View Full Version : Firefighters Union to Stop Funding Federal Campaigns, Focus on State Races

04-28-2011, 09:26 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 27 Apr 2011, 10:35 AM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 27 Apr 2011, 10:35 AM CDT

FOX Chicago News

Chicago - Chicago firefighters are taking a new approach when it comes fighting for their job rights as part of a larger effort on the national level.

The national firefighters union, which spent almost $15 million in the past election cycle, will stop funding federal campaigns to focus on state battles where politicians are challenging organized labor.

The decision was prompted by a political shift since November, when republicans won a majority of U.S. governors' races.

The International Firefighters Union represents about 300,000 U.S. emergency workers.

Locally, the leadership of the Chicago Firefighters Union said that extreme, right-wing conservative and so-called tea party politicians are coming after firefighters, paramedics and all public workers with a vengeance across the U.S.

Struggles over the clout of unions have drawn national attention to newly elected Republican governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio. Both have signed legislation curtailing the bargaining power of unions representing government workers.

The firefighters union is one of the most generous political action committees, ranking in the top 10 donors to members of Congress in 2010.

The local president of the Chicago Firefighers Union Tom Ryan said on the national level, the Democrats and some Republicans made a lot of promises and assured their backing and then nothing came of it.

"All we want is a seat at the table," Ryan said Wednesday. "The collective bargaining bill died on the federal level, which would have made it law of the land, and [the Democrats] backed out at the last minute."

The beneficiaries of the move are the state Democrats who will be getting more campaign dollars now than before.