Sisters and Brothers,
The PFFM Executive Board would like to express to you, your families and loved ones a safe and Happy New Year. As we take the time to look back and reflect, we also have much to looked forward to in the coming year.
Looking back over the past year, we have a number of areas where our organization can feel proud of itself. In the legislative arena, the PFFM successfully supported and passed LD 182, which bans all flame-retardants in new upholstered furniture and lowers our risk for cancer from these toxic chemicals. LD 848 became law, making rebuttable presumption for PTSD part of Workers Compensation. Revenue sharing for municipalities was put back into the state budget and a whole slew of Right to Work bills were defeated. The PFFM continues to be recognized as an active player at the State House and will continue to do so in order to protect the health, safety and benefits of our members.
In May, the PFFM once again held its annual PEP training in Bangor and hosted by Local 772. Once again this was a successful and well-attended event with General Secretary Ed Kelly and 3rd DVP Jay Colbert making the trip north to be on hand. In light of the great response we have seen, the PFFM is looking to expand this annual event into a Convention venue and enhance the education opportunity. We will again be going back to Bangor in May at Hollywood Slots and will keep you posted on dates.
Our Organizational and Field Services Programs, under Director Michael Crouse has had a very busy year, as most of you realize. Your DVP’s have also been working very hard with all of you to make sure we get your Locals the right tools for the job. City’s and Towns are coming after many items in our contracts that have made for tough and long negotiations for many of you. The PFFM will continue to provide the services needed and reach out to the IAFF for support in order to represent you and your members in the best possible way.
Under the direction of MDA Coordinator Steve Simonson, we saw another great year for donations. We had more Locals participate in events than in past years. The first annual Boots, Brews and Bites event was held in Portland. Breweries paired with our Locals to craft a beer just for them and then voting took place determine the best brew. South Portland took the prize this year with the “All Hands” ale. This was a great and fun event and look forward to even better next year. Keep up the good work; we all know what a good cause this is.
On the political front, the coming year is going to be very import for our future as a union. Elections have consequences as we all can see. Governor LePage is termed out and right now more that twenty people have filed papers to run for Governor. The last seven years, under this current administration, have been very difficult for organized labor and we will be looking to support a candidate who will support us on our issues. The PFFM does not intend to endorse in this race until after the primaries. We have endorsed Rep. Jared Golden of Lewiston in the 2nd Congressional District race over Bruce Poliquin. We will continue our support of Rep. Chellie Pingree in the 1St District and U.S. Senator Angus King in his reelection bid. Both the Maine House and Senate will also be up for grabs and we will look at endorsements in those races later this year.
As with any organization, it is healthy to look back and review how things are going. As you know, last June the Constitution and By Law Committee and the Organizational and Field Ser vice Committee were tasked with reviewing their programs. Last November, District meetings were held to explain the proposed changes to the CBL’s and get feedback from the Locals. The proposed changes have been sent to the Local Delegates for review and will be voted on at the January Quarterly Meeting. The Organizational and Field Service Committee is continuing it’s review and we will be looking for their report late March or early April.
I would like to share a couple of passages for two of our DVP’s, Mike Williams and Ronnie Green. Mike has been a longtime member of the PFFM and its Executive Board for many years. He has received a promotion Deputy Chief and will be stepping down as 2nd DVP in January. I want personally thank Mike for his hard work, dedication and support of our union and its members. He has been a source for advice and counsel for me as President, and it will be missed. We wish Mike the best in his new role in the Car.
Ronnie Green, our 4th DVP, has retired from active duty after 25 years on the job. It is well deserved and we wish him well as he spends time riding around in those four-wheeler quad things and a little extra time with family. Ronnie will continue on as 4th DVP and serving our members wherever needed.
The coming year will have its challenges for our union and its members. But if we continue to stick together, work to ensure our benefits, health and safety are respected. Work with people who support us and our families, we will continue to move forward and make this a better place for all of us. Stay safe and be well.