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IAFF Fights Back Against Political Attacks
Updated On: Mar 05, 2011

 

Sisters and Brothers,

We are being targeted by political and legislative threats like never before. There are efforts underway to enact Right to Work laws in 13 states. We expect to see paycheck deception bills in 17 states that would eliminate the ability of our members to engage in the political process. Alabama has passed legislation to deny dues deduction for public workers, including our members. The same measure has been introduced in Tennessee, and it is expected to be introduced in Oklahoma and five more states. Legislative proposals attacking collective bargaining rights have been introduced in Michigan, Nebraska and Colorado, and we expect it to be introduced in Ohio. 

None of us can afford to sit back while our opponents launch these assaults, so we have been working on a multi-faceted public relations/media/communications initiative to respond to the wave of attacks coming at you from numerous fronts. 
We will launch our first salvo next week when we run a full-page ad in USA Today. It’s important that our media campaign not end with publication of that ad or be limited to what we do from here at IAFF headquarters. So we have included a link to our ad and we encourage all affiliate leaders to engage in a grassroots effort by making copies and handing it to state and local lawmakers or distributing it as a flier. We encourage you to run it in your local newspapers, and we can provide you with assistance if your newspaper needs a graphic file other than what we are making available here.
We also have included links to some of the op-eds that we have written and submitted in the past several days to respond to those who are attacking you. These op-eds can be adapted for use in your communities. When we become aware of editorials or op-eds that attempt to target fire fighters and paramedics as “the enemy” or as the reason for economic problems in a municipality or state, we are quickly engaging the other side by submitting a response. We will provide affiliates with ongoing support to draft their own op-eds and letters to the editor to submit to papers and blogs in their communities. 
We have included a press release distributed February 4 to inform people that 10 government organizations – from the National Association of Counties to the National League of Cities – that also are saying that the vast majority of public pension funds have sufficient assets to pay promised benefits well into the future. 

The January-February edition of the International Fire Fighter includes a comprehensive
cover story detailing the onslaught of threats our affiliates are facing from all sides on pay, pensions, collective bargaining and other worker rights and benefits. You will receive your issue by mail soon, but we have attached a copy of the feature here.
In addition to all of these print pieces, we have produced a new video and will make that available soon. Our intention is to distribute the video through a viral campaign. Other video pieces will be produced in the near future and all of them will be made available so affiliates can use them to bolster their grassroots efforts. 

You can also stay current on these efforts by visiting the IAFF
web site, Facebook and Twitter.
I am also happy to report that as of this week, the Pension Resources Department here at the IAFF is fully staffed and running on all cylinders as we do all we can to help you in this very trying time. 
We have maintained an intense focus on efforts to fight back – nationally and locally – against the lies about pensions. Now it’s time to begin rolling out some of the components of our campaign, and we need you to be engaged with us.

In Solidarity,

 
Harold A. Schaitberger
General President

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