 Athens-Clark County, GA
- FLSA Policy case involves a City policy prohibiting Captains and Lieutenants from earning any overtime after they hit a 120-hour compensatory time cap.
Guardian Policy cases
- Local 1375 Hollywood, FL
- City of Hollywood discrimination, retaliation, and suspension of Local President because of his engagement in protected union activities.
- Local 3967 Isle of Palms, SC
- Termination of Local President in retaliation for engaging in certain union activity on behalf of the City’s Fire Fighters and members of Local 3967, and for speaking out about several political issues concerning the Isle of Palms Fire Department.
- Local 5160 Leland, NC
- Unlawful termination of three members of Local 5160 (President, Vice President, and Executive Board member) in retaliation for engaging in certain union activity.
- Local 4140 Ponce Inlet, FL
- Termination of Local President and active member, both of whom were fired after engaging in protected union activity by actively campaigning for a pro-public safety candidate for the Town Council.
- Local 4173 Lakeland, FL
- Unfair Labor Practice before the Florida PERC concerns retaliation by the City of Lakeland against the IAFF Local 4173 President for engaging in protected concerted activity, namely for his request to bargain over a unilateral change in working conditions, which the City claimed was a “false statement” because it did not agree that any changes were made. The charge was amended on June 7, 2021, to include an allegation that the City unilaterally and involuntarily transferred Local 4173 members to new stations against past practice, and in retaliation for their opposition to the President’s written reprimand and support of the ULP action.
- Local 4593 Weaverville, NC
- This matter arises from the termination of the Local Secretary-Treasurer in retaliation for his union activity.
- Local A-39 PFFs of South Carolina
- This Guardian case challenges a member’s termination from his position as a Fire Fighter/EMT with the Parker Sewer and Fire Subdistrict in South Carolina following his attempts to organize an IAFF affiliate within the Parker Fire Department.
- Local 4131 Escambia County, FL
- This Guardian policy matter was brought on behalf of the Local President and Treasurer, who were suspended because of a social media post made by the Union that criticized the lack of staffing and resources available in Escambia County in the wake of a fatal structure fire.
- Local 868 East Point PFFs, GA
- This Guardian matter arose from a series of threats that the Fire Chiefs of the City of East Point made against lieutenants in Local 868 in response to their union activity. One of the Chiefs held several meetings with fire fighters during which he gave anti-union speeches and incorrectly stated that a Local Ordinance prevents lieutenants from being in a union. The Chief told the lieutenants that they had to choose between the Union and their rank. The lieutenants in Local 868 all disassociated from the union in fear of immediate disciplinary action, including the Local 868 President who was a Lieutenant. Thereafter, the City Attorney and our legal counsel negotiated a settlement under which the City informed the lieutenants that they could be part of IAFF Local 868 without fear of reprisal.
- Local 3623 Ocoee, FL
- Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the City of Ocoee, Florida on behalf of the Local President, who was terminated in connection with his union activities and questioning the city’s use of pension trust funds. The parties reached a settlement agreement. This matter has been resolved.
- Local 1102 Hialeah, FL
- The IAFF Local 1102, Hialeah, FL Local President was removed from his station, apparatus, and hazardous materials assignment without justification, and was placed in a swing position without an official station or Hazmat assignment. On the same day, the City refused to permit union representation to union members during investigatory interviews. The Local 1102 President was then suspended. In large part because the anti-union activities against Local 1102 and its leadership spanned some 7 years and are extraordinary, the IAFF granted Guardian Policy approval for a series of five grievances that were filed by the Union, two of which were consolidated.
Union Activities Justice Fund assistance
- Local 4140 Ponce Inlet, FL: Two members received assistance
- Local 4593 Weaverville, NC: One member received assistance
- Local 5160 Leland PFFs and Paramedics, NC: Three members received assistance
- Local 3623 Ocoee PFFs, FL: One member received assistance
- Local 3967 Isle of Palms, SC: One member received assistance
- Local 747 St. Petersburg:
- Juncture Group, Inc., of St. Petersburg, Florida was declared a rival to the IAFF.
- Local 660 Charlotte, NC – A draft pushback letter to Vi Lyles, Mayor, City of Charlotte was prepared on December 2, 2021, regarding the City’s continued failure to fairly and expeditiously interact with IAFF Local 660 and its President.
Cease and Desist Letters
- L3990 PFFs of Lake County, FL – A cease and desist letter was sent on November 22, 2021, regarding the unauthorized use of the IAFF marks and its logo by Firefighter Charity of Central Florida.
Legal Opinion Letters
- Local 2969 (Brevard County, FL) – Mandatory Background Checks
- L548 Raleigh, NC – review Compensation Philosophy and Living Wage Policy and its application to fire fighters. Firefighters were being considered salaried employees and not subject to the Living Wage Policy.
- L2546 Suncoast PFFs and Paramedics, FL – FLSA opinion re: whether Sarasota County has unlawfully deprived Battalion Chiefs of overtime pay.
- L3623 Ocoee, FL – Guardian Policy opinion concerning retaliation against Local President for participating in union affairs.
- L5173 Macclenny, FL – Guardian Policy opinion concerning the termination of Local Secretary/Treasurer.
- L2563 Cobb County, GA – Second legal opinion concerning lateral fire fighter pay.
- A-32 PFFs and Paramedics of North Carolina – Second legal opinion re: organizing 501(c)(3) Fire Departments in North Carolina.
- L660 Charlotte, NC – Second legal opinion re: Sierra/Routine Emergency Call classification in Charlotte, NC (abandonment of care).
The General President has assigned me to various internal committees of the IAFF, and I continue to serve in those capacities on a year-round basis as I continue to learn more about the services our International provides to our members.
As your District Vice President, I have attended multiple Line-of-Duty Death funerals throughout the District. The 2021 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial was conducted virtually this past year due to COVID-19 outbreaks. We plan to honor all the 2020 and 2021 LODDs and their families at the 2022/2023 memorial services in-person at the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial this September in Colorado Springs, CO.
As we face many challenges in our profession, the challenge of providing adequate and timely behavioral health support for our members must also be a priority. We have continued losing too many of our members to suicide. To respond to the crisis, the IAFF has continued to provide top-notch behavioral health assistance to several of our IAFF affiliates and their membership through funding provided by the IAFF Foundation. This past year, we introduced a resiliency training class and continue our work on the need for training clinicians who deal with our members. Our mission, taking care of the members in their most urgent time of need, has never wavered.
We have completed four Regional Secretary/Treasurer training programs and one District Partnership in Education Programs (PEPs). These classes have been widely successful in training the members on the critical needs of running your local union. Special thanks to our DFSRs Tory Fatjo, Randy Wyse and Jayson French for all their hard work and dedication to making these educational programs an enormous success.
As of the printing of this report, the 12th District is planning to deliver another secretary-treasurer class in South Carolina, New Officer Orientation training, and communications training to our affiliate leaders. We will continue to deliver IAFF training to all areas of the 12th District through online, training in-person regional classes and PEP events.
The IAFF conducted specialized training and support for the organizing initiatives. Our work continues to show progress with steady growth in several already established locals, newly organized locals and reaffiliated locals. For over 104 years, the IAFF has largely attracted members from government-based fire departments and services across the United States and Canada. Over this time the organization has also attracted the workforce of private- and industrial-sector fire fighters, EMS providers and rescue personnel. However, the number of private- and industrial-sector locals has remained relatively low and as a result, the organization has a limited number of resources specific to the needs of non-government-based affiliates. As such, to attract non-governmental workers and better serve the existing membership, General President Kelly authorized an Ad Hoc Committee on Industrial Organizing to discuss the direction of the IAFF regarding these niche groups. I had the honor to serve on this committee and the full report will be presented to the membership at Convention.
I am extremely proud of our advances in organizing. Since 201,7 when we started this organizing initiative, we’ve made real progress, adding over 6,276 new IAFF members to the 12th District. Continuance of the organizing project will only increase our footprint in the 12th District and assist state and local affiliates in growing their political clout with our IAFF Union Fire Fighter brand. As we grow together, we are stronger together!
As reported in 2021, the city of South Fulton, Georgia, located just outside of the Atlanta Metro area, enacted Title 25. President Andrea Hall, with the assistance of our IAFF political team, was able to help elect a fully pro-fire fighter city council that adopted a collective bargaining ordinance in accordance with Title 25. Title 25: “The Georgia Firefighter’s Mediation Act” [provides collective bargaining rights to fire fighters in any paid fire department of any municipality of this state having a population of 20,000 or more according to the United States decennial census of 1980 or any future such census who are employed for and subject to fire-fighting duties…].
Congratulations to President Andrea Hall and the City of South Fulton Georgia Local 3920 on achieving their first collective bargaining agreement. The official signing took place on July 8, 2022. The list of successes in Georgia continues to grow as the City of Atlanta Local 134 successfully passed a collective bargaining ordinance and hopes to sign its first collective bargaining agreement by the end of 2022. The power of the Union is enormous, when we fight, we win!
The Professional Fire Fighters Association of South Carolina has been working on several new legislative initiatives to advance fire fighter benefits and representation. Amid our fight to improve representation, the PFFASC has uncovered egregious abuses of the SC pension system. These issues are now being addressed by the PFFASC with the assistance of the IAFF legal department.
Never wavering from their mission, the Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics of North Carolina effectively worked in the North Carolina State Legislature to enact new cancer protections for fire fighters. The General President joined in the fight traveling to North Carolina and aiding directly in the lobbying efforts. After a long and arduous battle, NC fire fighters who contract occupational cancers now have the protections and benefits afforded to most fire fighters throughout the IAFF. Look for North Carolina to continue to grow over the next few years as we retool our organizing efforts towards 501c3 chartered fire departments around the state.
Congratulations to the Florida Professional Firefighters and their entire team. Navigating another difficult legislative year, in 2022, the Florida Professional Firefighters passed important legislation improving our Firefighter Bill of Rights, adding Fire Investigators to the fire fighter cancer coverage, expanding PSTD coverage, clarifying the Records of Firefighter Physical Examinations, Hometown Hero Housing Program, UM Sylvester Center Firefighter Cancer Research funding, Urban Search & Rescue Funding, Local S20 Inflation Pay Adjustments/Increased Base Salary, and $1,000 Recognition Payments for all Fire Responders.
The FPF Leadership Team, FPF District Vice Presidents, FPF Staff, and local affiliate leaders all had a part in making these legislative improvements a reality. In these trying political times, passing this legislation will have a lasting impact on our 30,000+ professional fire fighters, EMTs and paramedics in Florida.
Disaster Relief Assistance
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to bring much of the same and more.
June 1 officially marked the start of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. Recently, NOAA updated the average number of storms likely in a season, coming in at 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. On December 9, 2021, Colorado State University also issued an extended-range forecast for the 2022 hurricane season, predicting slightly above-average activity with 13-16 named storms, six to eight hurricanes, two to three major hurricanes and an ACE index of about 124 units. Dr. Phil Klotzbach already hinted at signs pointing to another above-average season for 2022.
As our staff continues to improve our readiness for membership support in disaster situations, we recently completed shelter for our IAFF Disaster Relief trailer and supplies in Cape Coral Florida. Sharing disaster responses with DVP Todd of the 14th District, DVP McGhee of the 11th District and our IAFF GO team along with myself and headquarters staff, we can respond quickly to any disaster event. We have deployed our newly acquired communications platform on ATT First Net with great success. Our Disaster Assistance Trailers funded by the IAFF Financial Corp also responded to Mayfield, Kentucky, in December of 2021 to provide immediate assistance to the members of the 8th District. These trailers continue to be deployed to storms and other natural disasters in the 8th, 11th, 12th and 14th Districts.
These IAFF Disaster Assistance trailers are now totally restocked and prepared for future disaster deployments should the need arise. Thank you to Local 2424 Cape Coral Professional Firefighters who continue to care for and maintain our disaster relief assistance trailer, equipment and supplies. In 2021, we completed a shelter at Local 2424’s Union Hall to provide much-needed cover from the weather eliminates for our disaster trailers.
IAFF staff, DFSRs, local officers, state officers, and local members from all our local affiliates help to provide this much-needed relief to our members in the 12th District. All these relief efforts are supported by your IAFF Foundation Disaster Relief program and the generous donations from IAFF members and sponsors across our two great nations. From the 12th District…Thank you!
It is my distinct honor and privilege to continue to represent the 12th District as your Vice President. I look forward to holding meetings with you and your membership to discuss those issues important to the future of the 12th District and our IAFF. Together we can continue to achieve greatness for the 12th District. In closing, I would like to thank my home Local 4321 for their unwavering support and assistance. They continue to give me the strength and resources to continue to help all the Brothers and Sisters in our great 12th District.
I am eager and willing to face the challenges our District holds as we work together to build a better Union. Remember, we are always stronger together as we continue to grow our membership, united in our spirit, united in our mission. Good luck on a successful convention!
We are #Union Strong and We are #12th District Strong.
13th District Report
13th District Vice President
In accordance with the provisions of Article VI, Section 3, of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Constitution and By-Laws, I respectfully submit this report of my activity as the 13th District Vice President to General President Edward Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma, the IAFF Executive Board, IAFF Trustees, and all officers and delegates in attendance at the 56th Convention in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, home of the 13th District’s Local 162. This report contains a summary of my activities and those across the District from April 2020 through to April 2022. I have attended all Executive Board meetings, IAFF events (with the exception of the 2022 ALTS conference) and carried out all assignments given to me by General President Kelly.
The “Lucky” 13th District proudly represents over 13,700 IAFF members (both active and active-retired) across Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. I have attended the respective provincial conventions, seminars, meetings, and events, as well as any local meetings and campaigns where required. A good portion of my time is taken with providing advice and guidance, advocacy both locally and provincially, and coordinating our incredible depth of services for our affiliates. I am very appreciative to all our staff and divisions in Washington and Ottawa, and my cadre of service representatives for the wide variety of support and dedication they have illustrated to get the job done.
This pandemic continued to have a stranglehold on our affiliates and public health across the District. As a result, we continued to offer the services and support needed via virtual platforms. This remained an effective way to not only stay connected but to service the affiliate leadership who has been put to the test during the pandemic.
Many leaders faced very angry and vocal members as a result of employer policies mandating vaccinations, testing, both and/or a choice. A number of legal opinions supported the employer’s right to introduce such policies, but implementation became the crux of many, many grievances. We have had a number of members put on leave without pay and a small number terminated. All of which, at the time of writing this report, are at different stages of the grievance process.
This has presented a major challenge for our leadership to manage the very raw and outspoken emotions of our members from all sides of the vaccination issue. It stands as our most divisive issue to date.
Another impact of the pandemic has been the inability to meet in person. The IAFF Executive Board passed an emergency resolution authorizing local and provincial and state associations to meet virtually and conduct certain votes electronically. All locals and the provincials within the District have taken advantage of meeting virtually with some conducting selected votes either electronically or by a mail-in ballot. These opportunities have now given rise to many affiliates wanting to include virtual meeting options within their Constitutions. At the time of writing this report, IAFF legal counsel has developed a presentation regarding virtual meetings and electronic voting. I suspect we will see virtual platforms becoming more the norm across our district and possibly the IAFF.
There was another federal election in 2021 in Canada. The IAFF continued with its third-party advertising and set out the voting history of parties and politicians regarding our issues. Despite a lot of time and money that goes into a federal election, we ended with essentially what we started with, a minority Liberal government. However, the Liberal Party and New Democratic Party (NDP) made a major announcement that they have formed a political alliance, so to speak, and the NDP will support the Liberal through to the end of their four-year term in 2025. In exchange, NDP priorities will be enacted.
As a result of the federal election results, we have a federal Progressive Conservative Party (PC) leadership race. This will determine the leader of the Official Opposition. Given the history and nature of our federal politics, this person may become the next Prime Minister of Canada. We have a long-time supporter in the race: current Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown. We have worked with the provincial presidents to develop a ground game to assist Patrick. A leadership race is all about selling memberships in the party. Each riding across Canada, despite its size, is worth 100 points. The support a candidate has in that riding results in the corresponding points they earn. We are encouraging our members to buy a one-year membership for $15, which gives them a vote in the September leadership election. Having Patrick leading the opposition party, or the country is good politics for us and cheap insurance for our members as he has always supported our issues even when it was not popular with his party.
The landscape within our District has changed somewhat since my last report. In 2021 Manitoba’s Premier Brian Pallister announced he was stepping down from leader of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative party and thus Premier as well. In October, the party held its election for a new leader and Heather Stefanson won by 363 votes. On November 2, 2021, she became Manitoba’s first female Premier. This is important because our members across the province participated in this leadership race and sold over 800 memberships to the PC party allowing our members to vote in that leadership race. As you know our motto is to support those who support us. Heather Stefanson had a track record of support dating back to 2002 when she sat as a PC party representative at the table which developed the first presumptive legislation for our members in Canada. During her campaign for leader, she promised to expand their legislation to include five additional cancers. As well, she committed to reviewing the current EMS delivery model in the province which has caused much grief for our Winnipeg Local 867. With these promises in hand, our members supported Heather overwhelmingly. With her narrow margin of victory, it was obvious that our support made the difference.
Shortly after being sworn in, Premier Stefanson announced her intent to introduce legislation to expand the presumptive coverage for Manitoba’s fire fighters. In December, the first piece of legislation under her term expanded presumptive coverage to include, ovarian, cervical, penile, thyroid and pancreatic cancers. That legislation is now in effect and her government is working diligently on a review of the EMS delivery model across the province with representatives from our locals very much engaged in this review.
I want to recognize our leadership across Manitoba for their efforts in this regard and in particular Alex Forrest who took the lead as Manitoba PFFA President in this leadership race.
Across the border in Ontario, the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) leadership has worked tirelessly in a virtual environment as the legislature was closed to any in-person gatherings outside of the politicians’ required work. The OPFFA was successful in reinstituting the certification requirements for all positions across the fire service following the NFPA standards. This was a big achievement given it was the same government that removed them as one of their first acts following their election. The OPFFA are now pursuing the inclusion of thyroid and pancreatic cancers within their presumptive legislation (they already have the other three cancers listed in Manitoba’s recent expansion).
I want to recognize the efforts of our leadership across Ontario for pulling together on this initiative, in particular OPFFA President Carmen Santoro and Secretary-Treasurer Greg Horton for their dedication to make this work despite the difficulties associated with a virtual environment.
At the time of writing this article, the province of Ontario is in the midst of a provincial election and all polls are pointing to another PC majority government under Premier Doug Ford. Thankfully, the OPFFA has established a good working relationship with the Ford government which will hopefully pay off in their second term.
Lastly, on the political front, this fall we will be back into municipal elections across the entire District, and we are already preparing with affiliates to meet with prospective mayoral and councillor candidates. We have some utilizing the AFL-CIO’s Action Network (CLC has now adopted it as well) and New Mode software to connect with our members during the election cycle.
Despite some initial fear about the economic threat of the pandemic on municipalities, our locals in both provinces have been able to freely negotiate good contracts, for the most part. In Ontario, the provincial government amended the legislation regarding the arbitration system moving to a single arbitrator model from a three-person board. In turn, our locals adjusted the utilization of our legal counsel to assist in the presentation and preparation of briefs rather than solely relying on a fire fighter advocate. This has worked and to date, we have not been hurt under the new system.
Welland Gets Staffing Increase
Relying on the Sudbury staffing arbitration award and working with the IAFF’s Technical Assistance division, Welland’s fire chief presented a report to council calling for a more than 40% increase to staffing. The plan was ultimately passed by council and four fire fighters were hired immediately. Eight more in each of the next two years are to follow. As well there will be additional fire prevention staffing and a better call-back system in place to ensure enough fire fighters are responding.
I want to acknowledge the leadership and advocacy of both Local 481 President Mark Biggins and Fire Chief Eckhart for this effort.
Deep River Resets
We reached a settlement in Deep River Local 1276 after a long and tumultuous period in this Local’s history. This town was originally established in conjunction with the atomic energy plant known as Chalk River. For years, the department had 10 full-time fire fighters despite its small population of about 4,000 people and corresponding call volume.
In 2018 we mediated a settlement of 17 grievances that were in play due to a CAO’s efforts to reduce the size of the department to two or three fire fighters. The settlement included a “fire services agreement.” which included a staffing minimum of five fire fighters augmented by members from our Chalk River Local to staff with two fire fighters 24/7. This three-year agreement allowed for time to reassess the uniqueness of the department’s history and the town’s needs. During this period, the town hired volunteer fire fighters to establish a composite service, putting them in a position to move away from the fire service agreement with Chalk River.
The Local and town reached a deal with contract language ensuring a minimum of four full-time fire fighters. They moved to a straight day model with a larger focus on prevention, education, and training. This ordeal did not come without much heartache and tough decision-making by our members. I commend them for resetting and putting themselves in a stronger position for the future.
Stratford and Fire Dispatch
In Stratford, the employer was making a play to contract out its dispatching to a police force. In the background, new federal regulations for emergency services called ‘next-gen 911” forced emergency services dispatch to update technology to work with 5G networks. The Local, working with the OPFFA and IAFF, pushed back despite a very desirable deal to enhance suppression staffing.
The resulting arbitration awarded the local the staffing provisions the employer put forward and also allowed the employer to contract out its dispatch. However, it can only do so to another fire service rather than police or some other agency. The arbitrator clearly recognized the differences in fire dispatching fire vs. police and in doing so thus acknowledged the health and safety of our members.
I want to give a shout-out to Local 534 President Brad McCann who took a strong position despite a deal his members have long desired and did the right thing.
Manitoba Professional Fire Fighters Association (MPFFA)
The MPFFA will be holding its convention this September and President Alex Forrest will be standing for another term. Alex has now stepped back from his role as local president after an incredible 24-year run. Following the success of the provincial leadership race and the election of Premier Stefanson, Alex and the MPFFA are well placed to continue gains for our members.
Alex also remains our IAFF Canadian Trustee and continues his focus on advocating on occupational disease and its impact on our members and fire fighters across the world.
Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association
The OPFFA is holding its convention in mid-June, and it will mark the end of the career of an incredible leader in the fire service and IAFF. As per the OPFFA’s CBL Carmen Santoro will step down as president at the end of this term due to the fact he retired from his fire service.
Carmen has long been a strong voice for his members in Oakville L1582 as their president for two decades. His advocacy was welcomed provincially as president of the OPFFA. Carmen has a tenacity at the bargaining and grievance tables that every member has benefitted from and his natural instincts in the political arena have paid off for all members, most notably attaining PTSD within our presumptive legislation.
Carmen also stepped back for his second time as OPFFA President to lead the organization out of a rough period and put the organization back on its feet – leaving it in good shape internally as well as politically and financially.
I want to take this opportunity to thank not just a brother, but a good friend. It is my hope I can convince Carmen to remain as a Service Representative for our District as he still has lots to give.
Mental Behavioural Health and Treatment
In February of this year, General President Ed Kelly signed a contract with Health Network (EHN) to offer treatment programs for our members at any of the number of EHN facilities (two in Ontario). This partnership allows EHN and our Center of Excellence to work in collaboration on treating our members and providing in-person and virtual IAFF cohorts to enhance the treatment approach.
Members have been invited to site visits at the various facilities across Canada to get a better understanding of what, and how, EHN offers treatment to our members and their families.
It is hoped we can build a seamless network our members can access with EHN’s national profile and their listing as a preferred vendor with worker’s comp boards across the country.
IAFF Fire Ground Survival Program
The program has made a strong resurgence in the past 18 months as we started to settle within the pandemic. Training occurred in numerous departments, and we have held two train the trainer courses, in Guelph and Sudbury with two additional courses now scheduled for Belleville and Kitchener in June and September respectively.
Outside of the train the trainer courses, the mobile unit remains completely booked for ongoing training. To say this is a successful program by the IAFF is an understatement.
I want to acknowledge former Toronto L3888 member Geoff Boisseau for his efforts in the development of the program and his advocacy, which led to getting a mobile unit in the District. Geoff has now taken a position in management for Toronto Fire Services and is no longer a Master Instructor, but he has left a lasting legacy within this program that is saving the lives of our members.
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Like all other organizations, the CLC has been severely hampered by the pandemic and was forced to hold its convention virtually. We witnessed a slate of new principal officers being elected. President Bea Bruske (UFCW) and Secretary/Treasurer Lilly Chang (CUPE). Outgoing President Hassan Yussuff was appointed as a Senator for Canada by Prime Minister Trudeau.
With the pandemic’s ups and downs with new variants, etc., we have not been able to meet in person as a Canadian Council but continue to do so virtually. The current focus remains on improvements within health care that the pandemic exposed and on creating a universal pharmacare program.
Internally, the new officers are working on reaffiliation with larger unions that have disaffiliated over the past few years (UNIFOR, Carpenters, etc.).
IAFF Canadian legal counsel and interim AGP for Canadian Operations were recently appointed to the CLC’s legal committee. This committee reviews all cases affecting labour within the Canadian legal system and advises the Canadian Counsel on any cases that may require the CLC’s involvement.
IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial
Obviously, during the pandemic, this service has been forced into a virtual ceremony for the past two years. In 2020, we had 29 members being honoured in the virtual ceremony, and in 2021 we had 23 members honoured.
A decision was made by the FFFM Committee, and confirmed by the IAFF Executive Board, to hold back-to-back combined services to recognize our honourees in person. For the 2022 service, we will recognize those from 2019 and 2020. In 2023 we will recognize those from 2021 and 2022. This will put us back on the regular schedule of honoring our fallen the year after they pass in 2024.
This means the above noted 52 members (combined) from our District will be honoured this year.
This year, our Brandon Manitoba Local 803 (with support from the other Manitoba locals) will host “Canada House.” This is a tent set up in memorial park for our members and families from across Canada to get under some shade and have refreshments and a bit to eat together.
As you know, it has been a very unique time for all of us with the pandemic impacting on many fronts. I have been extremely proud of our affiliates and our provincial organizations on their continued high level of professionalism and dedicated representation for our members and their families.
This year has had its moments of controversy for our Executive Board. While I am not naïve enough to believe that all things will be unanimous, we need to get back to having respectful disagreement and supporting the democratic majority. Our focus should be on the external forces that are against us. We must stop using up our energy focused on each other. It is our unique brand of solidarity as a union and profession that has made the IAFF one of the strongest organizations on the planet. I am confident coming out of this convention that we can put the past where it belongs, in the past, and begin to collectively concentrate on the future.
We, as leaders, will be measured on how we take the EPC report’s findings and recommendations and improve our union or use the report to create more political fodder. Something to think about.
I want to acknowledge our unbelievable staff both at our Canadian office and our headquarters in Washington, DC, for their dedicated service as without it, we could not do our job in the manner our members expect and deserve.
Again, I want to thank the Service Representatives and my DFSR for the 13th District. So many of you have led by example and you put in the hours of dedicated advocacy to assist our local leaders through these tough times. A great team!
DFSR: Mike Palachik
Service Representatives: Carmen Santoro, Greg Horton, Peter Dyson, Mark Lalonde, Dan VanderLelie, Chris Varcoe, Kevin McCarthy, Ann Bryan, Clive Deonarine, Bob McCutcheon, Colin Hunter, Chris Davidson, Kevin Meyers, Alex Forrest, Dave Naaykens, Kelsey French, Mark Train, Geoff Boisseau, Hugh Doherty, Mark Mckinnon and Dave Stephenson
Last, but certainly not least, I want to say thank you to my beautiful wife, Jackie, for her support and my grandson Eli for his patience while the work of our union often takes my time and attention away from them both.
14th District Report
14th District Vice President
Welcome from the Fighting 14th District to the delegates, alternates and guests assembled for the 2022 IAFF Convention. This report is submitted in accordance with the IAFF Constitution & By-Laws.
It is an honor to represent this District and the entire IAFF membership on the IAFF Executive Board. Since the last Convention, I have had the opportunity to serve on a number of IAFF Executive Board Committees. Currently, my committee assignments are Employee Benefits & Human Resources, Organizing, Information Technology, Legal Services, Technical Assistance, Pension Trustee and Administrative Committee for Principal Officers Retirement Plan. Also, I serve as chairperson for the IAFF Committee on Assistance to Non-Collective bargaining states.
In representing the 14th District (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee), I have attended all Executive Board meetings, Legislative Conferences and Affiliate Leadership Training/Human Relations Conferences since the last Convention. I have attended state conventions, legislative seminars and some state executive board meetings.
Our District is thankful to have two very qualified and dedicated District Field Services Representatives: Thomas Malone and Pete Reagan. Brothers Malone and Reagan have been involved in training seminars, organizing and assisting the locals with problems. They have also served as grant reviewers for FIRE Act and SAFER grants. They continue to provide a valuable service to the district and the IAFF.
Our state associations are continuing to do valuable work on behalf of the members. Thanks to Brother Eddie Mitchell who served 17 years as Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association (TPFFA) president before stepping down in October 2021. Congratulations to new TPFFA President Matthew Tomek from Memphis Local 1784.
The 14th District membership remains stable with around 16,000 members in 187 locals. There continues to be interest in the IAFF despite the Right to Work laws and lack of favorable labor laws in each state. We will continue to focus on internal and external organizing to increase our membership and make our locals stronger.
New Orleans Local 632 opened a new Union Hall on June 19, 2022. They were also successful in securing a 16% pay increase last year. Chattanooga Local 820 secured a 24% pay increase. Other locals have been successful in securing wage increases with assistance from the IAFF using wage comparison data and municipal financial analysis.
Our Gulf Coast area of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana continues to deal with hurricanes each year. Last year, it was Hurricane Ida, and we established a disaster command center in Baton Rouge. Thanks to IAFF staff, the IAFF Go Team and all others who assisted after these hurricanes.
Since August 1, 2020, 17 members in the district have died in the line of duty: Cory Collins Local 14, Aaron Chassells Local 35, Jerry Robinson Local 35, Malcom Arrington Local 140, William Brooks Local 140, Justin Roberts Local 508, Leonard Coney Local 514, Ralph Parker III Local 514, Keith Sonnier Local 619, Eric Bacon Local 1374, Travis Isabel Local 1784, Terry Watts Local 2585, Dustin Samples Local 3748, Brant Bice Local 4066, Jessie Henry Local 4993, Leo Schultz Local 5071 and Chad Crisp Local 820. May they all rest in peace and continued prayers for their families.
Our thanks to General President Kelly, General Secretary/Treasurer Líma and the staff at IAFF Headquarters for the service you provide to our membership every day. I am proud to be a member of the IAFF Executive Board and proud of all that we have accomplished. Thanks to all the members in the “IAFF Fighting 14th District” for the privilege of representing you.
15th District Report
15th District Vice President
In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters, I respectively submit my report as 15th District Vice President for the period of November 15, 2020, to September 1, 2022.
During my term in office, I have attended all IAFF Executive Board meetings. This included in-person and virtual meetings. At the request of General President Kelly, I have served on various Executive Board committees. It has been my pleasure to serve as Vice-Chair of Education, Human Relations and Grants, Vice-Chair of Canadian Affairs, and as a member of the Finance, Policy, Communications, Health and Safety, Emergency Medical Services, Information Technology, Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, Fallen Fire Fighters Board of Directors, and Interim Resolutions Committees. I also serve as Vice-Chair of the Human Relations Convention Committee.
During this term in office, I have attended many IAFF events which include, but are not limited to, the Canadian Legislative Conference, Canadian Policy Conference, Affiliate Leadership Training Summit, Human Relations Conference, Atlantic Provinces Professional Fire Fighters Association (APPFFA) Training seminar, Atlantic Provinces Professional Fire Fighters bi-annual Convention, Canadian Provincial Presidents meetings and LODD services honoring our fallen fire fighters. Attendance at these events was in-person or virtual.
I have endeavored to provide the affiliate locals of the 15th District with the representation, support and assistance that our members deserve. This was accomplished by local affiliate visits and meetings, virtual zoom meetings, telephone conversations and email correspondence.
For the past two years, service delivery has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For most of this term, travel was limited and in-person, meetings were not permitted. Despite this, we found a way to work with the affiliates and with the Atlantic Provinces Professional Fire Fighters Association. All requests for service from affiliate locals and the APPFFA were promptly addressed. Virtual meetings allowed me to interact with groups and individual locals to address their issues and concerns.
All requests for service were addressed by me, District Field Services Representatives Larry Cook and Richard Lafortune, and District Services Representatives Paul Boyle and Glenn Sullivan. I am fortunate to have these four individuals assist with service delivery. Affiliate local service requests were achieved by utilizing the resources of this International and to the best of our abilities.
Service to locals throughout the District included assistance with collective bargaining and attendance at collective bargaining sessions when requested. I was also happy to provide assistance and advice with respect to requests regarding grievance and grievance arbitration, collective bargaining arbitration, public and media relations, human relations, occupational health and safety, and behavioral health concerns.
Service was also provided for political action initiatives and government lobbying to improve presumptive laws and member benefits. Further, I have provided information and direction with respect to fire fighter wellness and fitness, workers’ compensation, duty to accommodate, and disability management programs, as well as advice and opinions related to local affiliate administrative issues and concerns. Affiliate locals and the provincial association were also able to take advantage of District PEP and occupational health and safety training and programs. I am pleased to report that many of our members have also received training through the IAFF in peer support and behavioral health and that they have put programs in place to protect their members’ mental and behavioral health.
Over the past two years, this District has experienced challenges in our attempt to maintain and improve wages and benefits for our members and to provide for a safe work environment. Not unlike our brothers and sisters throughout the entire IAFF, we have had to deal with threats to our wages and benefits, cutbacks and downsizing. Safe staffing, adequate equipment and PPE are a continual concern. In essence, many of our members are forced to do more with less. The COVID-19 pandemic put additional stress on our members. Employer COVID policies and vaccination mandates caused concerns regarding member rights. I commend our local leadership and our members for their efforts in obtaining the proper PPE and response protocols to address this serious health crisis in our communities. I also commend them for being on the frontlines through all of this. I was happy to assist the efforts to keep our members informed and safe with the necessary information and resources from the IAFF.
Our Montreal and Fredericton locals are experiencing threats to their well-deserved pension plans and have been forced to pursue the protection of their pension benefits through the courts. Our Saint John local continues to be confronted with cutbacks and safe staffing concerns. Some of our locals have been forced to arbitration to secure collective agreements. For others, collective bargaining to secure agreements is slow and demanding. Our new Charlottetown local is being forced to arbitration for a fair collective agreement and safe staffing is one of the major concerns. Many employers continue to use the pandemic to justify cutting benefits and limit fair wage increases. I am happy to assist with resources from the IAFF to ensure that our members retain their hard-earned benefits and that they have the ability to negotiate fair collective agreements in this post-pandemic world.
Maintaining adequate numbers of fire fighters to safely provide fire and emergency services has also been a challenge for some locals. The constant infringement upon our members’ wages and benefits and the fight to protect what we have accomplished over the years have been difficult for many of our local leaders. I commend all of them for their hard work and dedication in fighting for and ensuring that our members and their families get the benefits they deserve.
Despite the many challenges, some of our locals have been able to secure fair wage increases through collective bargaining. We have maintained and, in some cases, we were able to improve our members’ benefits. In some locals, we have increased staffing through collective bargaining and arbitrations. Others are still confronted with inadequate staffing and the threat of station closures. We will continue to fight to improve staffing for those locals.
We continue our efforts to increase the number of presumptive cancers covered in all our provinces. Through political advocacy, our Nova Scotia locals have increased their number of presumptive cancers from five to 19. This is amongst the most covered cancers of any Canadian province. The initiative was spearheaded by Halifax Local 268 and I, along with the APPFFA, was happy to provide assistance. Quebec is now recognizing nine cancers as presumptive to fire fighting. This was achieved through a lobby by the Montreal fire fighters. We are currently working to expand upon these. All the other provinces in the District are currently advocating for increased numbers of presumptive cancers. It is my pleasure to assist with this effort.
Behavioral and mental health continues to be an issue for our fire fighters. Many of our locals have collaborated with their employers or have negotiated policies and programs to address these concerns. All locals have peer support members trained to assist members who may be suffering from stress injuries.
Since our last Convention, we are fortunate to have the Bathurst, New Brunswick as a new IAFF local. My congratulations and welcome to our new members. Organizing new members continues to be a top priority. Throughout the Atlantic provinces, we have a number of fire fighter groups who are in the process of affiliating with the IAFF. The pandemic slowed this effort, but I am confident that we will have them affiliated soon. With the assistance of the Montreal local, we continue to explore organizing opportunities in the province of Quebec. To further this initiative, we continue to expand upon our French language services. I continue to work with Charlottetown, Shawinigan and Bathurst to assure a smooth transition and access to IAFF services.
As vice-chair of the IAFF Canadian Affairs Committee, I have had the opportunity to work on improvements to federal legislation and programs, which affect our fire fighters on a national level. I have also had the opportunity to work with the Canadian provincial presidents to propose programs and initiatives that will strengthen the fire service and protect our hard-earned benefits. I am very pleased with the progress that we have made on our federal legislative agenda. Just recently, we secured funding to train our fire fighters in rural-urban interface forest firefighting. We were also able to secure a Canadian provider for fire fighter behavioral and mental health treatment. I look forward to working with EHN, the provider, to see this fire fighter specific treatment program enacted to the benefit of our members.
My term in office has been both rewarding and enjoyable. It could not have been achieved without the hard work, dedication and cooperation of the many members throughout the District. I especially would like to thank the local union officers, local union leadership and the executive board of the APPFFA for your continued support and cooperation.
I would like to thank the staff of the Canadian Office for their continual hard work and dedication and their assistance to both myself and the District locals. Since our last Convention, AGP Scott Marks has retired. I thank him for his service and wish him well in the future. I would also like to thank the Ottawa local for agreeing to host this Convention. I am confident that it will be an enjoyable experience.
Thank you to General President Ed Kelly and General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma and the excellent staff of the IAFF for their continued leadership, support and assistance.
Many important resolutions will be presented to the delegates at this Convention. I look forward to the interaction and the debate that comes with planning for our future. I trust that you will be fully engaged in providing this direction. I thank all of you for affording me the opportunity to represent you as your District Vice President. Enjoy this Convention experience and best wishes to you and your families.
16th District Report
James B. Johnson
16th District Vice President
In accordance with the provisions of Article VI, Section 3, of the International Association of Fire Fighters’ Constitution and By-Laws, I respectfully submit this report to the membership.
As the Vice President of the 16th District, I have attended all Executive Board meetings, conferences, and other IAFF functions as required. I am presently serving on the following IAFF Executive Board Committees: Education and Training, Canadian Affairs, Technical Assistance, Government Affairs, and Health and Safety.
Since our last Convention, our very first virtual Convention, I have continued to educate our District leadership, lobby for the IAFF’s legislative agenda, and provide advice and technical assistance to our federal affiliates. There have been many challenges, such as vaccine mandates and an unfriendly labor relations environment in the federal sector. The change in the Administration after the national election in the U.S. has proved beneficial to the District. Many of the challenges we encounter are political, wherein political appointees look down upon organized labor and counter our efforts to achieve safer work environments. But the District and the IAFF have taken on these challenges by introducing legislation on Capitol Hill to address many issues. Our great grassroots efforts also led to the passage of HR 2499 in the House of Representatives to provide presumptive illness coverage for federal fire fighters. We are currently working with the Senate to pass this important bill into law. And at the end of last year, we were successful in getting the Trade Time issue (Federal Firefighter Flexibility and Fairness Act, H.R. 2059) passed, and it became a law.
Our Team of District Field Service Representatives and Service Representatives within the District are vital in providing onsite assistance and training for our local affiliate leaders and meeting the many political challenges we face. Their extensive experience and many years of service as labor leaders are invaluable. Their dedication to learning the craft of labor leaders, mediators and negotiators has benefited everyone. Although the COVID pandemic slowed our approach on some issues, we quickly evolved into working in a virtual world to continue supporting the District. Once the pandemic slowed, we were able to get together for important training at the Affiliate Leadership Training Summit (ALTS) in Orlando, Florida, and the 2022 IAFF Legislative Conference. Recently, we held our first 16th District Partnership Education Program (PEP) in Baltimore, Maryland.
The 16th District also continues our participation in several federal employees’ forums, such as the Federal Postal Coalition and the Federal Workers Alliance, providing valuable input regarding federal employee issues and policy. In 2021 and 2022, we have worked with these groups to counter anti-worker policies and promote protections for federal employees and their union representatives.
Federal fire fighters are constantly threatened with potential staffing cutbacks due to continuing reductions to funding that flows to the federal fire departments, exacerbated by a pandemic that has crippled economies. Despite budget increases for some federal agencies, many agencies do not prioritize fire protection, and therefore, funding is often allocated to other programs. Although many federal agencies want to assume risk and reduce safe practices on the backs of our members, this District will remain steadfast in its position of maintaining safe staffing and response criteria. To address the many staffing challenges in the Department of Defense (DoD), we recently worked with Representative Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania to introduce HR 7898, which will hopefully become a law that mandates certain fire protection staffing parameters within DoD.
Through my office, the District has presented issues before the Federal Labor Relations Authority, such as negotiability appeals, unit clarification petitions and issues before the Federal Service Impasse Panel. In several unit clarification issues, we were successful in including previously excluded employees into the IAFF’s bargaining units. We have also organized several new federal locals within the District.
Since our last Convention, the District and the IAFF Executive Board have met many challenges, utilizing technology to continue to represent the members. Having served for many years on the job as a federal fire fighter, I know that every benefit we battle to gain and ultimately achieve is the result of hard work throughout the District. Because of the District members’ support, the 16th District has become a respected voice in the federal employment arena. Much of the credit for this and other successes we have achieved should also be given to the many affiliate leaders in the District that sacrifice their time for their locals and the entire District. In addition, the support, leadership and guidance we have received from General President Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Lima, the Executive Board and the IAFF staff has been tremendous.
It continues to be an honor for me to be your representative and to serve on the Executive Board of this great International as your 16th District Vice President. The experience is rewarding and educational, and I look forward to continuing to serve the District for many years.