Frank V. Líma has dedicated his life to family, firefighting and organized labor. As a former professional boxer, Los Angeles City fire captain and grassroots labor leader, he lives by his personal credo, “UNITE, FIGHT and ORGANIZE.”
Growing up in Los Angeles, California, Frank Lima has worked three jobs in his life – all union jobs – as a truck driver, a building trades carpenter apprentice and a fire fighter for the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD), which he joined in 1992.
Hired into his dream job in the LAFD at the age of 19, he began his career as a proud Los Angeles City Local 112 union fire fighter, working at one of the busiest stations in the nation.
He rose through the ranks of the LAFD as a fire fighter, apparatus operator, engine captain and for the past 17 years a truck company captain. Now, in his 29th year of service, Líma continues to be active in the field. He worked in specialized companies, including hazardous materials and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). He was deployed to New York City on September 11 to work as a rescue worker at ground zero after the terrorist attacks, along with another deployment to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
Once on the job, Líma saw the difference the union made in the lives of his sisters and brothers and answered the call of union leadership, where he has been able to further protect fire fighters by advancing legislation, negotiating strong contracts, protecting retirement security for members and successfully lobbying to remove a hostile, anti-union fire chief who sold out our members during a financial recession. His activism in the union began after his job was threatened and he was almost terminated over bogus accusations from a vindictive fire chief. Líma has never been afraid of a fight, but this experience taught him the value of the union firsthand and, most importantly, led him to dedicate the rest of his career in the fire service to protecting and fighting for other union fire fighters who unjustly come under attack.
Just as he worked and earned his way through the ranks of the LAFD, Líma put the same dedication into the work of the union, starting as a station steward and later elected to the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC) Local 112 Executive Board as a director, vice president, lead negotiator and eventually president in 2012.
As Local 112 president, Líma led the effort resulting in pay parity with Los Angeles police, as well as a fight against the cell phone industry, stopping a plan to put cell phone towers at firehouses, which would have jeopardized the health and safety of our members. That victory is now the model for all IAFF locals to follow that have opposed towers at their firehouses. As president of Local 112, Líma brought solidarity and unity to a divided local and became one of the most battle-tested union presidents in the history of UFLAC and the IAFF.
Local 112’s assets increased by over 200% under Líma’s transparent, fiscally prudent leadership. He also served as a vice president for the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) and is very supportive of the state and provincial associations. He has served for over 12 years as an elected Executive Board vice president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, one of the largest and most diverse county labor councils in America. Líma continues to be active on the California State Board of Fire Services, a Board that he was appointed to by both Governor Brown and Governor Newsom. He still serves as a principal member of the NFPA 1710 Technical Committee for career fire fighters, where he served the past 14 years.
In 2016, Líma was unanimously elected as IAFF 10th District Vice President, where he unified members from California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Arizona and Guam – the largest district in the IAFF under the Team 10th banner. In this position, he represented IAFF members in collective bargaining states and an anti-union/non-collective bargaining right to work states, as well as members in the private sector. Líma led one of the most powerful, victorious strike sanction campaigns in the IAFF in the past 25 years, collaborating with other organized labor unions, politicians, our Canadian IAFF family and federal mediators who all stood together in solidarity ready to shut down a major airport to obtain a fair contract for a 17-member local because no local is ever left behind on his watch.
Líma has always believed in union solidarity across the board and learned from a young age that labor needs to work across sectors to maximize their true power as a coalition of working families. That’s why he helped to lead and organize a rally in support of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) during an IAFF training conference in Los Angeles, where 1,800 fire fighters marched in support of the teachers to let them know that labor and IAFF fire fighters stood with them. Just a few months later, the UTLA secured a long-term contract for more than 35,000 public school teachers with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
Líma’s work on the frontlines for our members during floods and wildland disasters has provided much-needed disaster relief assistance to IAFF families. He has also expanded our IAFF by organizing dozens of new affiliates, bringing in hundreds of new members. He’s also successfully fought to get IAFF union leaders their jobs back after they were unfairly terminated for protected union activity. Líma was honored to serve as an Electoral College voter in the past 2020 U.S. presidential election, the first IAFF member ever to serve in this capacity. He was also elected to serve as the secretary of the California Electoral College by his peers. In his spare time, you might find him walking a picket line supporting union workers, running, playing handball, camping or gardening.
Líma is able to do all this work on behalf of our union because of the incredible love and support provided to him by his beautiful wife, Lisa, four children – Nico, Sophia, Lucia, Joey – and grandson Lorenzo.
Líma is humbled and honored to have been elected in 2021 to serve as only the 12th General Secretary-Treasurer in the history of the IAFF. He is committed to leading the office with integrity, transparency and fiscal prudence on behalf of all IAFF members.
#Unite, Fight, Organize