Be sure to vote today.

I witnessed a lot of people holding over because of firefighters stuck at the polls. Be sure to vote. If you were unable to vote this morning and are working today you might want to call your BC to see if you are able to leave to go vote. I am not sure if you are granted paid leave in Virginia for this or not, but you are allowed to go vote. Due to the long lines at the polls, I understand why several left the lines to get to work on time.

If you need further assistance or are afraid to ask, I will be happy to look into it for you. Let me know ASAP.

Maybe you have seen this ad running on tv, maybe not. Before you say that your Union dues are paying for this, they are not. This is paid for by the IAFF FIREPAC, which some of you may fund voluntarily. The firefighters in the ad are from Fairfax County. The ads were created in three forms, the one you see and two others taking aim at McCain as well as two other State Senator races I believe in North Carolina and New Hamshire.

Check out for a detailed report from NCPERS on Public Pensions. This article compares Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution plans.

Link –

By the way, the Local site is back up and running. The issue was with our previous domain host, we have successfully moved domain hosting to the same host as our web server and this issue has been corrected. I apologize for the downtime, it was out of my control.

Public Safety Employee Disaster Assistance Program
The Commonwealth has enacted new legislation that offers financial assistance to public safety responders. Section 44-146.17 in the Code of Virginia states that public safety employees who respond to a disaster can receive assistance from the state under the following conditions:

* The governor has declared a state of emergency; and
* The employee is actively involved in response and recovery efforts for the disaster; and
* The employee experiences extreme personal or family hardship as a result of the disaster.

Each employee can receive up to $2,500 each month for up to three months. The Commonwealth is offering these funds to fill unmet needs that insurance, charitable contributions and any other available disaster funds do not cover. The approval of assistance and amounts awarded are at the discretion of the governor or his designee, and all such decisions are final. Temporary or contract support employees are not eligible.
Public safety employees who suffered extreme hardships due to the April 28 tornadoes should submit an application and supporting documentation to VDEM. Applications and program guidance are available at For more information, contact Individual Assistance Program Manager Larry Braja at or (804) 897-6500, ext. 6538.

Attention all Local 1132 Members. All available members are asked to attend the Roanoke City Council Meeting on Monday May 12, 2008 at 2pm. We will be meeting at the Union Hall for lunch (provided) at noon and then going to the Council Meeting. We will not be able to speak at the Council Meeting. However we want City Council to have to look us in the eye when they take Engine 13 out of service and the 4 person off of Ladder 7. Your attendance is important on this matter and is greatly appreciated.

Please wear your black IAFF shirts from the last Council meeting. If you do not have one, we will provide one for you. If you have questions, contact your Shift Vice President, Rodney Jordan, or Rhett Fleitz.

The last meeting, 91 of us really made a statement. It would be great to increase that number this time.

Tonight there will be an interview on Channel 10 sometime either 5, 5:30, 6, or 11. Watch it. I will not be able to watch it until later on the internet.

There will be an article in the paper tomorrow.

Channel 7 and the Roanoke Times reported that the City Council has agreed to the Budget with the exception of adding the funds in to resurface the Eureka park tennis courts. City Council still has to vote on the budget on Monday.

I don’t think disappointed covers it, but I am disappointed.

I will try to stay on top of the News Coverage following the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association’s stance against the budget cuts.

From what I have heard already, the Council Members were very receptive to our message. Some are said to have remarked that our presence and our message was the biggest and most impressive that the Council Members had seen in their tenure on Council.

Another little birdie told me that Mayor Nelson Harris was at the previous meeting at 5pm and even ate the catered dinner after that meeting between 5pm and 6pm. However, at 10 minutes to 7pm, Harris handed the gavel to Vice-Mayor Trinkle and tip-toed out the back door. I guess our presence was something that he did not want to get involved in during Elections. I also understand that the City Manager was not prepared and tongue tied while being interviewed afterwards.

I have so many things I would love to say right now, but instead I will leave you with this fact. Ninety One (91) Firefighters were in Council Chambers tonight. That is more than one-third of the department. Remember that one-third was working. I think we have your attention.

I must say that tonight I was a very proud Firefighter and a very proud member of the RFFA. To see you all come together in unity and solidarity was truly moving. Scooter’s account of his incident, Rorrer’s talk about Scooter, and Rodney’s account of Kyle Wilson all gave me goose bumps. It brought me to a place that I will be speaking of in the future on the blog.

I look forward to the Roanoke Times in the morning. Look for the story on Scott Hetherington on the front page of the Virginia section as well as an article by Mason Adams on the Council Meeting last night.

Click on the links below for news and video.

Firefighter Hourly covered the story here
The FireEMSBlog covered Scooters story here
STATter 911 covered the story last week here
Valerie Garner covered the story on her blog here

Firefighter Returns After Heart Attack – WSET
Roanoke firefighter returns after heart attack
Video: Firefighter returns to duty since suffering cardiac arrest – Roanoke Times
Firefighter reclaims spot at station – Roanoke Times

Firefighters upset about proposed cuts to Roanoke’s fire department – WDBJ
City seeks widespread budget cuts in proposal – Roanoke Times
Firefighters Face Cuts – WSET
Roanoke Firefighters Association makes statement at City Hall – WSLS
Many fired up about proposed cuts to Roanoke’s fire department
Firefighters Fight Cuts – WSET (a snippet is below)

Chief David Hoback, Roanoke Fire & EMS – “City council, city manager, no one wants to do this. But the fire department, being the second largest budget, has to contribute their share.” And Chief Hoback decided the only way to reduce his budget by $350,000 to $400,000, as instructed, was to reduce his staffing. A decision that has his firefighters rallying against him. Lt. Rhett Fleitz, Firefighters Assoc. Local 1132 – “This isn’t necessarily the firefighters against the fire chief. This is more so, the firefighters against the budget cuts.” Cuts that would scale back the staffing at Station 13 on Peters Creek Road from six firefighters to three, the absolute minimum required to operate a truck. Fleitz – “This proposal will jeopardize Roanoke City (web) firefighters as well as the citizens we’re trying to protect.” Chief David Hoback, Roanoke Fire & EMS – “They will not see a difference. They will not experience a difference. The truck will still get there in four minutes or less and be able to meet those performance standards.” But Chief Hoback admits, if adopted, this proposal would stretch his department thin. He says reducing any more positions would force them to eliminate a station. And no one wants that.

The Council meeting will start tonight at 7pm. You can view it live on Channel 3 or online here. After going to the link, click on the city emblem on the right hand side half way down the page. Click on Live feed.
Update: We will have a van to get people from the Union Hall to the Municipal Building. We will also be serving Pizza around 4:30-5:00. At that time the t-shirts will be given out. Pizza, Van, and t-shirts are on the Union bill. We will also have 250 tickets to the Guns and Hoses Softball game to give away (scroll to bottom of this post for more information).

On Thursday May 1st, the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association will represent in force at the Roanoke City Council Meeting at 7pm. The Firefighters are standing up against the proposed budget cuts by Chief Hoback.

The proposal call for a reduction in 6 positions, although the Roanoke Resource Allocation Plan (fancy for Budget) calls for the reduction in 8 positions in operations. Firefighters are not sure why there is a major discrepancy in the numbers, but this isn’t the first time the numbers don’t add up. There is a long standing tradition of skewing the statistics to help prove a point.

Roanoke’s Firefighters will meet up at the RFFA Union Hall between 4:30 and 5:30pm to get ready for the Council meeting. They are calling for all concerned citizens and Civic Leaders to be at the Council meeting to voice their concerns. The media have been following the story for the past week since the proposal was brought up. 100 firefighters are expected to converge on Council Chambers in solidarity against the budget cuts which they feel will jeopardize their safety and that of the citizens they protect.

Several Firefighters are planning on speaking at the council meeting.

Firefighters from Roanoke County and Salem are being asked to show up in solidarity with its Roanoke City Brothers and Sisters to help with the cause.

There will be t-shirts handed out at the Union Hall for all Firefighters.

If any firefighters, citizens, or members of the media need to get a hold of me my phone number is 540-537-8158 (cell).

In other news, Former Mayor David Bowers leads Incumbent Mayor Nelson Harris in the current Mayoral race according to a poll by News Channel 7 52% to 31%. Maybe Roanoke’s Citizens are finally standing up.

Just a reminder-

The 5th Annual Guns & Hoses Baseball Game will be this Saturday, March 3rd at 3:15pm at Salem Stadium.
Here is the agenda:

  • 2pm – Gates open, kids activities
  • 3:15pm- Guns & Hoses Game
  • 6:07pm – Salem Avalanche Game

If you need tickets, contact me.

In case there is any question, this was posted by an off-duty firefighter.

Vote tomorrow at the Primaries.

Everyone should vote. Whether you are voting for Obama or Clinton or McCain or Huckabee, you should get out and vote.

I still don’t know who I will vote for, but I will be voting.

A very important bill in Senate needs your support. The Line of Duty Bill was uncontested until yesterday when . Your support is needed to contact Senator Edwards and let him know you want his support on this.

Read more on the Local 1132 Site. Read about the current status of the bill here.

Contact Senator Edwards here.

View other Legislative tracking on

Call his office now. Ask for his support on Senate bill 329. That is all you have to do. From what I understand, they have already received 73 calls from across the State this morning.

Stay Safe

Recently, there was a clash in the House of Delegates between the Republicans and Democrats. I was not particularly fond of the reasoning or outcome. However, what really set me off was the fact that in my view of the events, Morgan Griffith made a mockery of us wanting simple rights for Public Safety. Those simple basic rights are that of bargaining for a decent contract by abolishing the prohibition on Collective Bargaining in Virginia. Apparently, Griffith does not feel as though the Public Safety Officials in Virginia deserve the same as in other States. I wonder if he would feel the same way if he were exposed to some of the strong armed, retaliatory, and otherwise unchecked Management styles of some Fire and Police Departments in Virginia.

Read about the clash between Ward Armstrong and Morgan Griffith here and here.

Hell, all we want is a seat at the table, a fair shake, and some checks and balances on policy.

Below are some of the videos related to the articles linked above. If anyone knows of any links to other videos related to this let me know.

I must say that I stand behind the IAFF when they speak of Bipartisan Politics. I will support any delegate of any party as long as they support me. However, it is hard to do when you have all of the House Republicans allowing this conduct to occur.

Furthermore, Griffith told Ward Armstrong (A strong supporter of Firefighters) that he (Armstrong) was either for the Commonwealth or for Unions. So I guess that makes us 2nd Class Citizens.

As with anytime we come across someone who doesn’t appreciate us; I always like to remind them that we don’t care who you are, where you came from, what your views are, or if you like us or not… WE WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU IN YOUR TIME OF NEED.

Below is the Virginia Firefighter Bill of Rights. Check it out. Did you know it existed? This can be found on the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Association website ( If you are a member of Local 1132 then you are a member of the VPFF.

§ 2.1-116.9:1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter unless the context requires a different meaning:

“Emergency medical technician” means any person who is employed solely within the fire department or public safety department of an employing agency as a full-time emergency medical technician whose primary responsibility is the provision of emergency care to the sick and injured, using either basic or advanced techniques. Emergency medical technicians may also provide fire protection services and assist in the enforcement of the fire prevention code.

“Employing agency” means any municipality of the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, including authorities and special districts, which employs firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

“Firefighter” means any person who is employed solely within the fire department or public safety department of an employing agency as a full-time firefighter whose primary responsibility is the prevention and extinguishment of fires, the protection of life and property, and the enforcement of local and state fire prevention codes and laws pertaining to the prevention and control of fires.

“Interrogation” means any questioning of a formal nature as used in Chapter 10.1, Law-Enforcement Officer’s Procedural Guarantees, § 2.1-116.2, that could lead to dismissal, demotion, or suspension for punitive reasons of a firefighter or emergency medical technician.

§ 2.1-116.9:2. Conduct of interrogation.

The following provisions of this section shall apply whenever a firefighter or emergency medical technician is subjected to an interrogation which could lead to dismissal, demotion or suspension for punitive reasons:

1. The interrogation shall take place at the facility where the investigating officer is assigned, or at the facility which has jurisdiction over the place where the incident under investigation allegedly occurred, as designated by the investigating officer.

2. No firefighter or emergency medical technician shall be subjected to interrogation without first receiving written notice of sufficient detail of the investigation in order to reasonably apprise the firefighter or emergency medical technician of the nature of the investigation.

3. All interrogations shall be conducted at a reasonable time of day, preferably when the firefighter or emergency medical technician is on duty, unless the importance of the interrogation or investigation is of such a nature that immediate action is required.

4. The firefighter or emergency medical technician under investigation shall be informed of the name, rank, and unit or command of the officer in charge of the investigation, the interrogators, and all persons present during any interrogation.

5. Interrogation sessions shall be of reasonable duration and the firefighter or emergency medical technician shall be permitted reasonable periods for rest and personal necessities.

6. The firefighter or emergency medical technician being interrogated shall not be subjected to offensive language or offered any incentive as an inducement to answer any questions.

7. If a recording of any interrogation is made, and if a transcript of such interrogation is made, the firefighter or emergency medical technician under investigation shall be entitled to a copy without charge. Such record may be electronically recorded.

8. No firefighter or emergency medical technician shall be discharged, disciplined, demoted, denied promotion or seniority, or otherwise disciplined or discriminated against in regard to his employment, or be threatened with any such treatment as retaliation for or by reason solely of his exercise of any of the rights granted or protected by this chapter.

Chris Dodd, the IAFF Firefighters Candidate for Presidency Calls it Quits.

Just moments after Obama and Huckabee were announced as the Caucus winners in IOWA, Chris Dodd announced that he is calling it quits. Dodd walked away early with the IAFF backing and hoped to enjoy the same momentum that John Kerry had just 4 years ago coming out of Iowa.

Chris Dodd’s nomination by the IAFF was a surprise to many as I have wrote about in the past. Many did not know who he was. When the polls showed that Clinton and Obama were leading the pack, the IAFF decided to go with Dodd. This is believed to be mostly in part by the firefighters who were at the IAFF Presidential forum in D.C. last year. The firefighters, several thousand in numbers, each filled out questionnaires about each individual candidate who spoke. The candidates included Obama, Dodd, Clinton, Biden, Richardson, Brownback, McCain, and others.

Now that Dodd is out of the picture, it will be interesting to see whose name will end up in Black and Gold.

More later, Neither Dodd’s website or the IAFF website have posted anything on the matter.

Update: This was received from the Dodd Campaign tonight:

Dear Friend,

I count the past year of campaigning for the presidency as one of the most rewarding in a career of public service.

Unfortunately, I am withdrawing from that campaign tonight.

But there is no reason to hang our heads this evening — only the opportunity to look towards a continuation of the work we started last January: ending the Iraq War, restoring the Constitution, and putting a Democrat in the White House.

I know a lot of you came to this email list through a shared desire to return our nation to one that respects the rule of law, and I want to make one thing clear to all of you:

The fight to restore the Constitution and stop retroactive immunity does not end with my Presidential campaign. FISA will come back in a few weeks and my pledge to filibuster ANY bill that includes retroactive immunity remains operative.

You’ve been an invaluable ally in the battle, and I’ll need you to stick by my side despite tonight’s caucus results.

So, one more time, thank you for all of your efforts throughout the course of this entire Presidential campaign.

We made a real difference in shaping the debate, and we’ll continue to do so in the coming days, weeks and years.

I’ll never forget you, and what we’ve fought for, together, over the past year.

Chris Dodd


Yesterday saw a potential huge loss to firefighters across the Nation. I tuned into CSpan yesterday to watch the Senate in session debating the Farm Bill. The Republicans and Democrats attached 20 amendments to the bill each. One of the amendments is amendment 3830 which is the Public Safety Officer Employer/Employee Cooperation Act or the Firefighters bill as it was commonly known as among the Senators. The bill largely backed by the IAFF as well as the Fraternal Order of Police and State Troopers would basically give collective bargaining rights to all Public Safety.

Another amendment involved in the Farm Bill is H.R. 3997, as amended, which would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide earnings assistance and tax relief to members of the uniformed services, volunteer firefighters, and Peace Corps volunteers, and for other purposes.

As I watched many of the amendments get discussed and voted down, I thought that the firefighters amendment was good to go. Unfortunately, I believe that was not the case.

This below what I felt I understood of the end of today’s session, please do not take this for fact until something official comes out.

It appeared as though the drawn out discussions on the amendments were taxing the Senators and around 7pm a Senator asked for Cloture. Cloture basically means ending debate on the bill and voting. Prior to the vote on the cloture, it seemed as though the Firefighters amendment was withdrawn. Following, Senators spoke out about the fact that cloture was needed but that they were dismayed by the fact that they could not come to agreement on certain important amendments; one of those being the firefighters amendment.

Following that, cloture was voted on and they apparently ended the day. Tomorrow morning, when we felt they would be voting yeah for the Farm Bill with our amendment attached they will instead be voting on the Farm Bill with whichever amendments that had been voted yeah for prior to cloture.

And so we are left with another year without Collective Bargaining. Although I am positive that the IAFF will be back next year with even more support for our Bill.

I want to be clear on one thing, I could be wrong on what I thought I saw in the proceedings. Please watch the IAFF website to see what they have to say about the bill.

I will be in Court all morning and I will add more later in the day including any additions and corrections.


This is from the IAFF this morning:

Anti-Labor Senators Derail Fire Fighter Bargaining Bill

December 14, 2007 — With the Senate on the verge of passing the IAFF’s national collective bargaining bill, a small group of hard-line anti-labor senators engaged in a series of parliamentary tactics late last night to block the Senate from acting. With no way to overcome the obstacles, the Senate was forced to postpone action on the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act until after the New Year.

“I am personally outraged that a small group of senators are denying the nation’s fire fighters the basic right to discuss how they do their job,” says IAFF General President Schaitberger. “But this battle is far from over. Ultimately, I promise that this legislation will be signed into law.”

Both Democratic and Republican Senate leadership had agreed to allow the IAFF’s collective bargaining bill to be offered as an amendment to the comprehensive Farm bill, which the Senate had to finish before the Christmas break. With time running out in the legislative session, the Farm bill was one of the last legislative vehicles that was a “must” piece of legislation that could carry the proposal, while at the same time making it more difficult for the president to veto.

Prior to beginning debate on the Farm bill, the Senate unanimously agreed that each political party would be allowed to offer up to 20 amendments to the bill on any topic they chose, as long as those amendments were approved by a super-majority of 60 Senators. The two leading sponsors of the IAFF’s bargaining bill — Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) — jointly agreed that the the collective bargaining bill would be offered as a Democratic amendment.

After more than two dozen amendments were debated and voted on, Democrats moved to bring up our amendment. To the surprise of leaders of both parties, anti-labor senators, led by Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), refused to honor the unanimous consent agreement which would allow the Senate to consider the amendment. Additionally, they vowed to engage in parliamentary guerilla tactics to tie the Senate in knots.

Complicating the process, five key Senate supporters of the collective bargaining proposal are spending most of their time in Iowa and New Hampshire as they run for president. DeMint and Enzi knew that the IAFF would have a hard time meeting the 60-vote threshold without Senators Biden, Clinton, Dodd, McCain and Obama. While the presidential candidates had agreed to return to Washington last night, canceling their scheduled events for a significant portion of today to vote on the amendment this morning, there was no way the Senate leadership on both sides of the aisles could put the presidential campaigns on hold to remain in Washington indefinitely.

With no way to circumvent the parliamentary hurdles that could have dragged on for a couple of days, Gregg and Kennedy were forced to withdraw their amendment.

“Our opponents may have delayed the inevitable outcome, which will be the passage of the Public Employer-Employee Cooperation Act,” Schaitberger says, “but we know that the will of the Congress, the continued support of the Senate leadership and the will of the American People cannot be thwarted for long. We will prevail and we will prevail in this 110th Congress.”

Hey all, I get a lot of questions about he Collective Bargaining Bill. Below is the update from the IAFF. Basically, YOU NEED TO CALL YOUR SENATORS TO SUPPORT THIS BILL. The switchboard for Senators is (202) 224 3121. Read more below.

By the way: Virginia’s Senators are Jim Webb and John Warner. I made the phone calls and simply asked for their support in the Amendment for the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act by Senator Gregg, Kennedy, and Harkin. They said they would pass it along and asked for my zip code. This is a numbers game people. You better hope we outnumber the Right To Work people.

You can also email Senator Warner here

Or Senator Webb here


The day we have long anticipated is at hand. The U.S. Senate will be considering the IAFF’s Collective Bargaining proposal TODAY between 3:45 and 5:00 p.m. A vote is likely tomorrow.

The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act was offered as an amendment to the Farm Bill by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH), Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA).

We must mobilize our membership immediately to begin making phone calls to Senate offices. In every office, senators are already receiving dozens of calls — from constituents in their states who oppose this vital legislation.

Our message is simple: Tell your senators, regardless of party, to vote in favor of the bipartisan Gregg, Kennedy, Harkin Amendment to the Farm Bill.

This is now a numbers game. Every Senate office has been educated on the issue. Your call is not about explaining the ins and outs of collective bargaining — it’s about generating as many phone calls as possible in the next 24-48 hours.

Again — a very simple message — vote in favor of the Gregg, Kennedy, Harkin Amendment to the Farm Bill.

The phone number for the Senate switchboard is (202) 224 3121. Your members can simply dial that number and ask to be connected to their respective senator’s office.

Your assistance in mobilizing your members to make these phone calls is greatly appreciated.


Kevin B. O’Connor
Assistant to the General President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy


Dear IAFF Member:

Our long antiicpated day has arrived. The U.S. Senate will be considering the IAFF’s national collective bargaining bill in the next few days, with a vote likely to follow. I am asking all IAFF members to call their senators TODAY and tell them to support America’s fire fighters and police officers by voting in favor of the Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg “Fire Fighter” amendment to the Farm Bill.

This is expected to be a very close vote, and your senators could be the deciding vote!

More than 80,000 of your brother and sister fire fighters in 18 states do not currently enjoy basic employment rights. The Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg “Fire Fighter” amendment ensures that every fire fighter has the right to collectively bargain.

National Right to Work and city managers are lobbying hard against us. To be successful, we need to flood the Senate with phone calls supporting the “Fire Fighter” amendment. Call your senators and ask your friends and family to call their senators in support of public safety officers.

This International has fought for the last 12 years to bring this issue to a vote. Please give five minutes of your time to call your senators and urge them to stand with their fire fighters and support the Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg amendment to the Farm Bill.

The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Simply call this number and ask to be transferred to your senator’s office.

With your help we can achieve one of the biggest victories in the history of the IAFF.

Support the “Fire Fighter” amendment.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

Harold Schaitberger
General President

I have been hanging around the house today fielding phone calls from politicians hoping to win in the November 6th elections. I just had some guys from the AFL-CIO come by the house to talk about a candidate. I will be posting the endorsed candidates from the VPFF and Local 1132 tomorrow hopefully. This will help you in deciding on November 6th.

Even if you do not vote for the endorsed/suggested candidate, I advise you to at least go and vote. It is up to you to vote to make a difference whichever what you see fit.

The link to the Local 1132 website is here

There is a thread on firehouse forums right now where the firefighters are discussing pay across the Nation. I just had to laugh at some of the figures compared to ours. You can view the thread here. It is interesting how one of the firefighters from South Carolina gives his pay and then makes the comment that it is the benefit of working for a Right To Work State. Needless to say, his pay is on the lower end of the spectrum. That same lower end of the spectrum is the same area where ours is located.

We can only hope that we can get the National Collective Bargaining Bill passed and actually have some say on our pay grades.

Another note is that Roanoke City just sent many Chiefs to the International Association of Fire Chiefs conference. That same group (IAFC) is rumored to be fighting against the Collective Bargaining Bill. Does this mean that Roanoke City will soon be sending firefighters to IAFF events?

Just a thought.

You can view more information about the Collective Bargaining Bill here.
View some key points about the bill here.

The IAFF has just announced that they will be endorsing Senator Chris Dodd for President in 2008. I must say that being at the IAFF Presidential forum that Dodd was very receptive to firefighters needs. The firefighters up in Connecticut are very proud of their Senator who has championed many of their causes.

I am sure that this endorsement will be a shock to many IAFF members who hold their respective State’s Presidential Hopeful near and dear. I know that there is a large conglomerate of H. Clinton supporters in the NY area, Richardson in New Mexico, Biden in Deleware, and some others who have been very good to the firefighters in their States.

This endorsement will more than likely have many IAFF members wondering who the hell Chris Dodd is and why he is being endorsed if he isn’t at the top of any polls right now.

Then there will be many who are letting out a sigh of relief for the fact that Hillary was not endorsed. I know so many of you were ready to turn in your cards if she had been endorsed.

It will be interesting to see the Dodd camp get such a boost of support. I expect that the polls will soon show an increase in strength.

However, the job isn’t done that easy. The IAFF has endorsed Dodd after much deliberation. The IAFF did studies, polls, interviews, etc. before coming to this decision. They have figured out that Dodd is your best bet for President according to what you say and what you stand for as a firefighter. More later on what you can do to ensure his win.

This from Harold Shaitberger and the IAFF:

Senator… Soldier… Patriot…

Experience and Leadership Our Country Needs

We have a core political philosophy on which all of our political work hinges. We will support those who support us.

In the 2008 presidential election, there are a number of candidates with solid records on fire fighter and working family issues. The proven, demonstrated ability to lead on those issues are what we weigh the most when deciding who will receive the considerable support and endorsement of our great union. These successes tell us what kind of leadership each candidate will offer as our president.

So we did the background work and looked at the candidates’ records on fire fighter and working family issues. We saw which issues they have a history of supporting and where they led the fight to change things for the better. And we examined the strengths each candidate would bring in a general election.

We listened to the candidates’ words, hosted forums and printed information about them in our magazine. We talked with our leaders and members across the country. Your IAFF Executive Board took that information and found one candidate out of all those running in both parties really stood head and shoulders above the rest when it came to support for fire fighters, for protecting our country and on issues that are important to our economy, our families and their quality of life.

That candidate is U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, and that’s why your IAFF Executive Board reached a consensus and will formally vote August 29 and announce the IAFF’s endorsement of Senator Dodd for president of the United States.

Senator Chris Dodd’s full record will be available on the “Fire Fighters For Dodd” web site at
beginning Wednesday, August 29.

Chris understands service, duty and leadership. He’s spent his entire adult life serving our country and its citizens.

As a young man, he joined the Peace Corps, and as he worked in rural communities in the Dominican Republic he learned the value of the United States leading the way for others.

After fulfilling that commitment, Chris enlisted in the Army National Guard and later served in the U.S. Army Reserves.

And after earning a law degree, he ran for and was elected to Congress in 1974, where he served three terms in the House of Representatives on behalf of Connecticut, then was elected to represent his state in the U.S. Senate in 1980.

His record of leadership on issues that have helped American workers not just keep their heads above water, but to get ahead, is long and distinguished. It tells us a lot about the kind of president he will make and why we believe he can win.

Just as important, Chris Dodd’s record is probably the best in the history of the U.S. Congress in leading the fight to ensure that the funding, resources and staffing fire fighters need to do their jobs safely and effectively is there.

He wasn’t just a co-sponsor of the FIRE Act; he wrote it.

He wasn’t just a co-sponsor of the SAFER Act; he wrote it.

Chris has co-sponsored our collective bargaining legislation.

He helped lead the fight to implement all of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Dodd supports increased funding for Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants, the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) program and other block grants to assist first responders.

In fact, one of his first votes as a young congressman was to authorize the original PSOB program in September 1976.

Chris has earned the support of this IAFF, and as we unite in support of his candidacy, I believe the country will once again see in our candidate the values and strength that they see in their fire fighters.

With the boldest plans to make health insurance, college tuition and energy more affordable, we know that Chris Dodd will continue to fight for the middle class as president.

Chris Dodd has a wealth of experience and a record of leadership on national and homeland security matters. His experienced diplomacy is going to be critical in protecting our nation and leading us back to the forefront in the world again.

Chris has served the citizens of this country with distinction his entire career; he is a candidate with experience, a proven track record and a real vision for the future.

He is known as an effective lawmaker and a skillful negotiator who is respected on both sides of the political aisle – and who can bring people together to tackle big challenges.

Such qualities have served Chris well as he has been part of every major domestic and foreign policy debate over the last quarter century.

Our great country has been without sound presidential leadership for too long. This time around, experience matters. America needs a president who is a leader like Chris Dodd. No candidate has more experience, and no candidate has led the way on issues important to fire fighters and the quality of life for their families as Chris Dodd.

Editorial: The force of unions
The costly alliance between the Democrats’ Big Labor and the Republicans’ Big Safety Scare.

My comments are in italics. The original article is in bold.
Before I get into this whole mess of an editorial I did read it start to finish and was amazed at the writing. How in the hell am I, as a reader of the Roanoke Times, supposed to take this article serious. After all, the writer thinks that Jim Webb is a Republican (read the last line).

This is what I am here for, maybe a professional opinion on the matter from those of us who are affected by what is going on. I have not copied the whole article, for that you will have to click the link above. I did include a lot of it though.

Move over Big Business. Big Labor now holds sway in Congress.

Labor unions have called in their political markers. In order to boost lagging membership, they have convinced both Democrats (already in their pockets) and Republicans (willing to support any measure that touches on America’s “first-tier defenders in the war on terror”) that every police officer and firefighter throughout the nation ought to have the Congress-given right to collectively bargain…

I don’t think I like the tone of “America’s “first-tier defenders in the war on terror”". Comments like that don’t get you anywhere.

This bill — passed overwhelmingly in the House and expected to enjoy a similar margin in the Senate — will cost local taxpayers’ dearly as localities will be bound to follow yet another unfunded federal mandate…

You know that this whole thing wouldn’t be an issue if our employers were looking out for our best interest and we felt efficiently compensated. Everyone around will figure all we want is more money, that is far from the truth. There are BIG issues to be decided on, fought for, and hopefully received through contract negotiations.

Of course that won’t happen overnight or in all localities, as management and labor often can strike fair contracts that protect everyone’s interests. However, with national unions calling the shots, there will be a push for standardized wages that could cause cities with lower costs of living to keep pace with higher-wage areas. This could mean huge pay raises for thousands of Virginian public safety officers.

The bill does provide one reassurance that the unions couldn’t strike. But it will do nothing to quell labor strife in localities where management and employees already are at odds. Nor will it do much to enhance working conditions and salaries in localities that already do well by their employees…

“Labor strife in localities where management and employees already are at odds.” Like I said, this is exactly why we need the right to fight for our working conditions. You wouldn’t believe the retaliation and strong arm tactics within fire departments.

The only benefit will be to Big Labor, which has struggled in recent years with declining union membership.

Actually, our membership has gone up.

Police and firefighter unions may make sense in parts of the country where collective bargaining is the rule rather than the exception. However, even then one union plays off the other, making increasing demands for wages, pensions and job protections that rise above those of the people footing the bill. And nonuniform employees generally must accept the leftover crumbs.

“Police and firefighter unions may make sense in parts of the country where collective bargaining is the rule rather than the exception.” What the hell are you saying? I am completely lost. So you are saying that it is ok for some States to allow it but not others, and in those States where it is allowed the PD and FD deserve it and it is ok. However, in the States that don’t allow it, the FD and PD don’t deserve it. Do you need help? I can get some guys over there to get the extrication tools out to remove your head from your ass.

There is still a chance, although slim, to stop this. We call on Sens. John Warner and James Webb to look out for Virginians’ interest — something our Democratic representatives failed to do.

Again, I will ask what you mean. Don’t you have a proofreader? Anyone? I will be sure to call on Senator Webb and tell him what the Democrats are doing behind his back. Then I will call Senator Warner and ask him if he is sponsoring it yet. If he says no, I will ask him why not.

After all, there is an editorial columnist who thinks it is fine…in some States…But only the ones who allow it…but wrote a paper kind of saying differently…but then contradicted him/her self…and then didn’t let anyone proof read it…and published it.

I think it is about time we get a voice on our working conditions.