IAFF @ 100: How Schaitberger Sold Us Out

Death of a Union

The chief and crucial reason for labor unions is to fight or advocate on behalf of their members.

It’s very simple, really.

To employ collective strength to ensure that we have acceptable wages, benefits, hours and safe working conditions.

Real unions remain vigilant, focused, unconflicted and unrelenting in that mission.

The IAFF ceased to fulfill that crucial mission of advocacy the instant it began to accept advertising from protective clothing and fire/rescue equipment manufacturers.

It’s a fatal and ruinous mistake which seriously compromises both our safety and integrity.

It is also a reckless conflict of interest for a labor union that supposedly holds health and safety as a top priority to promote the products of those we are effectively responsible for overseeing.

The Schaitberger IAFF allows the fox to guard the hen house, a hen house on fire.

Fox Guards Hen House

Fox Guards Hen House

How Real Unions Do It

Real unions wouldn’t be caught dead compromising their advocacy role by hopping into bed with those they are designed to watch over.

While the IAFF proudly trumpets fire/rescue advertisements on it’s homepage, check out these unions who have remained true to their calling:




And the list goes on.

Schaitberger sold the IAFF out for one simple reason: to feed his insatiable appetite for fancy meals and hotel rooms, fine wines, limousines, a fat pay check and a very golden parachute when he finally leaves.

In short, the IAFF became about him rather than the members.


And we are left with a hollowed-out shell of a union which fails to accomplish the most basic goals of organized labor.

Judged by our union peers we are nothing more than a bad joke with a sad punchline.

Harold the Pimp

The urban definition for the IAFF failure of advocacy is “whoring us out.”

Advertisers have included Globe, Dupont, Lion, Kevlar, MSA, Scott, PBI and others.  They are manufacturers and providers essential to our health and safety.  Engaging in any relationship with them other than an arms-length and politely skeptical one defies any rational interpretation of ethics or responsible behavior.

Our job is (or was) to hold their “feet to the fire.”

The long simmering controversy around firefighter cancer and PFOA is a fine example of how the IAFF has failed to forcefully protect us.

30 Pieces of Silver



Schaitberger is a bloated Judas betraying the IAFF to the “high priest of deals.”  His actions (or inaction) is a naked corrupting influence.

In this parable our Judas is really the betrayer of our union.

No “water into wine” miracle is needed as the wine steward is close at hand.  So too, loaves and fishes would be waved away in favor of a 20 oz. New York Strip and a side of calamari.

We have lost our edge (and soul) as a first-rate union intent on caring for our members because of his corruption.

And, our enemies see us as morally weak and professionally conflicted.

They are right, of course.

“Never forget”, we said.

Well, we have.

We have forgotten both where we came from and why we are here.

And it took Harold Schaitberger to get us to this dismal place.

Happy 100th birthday.

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  • Paul Hoffman says:

    Yeah…I never understood or comprehended how a labor union would limit the ability of their members to earn money. While in the IAFF employ we had to CAP how much an IAFF member could make while delivering essential training across the US per the Shit Bag…I mean Harold Schaitberger (HAS)…The members were willing and able, yet they could not make more than a DVP who ate at the table with HAS drinking Franciscan and Silver Oak wine at the members expense or that of the federal government.

  • Bernard T Pressman says:

    My Local was Robbed of Several hundred thousands of dollars. By the treasurer….over several years.
    Now that he’s gone, it appears as if some of the leadership of 330 is reluctant to lower our dues even though our TREASURER HIMSELF, through his malfeasance, demonstrated that we don’t need such high weekly payroll deductions.

  • IslaFire says:

    Selling out also occurs at the Local level too. I guess Local leaders take a cue from HAS.

  • IslaFire says:

    I should add that many worthy members who were once staunch advocates of the membership, once they get into a position of leadership, they sell out. It’s a phenomenon that is all too familiar.

    Once they do the obligatory trip to DC and HAS wines and dines newly elected Local officers, they see how easy it is to fleece their membership.

  • Diane Cotter says:


    There is no denying the manufacturers knew they were adding a carcinogen to your PPE.
    In this callous statement by Lion it was trace amounts. What is a trace amount? How do we know we are safe after wearing this next to our reproductive organs for years while we sweat? PFOA and PFOS are designated reproductive cancers. See Cali prop 65

    Why would we give a pass on “trace amounts” of PFOA when so much research goes into FRs in furniture??

    This statement from Robert Bilott is frightening “Trace amounts,” Bilott responded.“You’re talking about a carcinogen. No one has defined what is a safe level of carcinogen.”

  • Juan Brown says:

    Similar but different:

    IAFF Locals seem oblivious to the assistance they provide Sen. John Braun up in Washington State in his quest to eliminate public employee unions and pensions by buying his ambulances.

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