When a Union Fails to Act Like One
The IAFF is failing its core mission to protect and advance the rights of workers and to treat its own employees fairly and with dignity.
In fact, Harold Schaitberger treats staff worse than many of the anti-labor fire chiefs we are constantly fighting against.
Just a few days ago, he chose to fire a well-regarded assistant who worked in his office.
Her sole offense, apparently, was that she worked with former chief of staff Pete Gorman, who Schaitberger also fired.
Not only was she terminated after five years of exemplary service, she was abruptly escorted from the building in a move both degrading and humiliating.
Arbitration on Earlier Firing
And that’s not the only bizarre termination to reverberate through the IAFF.
Several months ago Schaitberger fired a 19-year IAFF employee under circumstances that are regarded as lacking even the basic tenets of fairness.
We expect fire department management to follow and abide by progressive discipline, why not our own union?
It’s exceptionally troubling that both employees were mature professional women with solid work records.
Ironically, the arbitration on the earlier termination is set to begin even as the board meets today.
Schaitberger Hires a (Private) Dick
During the summer Schaitberger, with boardÂ backing, retained Investigative Group International (IGI), private eyes, private dicks, whatever, for the purpose of spying on IAFF members and staff.
The board is due to get a report from IGI during today’s meeting.
Think the KGB or FSB briefing the Politburo.
They have trolled through cell phone and text records and emails looking for enemies of the regime.
The corruption of our union is perpetrated by our own executive board and they have hired a firm to mitigate their exposure.
And, of course, we are paying for it with tens-of-thousands of dues dollars.
Less Democracy than a Central Asian Republic
Schaitberger and his complicit board have ransacked our union both in truth and in fact.
They take what they want and along the way treat valued employees as garbage to be taken out.
Schaitberger wields more power than Tajikistan’sÂ Emomali Rahmon who is effectively president for life.
In the IAFF as in the Tajik Republic there is an “imitation of democracyâ€ rather than the real thing.
Maybe some day in the future a new generation of leadership will take back the IAFF and begin the long process of restoring dignity and fairness.
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