7 Firefighters Betrayed - Adam Kinnon
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Firefighters Betrayed
Adam Kinnon

As we enter this political season, conservative firefighters are watching the International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO, march down the war path sporting Firefighter for Kerry T-shirts and waving their yellow signs. The national union, who openly declares 87 percent of their membership is moderate conservative, seems to care little about their concerns and political leanings. They eagerly declare that their 263,000 member union supports Senator Kerry.

They claim this endorsement was given after extensive polling of the membership. It’s strange that we at www.firefightersforbush.com haven’t identified a single local member or union leader in the entire country who has participated in this "extensive" poll.

The IAFF touts Senator Kerry’s strong support of firefighter issues and President Bush’s obstinate lack of support. They are quick to point out the President not funding the Safer Act and the millions cut from the Fire Act Grants. They conveniently forget to mention that President Bush has provided America’s fire service with 400 percent more funding than President Clinton.

In one of their IAFF articles Harold Schaitberger, IAFF President and Campaign co-chair for Senator Kerry, calls the Department of Homeland Security the “Bush Homeland Security Sham.” He states that if you go into any firehouse in America you will not see any improvement since 9-11.

It seems he’s not aware of the 650 million dollars doled out to over 8000 fire departments around the country in 2003. The upward of 200 million in 2001 or the 600 million in 2004.

3.2 Billion has been allocated to first responders for 2005. He may not be aware that the US Fire Administration falls under the Department of Homeland security. Firefighters understand our union president hasn’t had much time lately. He’s been very busy campaigning for Senator Kerry. He’s been out there earning the $216,000 salary his conservative membership dishes out for him annually. I stand corrected, it's illegal for union dues to go for political purposes. There’s nothing like a union president committed to representing the will of his constituency.

He realizes we’re a bit upset. He consoles us by letting us know he bases his decisions only on firefighter issues.

He seems to have taken the condescending attitude that we’re just upset because we’re pro life, or pro-limited government, or pro-gun rights or pro-tax cuts. According to him, if we would only stand back and take a look at the firefighter big picture we would see that Senator Kerry is our guy.

Senator Kerry is for turning over the Beck decision men. Look at all the dues we lose from firefighters who have the choice to leave a union. Senator Kerry understands how forced unionism is good for workers. Workers in Forced Union states have higher wages.

Don’t be swayed by the fact that Right to Work States have less unemployment, lower cost of living, recover from recessions quickly and facilitate more money in your pocket in a final analysis. Senator Kerry is for policy that is good for workers. He wants to extend unemployment benefits, expand the welfare system, penalize success, and reward lethargy. Can’t you see the Progressive vision he has for American manufacturing? Again he’s right in line with the AFL-CIO. He wants to emplace tariffs, isolate the country, destroy NAFTA, do away with the WTO. How can you dispute how this is good for us with Green Peace and the Sierra Club solidly allied with us on this issue. If we could get those manufacturing job numbers back up we might move from our current labor force number of 12% to the glory days of 40% when manufacturing was really strong. Just think of the politicians we could put in our back pocket with all those PAC funds.

In all seriousness, in a speech given by Harold Schaitberger this year touting the union's ability to get conservative voters to vote for liberal candidates, he stated that the IAFF membership is:

  • 87% moderate conservative
  • 44% registered Republican
  • 29% registered Democrat
  • 70% gun owners
  • Family people with both members working
  • Likely to have two jobs

The IAFF claims that it is a representative democracy. A major problem in the union is that the leadership does not run on a political platform, yet it tends to be liberal. Rather than represent the views of its membership, local leadership works to persuade the membership to follow the National. Union leadership serves the interests of the union not the interests of its constituency.

To make matters worse, firefighters in general are not aware of the union politics on a national level. Firefighters use the union as a local bargaining and mediation tool. They are not regularly informed of union politics on a national level. When they are informed through IAFF newsletters, the information is spun to suit the needs of the National.

Union leaders who attempt to represent their firefighters and don't comply with the union agenda are pressured to conform and are admonished. One union president, whose membership is supporting President Bush, was told by state union leaders that it was his job to get the guys to vote for Kerry. In 2000 the Florida State Association endorsed President Bush. They were admonished publicly by the IAFF.

Somehow, I hope the American people understand that firefighters standing with Senator Kerry represent but a small portion of the union membership. Most of those yellow shirts are in leadership positions. My heart goes out to the 800,000 volunteers who serve this nation, are abused by unions, and who support our president. They are as offended as professionals with this illusion being presented to the public that firefighters stand united behind Senator Kerry.

The number one firefighter issue for this firefighter is the war on terror. That unthinkable act on 9-11 that took the lives of 343 of my brothers and sisters still weighs heavy on my heart. This war on terror is in its infancy.

The IAFF and Senator Kerry are the people using this war as leverage for political gain, not President Bush.

President Bush has provided a clear path toward victory and has not wavered in hard times. We will be attacked again. Firefighters will loose their lives at the hands of terrorists. The politicians seeking to regain power will use this for leverage instead of attempting to unite the country to facilitate a quicker end to this war.

Prevention from terrorist attacks and keeping the enemy fighting on his home turf is key. We will never have an incident like 9-11 go smoothly no matter how much we prepare and spend. Put the money into preventative measures such as intelligence, military, and border security.

Educate the public so they can have some idea of how to respond if they are caught in the middle of one of these incidents. The FDNY did a magnificent job on that tragic day. President Bush and his administration have done a tremendous job in the aftermath. God bless FDNY, and God bless our President.