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.
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.