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  1. #1
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    Post What is wrong with the system?

    I am in the process of applying for a career position and have been doing a little research in salaries of paid FFs. Why is it that an accountant that does not risk anything for anyone gets more than a firefighter? or why does the same apply for a police officer? What about the teacher who raises our children and coaches then in life skills not get more than the plumber or the machine opeator at a factory?

    Is our salary system all messed up? I am a professional Engineer and as such do designs that affect safety and public health yet the lawyer , plumber and accountants in my area get the same or in most cases more than I do, plus they get overtime. Are our societal priorities just a little messed up?

    I think so!!!


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    One problem is that there is no respect for the paid pro.firefighters. All you hear, whenever contracts come due is, we the city, can get vollies to do your job for nothing,you should be giving us things back to keep your jobs. Yes this was told to me more than once at negotiations.Thank GOD the last few years the vollies cant even get out of their stations for calls in their area. But this does not stop the cities from using the threat. Also dont think for one moment that the vollies dont use this as a way to get more advantage againest the paid dept.Than there is in some states the right to work law, that in effect, keeps the firefighters from negotiating contracts to raise their pay, leaving the pay and working conditions in the stone age in these states.Why is this allowed,because many men in these states use the situation to advance their own agendas, or political dealings at the cost of the rest of the men and depts.If all the firefighters stood togeather, the fire service would be in the condition of the police service.All they do is cry a little and money is thrown at their feet. This is in the cities,state and country level. Look at the money that has been given in the last few years. Where is the fire service in the money pecking order.Wake up fire service,one strong voice is hard to ignore,many voices showing discord gets you laughed at and ignored. be safe all

  3. #3
    Forum Member BucksEng91's Avatar
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    [quote]Originally posted by beenthere:
    All you hear, whenever contracts come due is, we the city, can get vollies to do your job for nothing,you should be giving us things back to keep your jobs. Yes this was told to me more than once at negotiations.


    Here we go again...You know, my father was a career firefighter in Philadelphia for 30 years. Never once was there a threat to replace any Philadelphia firefighter with volunteers. It's just silly. I'm not saying it didn't happen to you in whatever little burg you work for, but it's not something that happens every day. You act as if it's systemic. Here's some breaking news - it's not. If anything, all-volunteer departments are moving toward combination departments and even all-career, not the other way around. If you're actually intimidated by this frankly stupid negotiating tactic on the part of the city, then you need to let someone else do your negotiating.

    The reality is that if the city could have gotten someone to do your jobs for nothing, they'd have done it a long, long time ago. It's a bluff, plain and simple. And blaming your particular problems on phantom volunteer firefighters is a cop-out.

    [quote]Originally posted by beenthere:
    Thank GOD the last few years the vollies cant even get out of their stations for calls in their area.


    Great attitude. I'm sure God has a lot to do with response level and times. You don't really mean that you're thankful that it's taking longer to get firefighting and rescue resources on scene, do you? So it would be a good thing to you if someone died because the local vollies couldn't get a truck on the street? This is what you're saying. I think you probably want to rethink your phrasing a bit, there.

    [quote]Originally posted by beenthere:
    Also dont think for one moment that the vollies dont use this as a way to get more advantage againest the paid dept.


    You say "use this". Use WHAT? What are you talking about here? The fact that career firefighters are underpaid in some places is being used by volunteers to get an advantage? WHAT advantage? This is just nonsense and rhetoric.

    [quote]Originally posted by beenthere:
    Than there is in some states the right to work law, that in effect, keeps the firefighters from negotiating contracts to raise their pay, leaving the pay and working conditions in the stone age in these states.


    No, a right to work law protects the rights of workers who do not wish to be part of union by guaranteeing them the right to work, even if they don't join a union.

    If you wish to voluntarily associate yourself with a union, and derive its benefits (and pay its dues), then you're free to do so. But contracts which coerce you to join a specific labor organization (and therefore support, with your dues, political policies and/or candidates that you wouldn't vote for in a million years) are inherently ANTI-worker's rights, because they don't give you the free choice as an American to associate with whom you wish. It's coercion, nothing more and nothing less.

    If the union is an attractive alternative to working without a contract, then the large majority of workers will freely and voluntarily associate themselves with the union, and collectively bargain (key word - FREELY). If not, then the union will wither and die, and another labor organization which better represents the interests of the workers (and is thereby more attractive to them) can try to organize the workers. But it's their free choice. Coercion is ugly, socialist, and un-American.

    [quote]Originally posted by beenthere:
    Why is this allowed,because many men in these states use the situation to advance their own agendas, or political dealings at the cost of the rest of the men and depts.


    What?? What are you talking about? Who are the "many men"? What are the agendas that they're advancing, and to what end? More rhetoric.

    [quote]Originally posted by beenthere:
    If all the firefighters stood togeather, the fire service would be in the condition of the police service.


    ...sucking off the federal teat, and stealing more money from my paycheck. And your paycheck.

    [quote]Originally posted by beenthere:
    All they do is cry a little and money is thrown at their feet. This is in the cities,state and country level. Look at the money that has been given in the last few years. Where is the fire service in the money pecking order.Wake up fire service,one strong voice is hard to ignore,many voices showing discord gets you laughed at and ignored. be safe all.


    We had this debate ad infinitum in the discussions about the constitutionality of the FIRE Act. I won't go into all the details, but the long and short of it is this - funding for local services should be at the local level, where it's more controllable, more accountable, and more suited to the needs and unique challenges faced by the emergency workers of that locality. The fact is that your locality is getting the level of fire protection that it's willing to pay for. If they wanted more, they'd agree via referendum or who they vote into office that they want to be taxed more heavily to provide a higher level of fire protection. Apparently, they're comfortable with the level as it is, at the price they currently pay.

    And don't think I'm siding with the cops on this - I think all of their funding should be local as well. All of the federal money that pours into local law enforcement should be cut off. That money, to protect the citizens of West Bumfart, should COME from the citizens of West Bumfart, not from me or you who will likely never in our lives need the services of the West Bumfart police or fire departments. So why should money be taken from my family to pay for it?
    "Let's roll." - Todd Beamer, one of a group of American soldiers who handed the terrorists their first defeat.

    Joe Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone (but you can borrow them )and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated (but then again, they just may not be thinking clearly).

  4. #4
    Senior Member postal79's Avatar
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    BRAVO!!! buckseng91
    very well spoken
    hopefully this wont start a paid vs. vollie debate
    but it probably will
    9/11/01 forever in our hearts

  5. #5
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    Good post Bucks
    The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!

  6. #6
    RJE
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    Labor rates (in an ideal world) are determined by the number of people willing to do the work balanced against the number of people NEEDED to do that work.

    If more FFs are needed, then wages go up. If more people are seeking FF jobs, then FF wages go down.

    Now, that's "ideal world". Where it gets sticky in "real world" comes from many sources.

    1) Gov'ts are unresponsive to wage pressures. Contracts lock all employees into a set wage scale.

    2) Unions - by demanding higher non-cash benefits, drive up the cost of hiring more people, and actually suppress "cash" wages (take home pay). They also limit advancement opportunities, by locking all employees into a seniority based wage structure - thus limiting the ability to use "merit raises" as performance incentives.

    3) Local gov'ts, especially small ones, have very limited capital, so must limit what they pay out for services.

    So, a plumber makes more because few people want to be plumbers. Doctors make more because their extensive "specialized" knowledge (med school) makes them valuable to the community, and few (relatively) make it through med school. Engineers (generally) make more than laborers, but less than Dr.'s. General laborers, make still less, because lots of people want to work, and this is all they CAN do (all they're qualified for).

    Teachers (and career FFs) make less than they probably should, but the reason is 1) too many people WANT to be in those careers (demand pressure drives wages down) and 2) it's not excessively difficult to meet the job requirements (like 7 years of college - typical of doctors, but unlikely for most teachers, and certainly not for FFs, despite their years of training in very specialized knowledge areas) and 3) the interaction between government(s) (limited funds) and union(s) drives wages down.

  7. #7
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    Hey RJE...You sound like you understand economics and supply and demand. Good answer.

  8. #8
    Forum Member BucksEng91's Avatar
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    Excellent post, RJE.

    Some people need a strong dose of basic reality, and you provided it.

  9. #9
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    My first thought, after I got over the ridiculous volunteer comments, was to go through the basics of supply & demand. BucksEng91 and RJE already did an excellent job of addressing these issues. Well done gentlemen.

    Stay Safe

  10. #10
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    beenthere, been WHERE?

    Bucks: Once again the voice of reason and reality.
    RJE: Bravo sir, excellent post!

  11. #11
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    Because no matter where you go, or what ever happens, there will always be firefighters. There will always be strict competition for firefighting. As long as there is competition, there will always be someone willing to do your job for less than you do. No, maybe they're not as good at it, but unless you're a tried and true firefighter yourself, you'll never know what a good fireman is. Such is in the case of the people who are paying you.

  12. #12
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    Red face

    On a similar note, why is it that EMT's and Paramedics get paid less than the burger flippers at In and Out? I know we're not risking our lives every day like FFers are, but shouldn't we get a few bucks for saving lives? Or at least a better salary than the Krispy Kreme cashiers? My deduction: Emergency workers get JACKED. But hey, guess food service peeps are much more important than rescue personnel... someone's values are all mixed up.
    "...you're such a gentle soul, it's killing me to know, when will i see your face?" -Vince Gill

  13. #13
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Compare what salaries for firefighters in your beloved "right to work" states are and those that enjoy collective bargaining rights.Volunteers in this part of the world are on their way out because THEY dont have the time,desire etc. Supply and demand works just fine in BUSINESS.The fire service is different then any other type of entitity. IT IS A MONEY LOSER. When I see what my brothers in the South make, it kills me. The IAFF has been a leader in firefighter safety for many years. I am a professional firefighter, this is what I do for a living. It is not my hobby. I THANK MY LUCKY STARS that I can sit across the table from my employer and negotiate for benefits,salary and work rules.Get off your high anti-union horses. I just got back from a 3 alarm fire tonight where an all volunteer co. asked to leave because they "had to go to work" So save your B.S.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  14. #14
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Im so irate that I thought I would add one more item that really ticks me off. We used have so called "merit pay" You know what? It was used to reward suck ups. In a perfect world. People would be paid what they deserve, but the sad reality is that it just isnt the case.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  15. #15
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    Bucks, RJE, great posts!!!

    LOCALPREZMIKE

    Compare what salaries for firefighters in your beloved "right to work" states are and those that enjoy collective bargaining rights.

    When compared to the cost of living rates, the salaries are comparable and in some cases better. Addison and Plano TX come to mind.

    Oh, and we enjoy collective bargaining rights. 100% right to work states do. Federal law guarantees it.

    What we don't enjoy is having our money grabbed up by some association we may not wish to belong to. Having that same association apply it for political purposes and causes that we don't support.

    Supply and demand works just fine in BUSINESS.The fire service is different then any other type of entitity.

    It may be different, but supply and demand work the same way. Every single working American is making exactly what the market it his area will bear.

    When I see what my brothers in the South make, it kills me.

    Why?

    What's our cost of living compared to yours?

    How does that salary work out now?

    The IAFF has been a leader in firefighter safety for many years.

    Firefighters have been the leaders in firefighter safety for ever.

    I am a professional firefighter, this is what I do for a living.

    Me too!

    Get off your high anti-union horses.

    And you from your union high horse.

    I just got back from a 3 alarm fire tonight where an all volunteer co. asked to leave because they "had to go to work"

    I don't know why I am having a hard time believeing this.

    So save your B.S.

    Please, you too.

    We used have so called "merit pay" You know what? It was used to reward suck ups.

    Maybe so in some cases. But it also worked as it was designed to in a majority of cases.

    But now everyone from the worst employee to the best would be equal to the same amount. Nobody is any better than anyone else even though we all know people that don't deserve the puddle of sweat rung out of our bunker coat. They deserve the same pay as everyone else!

    Which system is better?

    Which system is socialist?

    In a perfect world. People would be paid what they deserve, but the sad reality is that it just isnt the case

    You know what, we push this pay us what we deserve from every angle and we continue to support and elect people that blow sunshine up our collective wazoos. They really have their priorities on social programs, they stiff us every single time and spend money available for our salary on people that choose not to work and other pet projects.

    Which local welfare and pet project programs should be done away with to increase your salary?

    How much should taxes be raised LOCALLY to pay you the salary you want?

    Why do you keep supporting and electing public officials that do this?
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

  16. #16
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    You can go ahead and have a "hard time" believing whatever you want. In Lafayette LA. A firefighter makes 6.94 an hour. Wanna try raising a family on that? HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A LIAR in regards to what I posted about the volunteers at the fire I was at overnight. YOU HAVE ALOT OF NERVE CALLING ME A LIAR. You may not agree with me, but NEVER call me a liar "pardner"
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  17. #17
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    [quote]Originally posted by LOCALPREZMIKE:
    [QB]In Lafayette LA. A firefighter makes 6.94 an hour. Wanna try raising a family on that? HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A LIAR in regards to what I posted about the volunteers at the fire I was at overnight.QB]


    Try raising a family on nothing, $0 ... that's why the volunteers who supposedly left had to go to work. Furthermore, WAKE UP!!! If you didn't have those volunteers, you'd either have to do more work w/ the same amount of manpower, or you'd have to pay more manpower, which would undoubtedly come out of your pay. Which do you want?

    Stay Safe

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
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    Mongo, good points!.. regarding members leaving for work, its actually quite common and not as bad as portrayed. For those whose work time is too close to the time of the alarm, they will just not respond if they have a job that requires them regardless (many of our vols are cops, firefighters, etc..) Others will respond and do what they can in the initial stages of the fire. Generally once the fire is controlled we start to try to figure out who has to work and what we need for manpower. In some cases those of us remaining are ok to do the work in other cases members returning home from night shift may come in or day time career members may arrive and help out. The most common bitch heard is... "why do I have to come in and do THEIR work?"

    Regarding 0 pay... its your choice. If you vol for the right reasons, thats great. But don't throw it in anyones face that your better cause ya do it for free.

  19. #19
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    LOCALPREZMIKE

    In Lafayette LA. A firefighter makes 6.94 an hour.

    Who's fault is that?

    Did he know what the job paid when he asked for it, or was he forced at gunpoint to take it?

    If it ain't enough, maybe the Lafayette ff's that don't like it need to find a better paying job.

    Tell Lafayette to find them a mayor and city council that wants to do what Laura Miller, mayor candidate for Dallas, wants to do - let the voters decide what firefighters and police get paid.

    Or better yet, maybe the feds should step in and say "Laffeyette LA screw the US Constitution. You shall pay your firefighters $XX,000 a year and if you can't pay them then we'll confiscate the money from mongo and the LOCALPREZMIKE's tax districts to pay 'em. Don't worry, we can take it a gun point if we have too."

    Halligan84

    Others will respond and do what they can in the initial stages of the fire. Generally once the fire is controlled we start to try to figure out who has to work and what we need for manpower.

    Wow, the same concept applies to career departments when you think about it. We have a 2/1 response, all we need is one company, what do we do? Release the other companies.

    We run a multi alarm fire and start releasing companies as soon a we can. It just makes good sense.

    Of course if union presidents and other "career only" types need to bash vollys, then it makes a good excuse.

    But don't throw it in anyones face that your better cause ya do it for free.

    Working both sides of the fence, I agree. Volly ain't no better than paid and paid ain't no better than volly. There are great firefighters and trash among each.

    [ 12-13-2001: Message edited by: mongofire_99 ]

    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

  20. #20
    RJE
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    Interesting side note: With the downward turn the economy has taken, the City of Tulsa is facing a budget deficit. The current Mayor (very liberal Democrat) is leaving next fall due to term limits, so she has nothing to lose.

    She's always been very "pro-labor" in all her talks (how she got elected!).

    So what's she do -
    First, eliminate all merit raises (takes away recent raises to city employees for above average performance and eliminates future hope of same). Now there's no incentive to do better than the slacker who makes the same.

    Second, across the board $1/hr pay cut for all non-union employees.

    Third, across the board $1/hr (1.5% for salaried) employees of the police and fire depts.

    And why? Because she needs to continue to support her "downtown redevelopment" projects. Which have been voted down (in major bond = tax increases) by the people, but that she continues to "back-door" fund through city discretionary spending.

    Those programs are NOT being cut.

    The local FFs and LEOs (including support from their unions) are up in arms, and there were 4x as many people as would fit in the last city council meeting. I wish them luck (and hope we elect a Mayor who isn't as blind as this one next Nov.).

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