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  • Need to vent

    We are a UNION part-time department (IAFF guys please dont get upset) that is in contract talks for our third contract. Here is a little backround, we run and transport all EMS calls and of course all fire calls. We currently have two firefighter/EMT's and one officer on duty twenty-four hours a day. We protect a one square mile town and 3 miles of expressway. Our call volume is around 2000 per year. When we are toned for a fire we recieve automatic-aid from two towns, one sends a tower and one sends a engine.

    We are having a sticking point in contract talks - We are looking for more manpower and gave a proposal for five personnel. In turn they came back with, we will give you four.....sounds good but they also gave us notice that were eliminating our auto aid. They told us that you can call a for help when you get on the scene if you have a fire. After explaining that if we wait until we get on the scene to call for "help" that will delay the second due units 5-10 minutes we also explained basic fireground operations and RIT they said that "we are willing to take that risk" The village manager (that was a trustee and was voted out of office) micro manages every department in town and does not like the fire chief (who has been chief for 20 years) so he does everything he can to screw the firefighters.

    Basically they want to give us one guy and take away five.......

    Has any one had any issues like this?????

  • #2
    Yes, it happens. The penny-pinchers will do everything that they can to save money at the expense of proper emergency service levels.

    The long and short of it is that your Union isn't he one who should be negotiating for additional manpower. Your Chief should be the one backing that horse.

    IMHO, hiring additional manpower doesn't benefit labor and you don't want to put your self into the position of exchanging other benefits that are your concerns for something that benefits management more than it benefits labor.

    Fight for reasonable work benefits and a safe work environment. Let the Chief worry about whether he has enough manpower and the proper response levels to do the job. By all means support him if he's lobbying for more manpower but don't let it become a bargaining chip in negotiations -- manpower isn't something that the Union should be paying to provide.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.


    • #3
      How is the city manager the one who decides if you guys are getting auto aid responses this is decided by the fire chief or who ever is delegated by the chief. Have you tried involving the media into this and it's not to make anyone look bad but just to inform the public and get your point across that you guys are trying to provide a better level of service and the city is trying to decrease it. Between that and try to get the public to the town meetings and put the manager on the spot and see what happens. Best of luck keep us informed.


      • #4
        Originally posted by TRUCK61
        How is the city manager the one who decides if you guys are getting auto aid responses this is decided by the fire chief or who ever is delegated by the chief.
        If they are like many local governments only the executive brach may enter into "contractual agreements." You may be the Chief but you still work for "the man."

        Other things to look at:

        Is your mutual aid/automatic aid really mutual or is it skewwed towards one department or another? If it is abused is the other local government complaining about it (our ladder is in your town everyday, why don't you go get your own?)

        Does your local government pay for the automatic aid? The problem could be a "Benjamin" problem. Maybe the city manager only wants them on actual alarms versus automatic. You can throw the ideal of providing better service out the window if it is going to cause a raise in taxes.

        Good luck with the contract and stay safe.


        • #5
          ...I'm glad I work were I do....we don't have these problems....good luck you....sounds like you have a city counsel of morons.....as do we.....
          IACOJ Member


          • #6
            Why is it that your department mutual aid agreements are coming into contract negotiations? That is first and foremost problem!!! THAT is something that should be in your SOG/SOP's ..........NOT your contract. I am not in any means banging on your union or department, but that should never have been in your first initial contract. Get it out!!!

            Now with that said, mutual aid (especially with volunteers) can hurt negotiations. Its not rocket science, especially when they (city council or whoever) see's that people will come for free to help us. I know of some career depts. that will not call a volunteer company even if it is they are the closer one for mutual aid. This is not in ANY way to say the volunteer cant do the job. We ALL know u can so dont go freaking out reading the career forum.

            I feel for the union brothers negotiating this one. Its messed up from the start unfortunately it sounds like.
            Local 216


            • #7
              Originally posted by wilson10 View Post
              I know of some career depts. that will not call a volunteer company even if it is they are the closer one for mutual aid.

              This type of thinking is just flat out riculous. I understand that you yourself aren't stating you practice this, but as a whole.

              UNION or TEAMSTER, SCAB or VOLUNTEER or WHATEVER. #1 priority is always the customer. Thats been the #1 priority for us as long as we've HAD the fire service in our country. If someone tried pulling these types of antics where I come from, youd be up **** creek without a paddle in no time..

              Why make your customer, the ONLY reason we have the great jobs that we do, suffer on any level just to make one miniscule (and it is just that) point shift after shift?
              The good thing about this job is that we have done so much, with so little, for so long that we can do everything with nothing...... which is what is wrong with this job.
              KTF | DTRT


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