Executive Council Statement

On the Retirement of Harold Schaitberger

The AFL-CIO Executive Council congratulates Harold Schaitberger on his recent retirement from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

Brother Schaitberger’s talents were recognized as he quickly rose through the ranks from president of IAFF Local 2068 in Fairfax County, Virginia, to become president of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters. In 1976, he left his career as a firefighter to work at the IAFF headquarters, building one of the strongest political and legislative operations in the labor movement. He was later appointed chief of staff.

He was first elected general president of the IAFF in 2000—the first to be elected by acclamation—and was unanimously re-elected four times.

During his tenure as general president, Schaitberger led the union’s successful efforts to organize new bargaining units of firefighters and EMTs. Under Schaitberger’s leadership, the IAFF grew by 43% to a record 324,000 members. The union also prioritized the health and welfare of its membership, and his leadership was instrumental in the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

For his nearly 50 years of dedication to the IAFF and his commitment to the welfare of all working people, the AFL-CIO Executive Council thanks Brother Schaitberger and wishes him well in retirement.