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  1. #1

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    Default Driver Operator VS Engineer

    Our department (Newark) in the Bay Area will soon merge with the Alameda County FD.( ALCO). We currently have a DO position not an engineers rank. We are all required to drive by the time we have been employed 3 years. ALCO has an engineers position, and we are being told that we cannot use seniority to fill the 9 engineer positions that will be needed after the merger. Some type of test according to the union lawyer has to be given to promote 9 FF's to the rank of engineer. Anyone have any thoughts on this?


  2. #2
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Sounds like a change in working conditions which needs to be negotiated through I & I bargaining. Call your Union Rep and ask what is happening, and if this change needs to be negotiated. If not, sounds like you definitely have grounds to file a ULP claim.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  3. #3

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    Unhappy I guess we are screwed.

    Already spoke with our union prez and he says the city can pretty much do as they want. Our chief wants a test so we have no one on the side of the senior guys. Also, years ago ALCO merged with the city of Dublin and they decided to use seniority, not a test. I would think that a precedent has been set, but the union lawyers have sided with the city.

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    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Not sure where this falls under, but take a read.

    Usually the D/O can be classified as an Engineer. It's the difference in political lingo that changes things. The only thing separating the two would be the qualifications, testing, and knowledge of the two. Also separated by how the two departments qualify them as.

    Taking out seniority, have your best 9 (or more) D/O's take the Engineers test, and see where they end up. If they pass the Engineer's test, then you can look at the pecking order of seniority.

    One thing to note though. I have seen (very recently) that the overtake from one Fire Dept (paid/career), take away the seniority of those of a volly dept. through annexation. I'm not sure if it's the same or not, when you said you are being "merged".

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRERN2 View Post
    Already spoke with our union prez and he says the city can pretty much do as they want.
    Well then it may be one of three things:

    1. Your union prez is a pu$$y
    2. Your union prez is in bed with the new fire chief and/or the new union prez
    3. He doesn't know what he is talking about.

    If Your Driver/Operator position is currently a negotiated position through binding contract, the "new boss" just can't come in there and say "if you want to drive you have to take this test." It doesn't work like that. They have to do something called I & I Bargaining (Implementation and Impact) because it is a change in negotiated, bargained, written in contract conditions.

    If it is NOT in your contract, well then, the new boss can do as he pleases (to a certain extent.) However since you stated that you have to be able to drive by year three, I assume that it is probably in your contract somewhere. If they are not taking away any of your pay because you DON'T drive (because you dont take this test) then maybe it's not worth worrying about. But if they DO plan on eliminating some sort of salary, you DEFINITELY have grounds for a ULP Claim and even a lawsuit.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  6. #6

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    Yes only the lingo is different. We are called D/O and it is not a promoted position because we all have to drive. We have the same qualifications, similiar testing and knowledge as engineers in other depts. We all have class B firefighter drivers licenses. We all went thru the same DMV testing process.
    Our seniority will not be lost with the merger.
    Our pay will actually increase because our city is the lowest payed in the county already. The pay of the 9 promoted engineers will really bump up.
    I am just worried that some FNG will outscore me by a few points and after 20 years of being a D/O I will be sitting backwards. I would hope that some points will be given for number of years of service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Well then it may be one of three things:

    1. Your union prez is a pu$$y
    2. Your union prez is in bed with the new fire chief and/or the new union prez
    3. He doesn't know what he is talking about.

    If Your Driver/Operator position is currently a negotiated position through binding contract, the "new boss" just can't come in there and say "if you want to drive you have to take this test." It doesn't work like that. They have to do something called I & I Bargaining (Implementation and Impact) because it is a change in negotiated, bargained, written in contract conditions.

    If it is NOT in your contract, well then, the new boss can do as he pleases (to a certain extent.) However since you stated that you have to be able to drive by year three, I assume that it is probably in your contract somewhere. If they are not taking away any of your pay because you DON'T drive (because you dont take this test) then maybe it's not worth worrying about. But if they DO plan on eliminating some sort of salary, you DEFINITELY have grounds for a ULP Claim and even a lawsuit.
    I think you may be jumping the gun a little bit here. I'm interpretting his post to mean that his department (A) is being merged into department (B) and will cease to exist as "Department A". As such, I believe his CBA is for the most part, irrelevant to the new employer County B. However, I'm sure there is some room for negotiations regarding the details of merging the workforce from A into B.

    There's been an ongoing discussion for a while now regarding a small career department in my area essentially being merged into a large City's department. In this case, as I understand things, if this happens the small department will be disbanded and the City will absorb the workforce and take over fire protection, including putting units into at least 1 of their 2 stations. The fact that they have a CBA doesn't mean much in this situation since their employer would be disbanding the department.

    I know that they've had numerous discussions regarding the integration of those employees into the City department. Specifically, regarding the transfer of seniority, what rank these guys (the officers) would come in at, integration into the pension plan and whether or not they'd be subject to the residency requirements.



    FIRERN2 my advice would be this:

    1) If you don't like the advice your council is giving, then get a second opinion.
    2) Talk to your reps and make sure they know how everybody feels so they can hopefully better represent you in this process.
    3) Seek out other Locals/Departments that have gone thru this type of situation. They are usually a great source for information and guidance.
    4) Study for the Engineer's test just in case.

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