With elections on the horizon, it is important to remember that the stakes will be incredibly high this November. Control of the White House, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, nine governors’ mansions and state legislatures across the country are up for grabs in this year’s elections. Because every decision that affects your job is made by an elected official or someone appointed by an elected official at some level of government, and because an increasing number of extremist politicians are pushing their divisive agendas on Capitol Hill and in your state legislatures, not being involved in the political process simply is not an option for us. We have to be in the game. It is more important than ever to ensure that our friends from both sides of the political aisle get elected this November. So we will once again take a strong stand and be in the political arena.
Our first step in this important process is sifting through the names and the records of the candidates to determine who qualifies as a friend of our union and membership, and who represents a threat to your livelihoods and your safety on the job. We will be as thorough as possible. We will look at their statements and their votes on labor and public safety issues. We’ll let you know who supports your right to have a voice in the workplace and who wants to take it away. We’ll let you know who supports collective bargaining rights, who supports keeping fire fighters out of Social Security and who stands with us in opposing the taxation of your health care benefits and who is working against us.
Our principles are simple, but they are steadfast. We support those who support us. I know from my travels across North America that many of you have your own strongly held views and principles — your own basket of issues — that you consider when sizing up the candidates and deciding which of them has earned your support. Not only is it your prerogative to consider these other, more personal issues — religion, the Second Amendment and other cultural matters — it is your right to do so, and this union celebrates that individual freedom.
Your union will never tell you how to vote, but it is our responsibility to make it crystal clear which candidates support you on the job, want to keep you fully staffed and support your right to have a voice in the workplace. It is our responsibility to make it crystal clear which candidates support protecting your bargaining rights and will work hard to protect your retirement security so you are able to retire with dignity after a career serving your community.
That is the basket of issues we use as a measuring stick to size up the candidates and their records. After the attacks that we’ve faced over the past 18 months, the contrast between our friends and opponents couldn’t be clearer. Our friends helped us put more than 5,000 members to work with the first $630 million in Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, and they are now providing another $742.5 million in funding to create another 7,000 jobs, even when virtually all other budget items in Congress are getting cut. Our friends helped ensure that the waivers would remain in place so we could use that combined $1.3 billion to put our members who were laid off back to work, fill positions lost through attrition and prevent further layoffs throughout the recession. We have to be in the game to make sure that we don’t elect more governors like Scott Walker or John Kasich or Rick Scott or Rick Snyder to office. And we have to be in the game so we make sure that the only view of the White House that Mitt Romney ever has is from a tourist bus, because he was a terrible governor for our members while he served as the governor of Massachusetts. The end game of that ilk of anti-worker politicians couldn’t be more obvious — the death of labor, our union and your jobs.
We can’t undo what our opponents have done to us in the two years since the mid-term elections overnight, but we can work hard to get our friends in office to stop the attacks and return our career and rights to where they were before 2011. It’s time to get lawmakers into office who will work with us so we can play some offense. So as we gauge the candidates, I believe we have to be more careful and more deliberate than ever. We have to view the 2012 elections through the prism of the attacks over the past two years.
Two years ago, a tidal wave of voter discontent allowed the most partisan gang of anti-worker politicians that we have seen in our careers take office at all levels of government, and we continue to pay dearly. They have done everything within their power to decimate your wages, benefits and rights in the workplace. They have done everything within their power to push the fiction that your pensions are responsible for the red ink in state and local budgets.
Too much is at stake. So we will be in that political arena, we will do our best to better inform you and provide the information you will need to make your personal decision. It’s up to us to get our friends elected and send our enemies to the sidelines.
Please click PDF link below for IAFF Local 244 endorsements:
2012 IAFF Local 244 Endorsements.pdf