THE HISTORY OF IAFF LOCAL 2665
The International Association of Fire Fighters was originally chartered on February 29, 1918. St. Louis County Fire Fighters wishing to become union joined the International, in 1934, becoming Local 398, I.A.F.F., AFL-CIO, CLC. At one time or another, they represented someone from every county fire department, even including the old Jefferson Barracks Fire Department.
In the early 70’s Local 398 was the largest local in St. Louis County. In 1978, Local 398 chose to drop out of the International Association of Fire Fighters thus causing a split amongst the membership. Members from Jennings, Moline, and University City voted to continue affiliation with the I.A.F.F., so in October of 1978 Local 2665 was chartered as the “Professional Fire Fighters of St. Louis County”. Shortly thereafter Creve Coeur and Hazelwood joined 2665. Within a year’s time Community, Shrewsbury, and Wellston joined the five aforementioned shops. By 1988 Local 2665 represented 11 fire districts and 10 municipal fire departments, with a membership of approximately 500 fire fighters and paramedics. Through the leadership and support of its’ members, Local 2665 had some of the largest growth in membership in the country and continued to grow as a result of working with fire districts and municipal fire departments in a fair and honest manner.
The structure of the local consisted of President (Dennis Murray), Secretary/Treasurer (Dave Tilley), Executive Vice President (Vince Schramm), 2 Vice Presidents, Sergeant-at-Arms and a shop steward from each department. There was also a representative on the St. Louis County Fire Academy board. The local maintained membership and affiliation with the Missouri AFL-CIO, St. Louis Labor Council, Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters, and the Metro Council of Fire Fighters.
By 1998 Local 2665 represented 18 fire districts, 15 municipal fire departments, 3 ambulance districts and, 2 dispatching agencies, with a membership of approximately 850 fire fighters, paramedics, dispatchers and support personnel. Local 2665 continued to be the fastest growing local union in the United States and Canada. In the early 90’s Local 2665 began organizing ambulance district and dispatching agencies in the area. The Locals’ jurisdiction at that time encompassed St. Louis, Jefferson, and Franklin counties, and was the exclusive bargaining agent for these areas.
The structure of the Local’s leadership had to change due to its rapid growth. Local 2665 was sub-divided into 5 separate districts, with Vice Presidents elected from each district. Staff Representatives were appointed to assist all counties of the local. In March 2002 the St. Charles County union Local 3410 merged with Local 2665 creating a 6th district.
In June 2003 the Local broke away from the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters and started our own legislative branch. Local 2665 contracted with the top lobbyist firm in the state and committed Legislative Director Mark Woolbright full-time to lobby for bills in Jefferson City that affect not only our members, but also first responders state wide.
In October 2003 IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger helped the local celebrate its 25th anniversary. By 2004 Local 2665 represented 31 fire districts and 16 municipal fire departments, 13 ambulances districts and 4 dispatching centers with a membership of approximately 1750 fire fighters, paramedics, dispatchers and support personnel.
After the tremendous success experienced by having a dedicated Legislative Director in Jefferson City, Local 2665 was approached by the Missouri State Council about re-affiliation. Local 2665 voted to re-affiliate in October of 2005 only after the State Council agreed to have a full-time Legislative Director added to the Executive Board. Mark Woolbright was unanimously voted in to fill that role, where he has served ever since.
IAFF Local 2665 is the sole representative for the counties of St. Louis, Jefferson, Franklin, St. Charles, St. Genevieve, Lincoln, Warren, and Crawford, Missouri. With nearly 1,800 members and still growing, Local 2665 is the largest Local in the IAFF 2nd District, which includes the states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.