All requests from locals and the APPFFA have been promptly addressed. Requests for services have been addressed either by myself or by District Field Services Representative Larry Cook and District Services Representative Paul Boyle through the resources of the International and to the best of our abilities.
My service to locals throughout the district included assisting with collective bargaining, attending collective bargaining sessions when requested and providing assistance and information to locals dealing with pension plan issues. I have also assisted and participated in both interest and grievance arbitrations. Further, I have provided information and direction with respect to Fire Fighter Wellness and Fitness, Duty to Accommodate and Disability Management Programs, as well as advice and opinions related to local administrative issues and concerns.
Over the past two years, this district has experienced difficulties in our attempt to maintain and improve upon benefits for our members. Not unlike our brothers and sisters throughout the entire IAFF, we have had to deal with threats to our pension plans, cutbacks, layoffs and downsizing. In essence, our members are being forced to do more with less. Our much deserved pension plans are under attack as employers attempt to reorganize our plans such that our members shoulder the greatest share of the unfunded liabilities. Many of our local leaders find themselves in a position of trying to preserve pension benefits and, at the same time, justify their pension plans with the general public. Maintaining adequate numbers of fire fighters to safely provide fire and emergency services has also been a challenge. The constant infringement upon our members’ wage and benefits and the fight to protect what we have accomplished over the years has been difficult for many of our local leaders. I commend all of them for their hard work and dedication in fighting for the benefits that our members and their families deserve.
Despite this, we have been able to secure wage increases through collective bargaining and interest arbitrations. We have maintained, and in some cases improved our benefits. We were also able to hold the line on two tier benefits when those challenges arose.
I would like to thank the staff of the Canadian Office for their continual hard work and dedication, and for their assistance to both myself and the district locals. As a member of the IAFF Canadian Affairs committee, I have had the opportunity to work on improvements to federal legislation and programs which affect our fire fighters on a national level. I have also had the opportunity to work with the Canadian Provincial Presidents to propose programs and initiatives that will strengthen the fire service and protect our hard-earned benefits. Two of these initiatives focus on increasing fire services’ role in EMS delivery and defending against attacks on our pension plans.
My term in office has been both rewarding and encouraging, and it could not have been done without the hard work, dedication and the cooperation of the many fire fighters throughout the district. I especially would like to thank the local union officers, local union leadership and the Executive Board of the APPFFA for their continued support and cooperation.
Thank you to General President Harold Schaitberger, General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Miller and the excellent staff of the IAFF for their leadership, assistance and support over the past two years.
Many important resolutions will be presented to the delegates at this convention. I look forward to the interaction and the debate that comes with planning for our future. I trust that you will be fully engaged in providing this direction.
I thank you for affording me the opportunity to represent you as your District Vice President. Enjoy this Convention experience and best wishes to you and your families.