Washington’s Union Firefighters Practice Democracy in Action at Annual Convention


Three hundred and three delegates and alternates representing 8,567 union firefighters gathered in Kennewick in June at the 79th annual Convention of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters (WSCFF).

These union representatives, democratically selected by the members of their International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) affiliates, met to review the WSCFF’s finances, adopt a budget for 2019, set dues, elect officers, discuss legislation, endorse federal candidates, and address relevant occupational issues.  Among other things, they voted to provide financial support to the WSCFF Burn Foundation and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, adopted policies related to wildland fires, developed educational programs, discussed diversity in the fire service, and identified areas of support for family members of fire fighters with PTSD.

Legislative Committee at work, 2018 WSCFF convention

“A gathering like this is an opportunity to really experience democracy in action”, says WSCFF President Dennis Lawson.  “Many different ideas and opinions come to the floor.  We debate, we argue and we don’t always agree.  But in the end, we commit to the positions taken by the whole body.

President Lawson convenes WSCFF 79th Annual Convention

Lawson, a Battalion Chief with Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, was re-elected as WSCFF president.  Dean Shelton, a captain and paramedic for the Marysville Fire District, was elected vice-president.  Ryan Reese, a captain and paramedic with Clark County Fire District 6 was elected 5th District Representative.  Mike Bacon, Tim Hoover, Craig Soucy, Keven Rojecki and Theresa Purtell were re-elected as District Representatives.  Incumbent board members include Secretary-Treasurer Greg Markley and District Representatives Jeff Wainwright, Mike Westland, and Ryan Mudie.

WSCFF delegates casting ballots

The WSCFF was founded on September 1, 1939 and represents 128 affiliated local fire fighter unions of the IAFF and more than 8,500 Washington union members, who are professional fire fighters, EMTs, and paramedics.

Local 1805 Clark County recognized for 50 years of WSCFF affiliation

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