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Kissimmee Fla--IAFF Local to Negotiate Contract

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  • Kissimmee Fla--IAFF Local to Negotiate Contract

    Union will represent Kissimmee firefighters
    12 Jun 2003
    By Brian McBride News-Gazette Staff Writer
    The Kissimmee Fire Department’s union is preparing to negotiate a contract with city administrators after firefighters voted to accept it as a collective bargaining unit last week.


    Of the 53 firefighters who voted, 47 favored finalizing the union process, while seven were opposed, department officials said. Of the 12 fire department lieutenants and EMS supervisors, the tally was 11-1.

    Department firefighters formed the International Association of Firefighters Local 4208 union last year, but they had to wait until an election by the Public Employee Relations Commission to become a collective bargaining unit.

    “The union will give us a voice to address our concerns,” said Kissimmee Fire Department Lt. Jim Walls.

    Union members will begin working with a collective bargaining specialist from the Florida Professional Fire Fighters organization, which will help them design their first contract.

    Within several months, Walls said the union hoped to have a completed contract that may address staffing issues and pay.

    But with relations between firefighters and city administrators somewhat adversarial in the past, union members want to keep relations positive.

    In 2001, a group of firefighters who attended a city commission meeting walked out of the chambers in the middle of the meeting and fumed outside after they felt their concerns were being ignored.

    Internal relations with former Fire Chief John Chapman were strained over a desire to unionize, fire officials said.

    Walls said this is a different era.

    “We want to operate on good faith,” Walls said.

    He noted that newly hired Fire Chief Robert King, who came from the unionized Rochester Fire Department in New York, has already extended a hand to union members and agreed to work with them.

    King was out of town this week and could not be reached for comment.

    Having worked with the Kissimmee police union during contract negotiations, City Manager Mark Durbin has seen impasses declared over the last three years after talks broke down.

    While he has yet to negotiate with firefighters, he said there is one main obstacle he has encountered with unions: “An unrealistic expectation on how much money is available in the budget,” he said.

    But he’s also experienced a smooth process.

    “I’ve seen it happen,” he said.

    And that’s what firefighters hope to achieve.

    “We look forward to working with them (the city),“ Walls said.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  • #2
    Some of the greatest people I've ever met were from Kissimmee, used to stay there when at Disney World. As a member of Local 734 IAFF I wish you all the best luck. I fear though that you'll always find the relationship between union and management adversarial, it seems to be a way of life.
    Fire and Police - Americas first line of defense.

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