1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    5

    Default Pros vs Cons of being union

    Hello all,

    First off I currently work at a municipal owned ambulance service full time. We employee both full time and part time staff. A few co-workers want to go union with the IAFF. What are the pros and cons of having a union. Right now we are currently the highest paid EMS service in the county and one of my fears is that once we go union we are going to lose wages. Also what can the union do for the part time employees? and lastly I'm a P.O.C. for the fire department which is all POC other than the chief and fire inspector, with us going to IAFF will I have to give up my position as a firefighter. With the ambulance service I am one of the full time staff and its strictly EMS no firefighting. Thanks

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jhecht1 View Post
    with us going to IAFF will I have to give up my position as a firefighter
    Not necessarily. It depends on whether or not there are any conflicts of interest between your P.O.C. department and any IAFF departments in its response area.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,660

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Not necessarily. It depends on whether or not there are any conflicts of interest between your P.O.C. department and any IAFF departments in its response area.
    So con number one. You have to let the union make personal decisions for you or else you will be considered a traitor.

    I could go on.

    I have no use for the IAFF and unions in general.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,269

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    So con number one. You have to let the union make personal decisions for you or else you will be considered a traitor.

    I could go on.

    I have no use for the IAFF and unions in general.


    They have no use for yard firefighters or scabs either!
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,694

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    They have no use for yard firefighters or scabs either!
    scabs no.

    yard firefighters...if they pay their dues...they have use for them.
    "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?

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    yard firefighters...if they pay their dues...they have use for them.
    The International might but the Local sure as he|| won't.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    The purpose of a union is to protect employees from the employer abusing their pay, benefits, hours, and conditions.

    If you're current pay, hours, benefits, and conditions are not being abused, which it sounds like the case, then you have no reason to go union. And if you do go union, you can expect a net loss in pay since you will be paying the union (for nothing). You shouldn't be going union because some blow hards blindly say "we need a union". I would challenge them to explain what that need is and why first.

    Unions have their place. There are lots of places where without a union, the municipality would without a doubt abuse their pay, benefits, hours, and conditions. As someone pointed out in another thread, you're employed by politicians and there are no honest caring ones out there. But there are plenty of places that get along happy and glad without a union and do not need one. You may be one of those places. You may not.

    And as with every union, their leadership's agenda and personal gain is first and foremost before they actually give a crap about their members. Always remeber that.
    Last edited by nmfire; 02-17-2011 at 03:13 PM.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    So con number one. You have to let the union make personal decisions for you or else you will be considered a traitor.
    Actually, that's not really the case, at least not with the IAFF.

    At the local level, "the Union" IS the employees, not someone from outside the department. The Union Officers ARE bargaining unit employees. The Union is also very much a "representative democracy" in its operation - basically the same as most governments in the US.

    The Union Officers are elected by the membership. The Union Officers are empowered to act on behalf of the membership regarding certain matters. Many issues, specifically the ratification of collective bargaining agreements, are decided by majority vote of the entire membership of the Local. Constitution and By-law (of the Union) matters typically require a super-majority of the membership for creation, modification or repeal.

    For the most part the IAFF (at the top level) and the State Association don't deal with local level issues unless requested to help by that particular Local Union. Their focus otherwise is typically on political, legislative or other matters of interest or impact on their entire membership. Like at the local level, the election of officers (who are IAFF members, not "hired guns") and governing document matters are done by the membership - via elected delegates of each Local at the Bi-annual Conventions.


    Nobody is considered to be a traitor unless they commit an act of treason against the Union.

    I could go on.
    Please do. I'm curious as to what other ignorant views you have on my Union.

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    And as with every union, their leadership's agenda and personal gain is first and foremost before they actually give a crap about their members. Always remeber that.
    Always remember that you should be careful painting with broad stokes.

    I can tell you without a doubt, that your claim is wrong. I am an Executive level officer in my Local and can say without hesitation that the welfare of the membership is first and foremost for us. Some may disagree with our agenda, but it is not one of personal gain, rather it is about what we feel will be the most beneficial overall to the membership we represent.

    I personally know the leadership of our State Association and can say the same about them.

    I don't personally know the leadership of the IAFF itself, but I absolutely don't feel like the membership plays second fiddle to their personal gains.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    JayDudley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Unions

    Having been on both sides....(Management now) I can see the need for a Union. The problem I have now is that the Union thinks it can stick its nose in where they have no business being. They should concern themselves with the pay, benefits and working conditions and quit worrying about other items out of their control. They can if you let them be a bother......the key is to work together and make things pleasant.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  11. #11
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    Having been on both sides....(Management now) I can see the need for a Union. The problem I have now is that the Union thinks it can stick its nose in where they have no business being. They should concern themselves with the pay, benefits and working conditions and quit worrying about other items out of their control. They can if you let them be a bother......the key is to work together and make things pleasant.
    What would those other items be in your opinion?

    (Not arguing, just curious.)

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    JayDudley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Union

    They seem paranoid to me. They seem to think every time someone is talking to another member i.e. Commissioner and Chief....Chief and Secretary.......Commissioner and Captain the word is they think there's a Union infraction .
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    sfd1992's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Wa
    Posts
    407

    Default

    Is that paranoia, or just inexperience?

    How long has there been a Local in place in your district? They just might be too new at being Local officers to know what is cause for worry and what is just part of doing the business of the district. Getting in touch with the leadership of a more established Local in the area could help them figure it out.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,694

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    ...
    I can tell you without a doubt, that your claim is wrong. I am an Executive level officer in my Local and can say without hesitation that the welfare of the membership is first and foremost for us. Some may disagree with our agenda, but it is not one of personal gain, rather it is about what we feel will be the most beneficial overall to the membership we represent...
    You do realize how conradictory this sounds?

    The part of WE feel will be best...we represent.

    That sure sounds like a leadership agenda to me.

    Isn't it up to the membership to decide what is best for them? Does the membership get to offer suggestions or do they just get to vote on the leaderships recommendation?


    No, I am not in a union. But I do know the one I deal with everyday only gets to vote yes/no on what their leadership proposes. And yes, they elect that leadership, once a year. Just curious if that is normal or a rare occurrence.
    "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?

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    JayDudley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Union

    The Local is great don't get me wrong. In the times we needed them to step up and help the District they did....Big Time. If I was a firefighter and worked for the District they would be the one I'd join. They just have this idea that they can control more than what they do. Simple as that......
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    You do realize how conradictory this sounds?

    The part of WE feel will be best...we represent.

    That sure sounds like a leadership agenda to me.
    No, I don't believe it's contradictory at all.

    They're appeared to be an accusation made that all union leadership was only concerned with their own agenda and personal gains. Obviously if a person is mainly concerned about personal gains, then their agenda would reflect that and I was speaking to that.

    I clearly stated that there is a "leadership agenda". There will always be one in any organization with any leader who's doing his/her job. You think the POTUS doesn't have an agenda? However, our agenda is not one focused on personal gain for the leadership, but rather on what we feel will benefit the membership as a whole.

    Isn't it up to the membership to decide what is best for them? Does the membership get to offer suggestions or do they just get to vote on the leaderships recommendation?
    The membership is free to offer suggestions and make recommendations. We will consider them and make a decision on how to proceed on the matter and not always in the direction that we would like to have gone.

    For example, in our last contract negotiation, the Union leadership felt that instituting a limited EMS response program would be beneficial. Aside from the benefit to the public of such a program, we felt that doing so would help to make us a little more indispensable in the eyes of the community and the increased workload could possible lead to some additional staffing to make the early stages of our fires a little safer. So, we put the matter on the table for discussion with the City.

    We knew the matter would be controversial with the membership, but felt it was the right course. During the negotiating process, the membership expressed their opinions and concerns on the matter and in the end, the matter was dropped.

    Some matters ultimately go before the membership for decision. Others don't because that's kind of the point of a "representative democracy".


    No, I am not in a union. But I do know the one I deal with everyday only gets to vote yes/no on what their leadership proposes. And yes, they elect that leadership, once a year. Just curious if that is normal or a rare occurrence.
    Can't say for sure if it's normal or rare, just that it's not how we do business.

  17. #17
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,660

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    They have no use for yard firefighters or scabs either!
    Just curious where I am a "scab"?

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,660

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Actually, that's not really the case, at least not with the IAFF.

    At the local level, "the Union" IS the employees, not someone from outside the department. The Union Officers ARE bargaining unit employees. The Union is also very much a "representative democracy" in its operation - basically the same as most governments in the US.

    The Union Officers are elected by the membership. The Union Officers are empowered to act on behalf of the membership regarding certain matters. Many issues, specifically the ratification of collective bargaining agreements, are decided by majority vote of the entire membership of the Local. Constitution and By-law (of the Union) matters typically require a super-majority of the membership for creation, modification or repeal.

    For the most part the IAFF (at the top level) and the State Association don't deal with local level issues unless requested to help by that particular Local Union. Their focus otherwise is typically on political, legislative or other matters of interest or impact on their entire membership. Like at the local level, the election of officers (who are IAFF members, not "hired guns") and governing document matters are done by the membership - via elected delegates of each Local at the Bi-annual Conventions.


    Nobody is considered to be a traitor unless they commit an act of treason against the Union.



    Please do. I'm curious as to what other ignorant views you have on my Union.
    Was simply referring to the fact that a union would try to tell me where I could and could not volunteer for the benefit of the IAFF while they have members who routinely work as carpenters, electricians and in other trades a as non-union contractor taking work away from trade union members, and little if anything is ever said about this practice.

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Was simply referring to the fact that a union would try to tell me where I could and could not volunteer for the benefit of the IAFF while they have members who routinely work as carpenters, electricians and in other trades a as non-union contractor taking work away from trade union members, and little if anything is ever said about this practice.
    Well, the short answer would be that IAFF members working non-union jobs in other trades simply doesn't directly impact other IAFF members while on the job.

  20. #20
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,660

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Well, the short answer would be that IAFF members working non-union jobs in other trades simply doesn't directly impact other IAFF members while on the job.
    But it certainly does have an impact on other AFL-CIO union brothers.

    Bottom line is I have an issue with a union telling me what I can't and can do on my off-time.

    That is my biggest problem with the IAFF.

  21. #21
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,694

    Default

    FireMedic049, thanks for the answers.
    "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?

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    But it certainly does have an impact on other AFL-CIO union brothers.
    Maybe. Just so we're clear, what type of work are we talking about? Are talking about working for non-union contractor that outbids a union contractor for a job? Are you talking about working as an independent contractor that out bids a union contractor for a job? Are talking about doing work as an individual (whether paid, "helping a friend" or charity work like Habitat for Humanity) and thus not needing a union person to perform the work?

    Bottom line is I have an issue with a union telling me what I can't and can do on my off-time.

    That is my biggest problem with the IAFF.
    Well, technically speaking, they aren't telling anybody what they can or can't do. A person is still free to do what they want to, however they've been notified that there may be consequences for that decision.

    So, if a member of your department was doing something you felt to be detrimental to the department you wouldn't take action to address that?

  23. #23
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    FireMedic049, thanks for the answers.
    You're welcome. Always willing to explain my positions.

  24. #24
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,660

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Maybe. Just so we're clear, what type of work are we talking about? Are talking about working for non-union contractor that outbids a union contractor for a job? Are you talking about working as an independent contractor that out bids a union contractor for a job? Are talking about doing work as an individual (whether paid, "helping a friend" or charity work like Habitat for Humanity) and thus not needing a union person to perform the work?


    Basically talking about the firefighter which has his own building, carpentry,plumbing or electrical business on the side, which competes with other "union" builders, carpenters, electric ans, plumbers and the like.



    Well, technically speaking, they aren't telling anybody what they can or can't do. A person is still free to do what they want to, however they've been notified that there may be consequences for that decision.

    So, if a member of your department was doing something you felt to be detrimental to the department you wouldn't take action to address that?
    Sure, but I guess it comes down to what you define as detrimental.

    Defining a volunteer organization abutting a city with fulltime staff is not having any affect on the members of the career department, and saying that a career member cannot volunteer there is simply silly. The same is true even if they have a very small career core staff primarily to perform maintainence and basic operational functions such as preplans, hydrant testing and hose testing.

    That has no affect on that all career department.

  25. #25
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Basically talking about the firefighter which has his own building, carpentry,plumbing or electrical business on the side, which competes with other "union" builders, carpenters, electric ans, plumbers and the like.
    So basically engaging in legal business practices that may or may not be actually competing for work against a union contractor is hypocritical? Interesting.


    Sure, but I guess it comes down to what you define as detrimental.

    Defining a volunteer organization abutting a city with fulltime staff is not having any affect on the members of the career department, and saying that a career member cannot volunteer there is simply silly. The same is true even if they have a very small career core staff primarily to perform maintainence and basic operational functions such as preplans, hydrant testing and hose testing.

    That has no affect on that all career department.
    Well, I see we need to go over this again.

    1) A volunteer fire department is not a "rival organization" simply because they are a volunteer fire department.

    2) There is no ban on volunteering in an all volunteer department.

    3) Restricting volunteering in a combination department with an IAFF Local is not about the effect on the "all career department". It's about the effect on the IAFF members working in the combination department. In some cases, the issue is how IAFF members are treating other IAFF members.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. World Of Fire Report: 07-01-05
    By PaulBrown in forum World of Fire Daily Report
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-06-2005, 12:44 AM
  2. World Of Fire Report: 06-08-05
    By PaulBrown in forum World of Fire Daily Report
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-10-2005, 09:37 AM
  3. World Of Fire Report: 01-30-05
    By PaulBrown in forum World of Fire Daily Report
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-31-2005, 09:23 PM
  4. FYI in CA
    By hootman in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 09-28-2004, 01:04 AM
  5. NIOSH & State Refute IAFF Houston Claims
    By Firewalker1 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 59
    Last Post: 12-13-2002, 09:51 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register