The International Association of Fire Fighters today said it will indefinitely freeze contributions to federal candidates and federal parties, party committees and the super PACs that support them and instead focus on the states, where so many governors and anti-worker lawmakers are pursuing legislation to eliminate collective bargaining rights, gag workers in the political arena and eliminate dues deduction to weaken union finances.
“We know we have legislative fights, ballot measures and recall elections that will require us to be on the offensive at the state and local level through this fall. I expect this strategic decision to focus our resources on state and local efforts to last as long as the political and legislative fights in the states continue,” IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said.
The IAFF in February began a campaign to assist firefighters and paramedics wage their political and legislative fights in statehouses. The IAFF has helped its members respond to anti-worker legislation in Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan, Nebraska, Alabama, Tennessee, and New Hampshire, using legal resources, television, newspaper, Internet and social media to educate our members and the public and fight back with everything we have.
“The attacks launched at our members since the November 2010 elections have changed the landscape.
Extreme right-wing conservative and so-called Tea Party politicians are coming after firefighters, paramedics and all public workers with a vengeance across the United States, so it’s time to focus our efforts on the states,” Schaitberger said.
The IAFF’s Political Action Committee, FIREPAC, was in the top 1.1 percent of the more than 7,100 federally registered PACs in terms of dollars raised and was the 10th largest PAC in candidate contributions in the last election cycle. It was also one of the most bi-partisan PACs. In total, the IAFF spent close to $15 million in the last election cycle on behalf of federal candidates and both political parties, helping to elect those who support us and defeat those who oppose us.
“Now more than ever, as our adversaries speak and act with a concerted, focused message, we need our friends to respond with similar strength and leadership to beat back the multi-faceted, well-organized assaults the right has launched at us – funded by anti-labor extremists like the multi-billionaire Koch brothers. And while we are fighting for our very survival, our friends aren’t doing enough to fight back — they don’t have our backs,” Schaitberger said.
The IAFF, headquartered in Washington, represents more than 298,000 full-time professional firefighters and paramedics in North America and is the leading advocate for the health and safety of firefighters. More information is available at www.iaff.org.