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    Default "Union vs Non Union"

    Here's a question I have about working with non-union members. The situation is this.....
    We have paid members who are Firefighter Union members and Volunteers who are not. They work together no problem right???? Then you add EMS or Paramedic who work for County EMS and not the fire department in the station to ride the rescue. My question is this .....I see no problem with working with the County EMS personnel even if they do not belong to the Union Local but the Union is voicing concerns about working with non-union members. What do all of you think???? What am I not seeing.??
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    Here's a question I have about working with non-union members. The situation is this.....
    We have paid members who are Firefighter Union members and Volunteers who are not. They work together no problem right???? Then you add EMS or Paramedic who work for County EMS and not the fire department in the station to ride the rescue. My question is this .....I see no problem with working with the County EMS personnel even if they do not belong to the Union Local but the Union is voicing concerns about working with non-union members. What do all of you think???? What am I not seeing.??
    I think in this day and age looking for things to look bad about in the paper is not really very smart. Unions are the scape goat for all that is evil in America right now so why raise an issue over something that is bound to bring nothing but bad PR. It seems almost stupid that the Union issue doesn't come up with the vollies but does with the paid meds. Why?
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    Default Unions

    That's my reasoning.....If they work with non-union workers now what's the beef???? I thought I was missing something. The only thing I can think of is they (The Union) think because the EMS is from an outside agency they will not work with them. They will be working with our department and taking orders from our Chief.
    Last edited by JayDudley; 07-23-2011 at 01:57 AM.
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    Who is raising the issue, the members or the union leadership?
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    It appears to be a fine example of a union pushing it's over inflated self worth on something that really doesn't concern them. Unless they can prove that the non-union medics are incompitent and pose a risk to their members, I don't see an issue they can successfully argue with out looking like fools.
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    Default Union

    This is raised by the Union President and not the members. He will be at our Fire Commissioners meeting to talk about this issue and I'm sure it will be worked out. I see no problems and I'm sure this is nothing...however with that said I'm at a loss as to the validity of the question????
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    Jay, is Idaho a Union or right to work state?

    We have members who are and some who aren't members if the local and every one works well together. It appears the local president is trying to get members stirred up. Just my guess.
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    So just make sure the non union medics do not treat a union firefighter!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    So just make sure the non union medics do not treat a union firefighter!!!!!
    Certainly you can't be serious with that statement.
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    Default Unions

    Idaho is one of 22 right to work states and I see no problem here. I was just at a loss as to the question itself....
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    Post Hmmm........

    Jay, What I see that the union Leadership might also see, is that you are mixing Salaried Union and Non Union employees in a single operation. I am willing to bet that if the Medics all joined the Union, the problem would vanish instantly.

    The Volunteers are not under this pressure because they are not salaried and the Union's Representation could not be extended to them, but it could cover the Medics.........

    Despite being a Hard Core Volunteer who left the IAFF over Volunteering issues, I understand the Local President's position. In these times, you need to grow your Membership base when and where you can, and if the Medics were added in, it would help solidify the Local's position as the Representative Group for all Employees in the Department, regardless of assignment.......
    Good Luck with this, keep us posted.
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    As a Union Member and Professional Firefighter/Captain, I would advise the Union President as a Union Member to quit focusing on the folks that don't make his paycheck and focus on those of us that do. My guess would be that he is possibly trying to increase the numbers, however, I was always taught "you get more bees with honey, than vinegar".

    In my experience, when a Union attacks or makes life difficult for Non-Union Members it creates a HUGE barrier between the two. I saw this professionally in my previous FD. The Union decided they wanted to cover and represent the Non-Union Limited-Term FFs (worked shift work, but made part time pay and no benefits) to increase their numbers. When the vote was initially cast, there was A LOT of resistance from the Non-Union FFs. Eventually, the relationship got better with a "change of heart" from many of the Union Reps.

    When I worked for the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers Union) we had excellent representation, with Union Reps that visited the Members almost every month. I would be willing to place a large wager that this Union President is not this type of Leader and rarely meets with the Members and actually hears the concerns and wants of those that he works for. If he wants to be effective and efficient my advice would be to redirect his actions towards Management, but still be respectful. Making waves and creating "drama" throughout the Fire House can and will make it more difficult for the "Middle Managers" aka Company Officers (Union Members) to keep things focused and causes wasted time and energy.

    I hope this sheds a different point of view on Union Management. As a Company Officer, think about your actions prior to "choosing your battles" and if you want to know what changes WE WANT, then ASK US.

    Please keep us apprised of what the overall outcome is.
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    Sounds like a revenue issue for the union.

    More members=more dues
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    I would still remind him of the "more bees with honey than vinegar". Don't think it's true, then beat a dog every time you see it and see how happy it gets when you're around. Don't blame me when you get bit..... LOL.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    Here's a question I have about working with non-union members. The situation is this.....
    We have paid members who are Firefighter Union members and Volunteers who are not. They work together no problem right???? Then you add EMS or Paramedic who work for County EMS and not the fire department in the station to ride the rescue. My question is this .....I see no problem with working with the County EMS personnel even if they do not belong to the Union Local but the Union is voicing concerns about working with non-union members. What do all of you think???? What am I not seeing.??
    Jay, I am curious, you state that County ems personnel now are going to ride the Rescue. First, is this the departments rescue? Was it staffed by fire prior to this? I guess you might want to first ask "who owned the work". If the firefighters staffed the rescue prior to county ems personnel, and now there is a change, it is a meet and confer item because it does have an impact on the bargaining unit. It's the same as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters building a house, they all own certain components of the labor. I dont know if this is your case. I also have to agree with Harve on some of his concerns, but also I would question the living arrangements and policies. You have two seperate employers. Who do the employees answer to? Who supervises the county employees....what are their expectations, who monitors their actions or behaviors? Is this an expectation of the company officer? If the fire district is contracting with the county to staff the rescue with county ems personnel, you still need to answer some of the same fundamental questions of supervision, living arrangements, policies, etc, as it does have an impact to your organization, and I would question, did the fire district approach the firefighters to provide the staffing of the rescue prior to contracting, or staffing it with county ems personnel. I would imagine this dialogue has already taken place with the district and the Chief, but from what you have wrote, just want to get a better picture of the issue. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    Here's a question I have about working with non-union members. The situation is this.....
    We have paid members who are Firefighter Union members and Volunteers who are not. They work together no problem right???? Then you add EMS or Paramedic who work for County EMS and not the fire department in the station to ride the rescue. My question is this .....I see no problem with working with the County EMS personnel even if they do not belong to the Union Local but the Union is voicing concerns about working with non-union members. What do all of you think???? What am I not seeing.??
    I think we may need a little clarification of the situation and make sure there isn't any confusion over what could be "local" terminology in order to provide a more accurate response.

    The career-union FFs and the volunteers are part of the same Fire Department and both are "employees" of the same entity, yes? The career FFs are not employees of another agency (like the County) and assigned to a non-County owned & operated fire station and/or apparatus (like PGFD career FFs working on apparatus owned by an "independent" VFD)?

    The EMS personnel work for a separate agency (County EMS), correct? This is an actual ambulance service with its own equipment/facilities rather than a situation where County employees are used to staff non-County owned equipment? Are they EMS only personnel?

    When you say "rescue" do you mean "ambulance" or are you referring to a fire apparatus? If you mean "ambulance", then who's ambulance are they staffing - the FD's or another agencies unit that runs from the fire station?


    Without knowing those details, I'll limit my comments to this.......

    If the "rescue" is a FD owned & operated ambulance, then I can see a potential issue with the non-union County EMS employees being used to staff it. If that's the case, then "FD work" is being "outsourced" to a non-union contractor (County EMS) rather than utilizing "in-house" labor (the FD's career FFs). I could absolutely see this as being an "issue" and would support the Union in attempting to address the matter in an appropriate fashion and forum.

    If you're talking about non-union employees of an outside agency staffing a non-FD owned & operated ambulance that runs from the fire station, then I see absolutely no "issue" and the Union would be smart to drop the matter. Nothing good comes from doing otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    I think we may need a little clarification of the situation

    Without knowing those details, I'll limit my comments to this.......

    If the "rescue" is a FD owned & operated ambulance, then I can see a potential issue with the non-union County EMS employees being used to staff it. If that's the case, then "FD work" is being "outsourced" to a non-union contractor (County EMS) rather than utilizing "in-house" labor (the FD's career FFs). I could absolutely see this as being an "issue" and would support the Union in attempting to address the matter in an appropriate fashion and forum.

    If you're talking about non-union employees of an outside agency staffing a non-FD owned & operated ambulance that runs from the fire station, then I see absolutely no "issue" and the Union would be smart to drop the matter. Nothing good comes from doing otherwise.

    Agreed..... I should have added this angle earlier. "Outsourcing" work is a totally different picture.........
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    Default Union vs. Non-Union

    The career-union FFs and the volunteers are part of the same Fire Department and both are "employees" of the same entity, yes?

    Yes

    The career FFs are not employees of another agency (like the County) and assigned to a non-County owned & operated fire station and/or apparatus (like PGFD career FFs working on apparatus owned by an "independent" VFD)?

    Yes they are not...(I hate double negatives)

    The EMS personnel work for a separate agency (County EMS), correct?

    Yes

    This is an actual ambulance service with its own equipment/facilities rather than a situation where County employees are used to staff non-County owned equipment? Are they EMS only personnel?

    Yes it is and
    Paramedics only

    When you say "rescue" do you mean "ambulance" Yes they are...simantics

    If you mean "ambulance", then who's ambulance are they staffing - the FD's or another agencies unit that runs from the fire station?

    They will be staffing one ambulance paid for by the County and staffed by their Paramedic and one of our Firefighters.

    I hope this helps...
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    They will be staffing one ambulance paid for by the County and staffed by their Paramedic and one of our Firefighters.

    I hope this helps...
    Yes, it helped. Couple more questions though.

    Is this a new arrangement - the split staffing that is along with operating from the fire station?

    Why is a firefighter staffing the second position on their unit instead of one of their employees?

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    Default Union vs. Non-Union

    We are trying to work with the County and get staffing for our rescues. They have theirs and we have ours with one position being paid by the County and is a Firefighter with us. Our District is 165 square miles and the county has that and much more. This is new staffing for a ambulance to be stationed in our Southern area of our district. It will be comprised of one Paramedic (County) and one Firefighter EMT(ours) housed at our Station #3 southern area. The staffing of the second member being from our Fire District is giving us one more employee per shift funded by the County for a total of two per shift 6 in all.
    Our tax base is what is holding us back from being a totally 100% Fire Based EMS system....
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    We are trying to work with the County and get staffing for our rescues. They have theirs and we have ours with one position being paid by the County and is a Firefighter with us. Our District is 165 square miles and the county has that and much more. This is new staffing for a ambulance to be stationed in our Southern area of our district. It will be comprised of one Paramedic (County) and one Firefighter EMT(ours) housed at our Station #3 southern area. The staffing of the second member being from our Fire District is giving us one more employee per shift funded by the County for a total of two per shift 6 in all.
    Our tax base is what is holding us back from being a totally 100% Fire Based EMS system....
    First off, how are things done currently, or at least before this issue was rasied?

    I can see some issues here and see concerns of the union. You are now putting two different agencies and personnel together which can lead to many questions in and of itself. A big thing is contracts, protocol, SOG's etc.

    You say staffing increases by one employee per shift, but in what capacity? If they are working on the ambulance, what is their role in the event of fire? With a fire based EMS, you can still have an ambulance crew function as firefighters. With this system, how is the fire aspect handled? Is the crew going to be EMS only on a fire scene? If so, then how does having an extra FF per shift really increase the staffing?

    Given some details here, I think that the union does have a legitimate issue here that needs to be looked into and resolved. This isn't just an outside agency sharing quarters, but now you are intermingling agencies without (seemingly) looking at all the issues involved and the union's issues at stake. In fact such a plan can be perceived as an attack on the union and a current contract.

    Seems that there needs to be a serious sit down to really get to the core of all issues involved. The issue may really not be as simple as union having to work with non-union, but just from the brief description you give here, I also would take issues with such a plan, especially if never really consulted about it, nor concerns heard.
    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.

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    Default Union vs. Non-Union

    Wow....This is not as bad as you make it. We will have an ambulance with one PM and one FF-EMT on board. If there is a fire the firefighter will be just like any other FF and suit up. The PM will assist outside and do what ever they do. The addition will be three FF's to the rolls of our district. The issue is there will be a Non-Firefighter, Non-Union member working side by side with the Union member. I see no problem as I've stated before....
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    OK, now I'm a little confused.

    Does your FD operate an ambulance currently? If so, how is it staffed?

    The new ambulance in question is a County owned & operated unit and they are essentially contracting with the FD to provide the second person?

    In general, I don't see a big issue with the arrangement as long as work typically performed by the FD employees isn't being "outsourced" to another agency.

    Beyond that, I can see the potential for issue from the Union side of things if some of the work parameters haven't been discussed or clearly defined, such as who that FF answers to. Obviously, the Paramedic would be in charge regarding patient care matters, but where does the FF fall into the chain of command otherwise since he's working on another agency's unit with one of their employees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    Wow....This is not as bad as you make it. We will have an ambulance with one PM and one FF-EMT on board. If there is a fire the firefighter will be just like any other FF and suit up. The PM will assist outside and do what ever they do. The addition will be three FF's to the rolls of our district. The issue is there will be a Non-Firefighter, Non-Union member working side by side with the Union member. I see no problem as I've stated before....
    So the paramedic is with the EMS service which is county based and not private right? If so I don't see a problem with this.

    Is the paramedic also firefighter certified?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Sounds like a revenue issue for the union.

    More members=more dues
    I am not sure about what the situation in Idaho is but heres mine. I am a principal officer in a small local. I can honestly say that when we fight for more staffing...which we are doing now, increased "revenue' is the last thing I am thinking about. I am thinking about the safety of the community and my fellow members. Nothing personal, but I am getting tired of hearing that same old tired refrain.
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