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  1. #1
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    Default Question for the Union Brothers......

    Well, I have a question. I am hesitant to post this as I am afraid where these type of threads normally end up. I am not wanting any bashing, opinions on volunteers in general, career vs. volunteer, who's better, etc.......

    This is from the article on "Albany, N.Y. Firefighters Banned from Volunteering" on the front page.


    If they refuse to resign from the volunteer company, they can't be fired, he said. "Whatever happens would be up to the international."
    Since they can not be fired from their job (at least in Albany, NY) for not resigning from the volunteer department, what punishment would they/could they face? I assume it would depend on the union by-laws and charter, but I am not familiar with that.

    And, to restate, I am not looking to start any bashing of career or volunteers, or anything like that in this thread. I respect the right of the union to make and enforce rules, regardless of my opinion of it.
    Last edited by SWFD94; 01-20-2009 at 04:49 PM.


  2. #2
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    IF the Local chose to they could press charges against the member and if it played out he could possibly be removed from the Union. Frankly, the Union has far more important issues to worry about than this.

    Like people sleeping through alarms

  3. #3
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    I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, but I recall that some FD's have rules that require their members be part of the Union? Expulsion then could have serious consequences. Union membership also has the benefit of fighting your battles for you, no Union, no backing when you think you've been used unfairly somehow. No say in contract issues, bidding rights can be tied to Union seniority, as well as anything tied to union seniority. Basically you have to abide by the rules of membership to be a member in good standing. This isn't anything new, all sorts of organizations have membership rules.

    Right or wrong, you can decide yourself, but as a member you must follow the rules of the Union or face said charges. If Albany Firefighters as a whole don't like this, they'll make the change at the E-Board level or through a vote of the membership.

  4. #4
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    It's unfortuante that it has come to this.

    The city firefighters in Albany have a long history in the suburban departments surrounding the city, especially to the west and south in Guilderland and Bethlehem.

    When out started in this business 30 years ago, when I was home from college I ran with the North Bethlehem Fire Department. Our chief was an engine captain with the city (and later became a battalion chief) and we had a couple of other city firefighters, one of which was a grumpy old truck captain, who served with us as a Lt.

    It's unfortunate that they can't work around this.

    But I do have a question. What would be the difference if a Albany FF got hurt fighting fires in the burbs vs. a motorcycle or skiing accident? He would still be using personal time, no matter the cause as it's not "work related".

    Maybe I don't understand why it's an issue.

  5. #5
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    Usually, the other union members will stop time-trading or doing mutuals with someone that is kicked out of the union.

  6. #6
    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    I know our union folks who were also working as reserve FF were discontinued by the Dept. when the union forced the Dept to comply with FLSA. The department was forced to pay them their full salary as a career firefighter.

    Rather than have a reasonably reliable reserve force, the Dept determined the cost wasn't worth it and discontinued the practice.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  7. #7
    Forum Member MassFireGuy's Avatar
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    With all do respect, the Union is right. You cannot "two hat". It goes against everything a union is for. THey get kicked out of the union good luck with pay raises, vacation time, unfair practices, not to mention using the tv in the firehouse or eating the kitty food.



    In my neck of the woods you have to be in the union, and I'm damn proud to be a member of the IAFF.

  8. #8
    Forum Member BKDRAFT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post

    Maybe I don't understand why it's an issue.
    This is what it comes down to.

    Working for "free" is against everything a union is about. By union members volunteering to fill these positions it is only postponing the time when that area finally hires career fireman with good pay, and benefits. Career union fireman pay union dues, and in turn the union grows.

    The laws are different in each state. Some departments are "closed shops" vs. "open shops." Out here in California you can be fired if you are removed from the union. States like Nevada, and South Carolina it is the opposite. Some fireman are union, and some are not. Either way they can still work weather they are in the union or not.

  9. #9
    Forum Member BKDRAFT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MassFireGuy View Post
    With all do respect, the Union is right. You cannot "two hat". It goes against everything a union is for. THey get kicked out of the union good luck with pay raises, vacation time, unfair practices, not to mention using the tv in the firehouse or eating the kitty food.



    In my neck of the woods you have to be in the union, and I'm damn proud to be a member of the IAFF.
    Amen brother.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber JaredMTFD's Avatar
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    Volunteering in a small rural community that can not support a career department does no threat to the union. I live 20 miles away from my career union department and I volunteer in my small country community.

    No one will tell me what I can or can't do on my off days at my own home in my own town.

  11. #11
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKDRAFT View Post
    This is what it comes down to.

    Working for "free" is against everything a union is about. By union members volunteering to fill these positions it is only postponing the time when that area finally hires career fireman with good pay, and benefits. Career union fireman pay union dues, and in turn the union grows.
    Y'all are proud to be in the union, I'm proud to be a two-hatter. And, yeah, I'm a union member too.

    I volunteer in a county with an annual fire call load of 2000, and a population of 27,000. We do not have the financial means to hire firefighters, and even if we did, they wouldn't have good pay and benefits. My membership in the VFD doesn't keep us from hiring firefighters; it provides protection to the area that I call home, while providing minimal financial impact to the taxpayers. 14 of the 50 members of my VFD's are career (firefighters, lieutenants, and two BC's) in nearby career agencies.

    Chest thumping union members are often quick to paint all VFD's with a broad paintbrush. It can be easy to forget that NOT all communities want, or can afford career staff.

    I live in a right-to-work state, and the union's effectiveness is as only as much as the city/county administrator wants it to be. I think it's interesting that I work in a department of 550 personnel with a 90% percent union membership rate, and our president distributed an e-mail to all members stating that they would NOT seek charges against members who volunteer at home. Heck, one-third of the guys on my shift are vollies.

    The benefits of being a union member in my neck of the woods aren't necessarily the same are they are in Mass and California.
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  12. #12
    Forum Member BKDRAFT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    The benefits of being a union member in my neck of the woods aren't necessarily the same are they are in Mass and California.
    That is why I am thankful to live here in California.

  13. #13
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    Working for "free" is against everything a union is about. By union members volunteering to fill these positions it is only postponing the time when that area finally hires career fireman with good pay, and benefits. Career union fireman pay union dues, and in turn the union grows.

    Without starting a vollie vs career thread ....

    By union members volunteering to fill these positions it is only postponing the time when that area finally hires career fireman
    .... is the part I disagree with. There is no inevitability to a community hiring career fireman, and that's my problem with the union stance. The fact is there are thousands of communities, including some pretty good sized ones, that will defiantly or most probably stay volunteer because the need will never exist for full time as the call volume will not justify it, the budget will not support it or the volunteer base will continue to deliver the service in a competent manner.

    Back to the original question -

    What difference would it make to the city how you got hurt? You are still using your comp/sick/vacation time. And they still have to cover your shifts. based on the logic that covering your shift with OT may cost the city money, then why not ban any second jobs where you could get hurt, high-risk sports like skiing and basketball, and other dangerous practices like riding a motorcyle?

    You may say it's not trying to bust VFDs ,,,, but I guess I see it that way.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 01-20-2009 at 08:58 PM.

  14. #14
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    I think some of the "Two-Hatting" rules were better defined recently to note that you don't vollie in a place where there other IAFF jobs?

    I'd think you'd better not two hat in a FD that would come to your career jobs' aid through mutual aid. When your job starts cutting positions and relying more heavily on mutual aid, you'd be helping prove the job can be done with less career guys. Pretty simple, Don't s**t where you eat.

    I could care less about two hatters in FD's that don't effect any union jobs. But again, rules are rules. Union guys know the rules of membership. I'm sure some of the volunteer FD's out there have some rules that apply to being members in good standing, and you'd all understand being brought p on charges for violating those rules, why question the IAFF's rules?

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    Correct me if I'm wrong on this one, but didn't the IAFF change their stance on this issue recently? If I remember right, it's no longer volunteering, but volunteering with a department that has career, IAFF personnel and they consider it a local issue, where the offended local has to file a complaint with the local to which the offending member belongs.

  16. #16
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    Getting hurt off the job has nothing to do with it. Its about safety and job preservation. Why would a city pay you for something when you do it for free some where else. Why give raises to guys who do it for free some where else.

    "What do you mean you guys want time off to spend with your family. Scabs McScabby uses the time you guys already get to volly."

    "Fine if you guys want more man power how about if we hire volly firefighters to fill jumpseats. Whats the difference you do it on your days off."

    This is the way cities think. Now more than ever. They dont care about our safety or health. They only care about numbers. This is why we must stick together. This is the reason for firemen to unionize. Its a dangerous job by nature. FTM PTB





    Section 3. Secondary Employment

    Any member of the Association found working a secondary job as a paid-on-call fire fighter or an employee of a public employer, nonprofit corporation, or a private contracting firm providing fire protection or emergency medial services to a city, county, municipality, or a fire protection district as a volunteer, reserve, part-time, part-paid, police officer, police reserve, or public safety officer may be subject to charges filed against that member.

    Excerpt from IAFF By-Laws
    Last edited by RustBeltFire; 01-20-2009 at 09:44 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaredMTFD View Post
    Volunteering in a small rural community that can not support a career department does no threat to the union. I live 20 miles away from my career union department and I volunteer in my small country community.

    No one will tell me what I can or can't do on my off days at my own home in my own town.

    No? You're right in that being a volly isn't keeping them from hiring full-timers, but what if your career dept sees guys doing it for free or paid-on-call and says "Why don't we do that here and get rid of some of these full-paid guys"??? It's happening here.
    The union is not telling you what to do without you AGREEING to it when you joined the union.

  18. #18
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltFire View Post
    Section 3. Secondary Employment

    Any member of the Association found working a secondary job as a paid-on-call fire fighter or an employee of a public employer, nonprofit corporation, or a private contracting firm providing fire protection or emergency medial services to a city, county, municipality, or a fire protection district as a volunteer, reserve, part-time, part-paid, police officer, police reserve, or public safety officer may be subject to charges filed against that member.

    Excerpt from IAFF By-Laws
    How about post the section from IAFF Resolution 2 (2008) that pertains to what we're talking about.

    RESOLVED, That Article XV, Section 3 of the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws shall be deleted, and that Article XV, Section 1, which sets forth misconduct prohibited by the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws, shall be amended by adding the following new subsection to the list of defined misconduct:

    "(N) Working a secondary job part-time, paid on call, volunteer or otherwise as a firefighter, emergency medical services worker, public safety or law enforcement officer, or as a worker in a related service, whether in the public or private sector, where such job is within the work jurisdiction of any affiliate or which materially erodes the conditions of work of any affiliate. Upon a finding of guilt of working a secondary job in violation of this subsection, it is recommended that the penalty include disqualification from holding office in any affiliate and/or expulsion from membership for the period that the misconduct persists. Charges filed for the misconduct described in this subsection shall be preferred by a member of the charged party's local and/or a member of an adversely affected affiliate."
    Career Fire Captain
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  19. #19
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    Gentlemen: This has been hashed out over and over and over again.

    This was a decision by the Albany local of the IAFF.

    If you are not a member of the Albany FD, it does not affect you in your community.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  20. #20
    Forum Member MassFireGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltFire View Post
    Getting hurt off the job has nothing to do with it. Its about safety and job preservation. Why would a city pay you for something when you do it for free some where else. Why give raises to guys who do it for free some where else.

    "What do you mean you guys want time off to spend with your family. Scabs McScabby uses the time you guys already get to volly."

    "Fine if you guys want more man power how about if we hire volly firefighters to fill jumpseats. Whats the difference you do it on your days off."

    This is the way cities think. Now more than ever. They dont care about our safety or health. They only care about numbers. This is why we must stick together. This is the reason for firemen to unionize. Its a dangerous job by nature. FTM PTB





    Section 3. Secondary Employment

    Any member of the Association found working a secondary job as a paid-on-call fire fighter or an employee of a public employer, nonprofit corporation, or a private contracting firm providing fire protection or emergency medial services to a city, county, municipality, or a fire protection district as a volunteer, reserve, part-time, part-paid, police officer, police reserve, or public safety officer may be subject to charges filed against that member.

    Excerpt from IAFF By-Laws
    Very well said and out.

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