As newly elected Republican state legislatures aggressively push a slew of anti-union measures, the International Association of Fire Fighters is freezing its federal political spending and shifting all resources toward its beleaguered state and local colleagues.
“With the survival of our union and the ability to preserve and protect the rights, wages, and benefits our members deserve in jeopardy in the states, we have re-evaluated how to get the best results from our political dollars,” IAFF President Harold A. Schaitberger said Tuesday in an email blast to members that was obtained by POLITICO.
The firefighters’ decision could have real consequences.
The union spent nearly $15 million in the 2010 midterms on behalf of federal candidates, both Democrats and Republicans. Its political action committee is ranked among the top 10 largest and the union was a major donor to some of the independent groups that waged an 11th hour effort to protect Democrats from attacks from business-backed groups.
The PAC donated more than $4 million in the 2010 midterms and a few checks were issued earlier this year.
“But until we see our friends in Congress be as committed to standing and fighting with us with the same level of intensity and ferocity as our enemies are trying to kill us, I’m turning the spigot off,” Schaitberger said in an interview.
Finally, federal candidates – including President Barack Obama — will have to hit the campaign trail without the coveted visual image of local firefighter supporters clad in the union’s iconic black and gold T-shirts.