8th District Report


Mark Sanders
8th District Vice President

In accordance with the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution and By-Laws, Article VI, Section 7, I respectfully submit this report of my activities as 8th District Vice President to the General President, General Secretary-Treasurer, Executive Board and the delegates at the 54th Convention of the IAFF in Seattle, Washington. This report summarizes my activities on behalf of the members in the IAFF 8th District from October 2016 through March 2018.

I would like to start by thanking the 8th District local affiliate and state association leadership for their support and assistance with the district’s operations. Following a great union leader and labor technician like Paul Hufnagel is not an easy task. Local affiliate and state association leaders are invaluable in providing services to our members and keeping the 8th District’s nearly 770 local affiliates and five state associations operating at full capacity. The support of that leadership helped make my transition as vice president seamless.

Congratulations to the entire IAFF and 8th District members on the 100th Anniversary of this great union. Special mention goes to the 8th District’s 17 IAFF charter locals for their perfect attendance at the IAFF 100th Anniversary Celebration. It is worth noting that our district has the highest number of charter IAFF locals. It was a proud moment and honor for me to represent this great 8th District at this once-in-a-lifetime event on February 28, 2018. Here’s to another 100 years of progress through unity.

The General President has assigned me to serve on the following executive board committees: Emergency Medical Services, Grants Administration/HazMat/WMD, Health, Safety and Behavioral Wellness, Information and Technology Systems, Human Relations, Canadian Affairs Committee, Emergency Defense Funds and Legal Services and the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial.

I represented the 8th District in attendance at all scheduled executive board and committee meetings along with completing assignments designated by the General President.

The following is a brief synopsis of some of the services and resources delivered throughout the district during the past two years.

During the past 18 months, we provided nearly 200 municipal financial analysis (MFA). More than 70 geographical information system (GIS)/EMS integration studies are in process or completed, and dozens of contract database comparable reports were prepared for district affiliates. This data supported state and local unions in their efforts to improve wages, benefits and working conditions for IAFF members.

District field service representatives and state service representatives delivered more than 300 days of service in the district. Working with IAFF staff, DFSRs and service reps organized new locals and bargained initial contracts. District service reps provided locals with assistance in collective bargaining, public relations, media collaboration, health and safety, political action, legal issues, EMS and ballot proposals to generate local revenue through tax levy and/or millage votes.

We continue to increase IAFF membership by coordinating efforts with our five state associations. During the past 18 months, since the 53rd Convention Report, service reps have organized 17 new locals, both fire and EMS, welcoming more than 200 new members into the IAFF and the 8th District.

Education and training of local union officers and representatives continues to be critical to the success of affiliates. We offered education and training programs in multiple areas including collective bargaining, grievances, arbitration, pension systems, health and safety, fire ground survival, hazardous materials response and many others. Working in conjunction with state associations, we provided our membership access to all these programs with jointly sponsored IAFF/state association seminars.

The 8th District Partnership in Education Program (PEP) started in 2012 with the goal of providing two days of training annually for local union officers in the district. Since the inception of this program, we provided training to several hundred union leaders representing locals throughout the district. The 2017 edition surpassed the attendance of previous programs with a total of 266 local affiliate leaders.

In addition, the delivery of annual training for 8th District IAFF District Field Service Representatives and IAFF Service Representatives has continued. This program provides an opportunity for service reps to improve their skills and knowledge in providing expert assistance and guidance to locals on critical issues they face each day. For the past two years, the program’s content and agenda were presented by the 8th District Field Service Representatives. Attendance has included the entire roster of 8th District Service Reps. Thank you for your service.

The work of the IAFF Political Affairs Department, IAFF Grants Department and the IAFF Health and Safety Department once again helped deliver important resources through the AFG and SAFER Grant programs. These grants bolstered our fire departments with over $20 million dollars awarded in both categories during the last 18 months. This helped ensure that IAFF members remain on the job in the 8th District.

Additionally, these important departments are utilized daily by 8th District affiliates. From cutting turf for a local campaign to providing evidence and statistics to represent our members in fire fighter cancer claims or reviewing grant applications, these examples of the daily interaction and prompt assistance from these departments and IAFF staff have been a critical component to successful 8th District operations.

The District has taken advantage of the new IAFF Strategic Campaigns operation and the staff specialists assigned to assist local affiliates in their support of local ballot initiative campaigns. The program’s implementation has already paid dividends to many locals across the 8th District. With the assistance of our IAFF team, locals prevailed at the ballot box which has secured resources needed to maintain professional fire and EMS response. This assistance is invaluable to our members and locals. It has become a staple in the menu of services provided by the media and communications department and the governmental affairs department.

At the direction of the General President and in coordination with the education department, the Elected Human Relations Committee provided technical assistance at the request of several locals in the district. The assistance has ranged from training our members in the large metropolitan department of Louisville to assisting locals with specific issues relevant to their size. This assistance is a valuable tool for local affiliate leaders to properly represent our continuously growing and ever-changing membership.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank General President Harold Schaitberger and General Secretary-Treasurer Edward Kelly, their staff and our employees at IAFF headquarters for their work on behalf of the members of the 8th District. Every day an IAFF staff member is working on something to benefit local affiliates and members of the 8th District. Hats off to the IAFF staff and principal officers. Thank you for your work on our behalf.

I would like to recognize the state associations in the 8th District for the vital role they play in representing members on critical issues in their respective state capitals, partnering with the IAFF in providing training and education programs and working in conjunction with the IAFF to deliver services to locals. Our collaboration is vital in successfully supporting local affiliates and their members. Once again, thank you.

I am very fortunate and grateful to have the opportunity to represent IAFF members in the 8th District. We are an outstanding trade union that provides unparalleled service to our affiliates while representing our members well in every facet of the profession. We are the best in the house of labor. I am proud to be a part of this great association. My thanks to all of you for your support of the 8th District and its operations and programs.

Here’s to a productive and successful 54th IAFF Convention hosted by Seattle Local 27. Good luck and good health to all.