2020 marks an important milestone in the history of the Oakland Fire Department as it’s the 100th anniversary of the hiring of Oakland’s first Black Firefighters. In 1920 Oakland hired seven African American firefighters who were assigned to Station 11 and were responsible for the operation of the high-pressure hose wagon. Today a beautifully renovated Station 11 (no longer a working fire station) is located directly across the street from Oakland Fire Station No.12 in Oakland’s Chinatown.
Throughout February it has become common for organizations, public and private, to celebrate the milestones of Black history where African Americans, in the face of great resistance and hostility, first gained entry and access to American institutions such as the fire service. In the case of these seven men they entered an organization which had excluded African Americans during its first 50 years (founded in 1869) and spent the following 35 years as a segregated fire department.
The central mission of the labor movement is to fight for the wages, benefits, and working conditions of the working class. Our power to achieve improvements in these areas flows directly from the ability of all working people to unite and collaborate. The initial exclusion of African Americans from workplaces and unions not only harmed the individuals and communities of those excluded, but diminished the power of collective action for everyone. A larger, more inclusive union is stronger and better able to raise the bar for all working people than a union that is itself a practitioner of exclusion and division.
During Black History Month (and throughout the year) it is not only essential to celebrate these historic "firsts", but to recognize how the historical legacy of exclusion has shaped the culture of our fire department and the broader implications on our effectiveness as a labor organization that benefits all workers.
#unitedwestand #strongertogether #blackhistorymonth @ Oakland, California ... See MoreSee Less
#youroaklandfirefighters were honored to take part in the #CNY2020 parade just across the bridge in SF! The Chinese New Year Parade in #sanfrancisco is always a great time, and we welcome in the year of the 🐀! Thank you to @sffdlocal798 and @sffdpio for having us.
Oakland firefighters, IAFF Local 55 is a charter member of the International Association of Firefighters, the international labor union for the more than 300,000 firefighters across the US and Canada. Local 55 was amongst the first 100 firefighter’s unions that founded the IAFF on February 28, 1918, and Local 55 is the only charter member in the IAFF’s 10th district. Oakland Firefighters Local 55 protects the wages, benefits, and working conditions of it’s proud members and is an integral part of the Oakland community. Since the founding of the Local 55 Charity Fund, we have donated over 1 million dollars to charities in and around Oakland. Your Oakland Firefighters partner with schools, houses of worship, corporate, community based, charitable and philanthropic organizations to improve the Town wherever possible. We are proud to be #youroaklandfirefighters