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Might be time to START a fire, guys

By Owen Paine on Thursday April 28, 2011 05:47 PM

(That's Father Smiff's local fire station up above.)

In the battle against the ongoing GOP border-to-border nationwide anti-union press, it looks like at least the firefighters have moved onto a better path by adding some stick to the carrots:

The nation’s main firefighters’ union, long a strong supporter of Democratic candidates, announced on Tuesday that it would indefinitely suspend all contributions to federal candidates out of frustration with Congressional Democrats who... have not fought harder against budget cuts and antiunion legislation....

The union, the International Association of Fire Fighters, said it would focus its contributions and energies on state and local races because many legislatures have sought to curtail collective bargaining or otherwise weaken public-sector unions.

Harold A. Schaitberger, the president of the 300,000-member union, said in an interview that he was dismayed with Democrats in Congress for not fighting harder against Republican budget cuts and efforts to weaken unions in more than a dozen state legislatures...."We’re tired that our friends have not been willing to stand up and fight back on our behalf with the same ferocity, the same commitment that our enemies have in trying to destroy our members’ rights,” he said. “Quite frankly, our enemies are trying to kill us as...a movement."

...The firefighters... donated $1.9 million to Democratic candidates in national elections during the 2010 campaign cycle. The union’s endorsement is especially coveted by candidates, because of the firefighters’ stature in many communities, especially since 9/11....Mr. Schaitberger complained that Congressional Democrats were doing far too little to combat ongoing efforts to weaken public-sector unions in Florida, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee and elsewhere...The firefighters’ union was disappointed that the Democratic-led Senate and House failed to pass legislation last year that would have given firefighters and police officers nationwide the right to bargain collectively...Mr. Schaitberger, echoing several other union leaders, said in an interview, “We’re feeling taken for granted” by the Democrats. "

Indeed, unions and their members -- private as well as public -- are "taken for granted" both as donors and as voters.

Sign up now! Take the lefty pledge, gang!

Comments (3)

I read recently about a town in Michigan that is trying to combine their fire and police departments in the name of fiscal responsibility. The article said that police will be trained how to fight fires and firefighters will walk a beat.

Goffstown, NH did that, fwoan. Unmitigated disaster. Not the cross-training part - which fell through, because the jobs really do require specialization. But the combination of rivalrous agencies often dedicated to pawning each others budgets.

Read my mind JC. We're gearing for battle with the Rahminator here in Chi-Town over similar issues. During the campaign this jackass had the temerity to tell us to or faces during a visit to the FOP union HQ that we need to "share the sacrifices" by maybe considering fewer days of paid medical leave among other "perks". He was asked to leave.

Meetings between CFD and CPD members to compare notes are informal at this stage but gaining momentum after Rahm's recent gut-shooting of the Chicago teacher's union (with able assistance from their "leadership").

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