IAFF supports Ohio firefighters in successful ballot measure opposition

March 15, 2024

The ballot initiative and its implications

Voters in Ohio have rejected a ballot initiative aimed at changing the state’s constitution.

The proposal sought to increase the minimum vote requirement for amending the constitution from a simple majority to a 60 percent majority.

Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters (OAPFF) President Jon Harvey played a key role in opposing this initiative.

Harvey stated: “Issue 1 proposed changing the constitution, making it significantly harder to amend and this shift would have set an almost insurmountable hurdle for any constitutional amendments in the state.”

 He recalled a similar challenge faced twelve years ago with Senate Bill 5, which threatened collective bargaining rights.

The role of IAFF and OAPFF in the campaign

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) contributed strategically to this victory.

Their involvement included financial support and expert advice, which were instrumental in the successful campaign.

The IAFF’s Strategic Initiatives team, along with IAFF FIREPAC funds, empowered members to effectively influence political campaigns and ballot initiatives.

Harvey commented on the IAFF’s role: “The IAFF’s leadership was engaged from the beginning, providing advice, and financial contributions which enabled us to carry out essential elements of the campaign, including mail-ins and outreach.”

Next steps and future focus for Ohio firefighters

With this victory, the focus for Ohio firefighters is now on addressing other challenges.

Harvey highlighted ongoing issues, such as disparities in pension contributions between police and fire services and the push for legislation to include PTSD coverage for firefighters.

He emphasized the importance of grassroots activism and unity within the firefighting community.

Harvey said: “As fire fighters, we rush into a burning building to extinguish flames, we do not stand outside and expect others to handle it; if we do the house will just burn to the ground.

“Locals not engaged politically will face the same fate eventually. Locals like to think our job is not political, but every part of our job is political.”

For more information on IAFF’s activities and to contribute to IAFF-FIREPAC, visit their website.

FSJA Comment

The recent ballot measure rejection in Ohio underscores the influential role of firefighter unions in political advocacy.

This development highlights the increasing intersection of public service roles, like firefighting, with political activism, especially in matters directly impacting their work and wellbeing.

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