9th District Vice President
Pursuant to Article VI, Section 7, of the International Association of Fire Fighters Constitution and By-Laws, I respectfully submit the following report of my activities as Vice President of the 9th District to General President Harold A. Schaitberger, General Secretary-Treasurer Edward A. Kelly, the IAFF Executive Board and all officers and delegates in attendance at this 54th Convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters assembled in Seattle, WA. Because of the time needed to prepare and produce IAFF Convention documents, this report is written and submitted in April 2018. Consequently, events occurring after April 1, 2018 are not included.
A special thanks to General President Harold Schaitberger, General Secretary-Treasurer Edward Kelly and their staff, the IAFF AGPs and their staff for supporting the 9th District with our numerous requests from the Governmental, Political and Public Affairs Department, Public Relations Department, Grants Administration & HAZ/MAT Training Department, Technical Assistance and Information Resources Department, Media, Communication and IS Department, Health, Safety and Medicine Department, Education, Training and Human Relations Department, Financial Corporation, Finance and Membership Department, and Human Relations Department. I also want to thank the IAFF Legal Department for working on numerous legal issues and IAFF General Counsel Tom Woodley for the professional work his office has done on Guardian cases and other related legal problems involving the 9th District. Thanks to all the IAFF staff.
During this reporting period, I was appointed by General President Schaitberger to serve on the following IAFF committees: Budget and Finance, Education and Training, the Fallen Firefighter Memorial (Chair), Emergency Disputes Fund and Legal Services, Emergency Medical Services (Chair), Occupational Health, Safety and Behavioral Wellness, Scholarship Funds Trustee, IAFF Financial Corporation Director, and the Behavioral Health Steering Committee (Chair).
The General President called six executive board meetings during this reporting period. I attended each session of these meeting representing, to the best of my ability, the interests, needs and concerns of the members of the 9th District and all IAFF members. The 9th District, The Best in the West, encompasses Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. I also attended two Legislative Conferences in Washington, DC, ALTS/HR, DFSR training /conferences, the EMS Committee Meeting, the Redmond Symposium, the 53rd Convention in Las Vegas and several behavioral health steering committee meetings called by the General President. I was appointed by the General President to be a delegate at the National AFL-CIO convention held in St Louis, MO in October 2017. I also attended the 2016 and 2017 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial ceremonies. DFSR Hamilton and I also attended two educational events in Oregon, and state conventions in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming in 2017. We also attended the President’s Forums in Nevada and Utah.
Thanks to General President Schaitberger for affording me the opportunity to attend this convention. Also thanks to DVP Mark Woolbright and the 2nd District for their hospitality during the convention. I was also given the opportunity to attend and speak at the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters Educational seminar held in Columbus, OH in February 2018. I spoke about behavioral health in the fire service from Columbine to the present. Thanks to DVP Mark Sanders and the leadership of the OAPFF for the invitation and their superb hospitality. The 9th District continues to move forward with behavioral health training and seminars. Peer behavioral health training has been the most requested session. I received incredibly positive feedback from the attendees of peer behavioral health classes.
The 5th annual 9th District Leadership Forum was held in Las Vegas in June 2017. This event brought together more than 70 leaders from the 9th District State and local unions to share ideas and concerns confronting the 9th District and the IAFF. FIRECARES and NFORS were also presented to the forum by DFSR Hamilton.
Colorado and Wyoming held their annual MDA Boot Camp in April 2017. The program again was an enormous success large part because of work by the Colorado and Wyoming MDA staff. This was the largest fire fighter turnout for a MDA Boot camp since I have been involved as DVP.
The 9th District has had significant state leadership changes during this reporting period. In Colorado President Rogers retired and CPFF S/T Frainier was elected as CPFF President. Phil Cordova, Denver Local 858 S/T was elected as CPFF S/T. In Nevada, PFFN President McAllister retired, and he was elected as executive director of the Nevada AFL-CIO. Angelo Aragon, the long-time PFFN vice president was elected as president. Scott Gorgon PFFN secretary treasurer retired, and Ryan Green, of Local 2955 Reno Airport is his successor. Wyoming FFFWY President Joe Fender retired as president and moved up to the IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer office. Fender will be succeeded by newly-elected and former FFFWY S/T Kevin Reddy. Reddy will be replaced as FFFWY Secretary Treasurer by Richard Houdek of Cheyenne Local 279.
Both of Oregon’s two principal officers, President Livingston and Secretary Treasurer Hamilton will not run for re-election at their April convention. Oregon’s newly elected principal officers will be announced after the election in April. Utah’s two principal officers will remain the same.
I would like to thank all the past principal officers for their tremendous leadership, dedication, knowledge and expertise in the labor movement. Most of all THANK YOU for your friendship over our many years with the 9th District and the IAFF. I genuinely look forward to working with all the new 9th District state leadership as we continue to move the 9th District forward.
I also want to thank the 9th District DFSR Brother Jeff Hamilton for his incredible work during this reporting period. On top of Jeff’s many duties I gave him the responsibility of educating all 9th District locals on FIRECARES and NFORS.
WYOMING – The November 2016 election was not as successful for the Federated Fire Fighters of Wyoming (FFFWY) as they had hoped. However, President Fender, Secretary-Treasurer Reddy and a labor friendly coalition recorded a major victory in the 2017 legislative session. The FFFWY was instrumental in passing the first ever Presumptive Heart, Lung and Cancer law, SF 89. This was the first-time presumptive cancer legislation was ever considered in the Wyoming legislature. Fender, Reddy and their coalition worked tirelessly to pass this legislation through the house, senate and the governor. This is a true testament of what can be accomplished with a strong coalition, long hours and relationship building. This was a significant win for the fire fighters of Wyoming. The 2018 session was monitored closely by the FFFWY leadership, and no noteworthy changes were made.
UTAH – The Professional Fire Fighters of Utah (PFFU) were not hurt during the November 2016 election. The 2017 legislative session ended with the PFFU tracking 32 bills and issues. Fifteen of these bills were supported and passed by legislators. Just as important were three bills the PFFU opposed, and all three failed. Two of these bills were anti-collective bargaining bills. Three important bills supported by the PFFU went to an interim session including a cancer bill to add four new cancers to existing laws, a mental health inter-facility transport bill to help provide relief for already over utilized units and PTSD treatment for fire fighters of Utah that creates consistency for all localities.
The 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions were extremely successful for the PFFU because of the dedicated efforts of the PFFU and the labor-friendly Utah One Coalition led by PFFU President Tidrow. The PFFU held two president forums during this reporting period and DFSR Hamilton and myself attended both. Locals within the PFFU had some leadership changes, and both forums were instrumental in educating these new leaders. The PFFU Leadership continues to be extremely strong and dedicated to all members of the PFFU.
OREGON – In the November 2016 election, Oregon again stayed labor friendly. This was a result of strong leadership in the Oregon State Fire Fighters Council (OSFFC) and a solid labor coalition led by OSFFC President Livingston. The coalition was able to strike down proposed Right-to-Work legislation in both 2017 and 2018. In February 2018, the OSFFC Sisters and Brothers stood 350 strong at the state capitol voicing their opposition to bills that would have weakened their pensions. The OSFFC again was successful in their resolve.
The leadership in Oregon, IAFF and MDA met to discuss issues Oregon was having with the MDA. MDA approached the situation head on and worked with OSFFC leadership and the IAFF to remedy our concerns. All three entities continue to meet and work together to support the 60-year partnership between MDA and IAFF. OSFFC held its prestigious annual educational seminar in both 2017 and 2018. The 2018 event was attended by more than 190 OSFFC members which made this seminar one of the premier state educational seminars in the IAFF. Brother Hamilton, Secretary Treasurer of the OSFFC, developed this relevant seminar and received numerous accolades from the delegates.
NEVADA – Nevada labor needed a victory in the November 2016 election, and with the dedicated effort of the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada (PFFN), labor was able to win control of the Assembly and the Senate and protect their collective bargaining law, pension, wages and working conditions. The PFFN held a President’s Forum with DFSRs educating members on FIRECARES and NFORS. PFFN President Aragon informed the members that the Nevada GOP had initiated a backdoor approach to take back control of the Nevada Senate by starting a recall process of three Democratic Senators. The IAFF, PFFN and Nevada AFL-CIO fought back with a “Don’t Sign” campaign to educate Nevada residents about this obstructive approach by the state GOP. The PFFN and Nevada were successful in stopping the GOP plan and labor continues to hold both houses.
Nevada was the site of the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history at the Mandalay Bay Country Music Festival on October 1, 2017. The departments that responded to this horrific incident in Clark County included Local 1908 Clark County, Local 1883 Henderson and Local 1285 Las Vegas. This incident response team totaled more than 160 members from the three departments. In less than 24 hours all three locals were receiving behavioral health support from their respective local, the PFFN and the IAFF peer behavioral health teams. All three local teams, the PFFN and the IAFF met on October 1, 2017 to provide updates on their locals and to review the behavioral health response and lessons learned. The behavioral health response will continue if there is a need for any member who were affected by this call.
The IAFF 2016 Convention was held at the MGM Grand Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. The convention was an enormous success with the largest number of new DVPs being elected. Also, General President Harold Schaitberger was re-elected for his precedent-setting 5th consecutive term and General Secretary-Treasurer Edward Kelly was elected to his first term. The IAFF is blessed with a solid executive board and two competent and skilled principal officers to lead this prestigious union forward.
COLORADO – In the 2016 election, Colorado elected labor friendly candidates to control the state house and ended up one vote short of control in the Senate. The governor is a strong supporter of labor. The Colorado Professional Fire Fighters (CPFF) led by former President Rogers introduced and passed into law a cancer bill that protects CPFF members with an insurance plan. This bill makes cancer non-refutable. No sick or vacation hours are used by the employee, and time is paid for by the employer.
During the 2018 legislative session the CPFF team passed legislation that recognized the 100-year anniversary of the IAFF. This bill was read on the floor of the state capitol on February 28, 2018 to recognize the unselfish work, dedication and sacrifices made by Sisters and Brothers of the CPFF and the IAFF since 1918. The CPFF continues to show leadership in the behavioral health arena by leading an effort to bring all fire fighter behavioral health organizations in the state together under one umbrella. The IAFF initiated a Guardian case on behalf Southeast Weld County Local 5161 for the unlawful termination of the President of Local 5161.
The celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the IAFF that was held in Washington, DC on February 28, 2018. It was a proper tribute to the Sisters and Brothers who preceded us and made the International Association of Fire Fighters the honored and respected union it is today. Three 9th District locals, Pueblo, CO Local 3, Colorado Springs, CO Local 5 and Portland, OR Local 43 were in attendance to represent the oldest 65 locals in the IAFF. These IAFF pioneers were concerned about wages, benefits, working conditions and collective bargaining. Today, collective bargaining is the number-one goal that the IAFF has for all members, which equates to democracy in the workplace!
There will be numerous important resolutions before the delegates at the IAFF 100th Anniversary 2018 Convention and I urge careful consideration of each one. The action on these resolutions represent your future, your local’s future and the future of our great international union. As union leaders, it is our responsibility to educate our members regarding the meaning of each resolution so the delegates can make informed decisions when voting.
Thank you to all local and state leadership in the 9th District. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you these past two years! I realize that it is your knowledge, leadership and dedication to the 9th District that makes us “The best in the west!” I understand the most difficult and important job in the IAFF is the local and state Leadership, as I have walked in your shoes. Keep up the great work sisters and brothers because YOU are what makes the IAFF the paramount international union.
New locals this reporting period include: Local 5106 Grand Valley Professional Fire Fighters, CO; Local 5115 Crook County Fire Fighters Association, OR; Local 5124 South Adams County Fire Fighters, CO; Local 5143 South Davis Metro Fire Fighters, UT; Local 5154 Lincoln County Professional Fire Fighters, OR; Local 5161 Southeast Weld County Professional Fire Fighters and CO Local 5169 North Lincoln County Professional Fire Fighters, OR.