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  • KeithA8
    replied
    SPFDrum,
    Point taken. It doesn't matter where you are or what the circumstances are. The points I've made don't change. I am not that concerned about these guys keeping a dept volly or not because their impact is so minimal in a case like that. Without retyping my arguement I think you know what I'm talking about. Thay are still puting themselves and their local in a tough spot.

    Leave a comment:


  • SPFDRum
    replied
    Keith, I understand what you are saying, but I do believe Fyredup has a real grasp on what is being said. Read Mike's post, he is correct on geographical differances. You are in Conneticut, it's probably a good bet your population density, and the need for more career departments, is much greater than my neighbor to the east.
    Every big argument here that has focused on vollie vs. career has involved easern US fire departments. Why is that? I believe it is because you have so many large vollie departments and many combo depts that have a large number of career guys ratting and allowing those departments to maintain. Here is where the union is worth their weight in gold.
    Now if you get ouside the metro area of the twin cities where I am at, there isn't many career departments. The population density just doesn't justify it. We have entire counties with less 8000 people. So it's a good bet that a guy that is two hatting in Cook county Minnesota, population 5100, is not keeping them from going career. I am sure Wisconsin isn't much different.
    Maybe all the sabre rattlers should focus their attention east, to the large departments there who have guys ratting work left and right. Especially those departments that have live in programs. But I'm sure the political pressure is to great and it's much easier to come out here to fly over land threaten us. So if the presumtive heart-lung clause disappears, don't look here for the few 2 hatters, look at east to the hundreds of 2 hatters, from some very large and very prominent departments.

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  • KeithA8
    replied
    garb40,
    One other thing. - I came from a combo dept close to Waterbury.(Southington) We felt horrible with what the state did to those guys! What they lost they will never get back through bargaining. They cut their legs off! In my dept I started out as a volly than later become a career guy there. As a volly we had the utmost respect for the career guys. When I was a career guy we didn't forget where we came from and had alot of respect for the volly's. Don't get me wrong there was a tiff from time to time, but it was usualy no big deal and resolved quickly. I personaly got along real well with the volly's and did consider them my brothers. I think they felt the same way about me. I've since left that dept and went on to bigger places but I still keep in touch with the career guys as well as the volly's there. What dept are you with?
    Last edited by KeithA8; 12-08-2006, 09:28 AM.

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  • KeithA8
    replied
    garb40,
    You're a good man!!! I think there are more guys like you out there that see the big picture. They just don't voice it too often. See this isn't a volly/union bash. It's respecting each others perspective. Most union guys don't want to "take over" a volly house, just like most volly's don't want to "take over" a career house. Thank you for doing the right thing!!!

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  • garb40
    replied
    I am a volunteer in a small combination dept. There was a closed door conversation a number of years ago about using volunteers to replace paid men when budget time came around. We (the volunteers) made it clear that we would collectively resign if anyone lost their job. We are there to support the paid dept, not replace them. I have seen first hand why the fire service needs union protection. I cant fault them for making the decisions they make. If anyone questions the benefit of having union protection, take a look at what happens when the state takes away your collective bargaining rights. It happened in Waterbury CT.

    http://www.waterburyfire.org/index.p...&id=2&Itemid=2

    Leave a comment:


  • MikeWard
    replied
    What are the joules needed to defibrillate a dead horse?

    Firefighter injuries that may lead to early or disability retirements are complex and lengthy affairs, with regulations and rules that change when you turn 55, have changes in your income stream or other situations.

    I was reminded of this after reading remarks from a brother who had to retire on disability a while ago. The local was successful in getting a bump in monthly annuity payments to the first regular retirees from Fairfax County (in the 1980s), those guys had a lousy deal. Since I retired the retirement package has gotten even better - those b*st*rds .

    Those who were truly disabled under the 66.6% system have been struggling. If they were retired before 2000, the disabled members had to find and pay for their own health insurance. Think about that, you physically or mentally can no longer work as a municipal firefighter and you are applying for health insurance. Most insurance providers will exclude coverage for "pre-existing conditions" or require extremely hefty premiums.

    By the way, none of the regular retirees get their health insurance covered when they retire. You can stay with the municipality, but you gotta pay the premiums out of your pocket. If you are a 40-something retiree with a spouse and dependents, the premium is over $500/month.

    Mike

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  • KeithA8
    replied
    Firedup,
    I am frustrated that you refuse to see this as a problem that threatens your ability to provide for your family in a very real way. If my dept decided to propose a ban on such activities as ATV's or snowmobiles I would have a huge problem with it since I do both of these things frequently. But I also feel confident that I can defend these activities by showing real numbers to prove the risk involved is not as high as some would want you to beleive. Such as the media here in New England. Also if this did get into my contract through good faith negotiations I would have to honor it or search for a new employer. But the reality is that something so out of touch with my job discription would never come into bargaining. We do by the way have the smoking clause that everyone in my dept does follow except one. And even he does give a full effort to quit, as a matter of fact I think he currently is a non-smoker. This will probably change as it often has.

    One more important point I want to get accross is that city hall would be hard pressed to use these other activities against you for raises and benefit increases. Volunteering they can and have and will again. If they don't bother you yet they will. They just might not have thought of it yet.

    Leave a comment:


  • MikeWard
    replied
    Point taken

    I agree that we will not agree on most of these issues

    I also appreciate that we are coming from very different perspectives in terms of department size and state regulations.

    The Fairfax County fire chief was forced to outlaw basketball and other "competitive" sports in the 1980's because the majority of our disability retirements (at that time, 66.6% of your salary - tax free) were from on-duty physical training incidents.

    We ended up re-writing our LOCAL disability regulations when the county executive noted that a majority of the fire department retirements were from disability. A service-connected disability retirement costs the employer much more local money than a regular retirement. In addition, if the trend continued our local firefighter-only retirement system was in financial danger.

    It forced a change in our disability program - if you are extremely disabled you get 90%, if you had some loss of function, I think 30%. The few who have gone out on 90% are incapable of working anywhere else - at any type of job.

    This change in the disability program was in concert with the development of an excellent public safety medical unit (occupational medicine physicians that conducted annual physicals, stress tests, specialist referrals and workforce evaluations) as well as a more robust health & safety section.

    The cost of the long term care of an injured employee exceeds the cost of the overtime to cover the temporary vacancy.

    Some municipalities require you to terminate, retire or reassign an employee who has been unable to work as a firefighter for more than 366 days. For my department, reassignment is not a "light duty" or make-work position . . . that person has to be placed in a classified job where the municipality has an opening.

    So, part of our disagreement is geographical.

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeWard; 12-06-2006, 06:41 AM.

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  • FyredUp
    replied
    KeithA8 and Mike Ward...

    The point you both missed that I was making is really obvious. I am in total agreement with you that being a volly or POC FF is totally different from skydiving, or ATV riding, or skiing, or a side job like roofing or construction or painting or whatever in all aspects except one.

    The one thing that makes them exactly the same in the eyes of your FD and city admin is that is you are hurt doing any of them you will use sick time and they will have to hire overtime to cover if you being gone puts them below minimum staffing. The one difference is if you are hurt vollying or as a POC FF that FD will cover your medical expenses. If you are hurt in any of the other activities more than likely you will use your career FD health insurance and possibly affect premiums for all city employees if the cost is high enough.

    That was the point I was trying to make.

    I will also tell you that if your FD tried to end a popular leisure activity as too dangerous would your members stand by and just go along? Imagine no more hunting, no more skiing, no more snow mobiling, no more any part-time jobs. Would you just say okay and not try to fight it? Be honest you know the answer.

    Look, I respect both of you guys and the work you have done. But we are never going to change each other's minds.

    FyredUp

    Leave a comment:


  • MikeWard
    replied
    Originally posted by MikeWard
    For example, a candidate for Local 36 president (20 years with DC) just rotated off as the president of the PG Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. He is a volunteer assistant chief in PG.
    His IAFF Local 36 platform: "One Local, One Word"
    He did not win the election.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 12-05-2006, 07:15 PM.

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  • MikeWard
    replied
    Side job versus volunteering

    What is unique about firefighters is that there is specific language in many worker compensation regulations covering selected injuries and illnesses that are common to the craft of firefighting.

    This language is there to assure that when a career firefighter is hurt or injured, coverage is provided. This is especially important when there may be a significant period between the time of the incident and the detection of the illness or infection. It is also important on those back and orthopaedic injuries that may become chronic or be the subject of multiple injury events over the course of a career.

    It is not just career firefighters. A couple of years ago I attended a meeting at FDIC where New York state legislation was proposed to change the disability compensation for volunteer firefighters. The case used was a member that was struck by a car on the fireground in the 1960's. He continues to suffer from a significant brain injury that - while not obvious to look at him - makes it impossible for him to hold a job or have success in many "life skills."

    His disability payment remained at the rate from the year of the accident - something like $40 a month. If he was a state or local government employee he would have seen a raise in his disability payments to cover the cost of living - probably to around $1500 today. If I remember correctly, there were two pieces of state legislation working through the system. One was to specifically provide relief for this guy and the other was to revise the worker compensation regulations.

    Cancer presumption.
    Heart and lung presumption.
    Infectious disease (TB, hepatitis and HIV)
    ... are all workplace conditions that are SPECIFICALLY SPELLED OUT FOR CAREER FIREFIGHTERS.

    No other municipal worker has as much distinction within the worker compensation regulations. Most of these distinctions were made after years of hard work and - sometimes - awful outcomes involving brother and sister IAFF members and their families.

    A no-smoking requirement (both ON and OFF duty) is an example of an employment rule to assure that a cancer presumption provision in the worker compensation regulation will be honored. Hartford has expanded the employment rules.

    From the EMPLOYER side, any way to deny a claim or avoid the financial liability of what may be a decade-long, million dollar liability would be fiscally prudent. It is easier to identify a back injury from a career firefighter who fell off a roof while part-timing as a carpenter than one who hurt his back on a two-alarm fire while operating as a hometown volunteer.

    I am serious when I share this concern about the risk and liability that career firefighters incur when they donate their time as a hometown volunteer. Throughout these discussion threads I have provided over a dozen examples of the worker compensation denials. jfaz81 posted a question about Hartford and I provided a response.

    My *opinion* is that most of the folks that posted on this thread mentioning their great medical/accident coverage while two-hatting are whistling in the dark.

    Just ask a shop steward or IAFF local leader when they are struggling to take care of one of our own who does not have an off-duty job/lifestyle that would lead to getting a claim denied.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 12-05-2006, 07:31 PM.

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  • KeithA8
    replied
    Fyredup,
    I can't beleive I'm in this with you again. LOL. You bring up good points:

    The truth is clear:
    1) It is wrong morally to screw your Brother's and Sister's by vollying or POC'ing into a career FD and potentially costing them paid positions.
    2) No matter what the zealots says all volly and POC FD's are NOT rival organizations of the IAFF.
    3) It is simply not feasible or economically sound to expect every FD in this country to be a fully staffed career FD or a combination FD for that matter.

    I actualy agree with everything in the above quote. Can you believe it? I better get checked out!!! HOWEVER - this does not change the fact that these activities are a conflict of interest and effect the efforts of your local to negotiate for your best interest!!! If your city has not used these things against you yet, they will! And when they do it's prety tough to argue their point. So when it begins to effect your livelyhood you may have a difference of opinion. All the other things you mention:

    It doesn't matter if the activity is sky diving, ATV riding, doing construction, washing windows.

    These are NOT a conflict of interest and are your right to do as leisure activities. Even if you are doing some of these things for profit they are still not a conflict of interest. If your city negotiates in good faith to ban these activities in your contract then this becomes a condition of employment that was AGREED upon. Some depts have a "no moonlighting" clause which says you can't have other employment no matter what it is. BUT this is a condition of employment that the employee has agreed to.

    Leave a comment:


  • FyredUp
    replied
    MikeWard: Consider the presumption of an on-the-job injury (back injury), illness (cancer) or workplace infection (Hep B). By restricting off-duty activities, Hartford is controlling it's risk and costs.

    Fear/assumption that the employee who is also volunteering may get hurt, sick or infected as a volunteer and require the city to pay for the treatment. Many firefighter on-the-job injuries and illnesses create long term city liabilities.
    Come on Mike, let's be serious here for a minute. This may be the line that is used but it is simply non-defensible. If you truly believed what you just typed far more off duty activities would be restricted. The cost to your career job is exactly the same if you fall off the roof doing a side roofing job or while cutting a vent hole while working as a volly. Actually, that isn't true is it? The volly FD would have medical coverage for you being injured on duty for them so the only cost to your city would be sick time and overtime to cover your spot. If you fell off the roof while working a side job you would use your career FD's health insurance AND sick time and overtime for coverage. So hmmmmm....which costs the the city more?

    Look any side activity is going to cost your FD money if you are hurt off duty. It is that simple. It doesn't matter if the activity is sky diving, ATV riding, doing construction, washing windows, or even being a volly or POC FF. So to try and make that as a reason for not vollying or being a POC FF simply doesn't play out.

    The truth is clear:
    1) It is wrong morally to screw your Brother's and Sister's by vollying or POC'ing into a career FD and potentially costing them paid positions.
    2) No matter what the zealots says all volly and POC FD's are NOT rival organizations of the IAFF.
    3) It is simply not feasible or economically sound to expect every FD in this country to be a fully staffed career FD or a combination FD for that matter.

    FyredUp

    Leave a comment:


  • MikeWard
    replied
    Originally posted by jfaz81
    If the issue is paying someone else time and a half for overtime because someone got hurt volunteering then what is Hartford's reason....... they get paid straight time for overtime now.
    Consider the presumption of an on-the-job injury (back injury), illness (cancer) or workplace infection (Hep B). By restricting off-duty activities, Hartford is controlling it's risk and costs.

    Fear/assumption that the employee who is also volunteering may get hurt, sick or infected as a volunteer and require the city to pay for the treatment. Many firefighter on-the-job injuries and illnesses create long term city liabilities.

    Leave a comment:


  • jfaz81
    replied
    If the issue is paying someone else time and a half for overtime because someone got hurt volunteering then what is Hartford's reason....... they get paid straight time for overtime now.

    Leave a comment:

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