The Death of Local Autonomy
We have had something extremely important taken from us and most do not realize it.
The IAFF as a union was created with a “bottom up” philosophy.
That is, the strength and the power come from below.
Individual local affiliates are supposed to have great autonomy and freedom in decision making.
And, few decisions are more crucial than who we elect to represent us on the IAFF executive board.
Robbed in Plain Sight
This past week, Harold Schaitberger brazenly stole our autonomy when he used trump-up charges to sack 7th district vice-president Ricky Walsh in an ambush.
The go-along/get-along executive board drove the metaphorical get-away car during the heist.
Schaitberger effectively said to all 7th district members and indirectly to the entire IAFF, I’ll decide who represents you and how long they stay.
The board has made a full-time job of violating the IAFF Constitution yet they gang up to take out arguably the most dedicated and principled member of the board.
And, it all happened in broad daylight.
Abuse of Power
Gone are the days when locals had a real say in running the IAFF.
We could elect (or “un-elect”) anyone we chose.
Schaitberger has robbed us of that right in two important ways.
First, he constantly meddles in district elections seeking to control the outcomes.
He needs to stack the board with compliant members who will do as he says.
As if that is not bad enough, he now progresses to sacking fairly elected board members when he feels they challenge his dictatorial authority.
The sacking of Ricky Walsh absolutely proves that democratic traditional governance at the IAFF is dead-on-arrival.
It’s dead because Harold Schaitberger is free to do as he wishes and violates the IAFF Constitution at will.
Can the IAFF Be Taken Back?
It’s doable but not easy and here’s why.
The current board is composed of either complete Schaitberger lackeys or a (very) few others who sense they are vastly out-numbered and out-maneuvered.
Many IAFF affiliate leaders are beholden either to their DVPs or to Schaitberger and are afraid to act.
(Seeing what happened to Walsh doesn’t make it any easier.)
Still, running just below the surface is a growing consensus that something must be done.
The firing of Pete Gorman and the Walsh sacking pushes that out into the open.
The question is whether or not the IAFF can save itself or if that will have to come from without.
Either way, time is of the essence.
Take the IAFF Back
Share This Post on Facebook and Tweet it!