August 14th, 2008
10:50 AM ET
14 years ago

Firefighters union backs Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Obama spoke to the International Association of Firefighters in March."]
(CNN) – A major firefighters union will throw its support behind Barack Obama during its annual convention in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Obama, who is on vacation with his family in Hawaii, taped a message that will be played in front of the 3,500 members of the International Association of Fire Fighters at around 2pm E.T.

The union chose to back Obama over John McCain because of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s support of collective bargaining, which gives workers the right to jointly work with their employers to negotiate hours, salaries, benefits and overall working conditions, IAFF spokesman Scott Treibitz said.

“It is unacceptable when fire fighters do not have collective bargaining rights. But it's not just collective bargaining,” Obama said in the video. “For too long on too many issues, fire fighters have not been treated with the dignity, respect and honor you deserve."

The IAFF endorsed Sen. Chris Dodd’s ultimately unsuccessful presidential bid last August and IAFF President Harold Schaitberger campaigned with him in the early primary states. The union was also credited with giving Sen. John Kerry’s campaign a major boost in 2004.

"On every issue important to fire fighters Senator Obama is and has been in our corner," Schaitberger said. "We can't overlook Senator McCain's service to our country, but we also can't overlook his poor record on issues critical to the financial security of our 290,000 members."

Sen. Joe Biden will attend and address the convention on behalf of Obama.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (184 Responses)

    my question its is john maccain always said the country first ? realy ? the country is about the americans ppls or is about the buildings ? i means the country is all about you ppls b smart americans !

    August 14, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. angie - dallas -28

    RUBY kansas- I KNOW RIGHT!!!


    letha, and who do you follow? a wrinkly old warmonger that contradicts his ways every day.

    August 14, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. James from Chicago


    August 14, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Shrill for Hill

    It amazes me that the republicans are openly hostile towards our firefighters. Weren't these people the heroes of 9/11? You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

    Obama '08

    August 14, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Old Stradlater

    I see, Paulie_nj is taking his cues from the Republican playbook of taking quotes out of context. He said:

    "According to a recent article written by CNN contributors, they describe Obama as 'a little-known state lawmaker from Illinois.' Not really the credentials of someone we should trust our country to."

    Of course, that article was about rising star Mark Warner being the key-note speaker at the DNC. It mentioned how it was common for the Democrats showcase young politicians they felt were future leaders of the country in these slots. It used Barack Obama as an illustration saying at the time he spoke he wasn't a household name, but rather "a little-known state lawmaker from Illinois," who has since rose to prominence nationally.

    If I use your method of selective quoting I could change your words as well. You finished by saying of Obama – "Not really the credentials of someone we should trust our country to."

    So ladies and gentlemen, Paulie_nj recently praised Obama, calling him, "someone we should trust our country to."

    Think... It's Patriotic

    August 14, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Jon

    Firefighters aren't backing Obama; the Firefighters' Union is backing him, and there is a difference. The union the represents me is backing Obama, and no one ever asked me my opinion. Unions always endorse Democrats, so this is hardly news.

    August 14, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. SWB

    Clearly, these firefighters are not real Americans and they are just empty-suit celebrities who don't do a thing for the community.....right McSame?

    Don't worry though, McSame got an important endorsement this week as well. Exxon execs are pouring the money in to his campaig, as they believe his "drill right here under my feet" platform is the work of a real innovator.

    August 14, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. SaveTheDramaFoObamasMama

    um.... unions ALWAYS endorse democrats. the obamabots are so dumb.

    August 14, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. Tate

    And who said Obama couldn't shore up the blue-collar vote? Nice! My thanks go out to the fire fighters!

    August 14, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    Welcome IAFF Fire Fighters Union Sen Obama needs union support Outstanding choice. Go Obama.

    August 14, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. Chris

    To CNN (not for posting):

    Please note that the CNN comment policy states that the comments should be relevant to the post. In this story, much like all other Ticker stories, several of the comments have absolutely no bearing on the story. Two examples are below.

    <According to a recent article written by CNN contributors, they
    <describe Obama as "a little-known state lawmaker from Illinois".
    <Not really the credentials of someone we should trust our country to."

    <"In the 21st Century Countries don't invade other Countries"
    <John McCain – 08/13/2008"

    While these are fine posts, they belong to other stories. They are a distraction that add noting to the story that is presented here.

    This problem can be seen in virtually every Ticker story. I ask that CNN please correct this and apply the Comment Policy.

    August 14, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Comanche August 14th, 2008 9:50 am ET

    These firefighters are, of course, looking out for their jobs in supporting Obama. But it's too bad that in other areas, Obama is the most corrupt and evil (and stupid) politician to ever run for president. I disagree with him on nearly every issue and could never support him.

    That's okay, that's just your pain talking that Queen Hillary lost and so you lash out at Obama in an attempt to sooth that pain that just won't go and all these haters against Obama are pitied. You call Obama corrupt, evil, and stupid without giving ANY factual reason you are calling him these things. Are you scared of a black man becoming president? Guess what, it's gonna happen! Go watch the movie Boogeyman and you will see yourself as the little boy in his bed at the beginning of the movie..

    August 14, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. Anonymous

    **A union is backing a Democrat.**

    **Also, water is wet.**

    You actually made me laugh!


    A Dem from NY

    August 14, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. pam Eugene OR

    Barack will need all the help he can get with the scheming Clinton's at the convention. Those sore losers are up to something

    August 14, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. Lisa

    Our first responders know there needs to be a CHANGE!

    August 14, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. Sharon, Minnesota

    Gary, stop being a little puss. Your chances of getting killed by crossing the road are greater than a terrorist attack. Grow a pair. You are the ignorant kind that voted for bush twice.

    August 14, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. Mike, TX

    Another union supports a democrat. This is news?

    August 14, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. Pepou

    Way to go guys !!! You will not regret it. Obama is on the side of the unions (unlike McCain). Obama 09 !!!

    August 14, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. arlene, CA

    You made the right decision fire fighters. Obama won't let you down.

    Obama/Biden 08

    August 14, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Jim

    A union backing a Democrat. Yeah, that is worthy of a headline. I really thought that they were leaning McCain.

    August 14, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. Nando, Florida

    Smart Choice boys if you want to be able to feed you Familys !

    OBAMA 08,12 The SMART CHOICE !!!!!!!

    August 14, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Tate

    "Besides, no outfit wears the label "corruption" better than unions. But, then, so does Obama — so I guess it's a good fit."

    RJ, are you really going to look at the last eight years and accuse someone else of corruption? Seriously? You get that the 2004 election was rigged, right? You get that the invasion of Iraq was based on false pretenses, right? You get that the Bush and bin Laden families have some ties that are fairly hard to dismiss, right? You get that companies that Dick Cheney has ties to are now handling business in Iraq almost exclusively, right?

    Just checking to see if you woke up in the same country as I did this morning...

    August 14, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. Lynne

    Well some more idiots for Obama.

    August 14, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    I have always respected the firefighters, but with this announcement I cannot give them the respect they deserve. The rank and file probably didn't vote for this announcement, so I will continue to respect them, but the leadership will not earn my respect.

    Here you have the great firefighters who can't get a job without experience and maturity backing a candidate that has no experience and is not quite ready for prime time.

    That just doesn't make sense to me

    August 14, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Jerry

    My friends are fire fighters which are supporting Obama and they talk about how Obama are going to bring the country back together......We need to commend our fire fighters what a great job they are doing

    Obama 08

    August 14, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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