PORTLAND FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION
(IAFF Local #43)
On September 10, 1917, members of the Portland Fire Department gathered at Forester Hall in Portland, Oregon to begin discussions of becoming a formal labor union affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. A slate of officers were nominated and installed at a later meeting. This would begin the efforts necessary to become Local 43.
Firefighter's had to first become members of a formal labor organization and did so on December 10, 1917. A member vote asked the question, "shall the City Firemen's Union #15776 of Portland, Oregon affiliate with both the Central Labor Council and the Oregon State Federation of Labor?" It was passed by a 165 yes to 10 no vote.
Meetings would continue into 1918. Portland Firefighter Lester N. Riley would be chosen as Portland's delegate to attend the upcoming national convention of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) in Washington DC.
The national meeting convened and when finished on February 28, 1918, Portland Firefighter's had been selected one of the first fifty IAFF Local's to be installed, being given the designation of IAFF Local #43. Official notice would arrive in Portland in a letter dated March 9, 1918.
Alfred J. Horn would serve as the first President of Local 43, replacing Clyde Hughes, who had guided the organizational efforts prior to IAFF affiliation.
Wages, hours, and working conditions would drive Local 43's efforts from the very beginning. Discussions were already underway for Portland to create a two-platoon system of staffing in order to give firefighters the necessary relief from the job that required nearly full time participation. Negotiations would continue through 1918 and culminate in a citizen vote in November that would approve a two-platoon, 72 hour work week. It would become effective on November 1, 1919 and result in one of the largest hirings in Portland Fire history.
The efforts of Local 43 would continue to help shape the work of Portland Firefighters over the following decades. Working hours and conditions, pension reform, member support during war years, and protections from occupational illness and injury are but a few of the key agendas impacted by Local 43.
Local 43's mission does not stop there. They also support numerous charitable projects that serve the citizens of Portland directly. Now over 100 years strong, Local 43 continues to champion the interests and working conditions of Portland Firefighters, ensuring quality of life during and after a career of firefighting service.
Special Thanks to the
Portland Firefighters Association
for Sponsoring This Site for 2022.
The Presidents of PFFA
Meet the Presidents of the Portland Firefighter's Association.
PFFA - The First 100 Years
Enjoy this slide show developed to share the first 100 years of the Portland Firefighter's Association.
A Historical Review of the PFFA
An array of meeting minutes were discovered in the archives of the PFFA. They present a unique perspective on the evolution and growth of the organization. The minutes are not complete, but cover much of the early years.
1937 Letter from President Sylvester Stevens to Local 43 Membership
A unique letter was found that shares President Sylvester Stevens address to the membership of PFFA. He addresses the issues of the day in this letter.
Portland Firefighter's Association
330 S Curry Street
Portland OR 97239
PFFA and the Vanport Flood
The Vanport flood of 1948 was a major event in and around the Portland area. While the city fire department appropriately responded to the event, surrounding areas that were otherwise unprotected received a response from members of the PFFA, along with significant financial support from IAFF Locals from across the country. Read on to learn of this incredible effort.