East to West and North to South, Harold Schaitberger, longtime General President (GP) of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), a nearly 100-year-old trade union, is travelling about (first-class, no doubt) telling all who will listen, and some who would rather not, that he is out to “catch the rat.”
Is that the language of ethical behavior?
Deconstructing a Phrase: “The Rat”
Mafioso talk, for sure.
It definitely implies that the IAFF has become a closed “cell” where the “boss” is in total control of the flow of information.
It also suggests that he punishes all who defy the rules of his wildly dysfunctional family, basically his “made” members, in mob talk.
His family includes the elected vice-presidents who, along with Schaitberger and General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Miller, comprise the IAFF Executive Board.
And, of course, his loyal staff who grease the skids and fluff the pillows for his over-the-top lifestyle paid for by IAFF members.
The Schaitberger “Rat”, or so he supposes, is someone failing to keep his secrets regarding the ethical and financial ruination of the IAFF.
Think about it: the General President of our union is not just preoccupied, but consumed, literally, by the notion that he must apprehend a person or persons apparently engaged in the disclosure of unethical practices at the IAFF.
He and the board approved the hiring of a “forensic firm”, no doubt costing thousands of dollars, to determine the “who, how and when” of the supposed leaks.
So, we now have a union that spends dues money to shield corruption rather than to expose it.
We can thank Harold Schaitberger and his bought board for that.
Any Way to Run a Union?
Here’s the question:
Would you run your state, provincial or local union the way they are running the IAFF in DC?
Would you not only promote corrupt behavior but pay to hide it and threaten those who expose it?
Of course not.
Why do we accept in Washington what we would stop in a minute if it were closer to home?
The Fix (Ain’t) In
It took 15 years for the Schaitberger goblet of filth to froth over.
Now, it’s pooling on the table and dripping on the floor, making the mess smelly, slippery and sticky.
Others outside the IAFF have taken due notice.
And, only a fool could ignore that change is in the wind.
Most of the current crop of leaders aided, abetted and profited from the corrupt leadership of Harold Schaitberger.
The question now becomes who will set us on a new course based on honesty and ethics?
If you attend the IAFF Symposium this week in Washington, DC, when you look up on the stage, ask yourself if that is the kind of person who should be leading our union?
Then look around the room and see if there is anyone capable of cleaning up the mess we find ourselves in.
It’s going to require risk-taking, courage and guts, all currently in very short supply at the IAFF.
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â€œI am a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters and I am requesting that the US DOL immediately begin to investigate allegations of corruption including illegal compensation and reckless and destructive spending by International Officers. Â Thank you.â€
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