The second day of the IAFF’s 52nd Convention featured remarks by Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), a resolution to change the per capita contribution for union dues, a powerful video presentation about the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, and a lengthy roll call vote.
Following the opening invocation by Pastor Tyrone Patrick of the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Richard Paris of Boston Local 718 called on delegates to offer support for young Tommy Kelly, who is suffering from Leukemia. Tommy is the son of Local 718 member Ed Kelly, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts. Delegates were urged to give any contributions for the Kelly family to the Sergeants at Arms.
President Harold Schaitberger introduced guest speaker Terry O’Sullivan as “someone you can trust to keep your back. He’d make one hell of a fire fighter. “
“Sullivan, who said he comes from a family of fire fighters, grabbed a few rhetorical torches and pitchforks himself. After expressing being inspired by President Schaitberger, whom he said, “never forgets that the most valuable asset we have in the labor union is our members and their families,” O’Sullivan launched into a passionate dressing-down of labor’s enemies. He condemned what he called “Tea Party maggots” and said that they can no longer “call you heroes while they treat you like second-class citizens.”
Per Capita Increase Approved
General Secretary-Treasurer Thomas Miller offered an overview of current per capita policies, followed by a report from the Constitution and By-Laws Committee, which offered Resolution 1, calling for increasing the per capita tax to 18 cents for active members and 9 cents for active-retired members to account for increases in the Consumer Price Index, effective September 1, 2015. The increase is proposed to keep the IAFF operating at its current level, as all of the union’s services and activities are affected by inflation. The resolution was adopted.
Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Rebuild
A video on the Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial (FFFM) was shown, revealing the need to renovate the Memorial completely to “retain its original quality and enhance its presentation.” Resolution 19 was proposed by 4th District Vice President Bill Taylor, calling for completely rebuilding the Memorial for a proposed cost of $3.5 million, including new walls to allow ultimately for inclusion of 12,000 names. The improvements would be financed by a five-year per capita increase of 21 cents. The resolution passed unanimously to sustained applause from the delegates.
Proposed DVP Salary Increases
Resolution 7 was offered to increase the salaries of IAFF District Vice Presidents to account for their increased responsibilities and to account for cost-of-living increases they have incurred over the years. Their expanded responsibilities are no longer limited to policy, but extend to budgetary, contract, GIS and campaign strategy responsibilities. Under the proposed resolution, raises would be financed with a 9-cent increase in the per capita.
Considerably more discussion from the floor ensued, both pro and con, before the question was called on Resolution 7. The vote was close enough that the Chair called for a standing count. The count, tallied by Sergeants at Arms, was 775 in support to 603 in opposition. A request from a delegate was then made for a roll call vote.
The vote on the request for a roll call vote resulted in 491 of 1,414 delegates voting in support of a roll call, which proved to be 34.4 percent of those voting – more than the 30 percent required for a roll call. The doors were tiled as required under the Rules of Order for conducting a roll call vote.
It took three hours and 50 minutes to conduct the roll call and tally the votes, with the final vote 97,354 in favor of Resolution 7, and 95,210 in opposition. It was the first roll call vote since 1982.
“The delegates have spoken, the members have spoken,” said President Schaitberger. “I want to congratulate all of you. This has been a lengthy but positive process.”