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A History of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters
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Fully Involved (Hardcover)

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Written by Ellie Belew, Fully Involved tells the stories of the professional fire fighters of Washington State and their role in the union movement. Weaving together personal accounts, legislative and regional histories, and jammed with illustrations, this book brings to life the successes and failures of a group that has become one of the most powerful political entities in the state.

The Washington State Council of Fire Fighters (WSCFF) was created in 1939, on the heels of passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the splintering of the CIO from the AFL, and the beginning of World War II in Europe. In the following sixty-four years the WSCFF and its member locals forged ahead on the WSCFF’s two-pronged mission: education and legislation. They earned improvements in working conditions, pensions and health benefits, and collective bargaining rights. WSCFF members also became working heroes in communities that had considered them unskilled slackers decades before.

Fully Involved includes topical histories of:

  • Collective bargaining

  • Pension reform

  • Working conditions and job requirements

  • Changing duties within the fire service (EMS and HAZMAT)

  • The WSCFF’s locals and their fire departments

  • Individual biographies of key individuals

Fully Involved chronicles collective bargaining, pension reform, working conditions and job requirements, changing duties within the fire service (EMS and HAZMAT), WSCFF’s locals and their fire departments, and biographies of key figures, blending the vibrancy of the profiled individuals with the larger development of union activism and the changing role of fire fighters. Readers can easily follow a variety of topics and individuals through history in this well-illustrated volume. Fully Involved blends the vibrancy of personal profiles with the greater history of union activism and change in the fire service using a detailed table of contents, index, links within articles, and appendices.

Readers can follow a variety of topics and individuals through history using the book’s detailed table of contents, links within articles, its index and appendices. Please respond with questions to or call Lisa in our Olympia, Washington office at (360) 943-3030.

Product Details

  • ISBN: 0-975270-3-9
  • Format: Hardcover, 286 pgs.
  • Pub. Date: October 2004
  • Publisher: Washington State Council of Fire Fighters

From the Introduction

“I applaud the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters for this rich history of the duty, sacrifice, heroism, dedication, and bravery of its membership throughout the twentieth century. Not only a reverent story of the fire fighters who fought for organized unions and built the WSCFF, it is a memorial to the working people who came before.”

Harold A. Schaitberger, General President,

International Association of Fire Fighters

“Fire fighters have their own history of fighting for tolerable hours and the right to bargain collectively. Fully Involved documents that history for the state of Washington, highlighting the larger than-life personalities that built the WSCFF, along with delicious details about their rivalries and strategic use of whiskey. It’s not only fun to read, it’s a gift to all fire fighters and to working people everywhere. Read it, and remember!”

  Barbara Ehrenreich, author of

  Nickel and Dimed

Book Reviews

“A concise and well-illustrated history of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters, written in a style that brings the reader into the life of the fire fighters both as individuals and as a group.”

Harold McFarland, Senior Reviewer,

The Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Born and raised in suburban Minnesota, ELLIE BELEW has lived in Washington State since 1989. Deeply rooted in her adopted community, she served fi ve years on its city council, three years as a volunteer fire fighter, and remains active in RIDGE, a community group working to maintain a forested ecosystem and a sustainable, forest-based economy. Ellie’s fiction has been published in literary magazines; her one-act play, Predominantly Blue, was selected in competition for performance in Portland, Oregon, and her articles have appeared in a variety of trade journals and newspapers. She is also the author of a novel, Run Plant Fly (2003), and a community encyclopedia, About Wallowa County (2000).


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