3rd District Vice President
Pursuant to the Constitution and By Laws of the IAFF (Article VI section 3), I am submitting this report for the activities in the 3rd District for the period between September 1, 2018, and November 1, 2020, to General President Harold Schaitberger, General Secretary Treasurer Edward Kelly, all IAFF Executive Board members, officers and delegates in attendance at the 55th IAFF Virtual Convention. I have attended all the Executive Board meetings and carried out all the assignments given to me by General President Schaitberger.
I have been appointed by the General President and am currently serving on the following committees, Budget and Finance, Canadian Affairs, Communications, Emergency Disputes Fund, Fallen Firefighter Memorial, Occupational Health and Safety, Resolutions and Information and Technology.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the IAFF 3rd District Vice President, representing 23,000 fire fighters across New England for the past two years. I have engaged in a host of activities in and around the District, including but not limited to, organizing, legislative matters, arbitrations, state meetings, local meetings, state conventions, retiree meetings, political campaigning, legal inquiries and member representation.
Since we left the last convention in Seattle, Washington, the 3rd District has had some notable losses from state leadership positions. First, in January 2020 longtime Maine State President John Martell chose to step down from his duties and spend more time with his family. John’s tireless advocacy for Maine fire fighters and fire fighters across the International as an IAFF PEP instructor and subject matter expert will be missed but fortunately John is not going too far, and he will continue to serve the state union in a consulting capacity.
Another huge loss to the District and the International took place in New Hampshire. PFFNH President Bill McQuillen has recently stepped down to take a non-bargaining unit Deputy Chiefs position for the Portsmouth Fire Department. President McQuillen served on the PFFNH E Board for almost 30 years, the last four as President. Billy, like John Martell, was also a long time IAFF PEP instructor who was familiar to many of our members across the International. On behalf of the entire 3rd District, I would like to wish both of these trade unionists well in all their future endeavors and thank them for their unstinting service to this great union.
President Joe Andriole and the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters have been quite busy since we convened in Seattle.
RISAFF lobbying efforts were instrumental in passing one of the strongest cancer presumptive laws in the entire IAFF. This legislation mandates that ALL cancers are covered as a conclusive presumption for ALL active fire fighters. It also covers ALL retired fire fighters no matter when they retired from service.
RISAFF also assisted in passing a first-in-the-nation overtime law. This law guarantees overtime for any RI fire fighter who works more than 42 hours a week. This neutralizes the constant attacks against our 42-hour work week from municipalities who have threatened repeatedly to move fire fighters from our 42 hour/week schedule to a 56 hour/week work schedule. Strong work.
Another cutting-edge legislative victory for RISAFF was the passage of a Widows Benefit Law. This law provides for a widow of any fire fighter killed in the line of duty to be exempt from property taxes on their primary home. Another example of fire fighter’s commitment to the families of our fallen brothers and sisters.
RISAFF continues to be heavily engaged in the political arena on the local, state and federal level, with a politically active membership second to none.
The state union continues to take on countless successful arbitration battles. Protecting doggedly all the hard-fought rights and interest arbitration cases that are constantly under attack by those who would do us harm.
The health and safety of all RISAFF members continues to be paramount to their mission. From providing PPE to their members during the COVID-19 pandemic to holding many informative health and safety seminars across the state, to providing a first-class members assistance program (MAP), little Rhody plays big when it comes to looking out for their members well-being.
Since our last Convention, President Bill McQuillen and the Executive Board of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire made the safety and health of their membership a top priority, and the proof of that priority is in their legislative results. After seeing an initial defeat in 2018 of SB 193 – a bill that prohibits the sale of certain furniture and carpeting with flame retardant chemicals – they successfully passed the same bill in 2019, joining a growing list of states passing similar new flame retardant legislation.
In keeping with the initiative to protect their members from needless exposures in the workplace. The PFFNH also helped pass SB 257 – prohibiting foams containing perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals for use in fighting fires. Also contained within this legislation, New Hampshire became the first state in the country to track the use of PFAS chemicals used in our bunker gear. Additionally, the state’s cancer bill was strengthened when Republican Governor Chris Sununu kept his commitment and removed the unreasonable tobacco language from the Cancer law, and then added funds to the state budget to permit members hired prior to 1997 to become eligible for the presumptive coverage. Those initiatives would be impressive enough on their own, but the PFFNH did not rest on their laurels, passing bill SB 59 – which adds post-traumatic stress injury and acute stress disorder to the definition of “injury” for purposes of workers’ compensation. They also re-established a commission to study the incidence of post-traumatic stress injuries in both fire fighters and police officers.
The PFFNH also worked hard to pass some other important workers’ compensation reforms, including reforming gainful employment and ensuring that EMTs are covered with line of duty death benefits.
This past spring, the PFFNH worked hard to force the state to establish separate hotel facilities so that their members could safely quarantine if they were exposed to COVID-19. This would ensure that their members would not endanger their families and coworkers while awaiting COVID test results. In addition to these victories, the PFFNH also helped pass an emergency order from the Governor that clarified the infectious disease law and covered COVID-19 as a presumptive line of duty exposure.
New Hampshire became the first state in the country to have its members become eligible for hazardous duty pay during the early months of the pandemic. A weekly stipend of $300 for eight weeks was secured for all members who responded to calls during the public health crisis.
President Brad Reed and the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont have been actively engaged in building their union and supporting the 250 men and women who make up their 10 affiliated locals. Over the past two years, they have assisted with several local initiatives to grow their membership and protect their members work environment. As always, they were actively engaged in the political process at the Vermont Statehouse with success in passing two key pieces of legislation. They expanded their communications platform to ensure they were reaching members in all corners of their state and keeping them all informed. The PFFV has continued to work with a coalition of other Vermont labor unions to give unions a strong, united voice and to advance their collective agenda.
One advantage of labor union work in a small state is their ability to effectively and efficiently provide local assistance. However, they are not immune to the same challenges other states face where there is a need for the state association to provide help with a variety of issues.
Since 2018, they have successfully rid Rutland City Firefighters Local 2323 of their toxic and demeaning Fire Chief, who came from the Midwest and tried to reinvent the fire service. A similar effort is underway in St. Johnsbury where IAFF Local 2934 has had antagonistic relationship with their Chief.
At the request of Williston Firefighters Local 4611, the PFFV provided assistance with creating a budget and mentoring the local secretary-treasurer to ensure they were using best practices.
Their state peer support team continues to work around the state providing assistance to all members in need. The PFFV should be very proud of the work that this dedicated group of peers does, and the importance was no more evident than last summer when they saved the life of one of their own who was literally hours away from taking his own life.
They have met with 15-40 connections and brought them to a PFFV meeting to share information about cancer detection and raise awareness in hopes their members will be more aware of changes and seek treatment at an earlier stage of the disease.
Burlington Firefighters Local 3044 enjoyed a successful local initiative to grow their fire department by adding a new ambulance company at Station 4 and increasing their roster by nine new positions. Currently, they are in the process of organizing a brand new local in Woodstock, Vermont where they recently hired full-time staff. The hope is to have them certified by the Vermont Labor Relations Board before the end of 2020.
Communications was a gap identified in the PFFVs last strategic plan, so they contacted the IAFF to seek assistance with developing a communications strategy to address that weakness. The result of that effort was the creation of a new multi-pronged communications plan that included a greater social media presence, and a printed kitchen table news flyer that would be hand delivered to each of the stations in the state. This was a hit with members when PFFV officers began showing up quarterly at the station and having one on one conversations. They coupled this communications effort with a shift away from Constant Contact email distribution and into IAFF SMART. SMART has been perhaps one of the most valuable tools for the state to tackle communications effectively, and for collecting state PAC donations. They are slowly seeing other local unions sign up for SMART and have the goal of signing up every local. Encouraging more participation from members is always a priority for their organization.
The PFFV had established the IAFF Motorcycle Group Vermont Chapter several years ago but have been challenged by low participation and less interest than was expected. So, President Reed sought the appointment of a new Chairman, Brother Tim Burns from Burlington Firefighters Local 3044, who in his first year did an outstanding job recruiting members and putting rides together. The activity level of that group increased dramatically, and they have partnered with the IAFF New Hampshire chapter for shared rides.
At the moment, the PFFV is in talks about the creation of a PFFV female fire fighters’ group. This initiative was an idea from Sister Alex Fojo South Burlington Local 3671. It is hoped to encourage more females to enter the fire service in Vermont and help inform the state association of how best to support issues specific to their group. PFFV continues to look for creative ways to encourage participation in the PFFV.
Representation at the Vermont Statehouse is one of the most important services they provide, and they have once again enjoyed success. The PFFV finally passed a bill that requires binding interest arbitration for municipal public safety officials. This was identified as a priority since their creation 22 years ago, and I am very pleased that they were able to see that become a reality. At the end of this session, the PFFV saw the passage of a union organizing bill that makes it easier for local unions to grow their membership and protect against anti-union practices. It establishes deadlines for hearings and elections and mandates the city to allow time for new employees to meet with the union. This was a response to the Janus decision. While unexpected at the beginning of the session, they were able to modify the infectious disease presumption to specify the coverage of COVID-19 exposure.
There has been an ongoing effort by the Governors administration to convert the state pension to a hybrid DC plan and the PFFV has worked side by side with the state treasurer to fight back on this. Thus far, they have been successful in doing that.
The global COVID pandemic put the brakes on three other legislative efforts: 1) The PFFV was heavily engaged in a bill to ban firefighting foams that use PFAS, 2) they were tracking a bill that creates a statewide first responder behavioral health and wellness commission, and 3) the PFFV was moving a bill that made it easier for members to access cancer presumption. It’s anticipated that they will be picking these items back up when the legislative session starts up in January.
Also, as reaction to the COVID pandemic, the PFFV formed a leadership group to keep all their locals in contact with each other, which gave them the ability to bounce ideas off of each other and share pertinent information. This responded by ensuring members who were sick could collect administrative leave rather than use sick time. The PFFV assisted locals with setting up non-congregate housing for infected or potentially infected members so they did not have to bring the disease home to their families.
It certainly has been a busy year for the state union. Unfortunately, without the advantage of any staff employees, it’s incumbent that the four principal officers work exceptionally hard to make sure their small state continues to deliver important services to all the local affiliates. In addition to President Reed, I would like to recognize the hard work of Secretary Treasurer Chris Dube, 1DVP Kevin Montminy and 2DVP Will Laliberty. I am sure they will continue to advance the priorities of the IAFF, PFFV and their locals to the very best of their abilities.
On November 13, 2019, Lt. Jason “Jay” Menard of Worchester Local 1009 was killed in the line of duty while battling a fire. Lt. Menard under unbearable fire conditions was able to get his probationary firefighter to a stairway and was forced to throw another crew member out a third-floor window. His actions saved both members lives while sacrificing his own life. Jay left behind a wife and three young children.
A key piece of legislation passed by the PFFM was called the Ava Roy Bill. Ava was the 9-year-old daughter of another LODD Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy. This special legislation ensured that Ava, the only surviving family member, would receive her father’s pension until she was 26 years old.
A few critical bills the PFFM focused on this session are:
- Continued and increased coverage for occupational cancer,
- A presumptive disability designation for Parkinson’s disease
- The complete banning of flame-retardants in household furnishings
- An infectious disease presumption bill, including COVID
- PTSI disability presumption.
The PFFM landmarked a legislative victory with the passage of the $25 million dollar Governor’s bond bill. This bill set aside $5 million a year for turnout gear, extractors and other equipment to help protect all their members. The PFFM also secured statewide grants to establish a bulk purchasing program for additional extractors and PPE.
A state convention resolution was passed by the delegates to establish the PFFM Foundation, which partnered the PFFM with the Boston Bruins Foundation and helped raise over $600,000 for both the New England Firefighter Cancer Screening Fund and the 100 Club of Massachusetts. The money raised will be used to assist PFFM members in getting preventive cancer screenings – something that we all should be taking advantage of.
The PFFM Member Assistance Team is something President MacKinnon and all E Board members should be proud of. They have taken on their members’ behavioral health issues directly without hesitation. They have trained peer counselors across the state that are capable of responding immediately when called upon. It is a testament to this program that more and more members are coming forward seeking help and that more and more fire fighters are recognizing the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress injuries. We should all be attempting to erase the negative stigma associated with this disorder and treating this issue with the care and attention it rightfully deserves!
The PFFM and Secretary Treasurer Billy Cabral have developed and implemented a system of automatic dues collection for membership per capita dues and PAC contributions on a monthly basis. This has helped with receivables and made it convenient for all locals. Currently, there are 180 locals out of the 224 locals in the state that are utilizing automatic dues pay.
There has been a considerable push in Massachusetts to organize many non-IAFF locals. Organizing of the many new IAFF locals has been spearheaded by PFFM District Vice Presidents and IAFF appointees, DFSR Bob McCarthy, DFSR Matt Reddy and SR Dave Keene.
The PFFM is proud to have 100% of the Massachusetts IAFF affiliated locals as members of the state association.
The PFFM has had a long history of leadership within the IAFF. They never sit out a fight or refuse to step up. They have enthusiastically supported PFFM President Emeritus Edzo Kelly in his candidacy for the General President of our IAFF. They are confident he has the experience, ability, commitment and passion to lead us all into the future.
UPFFA President Pete Carozza and his E Board have continuously led from the front when it comes to protecting Connecticut fire fighters. Though budget shortfalls have emboldened our enemies, the UPFFA has remained diligent as a watchdog to protect long fought for benefits.
The Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters of Connecticut and public employees continue to be under attack from several groups pushing anti-labor, anti-worker agendas. Right-wing think tanks and anti-labor elected officials continue to declare war on both working people and struggling municipalities. State budget problems along with anti-worker elected officials continue to attack longstanding benefits that fire fighters have fought for over the years.
The UPFFA of CT continues to deal with the draconian Municipal Finance Bill, a bill that makes it easier for the state to take oversight responsibility in struggling communities and restrict collective bargaining agreements. This continues to affect several of the poorer towns and cities.
As in recent years, with massive budget deficits and projected long-term shortfalls facing the state government, expectations for 2018, 2019 and 2020 Legislative Sessions were somewhat muted. Retaining rights and benefits were the number one priority. Ensuring that adequate funding remains in the state budget to assist towns and cities to operate in fiscally responsible ways and working with other labor organizations was a key to accomplish that task.
Since the last IAFF Convention, the UPFFA of CT has worked tirelessly to maintain current levels of state funding to municipalities providing state-operated public safety services to state facilities, protecting binding arbitration, collective bargaining and workers’ compensation laws, monitoring developments covering the activities of the Municipal Accountability and Review Board (MARB), PTSD coverage under workers’ compensation, fire fighter workweek hours and peer support confidentially. The UPFFA of CT was successful in limiting the adverse effects of an austere budget cycle.
The UPFFA of CT always has and continues to play a very active role in political action across the state from local, state and national elections. Fire fighters were with gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont as he made his campaign stops across the state, rallying members and their families. General President Harold Schaitberger and District Vice President Colbert attended many station visits to reinforce the importance of the upcoming election. The results of all past elections have been outstanding for Connecticut fire fighters.
A working group was established to discuss, negotiate and draft language giving fire fighters and police officers coverage for PTSD. There were many meetings and negotiating sessions to hammer out the details. President Peter Carozza, Director of Legislative Affairs Rick Hart, members of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) and Police Unions worked tirelessly to draft language to present to the legislature leadership. On May 30, 2019, the Senate passed SB 164 (35-0), and shortly after, the House of Representatives passed SB 164 (141-0) and then the bill was quickly signed by the Governor. A partner bill concerning the “Protection of Confidential Communications Between a First Responder and Peer Support Team Member,” which maintains confidentiality in all peer support counseling sessions, also passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
The active support of the leadership of Connecticut locals and members was critical to this effort. The UPFFA of CT Legislative and Political Action Committees continually work on identifying the needs of Connecticut fire fighters.
Unfortunately, 2020 was and continues to be a tough year. The pandemic hit, and the legislative session was canceled. This did not stop the UPFFA of CT from representing its members. President Carozza immediately reached out directly to the Governor and secured expedited testing and housing for affected members. A special Health, Safety and Wellness Committee was activated to assist locals in tracking member exposures and assisting them. The Governor also issued an Executive Order, which provided presumption under workers’ compensation for any fire fighter that is diagnosed with COVID-19 in the course of their employment.
COVID-19 did not stop elections in the state of Connecticut. UPFFA of CT received requests from 74 candidates from both parties seeking the organization’s endorsement, and after interviews with the candidates, 53 received the sought-after endorsement. The UPFFA Political Action Committee worked diligently on Election Day across the state, and the results were great.
In addition to the strong legislative and political action programs, the UPFFA of CT – under the direction of Secretary Lou DeMici – continues to provide servicing to IAFF locals in the state. UPFFA staff handles all contract negotiations, mediation, arbitration, grievances, prohibitive labor complaints and disciplinary issues, and organizing.
The UPFFA of CT officers and staff continue to do an outstanding job in representing Connecticut fire fighters.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Maine (PFFMaine) has been on the frontlines protecting and representing IAFF members throughout the state of Maine since May 7, 1945.
Who We Are: The PFFMaine’s Executive Board working with the IAFF and our 3rd District Vice President are committed to protecting our members and their families. Our Executive members have the knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences at the local, state and international level that represents all aspects of the fire service, our Union and our membership and is fully committed to fighting for all of our members throughout the state!
Who We Represent: We are proud to represent over 1,100 active members and 176 Active-Retired, Retired and Alumni members that include fire fighters, EMTs, paramedics, communication operators, inspectors, training officers and other fire department personnel in 36 IAFF locals throughout the state of Maine.
What We Do: PFFMaine has been on the frontlines fighting to better our members wages, working conditions, and health and safety. We fight for our members’ interests at the contract table, and in the legislature, political and social landscape.
Change in Leadership: Since the PFFMaine’s last convention report, John Martell, President of the PFFMaine in October 2019 decided not to seek reelection and retired from his position as of President. John served as our President since 2008 and on January 28, 2020, the PFFMaine’s Executive Board presented a Resolution to our Convention to make President John Martell our very first President Emeritus. This resolution was well received and deserved and was unanimously adopted by the delegates. Michael J. Crouse was elected by acclamation to serve as the PFFMaine’s next President.
Organizing: Since the IAFF’s Convention in 2018, the PFFMaine has organized eight new IAFF locals in the municipalities of Bath Iron Works, Buxton, Caribou, Falmouth, Gray, Poland, Waterville and Winthrop, Maine.
Organizing and Field Service Program: The PFFMaine is a “full service” association that provides PFFM affiliates with quality labor/employee-management representation and education for local union officers so they are prepared to fulfill their representational responsibilities at the local level. Since our last report, the PFFMaine continues to organize new IAFF affiliates, and assist them in obtaining their exclusive recognition and negotiating their first collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Furthermore, we have been assisting our existing affiliates in negotiating their successor CBAs, Impact & Implementation Bargaining as necessary, grievance/arbitration preparation and presentation, preparing and processing ULP charges, representing employees exposed to disciplinary actions, provided training for local union leaders and legal assistance as necessary. We continue to provide training to our affiliate local leaders through the IAFF PEP Program or other Zoom Training Sessions on various labor relations topics. Our Organizing and Field Services Program continues to be a great resource for our affiliates.
Federal and State Politics: The PFFMaine continues to be a major player state-wide in electing and/or reelecting fire fighter friendly candidates to positions at the federal, state and local levels.
In the 2018 Election Cycle, the PFFMaine worked hard in getting Senator Agnus King reelected to his position as our U.S. Senator. With the assistance of IAFF FIREPAC, the PFFMAINEPAC and our state/local leadership and membership we were able to put boots on the ground for King’s reelection campaign. We were able to assist with sign placement, visibility events, phone banking and educating our members of the importance of reelecting King for the U.S. Senate. During his campaign, the IAFFMG Maine Chapter sponsored a Public Safety Motorcycle Ride with Senator King visiting various fire houses and police stations between Kittery to Brunswick to place a major focus on fire and police issues that needed to be pursued at the federal level. In addition, we assisted Representative Pingree in her bid for reelection in our 1st Congressional District and were proud to be a part of getting Jared Golden to his first term as our Representative from our 2nd Congressional District (taking out the incumbent that was not friendly to the IAFF and PFFMaine).
On the state level, we elected a fire fighter friendly Governor (Janet Mills) and enough of our friends in the state house and Senate to maintain a democratic control of all three chambers. All in all, a great election cycle for the PFFMaine.
In the 2020 Election Cycle, the PFFMaine continued to work hard for fire fighter friendly candidates at the federal and state level. The PFFMaine were major players in working with Senator Susan Collins in her successful reelection as our U.S. Senator. In addition, we worked with both Representatives Pingree and Golden on their successful reelection campaigns.
And last but not least, our fire fighter friendly candidates won their respective elections and reelections to ensure that the Democrats retained control of all three chambers of our state government. Moving forward, the PFFMaine Executive Board working with our affiliate leaders will be developing a plan of actions and milestones to advance our legislative agenda in 2021 and to hold the fire fighter friendly candidates that we endorsed/supported accountable and to ensure that they deliver on promises made. We will not be taken advantage of again!
Legislation: Numerous bills were advanced in the 129th Session that included but were not limited to changes to Chapter 636, MEPERS disability retirement process changes, Public Safety LODD benefit increase to 100K, binding arbitration for benefits and wages, PFAS legislation restricting training with Class B foam and the withdrawal of a flame retardant bill. Unfortunately, the Binding Arbitration Bill was passed by both our House and Senate only to have our Governor veto the bill.
Although we were on track to have our other legislative initiates enacted into law, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down our legislature before any final action could be taken.
We are now planning our legislative agenda for the 130th Session in January 2021 that will include resurrecting the legislation we were unable to achieve in the 129th session along with including female reproductive cancers into our Cancer Presumptive Statue and looking to have the Binding Arbitration legislation resubmitted in the next session.
Initiatives and Programs:
COVID-19 Response: The PFFMaine has been on the frontlines with our affiliates since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The PFFMaine and its affiliates have experienced the same issues that other IAFF Affiliates have experience throughout the IAFF. Early on, we had difficulties in getting and maintaining adequate PPEs, testing and/or access to federal funding. We have had many of our members exposed to COVID-19 and with 56 members test positive for COVID-19 that have returned to work without incident or severe illness. Utilizing the IAFF’s COVID-19 Toolkit our association and affiliates are better prepared to face the second wave and the economic impact COVID-19 is having on our municipalities.
Women in the Fire Service Committee: In January 2020, the PFFMaine created a new Standing Committee, “Women in the Fire Service,” that would be comprised of 10 female members, two from each one of our five districts. This committee was created to provide a voice and a seat at the table to address those issues impacting the working conditions, health and safety and treatment of the 108 female firefighters we represent throughout the State.
This Committee has hit the ground running and has already begun to identify those issues of importance that include, but are not limited to including reproductive cancers under Maine’s Cancer Presumptive Law, ensuring female fire fighters throughout the state have the proper style of personal protective equipment and its proper fitting, to ensure their workplace is free from harassment, and that our fire departments have policies in place to adequately address the issues relating to PPEs, sexual harassment, pregnancy, postpartum care, breastfeeding, behavioral health/wellness, etc. The Committee has already begun meeting with state House/Senate leaders/members to discuss the issues that will need to be addressed through legislation and/or public policy changes in 2021 and beyond. Our House/Senate leaders have committed to assist the PFFMaine in advancing the Committee’s agenda and are also in the process of establishing a Women in the Fire Service Caucus in the State House to address these issues.
PFFMaine Behavioral Health Response Program: As the IAFF has focused on fire fighter behavioral health issues and wellness, the PFFMaine to has a growing concern about behavioral health issues and the significant impact on wellness in our Maine firehouses. As the IAFF has stated, the stresses faced by fire fighters, paramedics and EMTs throughout the course of their careers – incidents involving children, violence, inherent dangers of firefighting and other potentially traumatic events – can have a cumulative impact on mental health and well-being.
The PFFMaine in working with the IAFF, its Center of Excellence and the Behavioral Healthcare Medical Providers in Maine, we continue to develop resources that educate and support members on behavioral health concerns.
To this end, the PFFMaine has partnered with New Perceptions who has recognized that first responders are faced with traumatic experiences on a regular basis as part of their jobs. They have unique challenges that have a long-term impact on their personal and professional lives. New Perceptions has 10 years of experience working with our members. They specialize in trauma treatment with first responders, EMS personnel and military personnel as well as their family members. They are certified and have extensive experience with critical incident stress debriefing and crisis management and are certified with the IAFF Peer Support Training Program and act as a peer support clinician and director of the behavioral health program for the PFFMaine.
New Perceptions is supported by various psychologists and clinicians along with the PFFMaine’s 38 Peer Teams members that are spread out in all five districts that comprise the PFFMaine. Our Behavioral Health Response Team provided informational resources to our affiliates and members as well as respond to individual and/or group needs. They have responded as a CISM Team to two LODDs in the state and have assisted in providing training to our affiliates and members on various behavioral health subjects. Our program also assists IAFF members returning from the IAFF’s Center of Excellence program in ensuring that they have the adequate outpatient treatment needed to continue addressing their behavioral health wellness.
Protecting the Protectors Foundation: The PFFMaine is establishing a 501(c)(3) for our Protecting the Protectors Foundation that will permit the PFFMaine to raise funds to support our Disaster Relief Program, Burn Foundation and our Behavioral Health Response Program to assist our members and their families.
The PFFMaine and its affiliates continue to be on the frontlines in raising funds to support MDA. In 2019, PFFMaine Affiliates raised over $75,534 for MDA.
PFFMaine Website and Social Media: The PFFMaine has launched its new website that will become a resource site for our affiliate leaders and members while we continue to utilize various social platforms to communicate with our members on issues and matters important to them, their families and the communities we protect and service as first responders. As part of our new website design, the PFFMaine has also launched our mobile app.
IAFF SMART Program: The PFFMaine has access and is utilizing the IAFF’s SMART Program for maintaining membership databases, communicating directly through e-mails and text messages to our local leaders and members as necessary. In addition, we are collecting state association dues and service fees and assessments directly from our affiliates. In addition, our Web Master and Treasurer is also assisting IAFF affiliate leaders in accessing and setting up their own IAFF SMART program. The PFFMaine has also sponsored and provided training to our local union leaders on the various aspects of the IAFF SMART program to ensure they are getting the full benefit of the program for the locals.
The PFFMaine has had a few building years since 2018 and will continuously improve on what we do for our members, the 3rd District and the IAFF as we head into 2021 and beyond.
All of the successes outlined in this report could not have been achieved without the full support and involvement of IAFF 3rd District Vice President Jay Colbert. DVP Colbert has provided timely advice and guidance to the PFFMaine’s Executive Board and our local union leaders when needed. DVP Colbert has been onsite at our quarterly meetings and has made himself available via our Zoom Meetings during the pandemic when requested. In addition, DVP Colbert has assisted the PFFMaine in responding to our affiliates needs and provided access to all of the resources the IAFF has available to our affiliates. His continued support and involvement at the international, district, state and local level is second to none. His leadership is noted and greatly appreciated.
This report is submitted by the PFFMaine’s Executive Board and is an overview of what we have done and/or are doing here in the Great State of Maine. With the continued support of DVP Colbert and the IAFF, the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine and all our locals will continue to work for our members’ rights and benefits, taking our members One Step Further. We are looking forward to a very productive convention.
I would like to make a special mention to my retiring DFSR Bob McCarthy. Bob has been a mentor to me throughout my union career as well as to countless other union members across the IAFF. As a 24-year President of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, an 18-year President of the state and provincials association, and 10 years as an IAFF DFSR, Bob has truly left an indelible mark on many layers of our state and international organizations and for that we can all be extremely thankful. Bob, thank you for your 55-year commitment to the betterment of all fire fighters in the IAFF.
In closing, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the tremendous assistance that the IAFF staff has provided for the whole District these last two years. Legal assistance, GIS studies, Municipal Financial Analysis, Peer Support classes, PEP seminars, grant writing just to name a very few of the excellent services available to all of our members. I would also like to thank all six state presidents for their constant assistance and support during the past two years.