Green Bay Area Fire Fighters of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 141 proudly serve the following communities:
Austin Straubel International Airport Fire Department
Village of Bellevue Fire Department
City of De Pere Fire Department
City of Green Bay Metro Fire Department
History of Local 141
Early in the history of the fire service it was recognized that fire fighters were lagging far behind other industries when it came to the hours worked, health and safety standards, and compensation. The International Association of Fire Fighters was established on February 28, 1918 chartered by the American Federation of Labor (AFL), to give fire fighters a voice on the conditions of their work day and environment. At that time, the two oldest locals to be chartered were Pittsburg and Chicago. By a coin flip Pittsburg became IAFF Local 1, while Chicago had to settle for Local 2. Since then Locals have been assigned a number based on the date of each local’s charter signing date. On November 7th, 1918 the signing of an IAFF charter for the City of Green Bay Fire Fighters Union No. 141 was signed by the IAFF’s first General President Thomas G. Spellacy. A vote was conducted and the winner was Hy Harris, making him the first Local President for the Green Bay Fire Fighters. At the time of the Charter, Green Bay had a membership of 24 men, who were working 72 hour shifts with 16 hours off, returning for another 72 hours on duty. It wasn’t until the mid 30’s that a two shift system was created allowing for a twenty four on twenty four off shift, which was a major change for the Fire Fighters at the time.
Local 141’s membership continued to grow with the expansion of the city and new fire houses were being opened to meet the needs of the citizens. In 1965 the City of Green Bay annexed the Town of Preble, growing the membership to 120 Fire Fighters. The Preble fire station was changed to the Green Bay Fire Department, and the members of Preble joined the ranks of the Fire Fighters Union of Green Bay. In 1967 the wage team had finally achieved the current work schedule of a 56 hour work week, which was a priority for the membership, and a third shift was added, creating the current three platoon system that is still in operation today. On July 1, 1968 the United Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin was created.
In the 80’s Local 141 saw additional growth with the opening of Fire Station 7 on the Far East side near the University of Wisconsin Green Bay campus. Membership at this time reached 196. The early 80’s proved to be very difficult times with high inflation and costs, creating tension over items like retirement benefits, health insurance, EMS issues, and wages. As in the past, unions were blamed for some of the problems occurring in the country, with political pundits pointing at members for being the reason our country was in such disarray. Local 141 often stood with our brothers and sisters in labor through these tough times.
Going into the 21st Century Local 141 started to see for the first time reductions to the membership. Local 141 saw a peek membership of 206, when in the name of efficiency, the city leaders under the guidance of Mayor Paul Jadin decided to close the Green Bay dispatch center which was staffed by our members, and members of the Green Bay Professional Police Association. The new Brown County Dispatch Center was created, handling 911 services from across the entire county, rather than just the City of Green Bay. Eventually the dispatch center was moved from the Green Bay Police Station to the new Brown County Jail located on Curry Lane on Green Bay’s East Side. The city ambulances also noticed a reduction in staffing, once running EMS calls with three personnel under the administration of Mayor James Schmitt, the number was reduced to two personnel with Engine Companies now running on more EMS calls to cover for the increased work load. Ladder 5 was also shut down in the early 2000’s after being in service since the annexation of the Town of Preble in 1965, reducing the number of people serving on duty once again. Local 141 saw its membership drop to 183 during the administration of the Mayor Jadin and Mayor Schmitt. Throughout this era Union Officials were struggling with major changes to health insurance, cost of living increases, and retirement benefits.
In January of 2009 the Principal Officers of Local 141, as well as the Principal Officers of Local 1998 De Pere Fire Fighter Association, Local 2477 Allouez Fire Fighters Association, and Local 4226 Allouez Fire Captains sat down to discuss the possible merger of all IAFF Locals located in Brown County. This was a direct result of discussions that been occurring in what was known as Ritter Forum between the Brown County Fire Chiefs and the chief elected officials for the Brown County Cities, Towns, and Villages on consolidation of fire services. After a full year of negotiations, a merger agreement was drafted and voted on overwhelmingly by the membership of each of the respective Locals, and on February 3rd, 2010 at a special ceremony held at Mackinaw’s Grill, the signing of the merger agreement created the new Green Bay Area Fire Fighters Local 141, with De Pere and Allouez now being part of the Green Bay Local. The agreement was signed by Al Matske and Tom Nelson of De Pere, Aaron Depas and Nate Timm of the Allouez Fire Fighters, Ed Piontek and Bryan Becker of the Allouez Fire Captains, and Chand Bronkhorst and Len Orlando of Green Bay. This put the Local 141 membership at 212.
Later in 2010 the Austin Straubel Airport Fire Fighters (ASIA) voted to become part of the International Association of Fire Fighters, and pending approval of the Local 141 Membership, would become part of the parent Local 141. A vote was held on the approval of a merger agreement between the ASIA Fire Fighters and Local 141 and once again the body had agreed to allow another affiliate into the parent Local. A ceremony was held at the April Union Meeting with the official signing by Chad Bronkhorst and Austin Straubel International Elected Representative John Sinkler. Local 141 currently has a membership of 224. Early in 2015 the Bellevue Fire Fighters voted to become members of the International Fire Fighters Association, and followed suit of the ASIA Fire Fighters in joining Local 141. A vote was held and once again the union body agreed to make Bellevue become the 3rd Local to join bringing our membership up to 251 members.
Page Last Updated: Jan 30, 2016 (12:52:33)