The International Association of Fire Fighters has grown into a political powerhouse in the Nation’s Capitol and in state houses, county and city halls across the country.
Over the past decade, the symbolism of our profession and the image of our fire fighters and paramedics decked out in this union’s trademark gold and black have become one of the most sought after endorsements in politics at every level. We have grown what was a modest federal Political Action Committee (PAC) into one of the top federal PACs in the nation.
Last election cycle, FIREPAC was in the top 1.1 percent of the more than 7,100 federally registered PACs in terms of dollars raised and was the 10th largest PAC in candidate contributions. It was also one of the most bi-partisan PACs.
In total, we spent close to $15 million in the last election cycle on behalf of federal candidates and both political parties, helping to elect those who support us and defeat those who oppose us.
But the attacks launched at our members since the November 2010 elections have changed the landscape.
Extreme right-wing conservative and so-called Tea Party politicians are coming after fire fighters, paramedics and all public workers with a vengeance across the United States. They are attempting to take away basic American rights like collective bargaining and your right to negotiate for a good quality of life for your families. They are working to eliminate your pensions and retirement security. They want to silence your voice by gagging you with legislation they call Paycheck Protection. They are taking away the long-held right of dues deductions from paychecks to try to weaken the finances of our union. They want to hurt all unions and drive down wages and benefits with Right-to-Work laws.
Not only are extremist Republicans trying to destroy us -- too few Democrats are standing up and fighting for us.
Over the past two years, politicians from both parties have failed to address our issues in Washington, DC. Now, anti-labor members of Congress and their allies are championing measures that would undermine pension security, tax employer-sponsored health benefits, force newly hired fire fighters into Social Security and attack federal fire fighters. And with no pro-fire fighter legislation likely to be advanced in the 112th Congress – it’s time to take a stand.