On radio and television, General President Harold Schaitberger has discussed the IAFF’s new "Fighting Back" campaign to defend fire fighters and paramedics against politically-motivated attacks by public officials who are blaming fire fighters' wages, pensions and benefits for budget shortfalls. “This is an attack to try to take out America’s Labor Movement,” President Schaitberger said last week on Ed Schultz's nationally syndicated radio show. “All this is about trying to undermine the pensions, retirements and benefits that fire fighters have earned.”
Last night, Schaitberger appeared on Schultz's television show on MSNBC to reiterate the message that the assaults across the country on fire fighters' retirement benefits are driven by opportunists who want to use the recession as an excuse to skewer fire fighters' pensions with little regard for the truth.
"Attacks on fire fighters' pensions are unwarranted and unfounded," he said. "It's a myth that so many of our pension plans are in drastic condition. The fact of the matter is that over 80 percent of public pension plans are 80 percent funded or better."
The IAFF launched its campaign earlier this month with a full-page ad in USA Today, followed by an ad in Politico to warn against Newt Gingrich’s scheme to allow states to file for bankruptcy. These ads are available to IAFF affiliates to print as posters or for other uses in their own communities.
In addition, a viral video produced by the IAFF has been viewed more than 60,000 times, and was featured on a Jacksonville, Florida news broadcast. This video is available for all IAFF affiliates to use in their local media markets.
Some IAFF members have asked why the IAFF hasn't appeared on television networks like Fox News. The IAFF has reached out to political commentators like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and other Fox journalists, but they have not expressed any interest in discussing this pension issue.
In support of the IAFF, members are sending emails to political commentators like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. If you'd like to see the IAFF on these shows (see below), we encourage you to send emails as well.