Education and Human Relations
The Department of Education, Training and Human Relations, under Assistant to the General President James Ridley and Director of Education Matt Vinci, continues to develop and expand the educational opportunities available to IAFF members. The Department develops interactive learning curricula for the Partnership Education Program (PEP), which is available in both online and classroom settings. The interactive curricula allows IAFF members to continue to gain the knowledge and skills to make them more effective in their roles as affiliate leaders.
The Department works to provide current and relevant union-related topics to educate affiliate leaders on the latest strategies and information in fire service labor relations. Additionally, the PEP curricula gives affiliate leaders the skills and knowledge needed to meet challenges faced on the job. Educational opportunities are provided for members in a variety of ways, including curriculum and resource site development, planning and conducting conferences, maintaining scholarships, offering post-secondary educational opportunities, training on conducting a Fire Ops, partnering with Labor Management Initiative (LMI) and staffing the Elected Human Relations Committee.
Our Partnership Education Program provides affiliate leaders with the training needed to develop their leadership skills and to stay abreast of pertinent topics as it relates to labor relations. State and provincial affiliates can request either a PEP-assisted or a PEP subsidy once each fiscal year to meet their educational needs.
The PEP-assisted option provides one day (up to six hours) of customized training to be presented in conjunction with the state or provincial affiliate annual meeting. The IAFF provides the instructors, curriculum and the supplies needed for the training at no cost to the state or provincial affiliate.
We held 21 PEP-assisted events in Fiscal Year 2012-13, with a total of 13 events to date in Fiscal Year 2013-14.
The PEP subsidy option provides financial assistance to state and provincial affiliates in support of their annual education seminars. The IAFF provides a subsidy of $20 per participant per day, for up to three days. State and provincial affiliates are responsible for supplying instructors, curriculum, materials and registrant verification sheets.
In Fiscal Year 2012-13, the PEP subsidy option was used by 13 state or provincial affiliates. In the current fiscal year, 13 PEP subsidy events have been held to date.
PEP Regional Seminars are a new educational delivery method implemented in 2012. The IAFF offers affiliate leaders the opportunity to learn about district and region-specific issues at a general session, participate in eight hours of workshops over two days and network with leaders from neighboring locals. Class options for each event are selected by District Vice Presidents from the PEP Catalog to meet the district’s most pressing educational objectives. The same IAFF PEP instructors who teach at PEP-assisted seminars also deliver training at the regional events. In 2012, we piloted two PEP Regional events in the 8th and 12th Districts, and in 2013 we held two additional events in the 8th and 11th Districts.
Additionally, we provided five customized trainings for the Atlanta Professional Fire Fighters, DC Fire Fighters Association, Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters, Nebraska Professional Fire Fighters Association and Virginia Professional Fire Fighters. The customized training modules focus on How to Talk Union, Understanding Union Leadership and, Media Strategies and Messaging. The training also provided attendees with the information needed to further the goals of state and local affiliates.
This union is committed to ensuring the delivery of multi-faceted, quality educational programs by providing annual instructor development, introducing new modules based on the current needs of the membership and revising existing instructor-led educational modules. The IAFF also develops traditional instructor-led curriculum, as well as self-paced online modules. We currently maintain 64 instructor-led modules.
Instructor-led curricula are delivered via the PEP-assisted option and at the annual Affiliate Leadership Training Summit (ALTS). Since August 2012, the following instructor-led modules were developed for delivery:
Modules are continually updated or revised to make the material relevant and timely upon delivery to the membership. Since August 2012, several modules have been revised, including:
Several modules are also in the development stage, and will be ready for delivery in late 2014, including:
Online modules are developed to provide IAFF members easy access to timely and important topics. These modules are also structured for members to engage with the curricula at a self-paced rate when it is convenient. To date, we have developed and maintained 18 online modules. Since August 2012, we have introduced new online modules to include:
Our Education team also develops and maintains a variety of resource web sites created to provide information on topics our members deal with on a daily basis and to help our members gain valuable information and knowledge at their own pace and convenience.
The resource web sites developed since August 2012 include:
Updated resource web sites include:
Our first Affiliate Leadership Training Summit (ALTS) was held in 2001. Since then, the IAFF Vincent J. Bollon Affiliate Leadership Training Summit has become the IAFF’s foremost educational event. ALTS provides affiliate leaders with the hands-on experience they need to build their local union and helps current and prospective union officers gain leadership skills. ALTS also offers networking opportunities with other members from across the United States and Canada.
In 2013, ALTS included several pre-conference events, including the New Leadership Seminar and Fire Ops 101 (Train-the-Trainer), in addition to two day-long workshops: Introduction to Labor Arbitration Advocacy and Survival Skills for Social Settings. The full-conference program offered 90 workshops, including 18 new and seven revised sessions. New workshops included:
Two new workshops were designed specifically to address the needs of our Canadian members:
The 2014 ALTS featured five pre-conference events: Advanced Strategic Communications, Business Excellence Training, Fire Ops 101 (Train-the-Trainer), the New Leadership Seminar and Non-Verbal Language for Union Leaders. In total, ALTS offered 119 workshops and included specific tracks for Canadian Union Officer Leadership Training, Communications and Federal Sector Bargaining. In addition, attendees who participated in the union leadership track workshops were scanned for potential partial credit through our partnership with Kaplan University.
In 2014, ALTS included 16 new and 14 revised workshops:
The biennial IAFF Ernest A. “Buddy” Mass Human Relations Conference was held in January 2014 following ALTS. The Conference offered an energetic and productive atmosphere that embraced the theme: Strength Through Diversity
The 27 workshops taught by industry experts, IAFF Elected Human Relations Committee members, PEP instructors and IAFF staff included new on crisis communications, LGBT contract language, transgender issues, respectful workplaces, fire/medic autism awareness and Title VII and consent decrees.
The 2014 Conference marked the 25th anniversary of the Civil Rights Committee (now the Elected Human Relations Committee). We provided all attendee with commemorative coins.
The annual Instructor Development Conference (IDC) assists all IAFF instructors in developing facilitation techniques and reviewing new or revised instructor-led workshops. During IDC, PEP instructors gather to participate in general sessions and individual workshops to help facilitate an understanding of the topics and techniques needed to be more effective facilitators.
For the third consecutive year, in 2012, IDC all IAFF instructors – PEP, HazMat and Peer-Fitness Trainers – met concurrently to participate in the Conference. The 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada, offered general sessions that addressed issues pertinent to all IAFF instructors and trainers. Our PEP instructors focused on facilitation techniques and reviewed new and revised PEP curricula.
This union provides scholarships for students who qualify to attend colleges and universities. The five scholarship programs are: Harvard University Trade Union Program, Harvard Canada/Ottawa Executive Leadership Program, Labour College of Canada Intensive Program, The National Labor College Scholarship and the W. H. “Howie” McClennan Scholarship.
The Harvard University Trade Union Program scholarship provides IAFF members an opportunity to explore key issues of the labor movement in today’s working environment. Two Harvard University Trade Union Program Scholarships are awarded annually. Under the Executive Board Policy, the amount of the scholarship is the cost of tuition, plus a $1,000 stipend to cover incidental expenses, per awardee. We received six applications for the 2012 Harvard Program, and two were awarded, totaling $28,000. In 2013, we received 12 applications and awarded two scholarships totaling $28,000.
The Ottawa Executive Leadership Program is an opportunity for local union leaders to gain advanced executive leadership training through an 18-month program run through the Canadian Policy Association. Under Executive Board Policy, this scholarship covers tuition fees, travel accommodations and incidental expenses up to a maximum of $15,000 a year, for two participants. We received seven applications for the 2012-2013 program, and awarded two scholarships. For the 2014-2015 program, we processed 20 applications for consideration and awarded two scholarships.
The Labour College of Canada Intensive Program is offered to union activists across Canada who wish to learn about the history of the Canadian labour movement. One applicant, who is an IAFF member in good standing, is awarded this scholarship. Under Executive Board Policy, the award covers the cost of tuition and provides a $1,000 stipend to cover travel and incidental expenses. We awarded one scholarship for the 2012-2013 program totaling $11,000. The 2014-2015 school program enrollment information has not yet been released.
The W.H. “Howie McClennan Scholarship provides financial assistance in the sum of $2,500 per year for sons, daughters or legally adopted children of fire fighters who have died in the line of duty to attend a university, accredited college or school of higher learning in the United States or Canada. Awarded annually, we received 37 applications in 2012-2013 and 50 applications in 2013-2014. We awarded $92,000 in scholarships in 2012-2013 and $125,000 in 2013-2014.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, we have received 43 applications.
McClennan Award History:
McClennan Cost History:
Under the Executive Board Policy, the National Labor College (NLC) Scholarship award covers tuition and fees for up to three, three-credit courses per student, for a total of nine academic credits. Courses are offered in an online environment and must be completed within one academic year. For the 2012 school year, we received and processed and awarded three applicants. For the 2013-2014 school year, we received five applications and awarded three scholarships. One student remains currently enrolled and will receive his degree at the end of the 2014 spring semester. The other two awardees forfeited their scholarships, and tuition will be reimbursed to the IAFF.
The National Labor College is closing its doors at the end of the spring 2014 semester, and all enrollees, including IAFF members, have been notified. We are assisting all IAFF members who were enrolled find educational alternatives. In addition, our Scholarship Funds Trustees have unanimously voted to void the NLC Executive Board Policy and seek out alternate higher education programs for our members. In the meantime, the NLC has teach-out agreements with five high education institutions. IAFF members who were enrolled in degree programs through the NLC can complete their course work at one of the teach-out partner institutions.
The IAFF has established a post-secondary education partnership with Kaplan University. All IAFF members are eligible for special tuition rates, as well as other time- and money-saving benefits. Members of the United States and Canada can enroll in an undergraduate fire science degree program through Kaplan University, a U.S.-based university that is extending its programs to Canadian members. All of our members qualify for a 43 percent tuition reduction. In addition, Kaplan University has allowed extensive life-experience to count towards degree credits.
Currently Kaplan University offers the following degree programs:
The IAFF assists local, state and provincial affiliates with the coordination and delivery of the IAFF Fire Ops 101 program. A Fire Ops 101 (Train-the-Trainer) pre-conference event is offered annually at ALTS. Additionally, we are planning Fire Ops 101 programs to decision makers at national events in the summer and fall of 2014.
The Labor Management Initiative (LMI) is designed to improve cooperative and collaborative relationships between labor and management and help avoid critical labor management issues, disputes and costly arbitrations. Highly experienced IAFF and IAFC cohorts facilitate this program to help fire departments develop and enhance positive, cooperative labor-management relationships.
Since the last Convention, the IAFF and IAFC have helped facilitate LMIs for:
In September 2012, we selected Fairfax, VA Local 2068 President John Niemiec to fill the open vacancy representing Caucasian males on the Elected Human Relations Committee. Niemiec attended the meeting in March 2013 in conjunction with the Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference. In July 2013, at the Biennial Canadian Policy Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, delegates elected Kingston, ON Local 498 President Ann Bryan and Ajax, ON Local 1902 member Clive Deonarine as the two new Canadian members on the Elected Human Relations Committee. Both Committee members attended the December 2013 meeting in conjunction with the Instructor Development Conference when Committee members assembled for two days of business and two days of training in preparation for the Human Relations Conference.
As needed to resolve any human relation issues relative to discrimination or harassment, we provide the necessary coordination to resolve these issues. Affiliates can request assistance for human relations issues and the Elected Human Relations Committee works to provide assistance for locals involved in discrimination or harassment disputes. In the last two years, we provided assistance to Aurora, CO Local 1290, Shreveport, LA 514, Plano, TX Local 2149, Atlanta, GA Local 134, Polk County, OR Local 4196 and Ottawa, ON Local 162.