1. #1
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    Default Union or no Union

    Hi

    I work as a fulltime fire/medic for a service that went full time in 2006. I started in spring of 2008. right now we are not union but theres talk among fellow employees of going union. what kind of benefits are there from the union. I gotta say as of right now our pay and other benefits suck compared to surrounding communities. Also why would chiefs be so opposed to the union doesn't it help them too? one example is we get holiday pay which is time and half for 8 hours, because the other cities workers only work 8 hours so thats what we get even though we work 24. Just wondering if you can give me some insite thank you.

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    I think you just answered your own question. It allows you as a group to collectively bargain for fair pay and benefits, and yes most of the time management will take offense to this but give it time they'll get over it.
    Last edited by TRUCK61; 01-03-2010 at 06:42 PM.

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    I'm assuming you're looking at the IAFF. The Union can offer a lot of things of benefit. Without knowing more about your work conditions and financial status of the community it would be hard to say that unionizing would automatically equate to increases in wages & benefits. That could happen, but having a collective bargaining agreement in place could also prevent negative changes in those areas.

    The Union can also provide a lot of training resources for not only some operational things for the department, but a lot of stuff regarding the labor-management end of things to help guide you through various issues.

    If there is a State level association of the Union that could also be a very valuable resource. For example, my half of the state holds meetings 3 times a year in which the various Locals on this side get together to discuss stuff. Some of it is state wide issues, but we also discuss local level issues too. For the most part, any problem that somebody has encountered in their Local, somebody else there has already dealt or is dealing with it and will offer some help.

    If you haven't done so already, I'd encourage you to reach out to the IAFF. I'm sure they'd be more than willing to answer any questions you guys have and be able to provide a little more detail on what they can specifically provide for your situation.

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    post removed after thinking about it.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 01-03-2010 at 07:33 PM.

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    Having been in one union or another for the past almost 20 years, i have never regretted what the union has offered for me. My father was a union worker for 57 years till he retired and he too had no complaints. The only thing i dislike about unions is that they protect lazy people. But ill deal with the lazy types if it means the union is there to protect me against unfair work issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    post removed after thinking about it.
    Probably a good idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TRUCK61 View Post
    I think you just answered your own question. It allows you as a group to collectively bargain for fair pay and benefits, and yes most of the time management will take offense to this but give it time they'll get over it.
    If you have a state or city that will support collective bargaining. In our case, we don't have state laws or anything that support collective bargaining, and getting the city to enter into an agreement without that is something that's not going to happen for a while.

    However, as has already been posted, there are other benefits to being union.

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    Catch I hear you and I forgot about the great right to work states. Hopefully this year the national collective bargaining bill will become law and there will be no more right to work states. The IAFF is and has been working on this for a while and hopefully it will happen soon. We got collective bargaining in 1985 when we gave up our right to strike in place of being able to arbitrate issues. Stay strong brother the day is coming.

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    I guess I should of mentioned I am in wisconsin, what happened was the service was POC in two cities then they combined services to form one. The fire/EMS commission is made up of representatives from both cities. Now whenever our chief goes to the commission to ask for stuff theres always a fight because one city will say yes go ahead and the other will say no. Will a union benefit our chiefs? we run about 2,500 calls out of two stations. We have 15 fulltime staff and about 50 part time people. Oh and we are looking at IAFF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhecht1 View Post
    Will a union benefit our chiefs?
    Are you referring to the Chief of the Department or lower level Chief officers?

    What do you mean by "benefit" them? Are you referring to them being included in the Union or do you mean something else?

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    To clarify I mean the chief of the department, my thought is if the commission decides to give the department better benefits i.e. better health benefits doesn't the chief get included too? or im I thinking wrong here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhecht1 View Post
    I guess I should of mentioned I am in wisconsin, what happened was the service was POC in two cities then they combined services to form one. The fire/EMS commission is made up of representatives from both cities. Now whenever our chief goes to the commission to ask for stuff theres always a fight because one city will say yes go ahead and the other will say no. Will a union benefit our chiefs? we run about 2,500 calls out of two stations. We have 15 fulltime staff and about 50 part time people. Oh and we are looking at IAFF.
    The only way I know that the IAFF would "help" the chief is with information. From what I understand, the IAFF will help out with such things as doing research and figuring numbers on where new stations should be built and the like.

    As for the position you're in with the chief, I don't know that there's anything that the IAFF or any other union will be able to help with, other than information. Of course, the chief should be informed before he goes before the commissions and have that information in a manner where he can present it to them in a convincing manner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhecht1 View Post
    To clarify I mean the chief of the department, my thought is if the commission decides to give the department better benefits i.e. better health benefits doesn't the chief get included too? or im I thinking wrong here.
    Technically, the answer would be NO. The presence of the Union may not have any bearing on those things for the Chief. In some cases, the Chief's benefits, etc are reflective of what the rest of the department enjoys. However, there's plenty of cases in which they aren't reflective of the rest of the department - probably both good and bad for the Chiefs.

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    Unions can usually be beneficial for the worker bees in a dept. They not only can help with bargaining agreements (i.e. pay and benefits), but they can also do a lot for helping assure the safety of the firefighters. In some depts, the Chief is not part of the Union since he is the one they are bargaining with. If your depts will recognize the Union, it sounds like they may be helpful in bringing your depts up to a comparable positions with the others in your area. The IAFF can help provide everyone with information to help make a decision.

    Also, since your dept is on the smaller side, look into piggybacking on to the nearest large city or a countywide Union. Our whole county did that until a few years back when we finally broke off and formed our own countywide Union.

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    Default Out with MGT, in with the Union

    ................
    Last edited by stcaf; 02-24-2010 at 09:23 AM. Reason: ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by stcaf View Post
    You have to unionize against the man trying to hold you down. Your example is why unions started and why they will always be around. As long as we have lowlife, uneducated, overweight, lazy management puppets with brass under their white shirt blabbing out of their rear end, we will need unions to calm them down and run the department when they are out for lunch.

    In most cases, if the union ran the department, the department and the community would be much better off.
    Wow! Just wow.
    "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?

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    You have to unionize against the man trying to hold you down. Your example is why unions started and why they will always be around. As long as we have lowlife, uneducated, overweight, lazy management puppets with brass under their white shirt blabbing out of their rear end, we will need unions to calm them down and run the department when they are out for lunch.

    In most cases, if the union ran the department, the department and the community would be much better off


    Just one reason I really, really, really dislike unions.

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    When the city/chief/whoever will blatantly break the law because of political considerations you want a union. I have seen and read about some serious union smack downs given to counties and cities. I have also seen the cost of union wages eat up any and all raises they got over three year period. So just know ahead it does cost $$ for that protection.

    I like unions in non-strike places like govt. Not so much in the private sector but they have their place their too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    post removed after thinking about it.
    Now that's the first intelligent thought I have ever seen you post!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by stcaf View Post
    You have to unionize against the man trying to hold you down. Your example is why unions started and why they will always be around. As long as we have lowlife, uneducated, overweight, lazy management puppets with brass under their white shirt blabbing out of their rear end, we will need unions to calm them down and run the department when they are out for lunch.

    In most cases, if the union ran the department, the department and the community would be much better off.
    In many cases speaking out makes a difference, but you are the exception.
    "It is better to remain quite and be thought of as a fool, rather than opening one's mouth and removing all doubt."
    Unknown author


    FYI: I am a 30+ year IAFF member.

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