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)
  1. TJ

    The endorsements keep piling up; and McBush keeps on attacking. Is this the way John McBush wants to win the election? Unless he follows the Republican strategy set forth by the criminal Karl Rove-steal it- it appears McBush has an "uphill" battle of his own.

    August 14, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Turnabout is Fair Play

    To you idiots who keep saying "Hillary democrat for McCain"; do you honestly think Obama supporters are worried or CARE that you are voting for McCain? For every one of you who keep saying you are voting for McCain because your poorhouse Queen did not win, there are two Republican voters who are going to cross over and vote for Obama because of McCreepysmile's policies and negative campaigning AND vote on and go away, it won't stop the Obama freight train RIGHT TO THE WHITEHOUSE!

    August 14, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Mike from Illinois

    It never ceases to amaze me the amount of hate that gets spewed on these forums. I didn't realize that trying to push your favorite candidates message meant relying on name calling ,petty bickering, and spreading rumors (most of which have been dispelled or addressed). It is no wonder to me that the America that I love is on a downward spiral. Consequently, this is also the reason that I support Obama. Overall, he has a positive message. It is a shame that McCain has not provided the same positive energy. Think about this when you are trying to make a point. Maybe then it won't get lost in the hate that is spewing out.

    August 14, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Mccain=Bush=Warmongers

    Obama is the canidate that we need John Mccain is a liar and a cheat he will not Be President ever Obama want to restore this Country from Bush adminsteration. Obama/Biden 08

    August 14, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. maurice

    McCain is a war hero!What have you done?

    August 14, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. w.l. jones

    One thing you cannot denie the fire-fighter of America is one of the greatest group of people in our country. They are at the tip are your finger 24 seven every day . Ladymach I can not agree more this has been a long lonly week . Again my hat off to the firefighter of America.

    August 14, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. Charlotte

    Let's hope they do as much good for Obama as they did Kerry. LOL

    August 14, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Fed Up

    You really should read your own post to see how ridiculous you sound. Why is there all this talk about the experience? You can't actually have experience at being the President of the United States until you are the President. What experience did G. Bush have? Actually he had far less than Obama and lets not forget he was barely a "C" student. I guess being educated means absolutely nothing! That is obvious by listening to the current President and McCain when they speak. Stop making excuses for why your not voting for Obama and start using some common sense. If your not rich, which only 10% of the population is, then Republicans don't care about you anyway. Use some common sense. If you don't have any, read a book and try to develop some before this country goes down the drain!

    August 14, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. Connie Hussein

    Wonderful news! Go, Barack!

    August 14, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Concerned Citizen of America 08

    What's wrong with having to bargain for your wages and benefits? I just read an article (CNN MONEY) where the GAO did an audit from 1998 to 2005 and found that 2/3 of the US corporations didn't pay any income taxes and foreign companies who did business in the US, paid very little income tax. So what gives? You folks who diss the unions and anyone who belongs to one ought to take notice. Corps dumped unions, outsourced the jobs, receive subsidies, and pay little or no income taxes. And now we have highest unemployment in a decade, highest home foreclosures ever, failed banks, crumbling infrastructure, highest fuel and food prices, ect.. and we still have folks on this blog who don't get it.

    August 14, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian

    THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    "In the 21st Century, Countries don't invade other Countries"


    CNN, I hope that John McCain is really happy NOW with all the MEDIA ATTENTION that he is garnering........COMPLIMENTS BARACK........... Please let us hear about McCain's numerous OUTRIGHT LIES, MISSPEAKS, AND OTHER DAILY GAFFES!

    pat C.
    you are sooooooooooooo right!

    August 14, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. ANGIE


    August 14, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. MikeH

    The story is not that Obama is for Firefighters, the story is the Firefighters are for Obama, not McCain.

    I understand you support the other guy, confused and disoriented as he may be (Code Orange yesterday), but you seem articulate and not a boot-licking troll (like Luis) so be honest with your posts.

    August 14, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Lorna, NY

    TO GARY-

    You can use a couple of years of college. Get educated before you start talking. My 18 year old son's grammar and spelling is better than yours. This is the problem, America is full of group thinkers instead of independent thinkers.

    August 14, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. BJ, Texas

    Is Obamarosa back from Hawaii yet? He'll need the firefighters to help him put out the fires in November when he and his groupies try to figure out why they lost.

    August 14, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Carl from MI

    Firefighters RULE!! Yes, they look out after their own interests... AND YES, they also put their lives on the line WHILE SAVING YOUR LIFE. Do you want to run into a burning building, not knowing if you'll come back out alive... all to save the life of someone you don't even know?

    Think about THAT the next time you're worrying about how much money they're making. When it's YOUR mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son, or loved one they're running in to rescue in a burning house... you'd pay them a MILLION dollars if only they can save the life our your loved one.

    Hey 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."

    Everybody knows that Bush/Cheney/Rove are the MOST CORRUPT AND EVIL (AND STUPID) POLITICIANS TO EVER RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Nobody will ever to come in second place to these guys... and yet, they're still in office but are never mentioned by you or any of your colleagues on here. It's almost as if they no longer exist anymore!!! Let's see you guys compare Obama to Bush... bring it on!!

    And it's not as if McLame Brain has shown his political BRILLIANCE over the last few months. He doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia, doesn't know Pakistan doesn't share a border with Iraq, has no clue about Czechoslovakia, and wears $500 Italian calf-skin loafers while calling Obama an elitist for drinking a $2 raspberry tea... AND he's ready to declare war on Russia over an incident that GEORGIA started. Brilliant... almost as bright as GWB!!

    Do yourself a favor... it's time to put a smart person in the White House. WAKE UP, AMERICA!!

    August 14, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |

    Makes sense...

    Read the latest book...

    Look at Obama's ties to corrupt politics in Chicago...

    And when his White Hater Wife got a raise at a hospital look how Obama approved earmarks for that hospital.

    Look at Obama's relationship votes...

    He approved partial life abortion for ALIVE babies that were born premature... The only one in Chicago to do so.

    Basically the baby was born alive premature and then starved to death. Obama VOTED FOR THIS.

    I don't care if you're Pro-Choice or Pro-Life, you don't kill a baby that is BORN ALIVE.

    ONLY A FEW PROCHOICE DEMOCRATS EVEN SUPPORTED THIS... Finally Obama changed his position when he found out he was gonna run for POTUS.

    READ ABOUT IT... Get informed people.

    August 14, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Olayemi,Lagos-NIGERIA

    "Minnesota Woman"

    wether U like it or not, ur country will make history without U. there is nothin U can do about it cos U've only got 1 vote. How dare Obama "DEFEAT ur anointed WOMAN" OBAMA has never promised experience, thats too much garbage for his Gospel of CHANGE! Only a newcomer without bitterness can evolve the conscience and political will to implement a positive change in ur country and the world at large.

    Hillraisers like U always claim she's the Best that the DEMS had to offer, but U forget BIDEN and BAYH and many more DEMS have credentials that pose a moutain to HRC's sand castle. 7years+ as senator is paper weight! OBAMA has more years as an elected officer.

    So who are U fooling? u're nothin but a FEMINIST who is blinded by racial prejudice into selecting an anti-woman Sen McCain as POTUS.


    August 14, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser and his business partner lobbied the senator or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2-year span while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

    August 14, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. McLame

    "In the 21st Century Countries don't invade other Countries"

    John McCain – 08/13/2008

    Nothing more needs to be said........

    August 14, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. scott

    "Obama Wins Big Endorsement" Come on CNN what kind of news is this and headline. Obama didn't win this endorsement!!! Once again you guys show your support through headlines. McCain never had this endorsement and probaly would have turned it down. Up next God endorses his son Barack Obama to the highest office!!

    August 14, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. Sue

    Ron Democrat turned independent "how did sen obama and co. vote on this legislature that prevent them from collective barganing? yeah right. he do love to talk the talk don't he."

    If you reread the article you would see that BO supports collective bargaining. As a former union employee turned management, I am for both unions and Obama.

    August 14, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Since John McCain "supports our troops" by voting against almost every bill that would improve their lot in life after serving their country, it is not surprising that he would neglect America's fire fighters too. Perhaps marrying into millions and NINE homes via an affair while still married to his first wife has dulled his empathy for people who earn their livings.

    August 14, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Lorraine

    I have to agree. Firefighters are always heroes. They just have never been recognized. Firefighters are the heroes and they risk their lives daily in dangerous situations and sometimes lose their own. Thank you IAFF.

    P.S. McCain will send you to Russia to fight a war that he is poking his unwanted two cents in. We do not have enough soldiers to fight another war.

    Obama 08

    August 14, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. joe in VA

    IMHO, this isn't a big endorsement. It's a union. they always back dems. In this case they first backed Chris Dodd over BHO. zzzzzzzz

    August 14, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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