Gov. Malloy and IAFF General President Schaitberger
Address Local 2687 Members
Seated (L-R): IAFF 3rd District VP Michael Mullane, Local 2687 Pres. Kurt Vogt, UPFFA Pres. Pete Carozza, IAFF General Pres. Harold Schaitberger, CT AFL-CIO Pres. Lori Pelletier and State Senator Martin Looney
Last Tuesday, Local 2687 President Kurt Vogt and a few dozen other Hamden firefighters welcomed IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger and another guy with fire service in his family, Governor Dannel Malloy. Other notables included Connecticut UPFFA President Peter S. Carozza, IAFF 3rd District Vice President Michael Mullane (Boston FD, Ret.), State Senator Martin Looney and Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier.
Governor Malloy addressed the large gathering of on and off-duty Hamden Fire Department personnel, which included Chief Berardesca and Dep. Chief Merwede. The Governor began his remarks by noting that he comes from a family with a lot of firefighters. His nephew, Brian Malloy, is currently serving on the Stamford Fire Department. Four of his Kelly cousins are also firefighters. And Malloy related how an uncle, "a long term firefighter" in Stamford, "refused to retire until the day after he got badge number 1" as the most senior firefighter on the Stamford Fire Department.
IAFF Gen'l Pres. Schaitberger addressing members
The visit by IAFF officials was to enlist the support of Hamden firefighters for Malloy in the upcoming gubernatorial election. The Governor cited his personal commitment to the collective bargaining and arbitration rights of municipal employees, as well as his administration's recent successful efforts to address the state's underfunded pension. If the state pension crisis had not been addressed, he asserted pointing to the firefighters sitting before him, "then YOU were on the menu," suggesting that his opponents would have corrected the deficit on the backs of current employees.
Following the Governor's remarks, President Schaitberger shared the story of a personal journey that brought him to the fire service and his subsequent involvement with the IAFF at both the local and national levels. He praised Local 2687 President Kurt Vogt and other leaders of the local, stating that leadership on the local level is the hardest job in the IAFF.
President Schaitberger expressed concerns regarding the future of employees' rights in the current political climate, when many state and municipal leaders throughout the country today are targeting collective bargaining and arbitration rights, as well as looking for givebacks from public safety employees and retirees.
Connecticut's UPFFA President Peter Carozza and I.A.F.F. 3rd District Vice President Michael Mullane echoed Pres. Schaitsberger's concerns with their own stories. Following the talk, which lasted over ninety minutes, the guests fielded several questions from the local members present.
This was IAFF President Harold Schaitberger's first visit to Hamden, a planned visit two years ago having been called off due to Hurricane Sandy.
Local 2687 President Kurt Vogt with IAFF President Schairberger as he fields questions from local members
From the IAFF Website:
Harold A. Schaitberger is General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, representing more than 300,000 professional fire fighters and emergency medical personnel in every state in the U.S. and in Canada. President Schaitberger is the ninth president in the IAFF’s 94-year history, and was the first to have been elected by acclamation in 2000. He was re-elected to another four-year term in July 2012
UPFFA President Carozza and IAFF General President Schaitberger
(L-R) Ff. Scott Blake, Lt. Hugh O'Callahan, Dep. Marshal Brian Dolan, Ff. Pete Lynch, Ff. Tim Doyle,
Gov. Dannel Malloy, Ff. Jay McCarthy, Ff. Dan Such, Ff. Brian Gagnon, Ff. Rich Lennon and Ff. Larry Bowden.
Members of Hamden Professional Firefighters Local 2687, IAFF gathered outside for a group photo with
IAFF General President Schaitberger, 3rd District VP Mullane and UPFFA President Pete Carozzo.
Peter Anderson photo (Courtesy of Nelson Hwang)
Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Assn. of CT President Peter S. Carozzo and Governor Dannel Malloy as the Governor arrived to address Hamden firefighters.
IAFF General President Schaitberger posed with two Local 2687 charter members, Batt. Chief Don LaBanca and retired Capt. Dave Johnson. The Local was organized in 1979. Chief LaBanca is the only charter member still active in the department.