IAFF President Al Whitehead meets with Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Ron Brown at the AFL-CIO Winter Meeting. He shares his concerns that some Democratic mayors and other elected officials seek and receive substantial support from labor during their campaigns, but often turn their backs on fire fighters and other public employees after they are elected.
The Bush administration’s FY 1991 budget contains proposals that could adversely affect the paychecks of fire fighters and other public employees. The budget calls for imposing a 1.45 percent Medicare tax on fire fighters and state and local workers not currently covered by Medicare.
Every fire fighter who attends the National Fire Academy will pay a $25 user fee for each week of attendance. Further, federal fire fighters will receive a 3.5 percent pay increase rather than the 5 percent recommended by economists to battle rising inflation.
The IAFF works to push the Fire Fighters’ Hazardous Materials Act through Congress, despite opposition from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Chemical Manufacturers Association and the American Trucking Association. The International Association of Fire Chiefs endorses the IAFF-supported bill.
IAFF President Al Whitehead launches the FIREPAC 90 campaign to raise voluntary funds for the IAFF’s political action committee. IAFF members receive a request to help fight an assault on fire fighter pension plans by the federal government.
In the 1989-1990 election cycle, individual fire fighters contributed more than $260,000 to FIREPAC. Of the 196 races in which FIREPAC contributed money, 174 candidates were victorious for an overall 89 percent win record.
The 101st U.S. Congress acknowledges the dangers inherent in firefighting and takes steps to reduce some of the risks. Among the legislative issues addressed are passage of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and the expansion of the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB) program to provide a $100,000 indexed payment to fire fighters who are permanently and totally disabled in the line of duty.
The IAFF completes its training course, “Hazardous Materials Training for First Responders,” through a grant program funded by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986. The training emphasizes the health and safety of fire fighters based on their level of experience. The three-day program and materials are disseminated to state fire training agencies, colleges and universities, IAFF state associations and local unions.
The IAFF cancels its 1990 Burn Foundation Conference scheduled for Las Vegas in March. The IAFF’s support of the American Federation of Musicians during its recent labor dispute in Las Vegas results in this decision to cancel.
“Just as it is very important for every IAFF member to exercise his right as an American or Canadian citizen to cast their ballots on Election Day, it is also critical that we all play a financial role in ensuring the success of those federal issues that threaten our paychecks, our pensions and benefits, and our lives such as: hazardous materials transportation; limitations on early retirement; taxation of employee benefits; and mandatory Social Security coverage of certain state and local employees.”Al Whitehead, IAFF General President (1988-2000)
The 40th IAFF Convention is held in St. Louis, Missouri. The motto for the Convention is “A Proud Profession. A Bold Union. A Brighter Future.” The IAFF’s Department of Occupational Health and Safety offers voluntary screening of cholesterol levels. The average cholesterol level of delegates is 199 mg/dl. The IAFF aids Greyhound bus drivers on a picket line at the downtown St. Louis terminal.
The IAFF’s “1988 Annual Death and Injury Survey” places more emphasis on lost work time and premature fire fighter retirements caused by line-of-duty injuries, illnesses and contagious disease exposures. Fire fighter lost work hours resulting from line-of-duty injuries cost the public more than $150 million in 1988.
The IAFF produces a new video, Staffing for Survival, which is designed to assist locals in making a strong case to the public and in public hearings and arbitration for minimum staffing levels for four fire fighters per piece of apparatus.
IAFF affiliates raise $8 million for the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.
More than 180,000 professional fire fighters are members of the IAFF.
Due to recent developments in a federal court case involving FLSA claims for federal fire fighters, the IAFF requests copies of collective bargaining agreements for all federal locals.
The IAFF makes a new $2 million Catastrophe Major Medical Insurance Plan available to all U.S. members and their spouses, regardless of age, effective February 1991. Other family members are eligible to apply even if the member chooses not to do so.
In a major victory for the IAFF, the Canadian Labour Congress reaffirms the International’s position as the only fire fighters’ union in Canada with the right to affiliate with the national labor organization.
The IAFF announces the inception of a new Canadian supplement to the bi-monthly International Fire Fighter devoted exclusively to the activities and issues of Canadian locals and provincial affiliates. This new supplement replaces the separate quarterly magazine, Canadian Fire Fighter, which is produced by the Ottawa office and has a circulation of 2,500 copies.
The IAFF offers a collection of insignia watches to support FIREPAC. Prices range from $95 to $150, depending on type of watch face and strap.
The IAFF Executive Board adopts a new IAFF logo policy. Only authorized IAFF affiliates, including locals, state and provincial associations, ladies’ auxiliaries and firms producing products on behalf of the IAFF, are permitted to use it.
The IAFF solicits members’ design ideas for a new commemorative medal honoring union fire fighters killed in the line of duty.