Thousands Remember IAFF 3rd District Vice President Michael Mullane

Thousands of IAFF members from across North America – as well as fire fighters from around the world – family and friends gathered at Saint Brendan’s Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts, January 8 to honor and remember legendary labor leader and IAFF 3rd District Vice President A. Michael Mullane. 

The longest-serving IAFF Executive Board member, Mullane, 68, died January 1 surrounded by family and friends.

A reflection of Mullane himself, the service was conducted to remember and celebrate the larger-than-life union leader and his contributions to the fire service and working families.

A procession of fire apparatus and IAFF members lined the route to the church as bagpipes played. Many who knew him well spoke about Mullane’s countless accomplishments and his boisterous personality.

General President Harold Schaitberger said, “Tough, to the point, loyal beyond reproach to his friends, protective of his family, his members and his union against any who would tread on them, regardless of their position of perceived power.”

Also speaking at the funeral were Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts President Edward Kelly, Boston Local President Richie Paris, IAFF Vice President Emeritus Kevin Gallagher, and Mullane’s nephews Local 718 member Neal Mullane Jr. and Massport Fire-Rescue Local S-2 President Arthur Miner Jr.

“He turned nobody away,” Edward Kelly told the Boston Globe. 

In a letter to the Local 718 membership, Local 718 President Richie Paris said, “As fire fighters we call each other ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister,’ and Mike didn’t use those words lightly. We were his family. He opened his heart, his hand and home to any Brother in need. As a union leader, he committed his entire life to each of our families.”

Raised in a family of public servants, Mullane was no exception. He began his service when he joined the U.S. Navy immediately after graduating high school. 

When he completed his military service, he joined the Boston Fire Department and was assigned to Engine 21 in Uphams Corner, becoming a member of Boston Local 718 in October of 1969. He retired 43 years later in August 2012.

Right away Mullane developed a passion for fighting for better working conditions, wages and benefits on behalf of his fellow Boston fire fighters. And, at just 28 years of age, he became Boston Local 718’s president. Every Boston member since has benefited from his steadfastness as a leader and determination to take care of his members above all else.

His dedication to duty and loyalty to the membership continued after he was elected IAFF 3rd District Vice President, serving professional fire fighters in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. It was a position he held for more than 30 years.

“I could always count on him to tell it to me straight, no candy-coating… whether positive or negative, supportive or contrary, he told me like it was,” said Schaitberger. “He was always the guy I could count on to take the floor at convention, or at a Board meeting, when we needed the support for a critical issue.”

Indeed, loyalty was very important to Mullane. After the countless contracts he helped negotiate, fire service friendly legislation he helped pass and steps he took to ensure that fire fighter families received any care they needed, it was clear his loyalties were 100 percent tied to the membership. In return, he received the same consideration from his members.

Perhaps Mullane’s own words describe his life best. He often said, “I follow three rules: do the right thing, do the best you can and show people that you care.”

Mullane is survived by the love of his life, Elaine Malone.

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