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Minneapolis Using Volunteers To Fill Vacant Positions

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  • #46
    Originally posted by ChiefReason

    Cities have to make up their minds when it comes to how much and what type of fire service they provide for their citizens. They should never be put in the middle of fiscal malfeasance.
    I think this is the real point here. It IS up to the people to decide what level of protection they want and can fund. I agree with Duffman who basically said lobby loud and lobby hard, and I might add, if that's not enough, "they get what they pay for". I'm sure you all wanted to drive a Cadillac, but have settled for a Toyota at some time in your life.

    We need those who raise their voice and make a stand, so keep it up! The squeaky wheel usually gets the grease. But this kind of trend is only going to continue, and because of that we have to make sure we are always prepared to live with plan "B". It's a vicious cycle, but the better we get, the fewer of us there are going to be. That's just the way the world works, whether your in the Business World or Emergency Services.

    So you can be lazy, sit around the hall and bitch about your schedule, or the volly who is plotting to take your job( ), and you may protect your job in the end. But you will never be happy. Or...you can continue to train hard, be innovative, save lives and property, and live with the fact that every year you are going to be asked to do more with less. If you became a FF for option 1, you aren't going to fare well in the future. If it was option 2, I'm sure I'll see you in another 20 years.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 07-06-2003, 09:08 PM.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

    Comment


    • #47
      Just north of Minneapolis

      I live just north of the Minneapolis border.

      As I have heard last (just a couple of days ago), MFD is NOT pulling in Vollies to fill the paid jobs. MFD IS cutting crews, bringing in Quints, and a new ambulance, rearranging crews, and cutting trucks out of some stations and reassigning them.

      Minneapolis took a HARD hit in Minnesota's budget crunching, as did many cities and townships around our state. Smaller cities have been forced to combine Fire and Police services with adjoining small cities just to make sure their taxpayers have the services there to protect them. I find it sad that so many people are worried about what kind (paid or vollie) of FF is going to do the job instead of how we make sure that the people we serve are getting those services.

      Just my opinion.
      Proud to be an official member of the I.A.C.O.J.

      Paremediks R Us - You cut em - We gut em!

      Firefighter 26's flame!

      Comment


      • #48
        OK here's my thought - If you are a union firefighter and you volunteer, Don't you think it's a little hypocritical? Even if you are out there lobbying for your union, you're still bringing them down when it comes to negotiation time. When the union goes to bat for your wages and benefits, how do you want the union to explain that you're willing to do it for nothing on your off time? Why should the tax payer pay for your heart & hypertension claim if the volunteer town is part responsible? How do you want the union to answer to the tax payer when they ask, "why do we have a paid dept.?" when the members volunteer in the next town? How should the union answer to city hall when you are out on sick time from your volunteer fire that got you hurt and the city has to pay overtime to fill your spot? Does the volunteer town cut your employer a check for those losses? Is that fair to the tax payer who pays those costs? Do you see the conflict of interest yet? I'm not against volunteers, just union brothers who make it difficult for me to get my contract settled. Your little village will survive without you. Maybe you can help train them and be part of their fundraisers. Or maybe fight for their interests in the village town hall. But doing the job is a conflict!
        I'm sorry if I offended anyone with the word scab. My point was if they did replace paid guys with volunteers then that is exactly what they are going to be - SCABS. I guess I need to find a new word to describe union volunteers. Any ideas?
        IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

        Comment


        • #49
          A simple question....

          Let me ask you a question:
          When you were a little kid with dreams, did you want to grow up to be a FIREFIGHTER or did you want to grow up to be a union member?
          Did you want to be a firefighter because you wanted to help communities through their disasters and educate the kids or did you join up so you could harp that volunteers were taking union jobs?
          So is it about getting the job done and worrying about the details later or are you going to wait to respond until that contract is negotiated and ratified?
          All I am saying is that we have to soul search and look into our hearts once in a while to remind ourselves of why we do this.
          Everything else should take care of itself.
          The reality is that not every city and small village cannot afford the same types of fire protection, so to say that where I live and volunteer is taking jobs in Baltimore is ridiculous. There will never be paid FFs in a village of 800. There will be fire protection, but I doubt that they will be paying IAFF dues.
          I have the utmost respect and admiration for all of the paid AND volunteers alike. Much of what I learned, I learned from full-time, paid firefighters. They taught me to be very efficient. And that begs the question: since the union doesn't want you volunteering on fire departments, then will they still let some of you who teach at the academies TRAIN volunteers? Because the logic would hold that you are training volunteers to take jobs, wouldn't it? Just asking.
          Safety of the firefighters is number one. But run it like a business. Get rid of the crap and deliver the most bang for the buck.
          Every one of us deserves retirement and health benefits for what we do. Don't tell me that unionizing is the only way to get it. I know better. I am with you on staffing levels, because that is definitely safety. But I simply will not buy into the idea that, in order to deliver an appropriate level of service, you have to be unionized.
          Like I said in an earlier post; I was in a union for 13 years. I saw the good and the bad. The rule was: "EVERYTHING is negotiable".
          NOT PUBLIC SAFETY!
          Union or not; paid or volunteer; it's about getting the job done and going home at the end of the day.
          And again; I am not anti-union. It just doesn't make sense where I live and work.
          CR
          Last edited by ChiefReason; 07-07-2003, 09:27 AM.
          Visit www.iacoj.com
          Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
          RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by KeithA8
            I'm sorry if I offended anyone with the word scab. My point was if they did replace paid guys with volunteers then that is exactly what they are going to be - SCABS. I guess I need to find a new word to describe union volunteers. Any ideas?
            Any person who would agree to do something for free so a governing body could fire a hard-working individual is a ****** bag. "Scab" seems way too nice for them.

            Stay Safe

            Comment


            • #51
              KeithA8...

              Well, not that it matters, but I volunteer for a deaprtment 90 miles from where I work. (No residency, thank you MY UNION) But I realize that will make no difference to you. By the way, in the entire county I live in there are 7 paid FF's. They work at the FD in the county seat.

              If you are looking for a name for paid guys that volunteer where they live how about civic minded?

              By the way to once again to restate my position.

              1) I do not favor eliminating full time FF's and replacing them with volunteers.
              2) If the volly FD I am a member of ever hires full timers I will walk away.
              3) I volunteer where I live as a service to my community, and for no other reason.
              4) What I do on my off time, as long as it is legal, is neither my employer's or my Union's business.

              Take care,

              FyredUp
              Crazy, but that's how it goes
              Millions of people living as foes
              Maybe it's not too late
              To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

              Comment


              • #52
                ChiefReason,
                I don't think you understand my point. I have absolutly nothing against volunteer orginizations. And I do realize it makes no sense to have a carreer dept in a town that does 80 runs a year. To answer your question - I wanted to be a firefighter since I can remember. I didn't even know what a union was 'till my teens. But now that I'm an educated adult I realize that the IAFF has done a boat load for the fire service in terms of safety, hours worked, benefits, and protecting the interests of its members. If the world was as perfect as you think it is the union consept would never had been thought of. There would be no need for it. Take a look at the fire service before the IAFF and take a look at it now. The IAFF has done wonders for the health and safety of volunteers too. They don't just lobby for union issues - it's firefighting issues too. So all that they accomplished in your best interest as a volunteer has been funded through my dues. You're welcome! (in case you're thanking us IAFF members right now). So now that I answered your question can you please respond to a few of mine?

                FyredUp,
                Could you please answer the questions I asked?
                IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

                Comment


                • #53
                  KeithA8 - I'm not a Union FF but have been a volunteer for many years. Let me try and answer some questions.

                  If you are a union firefighter and you volunteer, Don't you think it's a little hypocritical? No, I would think you are a FF. You are there to help people in their times of need.

                  When the union goes to bat for your wages and benefits, how do you want the union to explain that you're willing to do it for nothing on your off time? If enough people were willing to do it for free, I would have a hard time explaining it. But simply put, where there are Paid FF's, there are not/were not enough people willing to do it for free...hence, hiring (paying) people to do it.

                  Why should the tax payer pay for your heart & hypertension claim if the volunteer town is part responsible? Why not? Prove it had nothing to do with the paid job. FF is dangerous. Whether it's paid, vol, or somewhere in between, fires don't care.

                  How do you want the union to answer to the tax payer when they ask, "why do we have a paid dept.?" when the members volunteer in the next town? Again, if enough people would do it for free, they would not need paid FF's. As a tax payer, stop complaining and volunteer, then you won't have to pay.

                  How should the union answer to city hall when you are out on sick time from your volunteer fire that got you hurt and the city has to pay overtime to fill your spot? The same answer when they pay overtime because I'm out sick because I hurt my back doing a construction job.

                  Does the volunteer town cut your employer a check for those losses? Most likely not. I'm a non-union construction worker taking jobs from other non-union construction workers.

                  Is that fair to the tax payer who pays those costs? Is it fair to the other construction worker? or academy instructors?

                  Do you see the conflict of interest yet? No. I see a union is looking to keep saving jobs for union members. Nothing wrong with that, that's one of their purposes. Another of their purposes is making sure THEY get paid first.


                  Anyone see the link that Adze posted about cops "volunteering" to work a day? It's a great story. Kudos to them for worrying more about protecting each other and their city than paychecks.

                  Stay Safe and Peace.
                  "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    It's not rainbows and puppies, dude!

                    Keith;
                    First of all, I don't believe that the world is perfect. I am a practicing cynic, if you haven't noticed.
                    Secondly; I was not directing my comments at you. They are, for the most part, general comments.
                    Thirdly; don't hurt your shoulder patting yourself on the back for improved fire safety. I realize that the IAFF have made contributions to ALL firefigters safety. But so has the NFPA, NIOSH, OSHA, CDC, ANSI and NIST.
                    And lastly; even if your claim that I have benefitted from you paying your dues, that doesn't give you the right to try and take my job as a volunteer, either.
                    Now, let me ask you a question that you didn't answer. Are you paid guys who double as fire service instructors going to continue to train us volunteer types?
                    Here's another thought. Presumptive illnesses. Some advocate that the employer should prove that they DID NOT cause the illness. Employers already pay out the nose for work comp insurance. The employee should be required to do a little something to collect benefits, like prove that it happened at their place of employment. You have all those attorneys out there specializing in personal injury and work comp. Let them handle it, but I'll be damned if I'm the man in charge of loss control that I will take a claim for on the job lung cancer on a guy who smokes two packs a day. Sorry.
                    Some of the other more classical illnesses such as emphysema, COPD, and other respiratory illnesses again will take a certain burden of proof, but when you start looking at heart ailments, there will need to be clear and convincing evidence that it's job related. Otherwise, nobody will be able to afford to be in business. We are all paying for the ones who use it. Insurance is going up for everybody, because of all of the claims. People will not pay a $50 office visit. Nope; got to file it on insurance. Wake up.
                    THat's enough for now.
                    CR
                    Visit www.iacoj.com
                    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      KeithA8.....

                      OK here's my thought - If you are a union firefighter and you volunteer, Don't you think it's a little hypocritical?

                      Answer: Not anymore than the guy that does the other union jobs on the side and is not a dues paying member of that union.

                      When the union goes to bat for your wages and benefits, how do you want the union to explain that you're willing to do it for nothing on your off time?

                      Answer: It is my opinion that what I do on my off time should have no bearing on what my working conditions are at work.

                      Why should the tax payer pay for your heart & hypertension claim if the volunteer town is part responsible?

                      Answer: Why should they pay if your lung disease is caused by the trades job, or whatever leisure activity you engage in? For that matter if you smoke the FD should never pay out regardless of anyone's off time activities. Maybe we should add a zero tolerance alcohol policy in here too.

                      How do you want the union to answer to the tax payer when they ask, "why do we have a paid dept.?" when the members volunteer in the next town?

                      Answer: Quite simply the 22 person volunteer FD I am a member of that runs 50 calls a year could never handle the 6000 plus fire calls as well as BLS and ALS calls a year that my career FD handles. It is about service and we better sell that as a career FD we are the best option for that circumstance. One size never fits all in the fire service.

                      How should the union answer to city hall when you are out on sick time from your volunteer fire that got you hurt and the city has to pay overtime to fill your spot?

                      Answer: Gee that's a tough one. How do they answer to city hall when a guy painting houses on his off day falls off a ladder and breaks his leg? Or the guy who plays rec league softball breaks his thumb sliding into third base? Or the guy who hang glides smashes into a tree and breaks his back? Or the guy who teaches fire school on his off days and pulls a muscle in his back during rescue training?

                      Does the volunteer town cut your employer a check for those losses?

                      Answer: Irrelevant and superfluous question. Unless everyone who works a part-time gig would have their part-time employer pay the city back or if you got hurt in a recreational activity you personally would pay the city back this question has no merit.

                      Is that fair to the tax payer who pays those costs?

                      Answer: No less fair than the circumstances I listed above.

                      Do you see the conflict of interest yet?

                      Answer: Again, if the issue is off duty health benefits then a list of hazardous activities that are banned should be made up to cover all off duty part-time work as well as all off duty recreational activities that qualify as hazardous. Would you sit still for that?

                      Again, this topic is about replacing Minneapolis FF with vollies, or P.O.C. or even college students. It is not about career FF's volunteering on their off days in small rural FD's. If in fact a career FF is volunteering in a combo department and is in fact causing that entity to not hire enough career FF's to operate safely that is shameful.

                      FyredUp
                      Crazy, but that's how it goes
                      Millions of people living as foes
                      Maybe it's not too late
                      To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        KeithA8,
                        I'll take a shot at your questions too. I've been a volunteer and paid part-time firefighter for 20+ years.

                        If you are a career firefighter and volunteer as a firefighter is that hypocritical. Not even close. Unless you volunteer in the same department your union represents, there's no comparison. Any employee has to add value to their employeer. The value added by career personnel on station is faster response time. Wages, benefits, etc. are going to be set by local economic conditions. That's why union firefighters in some areas get paid way more that those in other areas. The same holds true for other jobs.

                        The union has to show the value the work force adds. If the next town over takes 3-5 minutes longer to get out the door because volunteers are coming from home, that makes it pretty clear. The question becomes how much is that faster response worth. Or, maybe the town you're in can't find volunteers - so now it becomes what having any responders are worth. The union has to justify salary and benefits as being what is required to keep quality staff. If the local job market means that quality people can be had for less $, well, that's just economics. (I know this hurts - it has hurt me personally too, as my full-time employer just sold us to another co that provides significantly poorer retirement.) But, my employer is still able to get good enough service this way.

                        The question about sick time at your career dept due to an injury from a vollie call only makes sense if you also take into account sports, other part-time jobs, etc. I've transported many more weekend athletes than firefighters - and more firefighters hurt playing sports than hurt on any job - career or vollie.

                        Should your vollie dept, your part time job, or your softball team cut a check to your primary employer for lost time? Nope - that's what sick leave is for.

                        The only conflict is the attempt to limit the pool of available workers. That's no more moral than the city making you buy your uniforms from the store that pays kickbacks (yes, that does happen in the Cincy area). In the long term, everyone fares best with open competition.

                        You're really missing the point, anyway. The danger to career staffing isn't from volunteers. It's from part time personnel. If the Minneapolis area is anything like SW Ohio, there are dozens of firefighters, EMT's, medic's, etc. working part-time with all the same certifications & experience as the career personnel. If a dept. wanted to cut personnel costs, they could hire them at the same or lower hourly rate & not pay benefits and not lower the quality of service.

                        To answer your final question, I call everyone who fights fire a firefighter, and everyone who runs EMS, an EMT or medic. If you call any of them a scab, you're just a person who's trying to use muscle to fight economics - and a person who's placing personal income ahead of the good of the fireservice.

                        That's a reasonable position. Everyone is entitled to try to make the most $ they can. But, be honest about it.
                        Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Once again..

                          The day is July 09, 2003. It is 2240.

                          Tonight I checked with my father and two brothers - ALL firefighters in a close northern suburb of Minneapolis. They know MANY Minneapolis Firefighters as personal friends.

                          I repeat:

                          MINNEAPOLIS IS NOT BRINGING ON VOLLIES TO REPLACE PAID GUYS!

                          So now that this is NO LONGER a conversation of MFD, you may continyue with the age old arguement of Paid vs Vollie as that is what this has become.
                          Proud to be an official member of the I.A.C.O.J.

                          Paremediks R Us - You cut em - We gut em!

                          Firefighter 26's flame!

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            My turn to answer.

                            Keith -

                            Let me ask you this: You are on your day off. You are on the lake/ocean/river and a man goes overboard. You are the closest and have the option of helping rescue him or turning your back and leaving. Do you help or not?

                            If you answered yes, would you be considered volunteering? You are not going to get a paycheck for a water rescue and approximately 30 minutes worth of work.

                            Say while pulling him out of the water you sprain your wrist and are off of work for a week, how do you explain it to your Union?

                            Think about this long and hard Keith. We all got into this profession because we wanted to help others. To make a difference. I prefer to do it because I want to and my way is Volunteer because there is no paid dept where I live. You do it because you want to and because you get paid for it. But remember also, unless you walk away without doing anything in the above scenario - we all volunteer sometimes..
                            Proud to be an official member of the I.A.C.O.J.

                            Paremediks R Us - You cut em - We gut em!

                            Firefighter 26's flame!

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              You people are missing the point, so I guess I'll let lying dogs lay. Of course I would help the drowning person but that is not a conflict of interest - it's called a good samariton. Sports is leisure and yes that is what sick time is for. Firefighting is not leisure and it is a conflict! I agree with the smoking thing and I also agree with your point about construction (again not leisure). But in my city the negotiaters bring up these questions all the time. It's amo in their pocket. Contract negotiation is a simple game of we want as much as we can get and they want to take as much as they can get. Everyone knows we are willing to do the job no matter what. In some cases the insurance was not going to cover anything that can be covered by workers comp. In Connecticut the workers comp that covers volunteers only pays about 1/3 of our sallery.
                              IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Re: My turn to answer.

                                Originally posted by Anyway
                                Keith -

                                Let me ask you this: You are on your day off. You are on the lake/ocean/river and a man goes overboard. You are the closest and have the option of helping rescue him or turning your back and leaving. Do you help or not?

                                If you answered yes, would you be considered volunteering? You are not going to get a paycheck for a water rescue and approximately 30 minutes worth of work.

                                Say while pulling him out of the water you sprain your wrist and are off of work for a week, how do you explain it to your Union?

                                Think about this long and hard Keith. We all got into this profession because we wanted to help others. To make a difference. I prefer to do it because I want to and my way is Volunteer because there is no paid dept where I live. You do it because you want to and because you get paid for it. But remember also, unless you walk away without doing anything in the above scenario - we all volunteer sometimes..

                                Just a note...If I was injuried because I helped out on my off time, I would in fact be paid by my city not my union ...because my contract states(which my union negotiated) that any action taken by a member while off duty that would reasonably would have been taken while on duty the member shall be covered under all provisions related to workers comp and health insurance. And to answer that burning question " we all volunteer sometimes" that answer is no ...we make a choice to help someone when they need help.
                                IACOJ Membership 2002
                                {15}

                                Mike IAFF

                                The beatings will continue until the morale improves

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