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Philadelphia’s fire/EMS union breaks with IAFF leaders, endorses Trump for president

The IAFF Local 22 president criticized national union heads for endorsing Biden last April “without ... the consideration of the rank and file IAFF membership”


President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. The Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union, IAFF Local 22, has broken with national union leadership to endorse Trump for reelection.

Photo/Olivier Douliery via AP

By Laura French

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union, IAFF Local 22, has endorsed President Donald Trump for reelection and criticized national union leaders for their endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden last April.

Union President Michael P. Bresnan said in a statement published Tuesday that several Philadelphia fire companies were shut down under the Obama-Biden administration and that Trump has provided FEMA grants during his presidency that helped four of the city’s engine companies back into service.

“The members of Local 22 respectfully break with the undemocratic IAFF endorsement of Joe Biden and pledge our full support to President Donald J. Trump,” Bresnan stated. “The Biden endorsement was done without a canvas of local unions and the consideration of the rank and file IAFF membership.

Bresnan further stated that the Philadelphia union’s endorsement of Trump should be “a wake-up call to IAFF leaders that have lost touch with the will of the membership.” He added that Local 22 members “overwhelmingly” chose Trump when surveyed, and he encouraged other local unions to confer with their members before the election.

IAFF national leadership endorsed Biden in April 2019 before he was officially named as the Democratic presidential nominee. IAFF President Harold Schaitberger said the union had encouraged Biden to run, and said in an interview with The Tribune-Review, “For us it was real simple: Joe Biden has been with us every step of the way. This is someone who respects workers, speaks for them and stands with them.”

IAFF Local 22 represents more than 4,700 current and retired firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and officers of the Philadelphia Fire Department, according to Bresnan’s statement.