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  1. #61
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    A few points to note in no random order:

    1. A union does not make demands. Do you people understand the word negotiation? Very rarely in the scheme of union CBA's are specific issues pushed to the point of even coming close to being a demand. Most often when this rare occasion occurs it's in regards to flagrant safety issues. Cutting staffing, brown-out, etc. I wouldn't consider Blulakr's Auto Repair's posted hourly rates to be demands, would you? When you sell your house is your price a demand? Certainly not now.

    2. While the NY Times article points out that private businesses must remain profitable or everyone will be unemployed, the same driving force keeps managers inline. In the public sector a manager, boss, chief, whatever is generally a very protected position. Without the performance incentive, the manager can abuse their power for years, playing favorites through the ole boy's network, nepotism, bullishness, etc. People in power often get greedy, it's part of human nature that unfortunately exists. Enter the Union that maintains the checks and balances. The upper level management too often is too busy or can't be bothered with dealing with employee issues, so if it doesn't get them in trouble they steer clear.

    3. Please name a few of the large corporations whose employees stand out front and proclaim to be "Proud non-Union Employees"? I'm sure there are some, but there are few here in the US. Why? only recently are large businesses understanding that a happy workforce is a more productive workforce. Productivity leads to efficiency and efficiency leads to profitability. For decades the general capitalist corporation has looked at cutting costs as the way to be more profitable, leading to a leaner workforce that is less likely to be "proud employees" and very susceptible to market changes. Small businesses have used this forever, knowing the way to keep employees from going elsewhere was to keep them happy. happy employees also don't badmouth their employers which is a big issue in smaller sized local businesses.

    4. Right or wrong, some wages are based on what other fields make. For example, years ago our city couldn't get anyone to work at the landfill/recycling station (dump). They literally had to pay the guy who checks windshield stickers at the dump more than a starting FF/Paramedic! Next the city manager and councilors look at pay throughout and can't imagine how their clerks, office help, firefighters, medics, and cops are paid less than a guy that literally sits in a booth all day and waves at people who have dump stickers on their cars. No fighting for raises, they were practically giving them away. You wonder why you pay more for food in restaurants or at the grocery store? The market changes, fuel increases, and the help demands a raise (Minimum Wage hike). Now would you be happy if the stock boy at the local market made more than you with a degree and thousands of training hours?

    5. A lot of the angry rhetoric here stems from Union health benefits and pensions. In many/most cases the pension systems would be fine if the politicians hadn't raided the money and not put it back in a timely manner. No money to invest, no interest or profits gained. No profits gained, the money doesn't keep pace with the cost of living. On the healthcare side, is anyone not paying more every year? This is a nationwide issue that is way beyond even all the public employees in the country. Healthcare costs are exorbitant. Pulling benefits or making employees pay more only continues to enable the issue. We need a solution now, albeit likely not Obamacare.


  2. #62
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    Ironically.. some of those day jobs are unionized...
    True. Wrote that at oh-dark-thirty and realized I'd missed that point as I reread my post just now.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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  3. #63
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    Very interesting reading so far...

    The biggest difference between public and private unions is that in private unions management have knowledge about what is being produced.

    I feel that it is safe to say that the EXEMPT management has some working knowledge of their industry.

    In the public sector our leaders have no clue or experience in what we do. Our mayor is an engineer, vice-mayor a nurse, an attorney, another engineer, a community organizer, retired college english professor, a stay at home mom (numerous volunteer activities - she heads the public safety committee,) a banker, a jeweler, a financial planner, a healthcare administrator, an insurance agent, a business speaker (think that Tony guy from the 90's), another attorney, another public advocate, and a real estate firm owner.

    Who in the bunch has any clue as to what the fire department does or for that matter any government provided service?

    Every two years or every budget time it is the same thing...

    You sleep at the station? You work 24 hours? Firefighters are EMTs and Paramedics? To save money can we only staff 2 firefighters to a truck? You need four firefighters on scene before you can fight a fire? Why do you need new fire coats? Can we close the slowest stations to save money (as long as it is not in my district)? Why do you send so many trucks to a fire? (answer lack of NFPA minimum staffing.) You mow the station lawn? You shovel the snow? Who cleans the station? Who paints the station? Who cleans the bathroom?

    Without the union providing a financial analysis of the city's books, a GIS study showing what would happen if you closed stations, attorney to protect firefighters from being fired in the correct legal manner as required in KRS, providing presumptive heart and lung coverage, Hep B immunization, etc...

    We'd be down three or more stations, staffed with two per truck, and with old PPE. Making less than a short order cook at any fast food stand. With the community and the elected politicians asking why the fire department burned down a block when the cuts finally come to light.

    Even then it will still be our fault.

    My job is simple. For 24 hours bell goes off I go out, no pick and choose or resetting the pager. Then solve the problem jazzy chair repair, hot water heater removal, assistance off the floor, social services for the homeless (where they can go to get food and shelter,) fix flat tires, find hotel room for pregnant lady whose car broke down on the interstate, waving at kids, EMS, technical rescue, haz-mat and maybe a fire. That's what you pay me for.

    You vollies are not immune from the politicians either...can you say consolidation? There's a town outside Buffalo that has more apparatus than my career does front line and reserve. One district has three engines, a ladder and a heavy rescue for 2 square miles. Seems like a waste...
    Last edited by lexfd5; 03-14-2011 at 09:12 AM.

  4. #64
    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blulakr View Post

    When you're grandfather (RIP) was a union worker governments didn't run huge deficits like they do now. That was a different time.
    The marginal tax rate was also higher. Like 90% during the Eisenhower years. Now it's about a third of that.

    Even Ronald Reagan raised taxes as both governor and president in order to stem the tides of red ink. After he tripled the national debt in eight years. He'd be pilloried by what has become the conservative movement. Yet they idolize him instead.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blulakr View Post
    Again, thanks jc for a thoughtful and well articulated post. We all, myself included, would do well to follow your example.

    Correct me if I'm wrong...

    The more public employees there are the more union dues that are collected resulting in a more wealthy and powerful organization. Therefore it is in the best interest of the union, in order to maintain it's size, to promote the growth of government. Additionally the majority of public employees tend to vote democrat as democrat candidates are less likely to cut government programs.

    Many politicians will cater to public employee union desires to appease them and garner the coveted votes of their large memberships. Unfortunately even if it means further bankrupting their community.

    So... whether or not union dues pay for political campaigns (and I've heard it both ways) the unions have a large influence in government and not always in a good way.
    Size of personnel is not about getting a bigger, stronger union, or to make it more powerful. In fact the smallest local is as strong as the largest. The purpose of the union is to address job issues.

    I'm reading this as suggesting a local wants to encourage more personnel just for the sake of getting more union members. No. Staffing is a big issue in the fire service, because it directly relates to safety, both for firefighters and for the public. Response times are a small factor, in fact there are many volunteer depts that can meet a response time of 5 minutes, but that is because a duty officer goes to the scene, however, they don't typically have enough initial staffing to handle the emergency.

    This is why staffing is important, time is crucial, both in fire and EMS. On the fire side of things it takes 15 to 18 personnel to effectively mitigate a room and contents fire in a standard residence. This is from actual studies done without any regard to union affiliation. Now each community has different sizes and populations and there are studies to determine where stations should be located to best meet service needs. The goal of staffing is to have enough personnel there to effectively mitigate the emergency in a timely manner.


    With less staffing, this means safety becomes an issue. The crew can only do so much to meet the fireground tasks and to do so safely. There was a capt in Cali that fell from a ground ladder after it slipped out because they didn't have enough people to heel the ladder. More tasks and work means smaller crews to do all the tasks which in turn leads to stress on the body. Couple that with wearing the gear that doesn't cool, heavy lifting and hard work, can impact the health and safety of the FF. Let alone the time involved for the fire to weaken a structure that a small crew has to wait for backup before going in. This means more structures can be lost and the service level the public expects is diminished. If you have people trapped and arrive with a small crew, there is only so much which can be done and a good chance people die or are severly injured, that isn't service.

    Here is a link to the NIST study on crew sizes and staffing. This is an impartial study done with varying crew sizes, union affiliation does not matter.

    http://www.nist.gov/el/fire_research...ort_042810.cfm
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by L-Webb View Post
    After reading all this I'm glad GA is a non-union state.
    GA is also a huge recipient state. It receives far more in federal tax dollars than it pays. They have the best of both worlds.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFPD34 View Post
    1) Wisconsin didn't give out $140 million to private businesses. Wisconsin lowered its corporate tax rate. Corporation only have one place to raise money to pay taxes imposed on them. They raise their sales price in the amount of the tax plus an additional amount to cover their cost of collecting and remitting the tax. Lower corporate taxes and people pay less for their goods and services, plus their products are more competitive in the market place.
    They can also accept a lower profit margin. Where do you believe the money should come from to pay for services the government provides that benefits business since you believe business should enjoy lower rates of taxation?
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blulakr View Post

    Many politicians will cater to public employee union desires to appease them and garner the coveted votes of their large memberships. Unfortunately even if it means further bankrupting their community.

    So... whether or not union dues pay for political campaigns (and I've heard it both ways) the unions have a large influence in government and not always in a good way.
    Many politicians will cater to business desires to appease them and garner the coveted votes of their large memberships. Unfortunately even if it means further bankrupting their community.

    So... whether or not business PACs pay for political campaigns (and I've heard it both ways) the business community has a large influence in government and not always in a good way.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Nothing to sick, he ran home when I asked him if he was from Wisconsin.

    All, we need is an arm chair quarterback from a bankrupt, corrupt state to tell us how to solve our problems. Yeah, no thanks.
    FryedUp,

    I didn't run anywhere... Just simply turned off the computer last night after my last post. Yes, I am from one of the most corrupted, broke, out-of-touch with reality states in the Union. Is it by my own doing? No. Did I vote to help change this? Yes. You see I'm not attacking anyone here, but the establishment. The way things are right now is unsustainable, and if you can't see that, well then I'm sorry. People can shout talking points at me all day, but when I refudiate them with facts, thats when the personal attacks start flying because its hard to dispute the facts isn't guys. This will be my last post on the subject. I can see path that this thread is heading down, and I really don't want to get caught up in school yard BS that most of these threads end-up being.

    Stay Safe Gentlemen

  10. #70
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    ..........
    Last edited by Jasper 45; 03-14-2011 at 11:47 PM.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper 45 View Post
    There is nothing out there to indicate he had any intention of coming after police or fire.
    Maybe he hasn't given any indication. But his supporters (ie conservative special interests) have every intention of eventually going after police and fire.

    In CA one can't go an entire day without reading an article critical of public safety pay and benefits.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper 45 View Post
    Thatís a union talking point. The fact is that the tax rate in Wisconsin for many businessí both large and small is exorbitant. I can point you to several people that are small business owners who will probably be able to make their business very successful with some of this tax relief.
    In any event, it is always bad when we push business out of the state. Letís just keep an eye on Illinois and see how things fare down there over the next couple of years.
    So who should pay for the services that benefit the business community? Education, infrastructure, etc.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  13. #73
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    ..........
    Last edited by Jasper 45; 03-14-2011 at 11:47 PM.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper 45 View Post
    I know I said I wasn't going to keep posting in here, but you got in quick. The other businesses that hopefully form and move into the state will. If the tax rate causes more small business to fail we also lose.

    In the case of former Governor Doyle, he created a film tax subsidy that immediately drew in the making of Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp. That film alone created a slew of good paying, union jobs in the private sector. Eight or nine other films were immediately lined up, as well. Doyle, beholden the purse strings attached to him and his office reversed the tax break; as a direct result those movies were never produced here. That resulted in several years worth of good, solid union work that left the state. That's income tax, sales tax and other revenue that all ran away. It seems that could have paid a lot of bills.
    Subsidies are contrary to the beliefs of those conservatives who claim to embrace the free market system.

    As was pointed out, corporate welfare (that includes subsidies) account for a loss in revenue of about $90B annually. Who do you believe is being asked to make up that difference?
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  15. #75
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFPD34 View Post
    FryedUp,

    I didn't run anywhere... Just simply turned off the computer last night after my last post. Yes, I am from one of the most corrupted, broke, out-of-touch with reality states in the Union. Is it by my own doing? No. Did I vote to help change this? Yes. You see I'm not attacking anyone here, but the establishment. The way things are right now is unsustainable, and if you can't see that, well then I'm sorry. People can shout talking points at me all day, but when I refudiate them with facts, thats when the personal attacks start flying because its hard to dispute the facts isn't guys. This will be my last post on the subject. I can see path that this thread is heading down, and I really don't want to get caught up in school yard BS that most of these threads end-up being.

    Stay Safe Gentlemen

    You didn't refudiate a damn thing I said, and half the points I made you had ZERO understanding of them.

    How about this...When you clean up your own state, which is highly unlikely, maybe your opinion will have value.

    it isn't school yard BS to tell you your own state is closer to complete collapse than Wisconsin is. It isn't school yard BS to tell you fix your own problems. It isn't school yard BS to tell you to keep your nose out of our business. All we need is more out of state influence here...it has worked so well so far.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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  16. #76
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L-Webb View Post
    After reading all this I'm glad GA is a non-union state.
    I said the same thing in this forum a couple of years ago, and a member from a union basically told me how naive I was, and that people were getting hired, fired, and disciplined at will and without cause in my state. I found it funny, considering that in the decade-plus I've worked for my department, working conditions have actually improved, aside from a wage freeze for the past couple of years. That's ok though, no one is bitching very loudly, at least we have jobs with no threats of layoffs or furloughs.

    My reasons for being in the union aren't tied to vacation plans and station requests...
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  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blulakr View Post
    Again, thanks jc for a thoughtful and well articulated post. We all, myself included, would do well to follow your example.

    Correct me if I'm wrong...

    The more public employees there are the more union dues that are collected resulting in a more wealthy and powerful organization. Therefore it is in the best interest of the union, in order to maintain it's size, to promote the growth of government.
    Yes, to an extent more members translates into more wealth and in some cases more influence. However, government growth is not necessarily linked to


    Additionally the majority of public employees tend to vote democrat as democrat candidates are less likely to cut government programs.
    And other demographics tend to vote Republican because those candidates are less likely to do things that are unfavorable for them, like letting the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% expire.

    Many politicians will cater to public employee union desires to appease them and garner the coveted votes of their large memberships. Unfortunately even if it means further bankrupting their community.

    So... whether or not union dues pay for political campaigns (and I've heard it both ways) the unions have a large influence in government and not always in a good way.
    Something I find interesting about this type of statement is found when you did a little deeper into the matter. I'm a numbers guy and the numbers here tell a story.

    If I recall correctly, Union membership nationally is now something like 10% of the workforce and membership in the public sector was something in the mid 30% range. I don't readily have the figure available, but I'm pretty sure that private sector employment far exceeds that of public sector employment. More than just people who are employed are eligible to vote in local/state/federal elections.

    What all this tells me is that if the "taxpayers" feel that the public sector workers are getting "too much" and that they feel that their representative at the negotiation table is not adequately representing their interests, then shouldn't they be able to overcome this "union influence" issue? How can 10% of the workforce truly control the results of an election unless the vast majority of the remaining 90% aren't voting? If that's happening and "union friendly" candidates are being elected or re-elected, is that really the Unions' fault?

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    What all this tells me is that if the "taxpayers" feel that the public sector workers are getting "too much" and that they feel that their representative at the negotiation table is not adequately representing their interests, then shouldn't they be able to overcome this "union influence" issue? How can 10% of the workforce truly control the results of an election unless the vast majority of the remaining 90% aren't voting? If that's happening and "union friendly" candidates are being elected or re-elected, is that really the Unions' fault?
    This is an excellent point that so many are failing to see. This notion that the "union" controls political a party or has undue influence on a grand scale is complete lunacy. Suddenly when we're talking about people's personal wallets they get all conspiracy theory driven.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    Sick 'em FyredUp!!!!

    Sick balls!!
    You have to have balls in order to sic them....
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    I said the same thing in this forum a couple of years ago, and a member from a union basically told me how naive I was, and that people were getting hired, fired, and disciplined at will and without cause in my state. I found it funny, considering that in the decade-plus I've worked for my department, working conditions have actually improved, aside from a wage freeze for the past couple of years. That's ok though, no one is bitching very loudly, at least we have jobs with no threats of layoffs or furloughs.

    My reasons for being in the union aren't tied to vacation plans and station requests...
    The current GP of the IAFF is from VA. Every year his top legislative priority is Collective Bargaining nationwide for firefighters.

    Have you or any others from VA told him things aren't that bad?
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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