To promote the health, safety, and welfare of the Federal Firefighters within the International Association
of Fire Fighters (IAFF).
The 16th District provides Twitter updates.
Letter to DFAS on Lump-Sum Annual Leave Payments March 2016
Letter to SecArmy on Scope of Services
The IAFF 53rd Convention will be in August 2016 in Las Vegas Nevada. For more Information go to www.iaff.org
2016 Convention Call http://client.prod.iaff.org/#contentid=27015
to the Members of the IAFF (March 2016)
I think everyone within the IAFF leadership from the Local level up realizes that there are politics involved in the IAFF at every
level. Any democratic organization
endures the necessity of politics. That
said, we all also have an obligation to our elected offices that require a
balance and the adherence to the principles of our office. A person fails their obligation when they
pursue political goals in lieu of their obligation.
Although there are some that would choose to criticize
the IAFF Executive Board, in the many years I have been fortunate enough to be
a member of the Board I have watched the IAFF continue to grow and become a
respected Union in an environment where other Union's suffer. Trade Union membership in the U.S. continues
to decrease while the IAFF's membership grows.
The IAFF supports Locals though various programs that have also expanded
over the years such as our Guardian Program and at our last Convention the
members adopted the Justice Program to provide wage income for local leaders
that are disciplined or fired for union activities.
That said, as I mentioned politics always come into
play. Whether for personal or
professional reasons anyone in an elected office is vulnerable to allegations
of impropriety or simple character assassination by those seeking gain or
retribution. All one has to do is view
the current environment surrounding the current Presidential nominations to see
an example of this happening. This is often accomplished by twisting the facts
and mischaracterizing the truth and weaving a tale that leaves the reader or
listener with one possible conclusion, that of the story teller. This then
becomes the "elephant in the room" that in our case the story teller suggests
is an "obvious truth" the Board cannot see or chooses to ignore.
Although some have questioned the Executive
Board's resolve, it is important to point
out that such opinions are from a minority that are motivated by political gain
or the simple dislike of certain Officers.
More appropriate forums are available such as addressing the Board and
the Members directly at Convention, addressing the Board at the open Board
meetings held several times a year or utilizing the provisions of our By-Laws,
or through many other venues. But some
prefer not to step up and would rather create discourse by hiding behind a
keyboard and spewing character assassinations and publicly undermining the good
name of the IAFF.
I cannot speak for the entire Board, but I see nothing
wrong with constructive criticism. I
believe it is actually a necessity and beneficial when offered or presented in
the right manner. Aristotle said that
there is only one way to avoid criticism, "do nothing, say nothing and be
nothing". For IAFF members or Officers
however to publicly undermine the good name of the IAFF or disregard their duty
to the IAFF or their Oath as a whole is in fact an attack on all the Members
and the organization as a whole.
Article XV of
the IAFF's By-Laws covers misconduct and penalties. Section C. of the Article provides that the
following is misconduct:
"Libeling or slandering
or causing to be libeled or slandered any officer or member of the Association
or of any local union or other subordinate body thereof, except in the form of
charges of misconduct properly filed against an officer or member as provided
by this Constitution and By-Laws."
Section J. Provides that it is misconduct for:
"Engaging in conduct
detrimental to the best interests of the Association or its subordinate unions
which places or tends to place them in disrepute with other labor
organizations, employers, or the public."
The IAFF Officer's Oath of Office is as follows:
"I pledge my honor to
perform the duties of my office in compliance with the Constitution and By-Laws
of the International Association of Fire Fighters and this local union. All
properties and records of this union will be turned over to my successor in
office at the close of my official term. I will dutifully abide by and promote
the positions taken by the majority. I will dedicate my talents and energies to
represent the mandates and directives of this union. I will use my good office
to promote unity and harmony - all of which I solemnly promise and swear to
keep to the best of my ability."
Clearly the Oath of Office and the By-Laws provisions
regarding misconduct are there for a reason and any failure on our part as
either a Board Member or a Local Affiliate Leader to adhere to these will cause
individuals or the organization to falter and become a victim of political and
personal discourse. We have now
I realize that some of the 300,000 IAFF Members may know
very little about me as I represent one of the smaller Districts dealing with
Federal issues. But allow me to say
this. As an eight-year Veteran of
Military Service, nearly 20 years as a Federal Fire Fighter and 13 years on the
IAFF Board I place a lot of value in an Oath of Office. I believe when one takes an oath they should strive
with every effort adhere to it. I
believe when a person surreptitiously contributes or promotes the destruction
of the organization or its leaders they walk in a minefield that can lead to
the destruction of their own character and their own good name. This too we have seen. Being an elected IAFF
Executive Board member is not a trivial matter.
I am sure some have seen a recent video that a former
Board Member has posted after resigning from his position. Upon his resignation the individual admitted
in writing that he violated the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws. The resignation was not forced as portrayed. The facts were presented, discussion held and
yes suggestions were made to the Board Member.
But it was several days later before the resignation actually
occurred. The Board did not corner
anyone or threaten to take away any benefits or retirement eligibility. Once
again we see the weaving of a tale that leaves the reader or listener with one
possible conclusion, that of the story teller.
Most already know this but just for clarity, contrary
to what some purport the Executive Board is not suffering from Ostrich
syndrome. Many of us choose not to
engage in public blogs containing twisted facts and untruths weaved into a
single plausible outcome. Injecting
ourselves into such rhetoric would be ludicrous and only benefit those weaving
their tale. I know that I, and I
believe other members of the Board do support open discussion and debate and I
believe members should present any concerns that they have about the
organization and its leaders to the Board and the Membership directly though
the proper venues. The IAFF has proper
processes for the Officers and Members to address concerns. These should be preferred by all rather than
the "biased court" of the internet and the "trickery" of distorting some facts
in order to provoke and cause discord.
James B. Johnson
IAFF 16th District