Reign of Terror: Schaitberger to Suspend VP Walsh

Schaitberger Uses Investigators to Search Emails

Last summer Harold Schaitberger, with board approval, hired private detectives for what he termed a short review of policies around document safekeeping.

He lied to the executive board and employees when he subsequently allowed those investigators to begin a witch hunt by searching through private email correspondence.

He created a “KGB” to snoop on vice-presidents elected by IAFF delegates.

Vice President Walsh

Rick Walsh

Rick Walsh

Schaitberger says he has uncovered evidence of Walsh providing information to me via email as if that were a crime.

He proposes suspending Walsh and charging him under the IAFF Constitution unless Walsh resigns.

Sources say that the board is backing Schaitberger’s attempt to remove Walsh from his position even though Schaitberger lied to them in order to achieve his objective.

The real crime is Schaitberger being allowed to spy on elected IAFF leadership.

His email trolling affects every IAFF leader who corresponds with his DVP.

He has destroyed the very idea of open, free and democratic communication.

Walsh’s supposed offense isn’t stealing or bribery or lying, it’s providing information to another IAFF member.

Schaitberger is plotting to remove a highly effective, dedicated elected official in order to terrorize the remainder of the board into silence as he rules effectively as a dictator, doing whatever he wants.

Federal Whistleblower Protection

Schaitberger and his phony cronies should know that the US Department of Labor has received significant information regarding the unethical and illegal activities at the IAFF.

I would know as I have hand delivered it to investigators as an IAFF member.

How will DOL react when they find out that Schaitberger is attempting to suspend a senior elected official for fighting corruption?

What will be their view of Schaitberger unethically spying on other elected officials by searching their communication records?

How many of those being spied upon also have whisteblower protection?

The Unspooling Begins

They say there is no honor among thieves and Schaitberger is the chief thief.

The Walsh episode proves the board has begun to disintegrate by feeding on itself.

No one knows what shoe will drop next but we can be sure that there is much more to come.

It will be interesting to see if the Department of Labor sits by and allows Schaitberger to oust an elected vice-president in order to continue his cover-up.

Affiliate leaders should be telling their vice-presidents to stand up to Schaitberger before he destroys the IAFF entirely.

Time to Stand Tough

Ricky Walsh is a principled trade union leader with a great reputation for fighting for what is right.

He is what the IAFF should be about rather than the current garbage at the top.

IAFF members who care about dignity and fairness and the future of our union need to stand with him in the days and weeks to come because it takes guts to do the right thing.

Seventh district members, especially Kelly Fox and other state leaders, need to stand with Ricky and be the first to vigorously defend him.

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  • Alex Johnson says:

    Put me down for $500 towards Ricky’s run for GP.

  • Mike Westland says:

    I got 500 for Ricky for VP too. He is nothing but an honest man who stands for what he believes and does the right thing. Ricky is known for being a dissenting voice on the board……

  • Alex Johnson says:

    Correction on my last post. I’ll take my annual FIREPAC contribution and redirect it to Ricky on top of the $500.

  • Ted Ricci says:

    I have know and have worked with Rick for years. The man lives and bleeds the IAFF. I for one will have his back.

  • Chris Ross says:

    Ricky is one of the most honorable, ethical, union leaders that I have ever known. This is a tremendous loss to the Magnificent 7th District, as well as to the International. I’m in for $500, too…as well as the $1500 I send to FirePAC. Doing the right thing isn’t always popular, and Ricky has always spoken out for what is right! Stay strong, brother

  • IslaFire says:

    Thanks Eric for your diligent reporting. HAS is getting weirder by the minute. I hope that the brothers in hia district don’t take this lying down. The Board meeting is coming up next month. Unfortunately it’s thousands of miles away from their district. If any are headed this way, please let us know.

  • Eric Foti says:

    I concur with the above statements about Walsh being honorable and ethical on all fronts and being a true union leader. My concern is this… What the F are we going to do about this? We sit around complaining about our politicians and what they are or aren’t doing and wish we could change things but can’t… now we have a political issue that hits all right at the core and we should be able to do something about it… so what is the plan? are we going to let another strong union leader be ousted or are we going to act? I could go on and on about what Brother Walsh has done for my small local and it is time we all show the same dedication to him that he has shown us… Lets get r done brothers and sisters… Tired of hearing of the demise of our great union under its current leadership.. especially if it means losing such a great leader in Brother Walsh..

  • Jake Fouts says:

    I will donate my annual FirePac contributions to DVP Walsh and a run for the top. Since joining the IAFF, I have watched Ricky Walsh do nothing but good for our brotherhood. He’s stood at the front of the charge to fight for presumptive illness and LODD benefits for families that otherwise would have been out of luck. I’ve heard many stories of GP Schaitberger’s corruption and lavish spending, and I can say that I’m genuinely concerned for the future of our great Union. Changes need to happen sooner than later. An effective leader out lives his stay around 10 years of effectiveness. I’d say it’s time.

  • VP Walsh is a compassionate and dedicated servant leader who has led the Magnificent 7th District with honesty and integrity. His steadfast message of “lifting up” the less fortunate and giving back to both those we serve in the community and those in labor that do not share our success have left an indelible mark on my life views and my new path as a local president. We will not go quietly into the night. The line has been drawn for me, and RW has my support and all that I can muster.

  • Vanessa Walsh says:

    It’s sad that a man that is one of most honest men, best man to have on your side when a member has been treated unfairly. This man will fight for the rights of that member with all his knowledge and pride to make sure justice prevails and the member receives what is owed to them and are treated with respect which all our first responders should receive. He is always on the road helping others taking him away from his family for the rights of another. He is a wonderful father, grandfather, spouse and brother and it sicking that such a shallow individual attacks such a great man. You hang in there my brother!! The truth will always prevail and those who lie will always be uncovered. I will always, among many, will stand by Ricky Walsh!!!

  • Scott Brines says:

    Thank you, Eric for your diligent reporting. This one hits close to home. Hope you’ll join us at

  • Bob Crueger says:

    I was forwarded this post. I must say that I’ve not really learned all that much from it. It reads like a position piece. Perhaps that is all we have the attention span for anymore.

    Do any of you 8 previous comment-makers think you know all you need to know about this? If you have a hard-fast staked -out opinion, I hope it is because you know more than what is written here. And if you do, let me/us know. This is some pretty important stuff.

    In my opinion, Ricky could not have an non-ethical motivation, of that I’ll not be dissuaded.

    Will someone here, someone smarter/more experienced than I, come up with a plan/venue, where full disclosure can occur, and unified action can be taken?

  • Nate D says:

    I attempted reasonable dialogue with Bro Walsh. I was ridiculed, Disparaged and harrased. He may be a great guy, but he went out of his way to make it personal when I didn’t blindly follow his autocratic dogma. Schaitberger is no gem, but even he can’t take any more Walsh.
    Brotherhood huh? I have “a voice?” A target on my back is more like it.

  • Erin Richardson says:

    Redirecting my Pac plus $500 to a Walsh run for GP. It’s time for the next generation of leadership for the IAFF.

  • Erin Richardson says:

    Pulling my PAC. VP Walsh has my backing for a run at VP. It’s time for a new generation of leadership at the head of our union.

  • Jeremy Bunney says:

    DVP Walsh has done more for the 7th and the IAFF than words can describe in one short post! Throughout his career he continually grows leaders with his knowledge and beliefs of what a strong UNION should be, and how it should act. He has been a model for union leadership nation wide. DVP Walsh has never waivered or held back on his strong beliefs as to why a Union is great for the entire working class. Even in the face of adversity, he gives his heart and soul to the IAFF. To question his heart, and his integrity, is a slap in the face to all 7th district members and we are rightfully pissed!

  • I echo the sentiments of other small IAFF locals here in the 7th District and beyond that have reaped the benefits of Ricky Walsh as a steadfast CHAMPION of the labor movement in general and the causes of firefighters in particular. Ricky has inspired myself and others as a true SERVANT LEADER THAT WALKS THE TALK. He is a proponent of lifting up workers whenever and wherever possible, and continuously strives to inspire those he meets to DO THE RIGHT THING, LEAD BY EXAMPLE, AND GIVE BACK!! Up until now, as a newly elected president of my local, I have only been following the events (as reported by Eric) at the “upper” levels of the IAFF in a peripheral manner at best. Now the line has been drawn in the sand when they attack the leader of my district and I pledge my support 100%. Let justice prevail which allows my friend and mentor Ricky Walsh to rise above this adversity and take his rightful place as leader of our international! RW, The time is NOW!!

  • Dave Bell says:

    I have never spoken with a member of our great union that had anything derogatory to say about brother Walsh. I have nothing but respect for him and will always have his back. He has always been there for all of us. Now its time to pay him back!

  • Jeff Anderson says:

    Ricky Walsh has been a steadfast example of what real leadership looks like. He has helped so many people through so many tough times. I can’t imagine how stressful this must be for our brother. I’m pulling my Donation to Firepac. I plan on doing whatever I can to support Ricky.

  • Robert Marshall says:

    IAFF= Pigs at the Trough bring on RICO.

  • Phil Knowles says:

    I’ve been sitting on the sidelines reading this blog for a few months and can no longer sit quiet.

    Gestapo tactics from our elected “representative” GP, riding “high on the hog” on our members’ dues, and the forced resignation of Ricky Walsh is unacceptable.

    Ricky had my support at his election for DVP and has ever since. He has been nothing short of an ethical, devoted, and humble servant in the realm of the IAFF to its members. Our members along with the other dues paying members of the 7th District elected Ricky as OUR representative to the IAFF board. Schaitberger running rough shod is a disgrace and outrage to our union’s democratic process and will not be tolerated by my local. I demand an explanation from our GP with discovery and full disclosure of the happenings of our international’s executive board.

    If this is not done and what appears to be a corrupt abuse of power is not corrected, I cannot in good conscience advocate to my members staying affiliated with such an organization.

    Many speak of re-directing Firepac monies. My members will stop paying per-capita if our GP is not held accountable and the entire office of the IAFF is not swept clean.

  • DVP Walsh is the gold standard of what it means to represent a Fire Fighter. There is no question in what you’re getting when you have Brother Walsh watching your back. His record is clear. These disgraceful accusations are appalling. Hang in there Ricky. Don’t take this. Too many of us have YOUR back!

  • Ian Dahl says:

    It would appear Ricky just sent in his letter of resignation.

  • Bernie Frechette says:

    I completely agree with my brother Eric Foti.

  • Samantha Michaels says:

    Ricky Walsh admits that he compromised his own ethics as well as the IAFFs principles. He has lied to many people and this is exactly what he deserves. He had his own agenda this whole time and failed to follow the rules of his own Union. Glad to see him go and trust there will be a return to the greater good in this region, on that is backed by honor, ethics and following the code of conduct issues by the IAFF.

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