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IAFF Announces Barack Obama Endorsement At 49th Convention


IAFF Announces Barack Obama Endorsement At 49th Convention

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IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger announced the union’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for president of the United States August 14 during the IAFF 2008 Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Praising his support of fire fighters and working families, Schaitberger said, “On every issue important to fire fighters, Senator Obama is and has been in our corner. The IAFF is the most bipartisan union in the AFL-CIO, and we support those who support us. We can’t overlook Senator McCain’s service to our country, but we also can’t overlook his poor record on issues critical to the financial security of our 290,000 members.”

Compare Candidate Records

In a message to Convention delegates, Senator Obama expressed his support of collective bargaining rights for fire fighters, stating that collecting bargaining rights “won’t become law unless we have a president who’s willing to sign it, and I’ll be that president,” he said. “It is unacceptable when fire fighters do not have collective bargaining rights. But it’s not just collective bargaining. For too long on too many issues, fire fighters have not been treated with the dignity, respect and honor you deserve.”

Watch Obama’s Message

Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) addressed fire fighters on Senator Obama’s behalf.

Watch Biden’s Speech

The IAFF made its endorsement for the candidate who will protect your retirement security, your rights on the job and other issues affecting your lives and livelihoods. Senator Obama is clearly in the IAFF’s corner on these issues, Senator McCain is not.

Senator Obama co-sponsored and voted for the IAFF’s collective bargaining bill, this union’s top legislative priority, while Senator McCain opposes collective bargaining rights for fire fighters and police officers and voted against the IAFF’s collective bargaining bill in 2001 and refused to return to the Senate in May 2008 for a vote.

Senator Obama supports the rights of fire fighters to collect overtime pay, a right established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), while Senator McCain favors appointing judges to the federal bench who could overturn court decisions that guarantee overtime pay to fire fighters and other rights outlined in the FLSA.

Compare Candidate Records

Senator Obama opposes forcing fire fighters into Social Security, while Senator McCain has refused to sign a letter opposing mandatory Social Security, saying, “we need to keep all options open.”

Obama wants to strengthen the system of employer-provided health care. Senator McCain’s health care plan encourages the elimination of employer-sponsored health care, and instead wants to place the burden on individuals to find and purchase their own health care or require employees who continue to receive health care coverage through their employer to pay taxes on those benefits.

Senator Obama has also worked to increase funding for the SAFER grant program, while Senator McCain has sided with the Bush administration in its attempts to zero out funding for that program.

These issues are critical issues facing our members that relate to your safety on the job and financial security ## the issues I call the IAFF’s basket of issues. We understand and honor your right and responsibility to weigh the many personal issues ## right to life/choice, Second Amendment rights, prayer in the schools, same-sex marriage ## that are important to you when deciding who to vote for.

Watch Kitchen Table Discussion Video With General President Schaitberger

But it’s your union’s responsibility to let you know where the candidates stand on our basket of issues.

Senator Obama has a record of looking out for fire fighters and working families as a state senator in Illinois and as a United States senator. Let’s elect the candidate who has been and will be there for us. Let’s elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.

Get the Facts

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