The International Association of Fire Fighters is a century-old labor union that seeks to protect the interests of firefighters in both America and Canada. There are nearly 300,000 members in the union, spreading across all states of both countries. The members of this union - professional firefighters - are responsible for fire protection coverage of 15% of the population of the United States. Their goal is to make sure that firefighters are looked after, in terms of their safety, their financial well-being, and the resources to combat fires in a safe and effective manner. Bringing public attention to the causes and sacrifices firefighters make is another goal of the IAFF, ensuring that proper respect be paid to those firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Things like proper pay, insurance coverage, and more for the firefighters in the union are all fought for by the IAFF (IAFF, 2011).
This knowledge and the things I would learn can dramatically affect my career success in a very positive way. For one, the art of negotiation is important in any business; one needs to be able to convey your own needs in a way that does not infringe upon the needs of others. Being able to achieve compromise and effectively communicate with another party is the cornerstone of business. Working with the IAFF would teach me how to get these things done. Also, I would learn how to lobby, which is an applicable skill in any career - not just negotiating but advocating for an organization can help their voice be heard, and get those who work with me the resources they desire. Being part of a large labor union would teach me communication and negotiation skills that I could not get anywhere else. My own work in campaign activism would be greatly served by the political training I would accrue by working with the IAFF. The tightly knit, organized nature of the IAFF can show me the power that a large labor union can levy against its potential benefactors, and equip me with the talents to advocate for my own organizations in the years to come.
IAFF. (n.d.). Welcome to IAFFonline!. Retrieved September 27, 2011, from http://www.iaff.org/About/About.htm
Marshall, M., & Kelly, A. (2000). International Association of Fire Chiefs (Limited ed.). Paducah, KY: Turner Publishers.