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  1. #1
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    Post Union vs "Right to Work"

    There has been quite a discussion in the “What is Wrong with this System” thread over some of the perceived advantages and disadvantages of belonging to a union shop (required enrollment in the union after a set period of days to continue to maintain employment) vs an open shop (No requirement to join).

    Some of the arguments:

    Argument in favor of the closed and union shop:.
    unions can win a fair return for their labor only through solidarity, since there is always—except in wartime—an oversupply of labor; and that, since all employees of a plant share in the advantages won through collective bargaining, all workers should contribute to union funds.

    According to a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court decision: "A union shop arrangement has been thought to distribute fairly the cost of these (representative) activities among those who benefit, and it counteracts the incentive that employees might otherwise have to become “free riders”; to refuse to contribute to the union while obtaining benefits of union representation that necessarily accrue to all employees."


    Arguments in favor of the open shop:
    forcing unwilling workers to pay union dues is an infringement of their rights; that union membership is sometimes closed to certain workers or the initiation fee so high as to be an effective bar to membership; and that employers are deprived of the privilege of hiring competent workers or firing incompetent ones.

    What are your views? Would also be interested in hearing from individuals in “Right to Work” states, especially those not covered by a union contract. Are you better off without a union? How so?

    "You will find some people saying that they are for so-called 'Right-to-Work' law, but they also believe in unions. This is absurd -- it's like saying you are for motherhood but against children."
    -- Harry S. Truman

    Note: Right-to-work states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

    [ 01-22-2002: Message edited by: rrilling ]


  2. #2
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    Well my thoughts on the subject are pretty well known. Collective bargaining has been a great thing for the firefighters of Illinois. We have had nothing but positives being affiliated with the IAFF. We are able to negotiate virtually lawyer-free. The International and State Association have made the information available that allows us to go into negotiations with a better grasp on what our rights are. We can represent our members because we have the information and the process to back it up. We may win some arbitration cases and we may lose some. The fact remains that we do have a right to sit across from our employers and negotiate benefits, wages and work rules. I give alot of credit to those IAFF members in right to work states. They are paying their dues like the rest of us. I just wish that they would have the same rights enjoyed by firefighters in Illinois. Brother Rich Banske of IAFF Local 621 wrote a scathing letter to Sen. Larry Craig about the scare tactics used by the Republicans when the vote on National Collective bargaining for firefighters came up in the Senate. Rich is a lifelong Republican and his words struck a chord with many of us. I myself am a registered Republican and I am proud that Sen. Peter Fitzgerald had the courage to go against the party on this issue. Sen. Fitzgerald is a very conservative man. So dont go howling that its just "liberals" that support collective bargaining for firefighters.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    I am wondering how the Union Firefighters of Oklahoma are doing in the wake of their state recently enacting right to work? I am curious to how this effects their negotiations.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    I live in South Carolina, a right to work state, and have lived nowhere else in my adult years....so to be honest I couldn't answer the question on if I would be better off one way or the other. I suppose we could vote to join the IAFF here...but it wouldn't do any good in regards to dealing with our governmentsince they don't have to deal with the union, and can still hire and fire as they please.

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    This is going to be one of those topics. I personally feel that one should not be forced to join any organization as a condition of employment. The union has been a catalyist for many positive changes in the country. But I have also seen a side of the unions that I find to be unacceptable given my moral beliefs. I hope that this topic does not end in another arguement, but i think it will.

  6. #6
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    Brother, you have every right NOT to join a union.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    In 1999, the annual average pay in free states was $33,104, compared with $28,035 in right-to-work states—an 18 percent difference.

    What is 18%?

    On supper break, I didn't have time to use one of the internet cost of living calculators for all fifty states, but I did do the first six "right to work" and first six "union" states. I'd guess that's a pretty good sample for this little exercise.

    To make the math easy I choose the base to be a salary of $100,000 in Hartford, CT. If you want to know the numbers for $50,000, divide in half.

    Comparing the capital (or what I believe to be the capital city ) of these twelve states give us:

    First six "right to work states"
    Montgomery, Alabama $92,000 (i.e. $92,000 in Montgomery buys what $100,000 does in Hartford, CT)
    Phoenix, Arizona $83,000
    Little Rock, Arkansas $80,000
    Jacksonville, Florida $83,000
    Atlanta, Georgia $90,000
    Boise, Idaho $87,000
    Average: $85,000

    First six "union states"
    Juneau, Alaska $126,000
    Sacramento, California $100,000
    Denver, Colorado $92,000
    Hartford, Connecticut $100,000
    Wilmington, Delaware $83,000
    Honolulu, Hawaii $116,000
    Average: $102,000

    Difference in average cost of living between the first six right to work states and first six union states: 17% cheaper to live Right to Work states.

    Hmmm, and right to work states average 18% lower wages. Does that difference reflect Union efforts, or the differences in what standard of living a dollar buys in different areas?

    --------------
    In checking a couple facts though, I did come realize where IAFF does get some of it's seemingly increasing prominence in organized labor. Teachers, Police, and Firefighters by far are the most organized employees (rates around 45%) of the most organized segment (Public Employers at 37.5%).

    More over, I'm guesstimating from the numbers I saw that about 25% to 30% of overall union members are either Teachers, Police Officers, or Firefighters.

    Since 1970, when public sector still wasn't heavily unionized, overall union membership has dropped from 25% of workers to 14%. If you took away the gains in the public sector, they probably would dropped even further to around 10%!
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    My Experience:

    I worked on a federal installation in a right to work state. The union went to court claiming that the right to work law did not apply because the workplace was on a federal enclave. The union prevailed. As a result, we ended up with a closed shop, and anyone that refused to sign to allow dues witholding was shown the door. We paid our dues and got NOTHING in return. The local reps instantly forgot that we existed. Phone calls weren't returned, representation and contract negotiations became little more than "It's a good deal-Take it". The dues money was guaranteed and there was no longer a need to work for it. Luckily, the ruling was overturned and the RTW law was reinstated. Wouldn't you know it, the representation got considerably better.

    Incidently, I have belonged to the union since long before all of this happened. Still Do.
    I don't mind paying for something that benefits me. I just don't like paying for a service that i'm not getting

    Stay Safe

    Jim

    [ 01-18-2002: Message edited by: AVF&R452 ]


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    I understand that there is some resistance to FF unions, but instead of just posting your objection to them, could you tell us WHY you object, and how "Right to Work" helps you as a firefighter.

    FireFighter George posted a great response to why he supports his union:


    First I have to state that I never liked the idea of unions, until I became a firefighter. I only know what I see locally, but our union and its strength have provided the following:
    1. Help with workers comp claims. Firefighters are more likely to be injured on the job than any other profession. Ever file a workers comp claim? If you haven't been in that water, you will be bitten repeatedly if you don't have help. Our union takes your hand and holds it til the end.

    2. Safety. The union here is responsible for demanding the safety equipment and training that has helped us to avoid a line of duty death for 20 years. (God, I hope that one doesn't come back to haunt me)

    3. Pay. One of the highest pay scales for FF based on cost of living in the region. I am a FF Emt-B, 5 years on, I made $49,000 last year. Thats with only twenty hours overtime. My salary is based around $18 and change per hour and I work 48 hours a week. 24 on 48 off, Kelly day every three weeks.

    4. Representation. A trip to internal could be a potential nightmare if you don't know what you don't have to say. Our union reps know their stuff and protect us all the way.

    5. Differed comp.

    6. Health benefits. We pay $20 a pay for family coverage, but it is still lower than any union employee of the city. Lower than anywhere I worked in the 15 years I was in the private sector.

    7. Sick time sell back. We bank sick time and can sell back 96 hours a year at 1 for 1 if we don't use it for three years, once we acrue 720 hours. Takes about six years.

    8. Vacation. We acrue 4.8 hours a pay (average) and can bank several hundred hours depending on longevity.

    9. Holiday pay. We don't get overtime for Holidays, but whether we work them or not, we acrue 4.8 hours a pay and can bank sevral hundred hours and sell back 24 a year 1 for 1. We pick holiday off time when we pick vacation.

    All courtesy of the union.
    Sure, it protects some zeros. But hey, more fire for the rest of us.

    "There is strength in numbers". 785 as a matter of fact.


    Could someone from the anti-union side post something similar?

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    rrilling

    It was my assumption that most FF’s would be pro-union, yet there were several posters who vehemently disagreed with my belief.

    Well, you know what happens when you assume...

    And you're spinning this the wrong way. There aren't several posters who disagree with your belief that firefighters are pro-union, there are several posters that do not wished to be forced to join a union.

    Are you better off with the IAFF? Or are you better off living in a "Right to Work" state?

    Better off in a RTW state.

    Data released by the US Department of Labor in 1998:
      [*]Lower unemployment in RTW states for all but four years since 1978[*]Non-farm jobs created in RTW states at a pace twice that of slave states since 1977[*]Construction jobs created at a rate 1/3 faster in RTW states than slave states[*]Manufacturing? RTW states gained over 800,000 jobs since '77, slave states lost 2,000,000 jobs.
      [/list]
      Heres some stuff to think about. Accurate or biased?

      Biased as hell.

      How could you possibly think anything else when you state that RTW states are not free with this quote: "the annual average pay in free states was $33,104, compared with $28,035 in right-to-work states" an 18 percent difference.

      Dalamtion90 covered the CoL stuff nicely.

      But I must ask (and I don't wish to sound offensive), rrilling, what is your definition of free?

      The US version or the Soviet version?

      How can you be free when you are unconstitutionally forced into joining an organization you do not wish to associate with?

      And since you chose to define free as being forced to do something let's call your free states what they really are, slave states.

      After all, the definition of free in relation to this topic is "Given, made, or done of one's own accord; voluntary or spontaneous: a free act of the will; free choices."

      And the definition of slave is: "One who is abjectly subservient to a specified person or influence."

      Did I get those backwards?

      If I am forced to join a union to work somewhere, or say I've worked there a year shy of my pension and the union gets voted in and as such I must join or be fired as AVF&R452 pointed out - how free am I?

      Right-to-work laws are a bad deal for workers because they restrict workers' right to union representation

      BS. The US Constitution and subsequent Federal law guarantees you can join a union. One state I know of does not allow municpal employees to collectively bargain. However, muncipal employee unions in that state have met, conferred and bargained with their respective cities. Granted any subsequent challenges would be thrown out of court.

      Right-to-work states have lower "union density"

      Duh.

      Note: Right-to-work states are...

      You forgot Oklahoma.

      Idaho becomes 21st state to pass "Right-to-Work." After passage, the average annual wage of carpenters there dropped from $33,000 to $22,000.

      And business has flocked to Idaho according to Dave Whalet, Idaho AFL-CIO Pres in an OpEd piece for the Idaho Falls Post Register

      Union membership helps raise workers' pay

      And their total cost of living.

      Their median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary work were $696 in 2000, compared with $542 for their nonunion counterparts.

      Without knowing the CoL of the areas studied, the studies are meaningless. Unless of course you wish to step out on a limb and say all firefighters across the US shall make X amount and are required to only pay Y amount for a new car and Z amount for groceries.

      Do you wish to federalize the pay scale of the fire service?

      Union Pay Is Higher in Nearly All Occupational Groups

      Again CoL...

      LOCALPREZMIKE

      The fact remains that we do have a right to sit across from our employers and negotiate benefits, wages and work rules.

      And

      I give alot of credit to those IAFF members in right to work states. They are paying their dues like the rest of us. I just wish that they would have the same rights enjoyed by firefighters in Illinois.

      So do RTW states!

      And you know what else?

      We were told the rules before we were hired! They said "we're gonna pay you this, but you gotta do that and you can't do this. And then we'll give you CoL raises and grade pay, insurance, retriement (God I wished I had hired on in Beaumont in the early '80's) and all that good stuff."

      And then they asked "do you wish to work for us under these conditions?"

      And I, being an adult and fully understanding what I was doing said "yes."

      And look at me now! I'm part of the evil rich and I'm just a podunk FF with two jobs.

      But I crank out 103,000 Chicago dollars a year for my ten day a month fulltime parttime job.

      Does Chicago pay FF Captains $103,000 a year?

      Yeah, don't feel too bad.

      Let's start a boot firefighter in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at 50,000 to 56,000 Chicago dollars. That's 30,000 Texas Right to Work, uh I mean DFW dollars.

      Does Chicago start firefighters at $50,000?

      Should we have the feds step in and say that nationwide all firefighters shall make the equvalent of X amount of dollars in, say, DFW dollars? (it would then be adjusted for CoL depending on where you lived)

      How about a McDonalds employee, shall we say they shall all make X in DFW dollars?

      (just curious, what does a boot firefighter make up there? pm me if you don't wanna post it, I'll never tell)

      ...when the vote on National Collective bargaining for firefighters came up in the Senate.

      rrilling, from a statement in another post, you seem to be a fan of states rights (good for you, there's hope!).

      Are municipal firefighter jobs state and local issues or federal issues?

      Well, since firefighter jobs are state and local issues, is a national collective bargaining right for firefighters Constitutional?

      firecat1524

      they don't have to deal with the union, and can still hire and fire as they please.

      Do you know how hard it is to fire someone these days?

      LOCALPREZMIKE

      Brother, you have every right NOT to join a union.

      Yep, just go to work in an RTW state or a non-union shop.

      Dalmatian90

      Great post Dalmation90!

      rrilling

      I understand that there is some resistance to FF unions, but instead of just posting your objection to them, could you tell us WHY you object, and how "Right to Work" helps you as a firefighter.

      I don't object to the union.

      I object to being forced to join.

      I object to having a portion of my paycheck confiscated and turned over to political candidates and objectives I do not support.

      I object to the protecting of worthless pieces of meat that actually earned getting fired on the sole basis they're a good dues paying member, even though they're cowards on the fireground or at the station or in life in general. (Did you know he's not a thief, he's a clepto and needs his job and psychiatric help? Oh, and the city needs to provide us all with new padlocks for our lockers.)

      Firefighters are more likely to be injured on the job than any other profession.

      Wrong. Next...

      Safety. The union here is responsible for demanding the safety equipment and training that has helped us to avoid a line of duty death for 20 years.

      And nationwide there are numerous VFDs and non-union departments that have never had a serious injury or fatality in their entire existence?

      How did they accomplish this without a union?

      (God, I hope that one doesn't come back to haunt me)

      Me too amigo. And I hope I didn't curse those of us that have never had an incident.

      One of the highest pay scales for FF based on cost of living in the region.

      Your city may have it's priorities straight too.

      A trip to internal could be a potential nightmare if you don't know what you don't have to say.

      Who's responsible for knowing your rights?

      Dare I say you are?

      The rest of the stuff is typical. Not too sure how much credit to give the union though as the oldtimers tell me we had similar prior to it.

      But he pays less for family insurance.

      [ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: mongofire_99 ]

      And edited again for spelling and some grammer errors later that day.

      [ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: mongofire_99 ]

      [ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: mongofire_99 ]


  11. #11
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    mongo -

    Just an excellent, excellent post. I can't add anything to it. I'd just like to re-emphasize what you said near the beginning of your post.

    The spin on this thread is throwing off a breeze. No one that I've seen either here or in the other forum rrilling referred to has said that they object to "the union" (IAFF) or unions in general.

    What all of us who support "right to work" HAVE said is that it is un-American, anti-liberty, and bordering on socialist to COERCE and FORCE someone to join an organization which he or she may not wish to join. Making it a condition of employment takes all responsibility for good faith practices off the union. Luckily for most firefighters, the IAFF and its associated locals generally do some very good, positive work that benefits both their members and the departments they bargain with, and even non-union and volunteer MOS.

    But they are under no real pressure or obligation to do so - it's not as if they can be thrown out and replaced with a new organization, or if the people so choose, no union at all. This is the sticking point. Unions, and the IAFF in particular, heavily support a specific political agenda and persuation that at least half the nation (if the results of the last election are used as a barometer) disagrees with forcefully. If I and my colleagues in a union don't want our dues to go to support political candidacies and initiatives that we don't agree with, we can't simply leave the union. We can't withold dues. We can't form a competing organization that better represents our views. See, that's called "freedom of association". And there simply is not much of it in non-"right to work" shops. And THAT, rrilling, is un-American and wrong.

    How's that for a trip into the 'no spin zone'?

    [ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: BucksEng91 ]

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  12. #12
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    Could someone from the anti-union side post something similar?

    Well, I'm not neccessarily anti-union. I am anti hyperbole, and I am anti closed-shop.

    1. Help with workers comp claims.

    Firefighters are more likely to be injured on the job than any other profession.

    That I'm honestly doubtful of. We're not the leader, by far, in fatality rates.

    Unfortunately, I found it hard to get only non-fatal injury statistics for firefighters since it appears the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't track the public sector for "non-OSHA" states.

    We're currently experiencing about 100 deaths per year, roughly 50 out of the 250,000 career members and 50 out of the 750,000 volunteers. For Career firefighters, that's a fatality rate of 20 per hundred thousand; for the fire service overall it's 10 per hundred thousand.

    Many occupations have both *more* deaths each year and *higher* fatality rates such as Fishing, Logging, Truck Driving, Construction Labor, and Taxi drivers to name a few (see http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/1997/Summer/brf3tabs.pdf )

    I really wish we had good state-by-state injury stats for Firefighters. Cause I have a strong feeling that you'll find the more union-friendly midwest and northeast states have much higher injury rates than RTW states in the South and West.

    [/i] Ever file a workers comp claim? If you haven't been in that water, you will be bitten repeatedly if you don't have help. Our union takes your hand and holds it til the end.[/i]

    Thankfully not. Fortunately I still have short and long-term disability through my private employer that still pays just as if I broke my leg skiing or anything else.

    2. Safety. The union here is responsible for demanding the safety equipment and training

    Injury rates have fallen at the same time Union membership and strength in general industry are falling. If Unions were the primary cause behind improved safety, then one would expect as their power decreased, safety records would worsen.

    But that hasn't been the case.
    History has been turned on its head in the 1990s, and no one is quite sure why. Neither the Bureau of Labor Statistics nor OSHA has the time or money for more in-depth research. "It's all speculation," says OSHA chief Charles Jeffress.

    Taking his stab at an answer, Jeffress says injuries started declining the '90s around the time healthcare costs, including workers' compensation, became a significant corporate concern. As a result, "safety and health has had a higher visibility in the '90s," he says

    (http://www.ishn.com/CDA/ArticleInformation/features/BNP__Features__Item/0,2162,2963,00.html)

    Moreover, the most heavily unionized segment of the economy (Public employees) have overall injury rates twice that of private industry.

    Now how much of that is public employees unionizing against bad working conditions, how much is strong unions making sure every injury is counted, and how much it is States that can control lawsuits via sovereign immunity, I'm not sure. But it is a striking difference. Makes you wonder whose more effective, Unions or Trial Lawyers.

    7. Sick time sell back. We bank sick time and can sell back 96 hours a year at 1 for 1 if we don't use it for three years, once we acrue 720 hours. Takes about six years.

    8. Vacation. We acrue 4.8 hours a pay (average) and can bank several hundred hours depending on longevity.

    9. Holiday pay. We don't get overtime for Holidays, but whether we work them or not, we acrue 4.8 hours a pay and can bank sevral hundred hours and sell back 24 a year 1 for 1.


    There are certain financial tricks government like and can to use -- many of which are either not available or restricted by financial or regulatory reasons to private employers. Productivity isn't so important as staying within the bounds of tax levies.

    So you'll find items like 35 hour work weeks (in exchange for no raises for several years back in the 1970s in CT's case), and the ability to bank vacation and sick time much more common in the public sector than private sector. My town simply does not pay overtime -- you receive comp time instead, even in the Union shops. After a snowy winter, the highway crew may end up with four or six weeks of paid comp time off in the summer in addition to their vacation time.

    To allow "banking" of time by public employees doesn't concern most government agencies. Having someone spend the last six months of their career at home using up vacation and sick time means loss of productivity, but the budget is not affected. Similiarly, most would rather pay straight time for unused hours than overtime to cover someone taking it off. Public agencies generally are much more concerned about staying within their tax-based budget than with maximizing efficiency.

    Private businesses not only would loose productivity, but must carry "banked" time as a liability on their books. Net Worth = Assets - Liabilities. More time a private employer allows employees to bank, the lower their company's worth is. Lower your worth is, lower your stock price, the less you can borrow, the higher your interest rates are...etc, etc.

    Not neccessarily a Union gained privelege, but a difference between public and private sector finances.
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    BucksEng91

    Thanks bro, right back atcha.

    Gotta ask one question about something you said...

    From this...

    ...it's not as if they can be thrown out and replaced with a new organization, or if the people so choose, no union at all.

    And on through this...

    We can't form a competing organization that better represents our views.

    It appears in anti-choice states that unions have a monopoly on jobs.

    Am I reading too much into it?

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    So using places like Hawaii and Alaska don't skew the cost of living?? Let's see remote, hard to get to, probobly the teamsters fault........

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    I am a little confused by something in the first post. To clarify NJ is not a rtw state,and has not been as long as I can remember. You did miss Md as one though. NJ
    is probably one of the most union states in the country, just look at the recent governors election. Mc Greevy was backed by every major union.
    ARe unions good , we probably have one of the highest median incomes, salary ratees are near the top, WE work an avg 42 hour work week 10/14 3 off or 24/72 3 off compared to 56 hour work weeks, 24/48 in the rest off the country, we have no residency requirements, we have a very healthy ,inspite of the market state mandotory pension plan (PFRS). By the way the other state plans, public employees, teachers and state police are equally solvent and excellant as well. The richest plans in the country. We have good state health benifits plan that most towns are in all though not required. This is possible by very strong police and fire, and teachers unions and intensive lobbying by them. In reference tothe comment about not getting overtime,wouldnt have that in a union state. Besides that gauarantted by federal labor law any way.What good is getting comptime of in the summer. ya cant eat it or pay the bills with it, and you have to be able to get to take it. Most depts have some sort of minimun manning, how many men do you think are going to be allowed off at one time. With sick days holidays vacations etc that doesnt leave to much time. We work with 5 man minimum shifts with max7,by time you take out all contractral days , and were only allowed to collect up to 100 hrs , there are very few days left. we have people taking comp days from 2 years ago that they couldnt get. To quote a saying from my construction union days "work union , live better".even for those in rtw states your still better off and by forming a better and tighter alliance with other depts in your state and good lobbying you can work to overcome the shortfalls.

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    First I live in Ohio which is a collective bargaining state. I was never a union member befor coming on the job. Befor joining the dept I didnt have high regards for unions in general. I could have opted to pay "fair share" but decided to join the union.
    -Pay 50000 base for FF.
    -Our contracts only govern work hours, and benefits. We do not control work rules, assignment, etc., In 10 years I've never seen an officer give an order and someone state that was or wasnt his job.
    -The main benefit I see to the union is that we are strong politically which gives us a way as a group to fight against safety problems (like the 150 new scba's they bought us, at lowest bid of course, that stopped flowing air whenever they felt like it). The strength of the union is that it gives you a unified voice in front of the public. When the city decides to take a few million out of the budget to buy some more abstract sculptures for the pigeons to sit on. We are able to explain to the public what the loss of manpower and apparatus will mean to our safety and theirs without concern from reprisals from the administration.
    -As far as the union protecting the slugs.....yeh we have to represent them, but the biggest protection the slugs have in ohio is the civil service rules here. Its virtually impossible for a city employee to be fired.
    -Overall.....I'm still not a strong union guy...but on balance I think I have definately benifitted overall....it does have a hand in ensuring the city cant try to slip things by...promoted to Lt. in March under promotional system agreed to in contract, City is not allowed to promote chiefs fishin buddy or son in law.....have to promote highest on competitive test.
    For what its worth.
    Unions not all bad in Ohio

  17. #17
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    (Warning, long post since data is below. The meat is the first few lines though!)

    So using places like Hawaii and Alaska don't skew the cost of living??

    Good question.

    I chose to simply take the first six states from each to eliminate any obvious bias. I Didn't like including HI, but how to choose another fairly?

    Well tonight I found data on 389 communities at http://mazerecruiters.com/job.htm and thanks to the miracles of Excel I could sort and summarize it.

    Based on the value of $100,000 in Hartford, CT

    Average of 188 Right To Work Communities: $78,323
    Average of 201 Union Communities $84,612
    Difference: 9.2% More Expensive, on average, to live in a Union friendly state.

    # of Communities:
    100 Lowest Cost of Living areas:
    21 Union/79 Right-To-Work

    100 Next Lowest Cost of Living areas:
    31 Union/64 Right-To-Work

    100 Second Highest Cost of Living areas:
    59 Union/41 Right-To-Work

    89 Highest Cost of Living Areas:
    80 Union/9 Right-To-Work

    BTW, Alaska & Hawaii combined don't skew the averages up as much as Connecticut, Massachussets, New Jersey, and parts of California, New York, and Pennsylvania do!

    Another BTW, the most expensive place to live in the United States is New York City. The least expensive place is Kennett, MO.

    Right to Work States:
    Calhoun Co., Al $72,520
    Montgomery, AL $72,683
    Anniston, AL $72,764
    Gadsden, AL $74,309
    Hartselle, AL $74,553
    Decatur, AL $74,797
    Mobile, AL $75,203
    Huntsville, AL $76,260
    Cullman Co., AL* $76,667
    Birmingham, AL $78,211
    Little Rock, AR $72,846
    Jonesboro, AR* $72,114
    North Little Rock, AR $72,846
    Fort Smith, AR $74,065
    Hot Springs, AR* $76,098
    Rogers, AR $76,423
    Springdale, AR $76,423
    Fayetteville, AR $76,585
    Tucson, AZ $79,593
    Lake Havasu, AZ $80,407
    Mesa, AZ $81,626
    Phoenix, AZ $81,951
    Scottsdale, AZ $82,195
    Prescott/Pres. Valley, AZ $82,683
    Flagstaff, AZ* $85,122
    Pensacola, FL $77,724
    Jacksonville FL $77,886
    Tampa, FL $77,886
    Orlando, FL $79,431
    Panama City, FL $79,919
    Cape Coral, Fl $80,244
    Fort Myers, FL $80,407
    Sarasota, FL $80,650
    Bradenton, FL $81,463
    Fort Walton Beach, FL $81,545
    Tallahassee, FL $81,545
    West Palm Beach, FL $84,390
    Boca Raton, FL $84,472
    Miami/Dade Co., FL $85,854
    Albany, GA $74,390
    Americus, GA* $74,878
    Bainbridge, GA* $74,878
    Douglas, GA* $74,878
    Valdosta, GA* $74,878
    Rome, GA* $75,854
    Tifton, GA* $76,098
    Aiken, GA $76,179
    Augusta, GA $76,179
    Savannah, GA $76,667
    Warner Robins, GA $77,561
    Atlanta, GA $80,650
    Cedar Falls, IA $76,748
    Waterloo, IA $76,992
    Mason City, IA $77,398
    Des Moines, IA $78,130
    Davenport, IA $78,943
    Cedar Rapids, IA $79,431
    Dubuque, IA $83,171
    Twin Falls, ID* $79,675
    Idaho Falls, ID* $79,919
    Boise, ID $82,602
    Salina, KS* $75,772
    Hays KS* $79,024
    Manhattan, KS* $79,268
    Dodge City, KS* $79,675
    Garden City, KS* $80,081
    Lawrence, KS $81,057
    Bossier City, LA $74,228
    Shreveport, LA $74,390
    Alexandria, LA $74,797
    New Orleans, LA $76,016
    Monroe, LA $76,829
    Lake Charles, LA $76,911
    Lafayette, LA $77,317
    Baton Rouge, LA $79,106
    Hattiesburg, MS $73,171
    Gulfport, MS $75,691
    Jackson MS $77,154
    Marion/McDowell Co., NC* $75,041
    Burlington, NC $75,528
    Gastonia, NC $76,504
    Greenville, NC $77,154
    Morganton, NC $77,398
    Hickory, NC $77,561
    Rock Hill, NC $77,561
    Fayetteville, NC $78,049
    Charlotte, NC $78,699
    Statesville, NC* $78,943
    Winston-Salem, NC $79,512
    Chapel Hill, NC $79,593
    Durham, NC $79,593
    Greensboro/High Pt., NC $79,593
    Raleigh, NC $79,837
    Wilmington, NC $80,650
    Goldsboro, NC $81,220
    Dare County, NC* $81,301
    Asheville, NC $81,707
    Minot, ND* $76,667
    Fargo, ND $78,943
    Grand Forks, ND $79,431
    Moorhead, ND/MN $80,244
    Bismarck, ND $80,976
    Mandan, ND $81,057
    Lincoln, NE $73,821
    Hastings, NE* $74,146
    Grand Island, NE $75,935
    Omaha, NE $76,179
    Kearney, NE* $77,073
    Las Vegas, NV $81,707
    Carson City, NV* $82,846
    Elko, NV* $83,821
    Reno, NV $87,317
    Sparks, NV $88,049
    Columbia, SC $75,366
    Sumter, SC $75,691
    Spartanburg, SC $76,423
    North Charleston, SC $77,967
    Anderson, SC $78,130
    Charleston, SC $78,455
    Myrtle Beach, SC $78,780
    Greenville, SC $80,244
    Hilton Head Island SC* $93,252
    Sioux Falls, SD $76,423
    Rapid City, SD $78,293
    Vermillion, SD* $78,293
    Cookeville, TN* $70,325
    Clarksville, TN $72,276
    Kingsport, TN $73,821
    Dyersburg, TN* $74,065
    Bristol, TN $74,146
    Cleveland, TN* $74,634
    Knoxville, TN $74,634
    Johnson City, TN $75,041
    Memphis, TN $75,285
    Chattanooga, TN $75,854
    Jackson, Madison Co., TN $76,260
    Morristown, TN* $77,236
    Nashville, TN $77,236
    Amarillo, TX $73,415
    Weatherford, TX $74,065
    Arlington, TX $74,146
    Forth Worth, TX $74,309
    Victoria, TX $74,553
    Waco, TX $74,797
    Killeen, TX $75,041
    Wichita Falls, TX $75,122
    Lubbock, TX $75,203
    Temple, TX $75,285
    Odessa, TX $75,772
    Abilene, TX $76,260
    Midland, TX $76,260
    Longview, TX $76,504
    Marshall, TX $76,504
    Edinburg, TX $76,911
    Mission, TX $76,911
    San Antonio, TX $76,992
    McAllen, TX $77,154
    Houston, TX $77,805
    San Marcos, TX $78,049
    Austin, TX $78,130
    Georgetown, TX $78,130
    El Paso, TX $78,211
    Conroe, TX $78,455
    Bryan/College Station, TX $79,024
    Beaumont, TX $79,268
    Dallas, TX $79,431
    Port Arthur, TX $79,431
    Tyler, TX $79,675
    Coppell, TX $84,146
    Cedar City, UT* $76,098
    Salt Lake City, UT $78,293
    Provo, UT $80,650
    Orem, UT $80,732
    Logan, UT* $82,033
    St. George, UT* $82,358
    Bristol, VA $74,065
    Johnson City, VA $74,065
    Lynchburg, VA $74,715
    Roanoke, VA $75,447
    Newport News, VA $77,561
    Norfolk, VA $77,561
    Virginia Peninsula, VA $77,642
    Virginia Beach, VA $77,724
    Petersburg, VA $81,220
    Fredericksburg, VA $82,276
    Richmond, VA $82,276
    Prince William, VA $86,423
    Cheyenne, WY $77,805
    Gillette, WY $77,967
    Casper, WY $80,407
    189 Communities Average $78,323

    Union States
    Fairbanks, AK* $95,691
    Anchorage, AK $96,341
    Juneau, AK* $105,528
    Kodiak, AK* $107,642
    Bakersfield, CA $82,683
    Fresno, CA $84,878
    Porterville, CA $85,610
    Tulare, CA $85,610
    Visalia, CA $85,691
    Lompoc, CA $88,049
    Riverside City, CA $88,130
    San Bernardino, CA $88,211
    Santa Barb.Maria, CA $88,374
    Sacramento, CA $90,000
    Long Beach, CA $90,976
    Palm Springs, CA $91,545
    Los Angeles, CA $91,626
    San Diego, CA $93,415
    Santa Rosa, CA $98,130
    Marin Co., CA $106,260
    San Mateo Co., CA $111,789
    San Jose, CA $113,577
    San Francisco/Oakland, CA $123,089
    Pueblo, CO $74,959
    Loveland, CO. $77,642
    Grand Junction, CO $78,943
    Colorado Springs, CO $81,626
    Gunnison, CO* $81,626
    Denver, CO $83,008
    Fort Collins, CO $86,179
    Glenwood Springs, CO* $87,398
    Boulder, CO $90,813
    Hartford, CT $100,000
    Washington, DC,MD,VA $97,805
    Dover, DE $80,813
    Newark, DE $83,577
    Wilmington, DE $84,390
    Honolulu, HI $126,585
    Decatur, IL $76,341
    Carbondale, IL* $78,293
    Quad-Cities, IL,IA $78,374
    Springfield, IL $78,455
    Danville, IL* $78,537
    Quincy, IL* $79,106
    Rock Island,IL $79,431
    Moline, IL $79,512
    Champaign/Urbana, IL $79,919
    Dixon, IL $81,301
    DeKalb, IL* $82,195
    Rockford, IL $82,358
    Normal, IL $83,171
    Bloomington, IL $83,333
    Joliet/Will Co., IL $85,854
    Schaumburg, IL $91,789
    Chicago, IL $92,602
    Fort Wayne , In $74,390
    Allen Co., IN $74,472
    South Bend, IN $74,634
    Elkhart/Goshen, IN $74,797
    Evansville, IN $75,772
    Indianapolis, IN $77,317
    Anderson, In $77,886
    Laporte , IN $78,293
    Michigan City, IN $78,293
    Bloomington, IN $78,780
    Muncie, IN $79,675
    Danville, KY* $72,764
    Covington, KY $74,146
    Paducah, KY* $74,472
    Louisville, KY $74,797
    Murray, KY* $75,285
    Henderson, KY $75,610
    Hopkinsville, KY $76,504
    Lexington, KY $77,967
    Baltimore, MA $80,813
    Fitchburg/Leominster, MA $81,463
    Springfield, MA $93,740
    Boston, MA $103,577
    Cumberland, MD $80,813
    Worcester County, MD* $86,016
    Muskegon, MI $81,626
    Holland, MI $81,707
    Grand Rapids, MI $81,789
    Benton Harbor, MI $84,634
    St. Joseph, MI $84,715
    East Lansing, MI $85,203
    Lansing, MI $85,285
    Detroit, Oakland Co., MI $91,626
    St. Cloud, MN $80,407
    Rochester, MN $81,057
    Minneapolis , MN $82,683
    St. Paul, MN $83,902
    Kennett, MO* $69,593
    Popular Bluff, MO* $71,789
    Joplin, MO $72,602
    Nevada, MO* $74,309
    Springfield, MO $74,553
    Columbia, MO $75,122
    Jefferson, MO $75,366
    Kansas City, MO $76,992
    Lee's Summit, MO $76,992
    Kirksville, MO* $77,073
    St. Louis, MO $77,967
    Helena, MT* $72,764
    Great Falls, MT $79,106
    Billings, MT $80,325
    Missoula, MT* $81,382
    Bozeman, MT* $83,252
    Manchester, NH $86,911
    Newark, NJ $101,057
    Morristown/Morris Co., NJ $102,683
    Hobbs, NM* $73,902
    Clovis-Portales, NM* $75,528
    Carlsbad, NM* $77,073
    Roswell, NM* $77,724
    Las Cruces, NM $81,382
    Farmington, NM* $81,463
    Albuquerque, NM $82,358
    Santa Fe, NM $88,455
    Los Alamos, NM $92,195
    Buffalo, NY $80,732
    Glens Falls, NY $85,285
    Binghampton/Broome Co., NY $86,504
    Syracuse, NY $86,829
    Albany, NY $87,236
    Rome, NY $87,561
    Utica, NY $87,561
    Rochester, NY $88,618
    Cortland, NY* $91,220
    Poughkeepsie, NY $92,358
    Westchester Co., NY $108,618
    New York, NY $161,789
    Akron, OH $78,049
    Warren, OH $78,049
    Findlay, OH* $79,431
    Mansfield, OH $79,512
    Toledo, OH $80,244
    Springfield, OH $81,545
    Cincinnati, OH $81,870
    Dayton, OH $82,033
    Elyria, OH $82,927
    Cleveland, OH $83,415
    Columbus, OH $85,772
    Pryor Creek, OK* $72,276
    Ardmore, OK* $72,439
    Muskogee, OK $73,984
    Tulsa, OK $75,203
    Oklahoma City, OK $75,285
    Lawton, OK $75,366
    Stillwater, OK* $75,610
    Bartlesville, OK* $76,016
    Klamath Falls, OR* $78,537
    Bend, OR* $83,659
    Springfield, OR $83,902
    Eugene, OR $84,146
    Salem, OR $84,228
    Portland, OR $85,854
    Altoona, PA $77,642
    Hazelton, PA $80,000
    Wilkes Barre, PA $80,000
    Scranton, PA $80,081
    Lancaster, PA $82,520
    Harrisburg, PA $82,602
    Easton, PA $83,252
    Bethlehem, PA $83,333
    Allentown, PA $83,415
    Erie, PA $84,715
    Pittsburgh, PA $90,000
    Philadelphia, PA $101,220
    Providence, RI $93,089
    Barre, VT* $85,691
    Montpelier, VT* $85,691
    Chittenden Co., VT $91,220
    Kennewick, WA $80,894
    Pasco, WA $81,382
    Richland, WA $81,626
    Tacoma, WA $83,577
    Spokane, WA $85,285
    Bellingham, WA $85,691
    Pullman, WA* $86,016
    Skagit Co. WA* $89,024
    Bremerton, WA $90,894
    Seattle, WA $91,545
    Marinette, WI* $80,325
    Appleton, WI $80,569
    Fond Du Lac, WI* $80,569
    Oshkosh, WI $80,569
    Menasha, WI $80,650
    Neenah, WI $80,650
    Green Bay, WI $81,220
    Sheboygan, WI $81,382
    Stevens Point-Plover, WI* $81,951
    Marshfield, WI* $82,439
    Eau Claire, WI $82,764
    Wausau, WI $84,390
    Milwaukee, WI $84,959
    Waukesha, WI $85,041
    Madison, WI $85,122
    Berkeley, CO.,WV $73,659
    Martinsburg, WV $73,659
    Huntington, WV $77,480
    Charleston, WV $80,000

    201 Communities Average $84,612
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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  18. #18
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    In reference tothe comment about not getting overtime,wouldnt have that in a union state. Besides that gauarantted by federal labor law any way.What good is getting comptime of in the summer. ya cant eat it or pay the bills with it, and you have to be able to get to take it.

    Better brush up on your federal labor law. The FLSA allows state and political sub-divisions to use compensatory time off in lieu of paid overtime.

    We are a Union state. The Highway department is Unionized. The Town pays general gov't and highway workers overtime in 1.5 hours of paid leave instead of 1.5 hours of pay. (Not sure about the school system, but OT there would be minimal)

    Essentially town employees receive a steady paycheck. I hesitate to say "salary" since they *must* receive time off in lieu of overtime. It better not be what they're counting on putting food on the table with. Some years it snows a lot on evenings and weekends. Some years it snows a lot, but during normal working hours. Some years it doesn't snow. Whether you receive cash or time off, they can't rely on that time for income.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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    Cost of living comparison’s by themselves just aint gonna cut it ….what about quality of life? (I’ll see if I can find some stats this weekend…..)
    Till then:
    With research from Andersen's Business Location Services practice and analyses of their own, editors at FORTUNE magazine rank these cities in North America as the best for business:

    1. New York City – Union State
    2. San Francisco – Union State
    3. Chicago – Union State
    4. Washington, D.C.
    5. San Jose, California – Union State
    6. Atlanta – Right to Work
    7. Boston – Union State
    8. Los Angeles – Union State
    9. Dallas – Right to Work State
    10. Denver – Union State

  20. #20
    Jolly Roger
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    So, who's rootin' fer who in the SUPER BOWL!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  21. #21
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    Cost of Living has to do with the statements you earn more in Union states. You also pay more to live there, and most workers Union or not get paid more to work in those states...so it skews the average significantly.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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  22. #22
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    I am a career, non-union engineer in South Carolina. My brother in law is a career, union, firefighter-paramedic in Wisconsin. I make a grand total of $500 less a year, accrue more sick and annual leave time each year, and can retire after 25 years of service, where as he can retire after 27. The last time I went to visit, a 20 oz Coke cost me $1.25, a gallon of regular gas was $1.45, whereas here a 20 oz Coke is around $1.00, and so is a gallon of gas. Who has the better deal here?

    I'm not anti-union, I just don't feel that in my situation a union would do any better than what we already have in place.

  23. #23
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    Chicago Fire $33,522 per year starting
    Davenpot Iowa fire $32,383 thats for Fire.If you are a medic in Davenport you get more than a medic in Chicago and you only about 400+ off a first year FDNY member!Iowa RTW but Davenport has a union local 17 if my memory is right.Now I have no problem with unions either.My great grandfather worked for Farmal in Rock Island Ill and was very proud of his union service,Father in law worked for Deere same story.But I refuse to be forced to one join a group I do not agree with or be told how to vote in elections(Common here if union)I refuse to be told I can not do with my time what I want,some unions frown on memebers volunteering.But I will not bash those that belong.Unions built this country yes but they must also realize times change and there needs to be some understanding between memebers and themselves.I will support any union I would join but I would really have to agree with their policies before I joined.I had a chance when younger to go to work for a railroad in town.If I was not accepted by the union I would be fired.No matter if the company liked me or not.If you lost your membership you lost your job no matter your seniority.Good unions yes! Stay safe fellas

  24. #24
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    FOR MANY YEARS after the advent of the paid New York City Fire Department in 1865, numerous efforts were made by employees to organize into benevolent or fraternal associations. The inherent danger of the job, coupled with poor working conditions, inadequate wages, no discernible benefits or legal protections for firefighters, led to the eventual formation in 1917 of the Uniformed Firemen's Association (UFA).

    Today, the UFA is a leader in fighting for its members' rights. The FDNY of today for firefighters is a far cry from what it was when the department began because of the efforts of UFA organizers, who were certainly "the Bravest" in the face of threats and intimidation by city officials.
    The following is a history of the UFA from its organization to today.

    1917 A few progressive firefighter leaders brought about the formation of a new organization under the name of the Uniformed Firemen's Association of Greater New York (UFA). Membership was restricted to men in the Department below the rank of Lieutenant.

    1918 Organized in July 1918, the UFA became Local 94, International Association of Fire Fighters, chartered by the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Firemen were working "Continuous duty," of 151 hours per week with 3 hours off each day. Annual salary was $1,500.

    1920 Firemen won a more livable wage with an increase in annual salary to $1,900.

    1921 The Honor Emergency Fund is created. Pre-dating the built-in job protections and benefits that later were created through labor-management bargaining, the fund provided financial assistance to active and retired firefighters and their families due to death, illness or injury.

    1922 UFA pressure resulted in a two-platoon system of 84 hours per week.

    1927 The UFA brought about legislation known as the "Right of Appeal Law," granting civil service employees the right to appear before legislative bodies to express grievances. Previous to the enactment of this particular measure, civil service employees could be denied the right by departmental edict.

    1928 UFA won the right of referendum for a salary increase, with voters granting Firemen an annual salary of $3,000.

    1932 Mayor Jimmy Walker pressured city employees to accept a "payless furlough," as the city was on the verge of bankruptcy The UFA was the only group to refuse to submit.

    1933 Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia had a bill passed reducing salaries of all city employees, effective July 1, 1934. The UFA fought the bill until it was rescinded.

    1936 The UFA succeeded in having the threeplatoon system (or eight-hour day) installed in the Fire Department through a popular referendum of the voters during the general election, although in effect this law has never been literally followed.
    A local law granting a 3/4 pension for line-of-duty injuries was passed. Also passed was the Hospitalization Law which mandated better medical care for firemen who had suffered on the job injuries.

    1937 The UFA succeeded in having a provision inserted in the State Constitution that pensions were a contractual obligation of the State.

    1939 The voters passed a UFA sponsored resolution giving firemen a shorter work week, reducing it from 84 to 50 hours.

    1940 Two major pension systems were installed: Article 1, whereby members appointed prior to April 1, 1940, were to pay 5% or 6% of their salaries, and Article 1B under which new appointees were required to contribute 9% to 14%, on an actuarial basis.

    1943 The UFA and FDNY establish the Medal of Supreme Sacrifice.

    1944 Some 1,800 members of the Fire Department served in the armed forces during World War II.
    On Jan. 1, 1944, the three-platoon system was suspended and the remaining members worked 84 hours per week.

    1946 The work-week was gradually reduced to 60 hours per week. First-grade firefighter earns $3,900 per year.

    1947 A 28-day vacation for firefighters and numerous pension improvements went into effect.

    1948 UFA negotiates 20-year retirement. Return to the two-platoon system, although the city had the right to keep the three-platoon system. (See 1961 for more on this.)
    1951 First-grade firefighter earns $4,400 per annum.
    1953 The Mayor's Management Survey Committee recommended the elimination of some 52 fire houses. The UFA opposed the plan and it was disapproved.

    46-hour work week won.
    Uniform allowance and Honor Emergency Death Benefits inaugurated.
    UFA starts its first official Political Action program.

    1957 A new Constitutional Convention came up for approval by the voters, the UFA campaigned against it, and the Convention was defeated. The UFA took this position because it was the intention of pressure groups to invalidate the contractual obligations on pensions.

    1960 UFA successfully leads battle for increased pensions of widows and retired men.
    1961 40-Hour work week mandated by referendum.
    1/60th pension benefit secured for all Firefighters.
    Four paid holidays successfully negotiated, as well as emergency overtime paid in cash.
    To prevent any return to the three-platoon system, the UFA has it abolished both legislatively at the state level and by voter referendum in NYC.

    1962 Equalized vacations for all first-grade firefighters.
    Residency restrictions liberalized. Paid holidays increased to six.
    Dues check-off inaugurated. Prior to that, all dues had been collected by delegates.

    1963 Ten paid holidays secured. A two and one-half percent reduction in pension rate achieved.
    Improved 1/60th bill for Article 1 members; half final pay for Article 1 B members.
    Honor Emergency Death Benefit increased again.
    UFA's Security Benefit Fund established.


    1965 Number of paid holidays increased to 11 annually.
    Dental and Optical Plans added to UFA Security Benefit Fund. Members and families given choice of health plans.
    Death Gamble provided.
    Payment of time-and-a-half for overtime gained.
    First-grade firefighter earns $8,483 base pay.
    UFA begins lobbying for more manpower, due to the increasing number of fires, runs and civilian deaths.

    1967 Pension contributions reduced by five percent.
    Longevity established.
    Pension escalation for disability retirements and service retirements after age 62.
    Personal leave day granted.

    1968 The UFA successfully gets the "no strike" clause eliminated from the IAFF Constitution, then seeks approval of the membership to order a strike. This was prompted by the city's foot dragging in negotiating a new contract. Threats lead to negotiations and a contract within two months.
    UFA and the city reach agreement on a new benefit for members who retire after 20 years of service-the Variable Supplements Fund (VSF). Legislation is signed by the Governor in 1970, and the first payments are made in 1973.
    First-grade firefighter base pay reaches $10,325.
    Union name is changed from the "UNIFORMED FIREMEN'S ASSOCIATION" to the "UNIFORMED FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION".

    1969 Permanent "Lung Bill" signed into law by Gov. Rockefeller, followed one year later by the Heart Bill. The Heart Bill was an original goal of the UFA, beginning with its first President, Albert E. Guinness.
    UFA achieves vested pension option for members after 15 years of service.
    Through negotiations, UFA obtains overtime pay for ordered overtime work, as well as night differential.
    City agrees to increase companies and manning, creating one new Division, five battalions and eight companies by March of 1970. Manpower increases to 11,891 firefighters.

    1970 The UFA-sponsored "one-man, onevote" resolution is adopted by the IAFF, giving New York City's Local 94 greater representation in the international.
    In late 1970, contract demands again fall on deaf ears at City Hall, prompting yet another strike threat from the UFA.

    1971 $25,000 line-of-duty death benefit achieved for New York City Firefighters.
    1972 In January, a new contract was reached (retroactive to January 1971) which included guaranteed five-man manning on all apparatus. Also, night differential was increased from 5% to 10%, and portal-to-portal and "clean-up" pay (today MOPE), was also secured.
    The number of NYC firefighters reaches its highest-12,500.
    The Rand Corporation, which was retained by the city to conduct a study of the fire service, recommends closing six companies and relocation of seven others. The plan is implemented, and the UFA responds by holding mass rallies and filing a lawsuit.

    The short-lived strike of 1973 is over!

    1973 After several threats over the past few years to hold a job action in response to the city's unwillingness to negotiate a new contract, the UFA goes on strike. Members walk out at 8:30 a.m. on November 6, but return to work five-and-a-half hours later after Supreme Court Justice Sidney A. Fine ordered the city to negotiate with the union. By December, the union had reached agreement with the city on a one-year contract.
    UFA wins increase in compulsory insurance (compensation insurance) coverage for active Firefighters from $2,000 to $5,000.

    1974 Citing critical financial problems, the city disbanded eight companies
    (E-1 3, E- 91 - 2, E-203, E-256, E-272, L-17-2, L-26-2, and L-103-2). Lawsuits attempting to stop the closings (one brought by the UFA in Supreme Court, the other brought by citizens in Federal court) are unsuccessful.
    Base pay of a first-grade firefighter increased to $17,458.

    1975 As the city grapples with severe fiscal problems, more than 40,000 city workers are laid off, including 1,600 firefighters - although 700 are hired back within three days. The UFA continues to provide health, hospital and dental care to these members and their families. The union also is instrumental in getting federal jobs for 250 brothers and in having another 300 hired in temporary jobs as bus drivers for the Transit Authority.
    Citing the fiscal crisis, the City reneges on minimum manning provisions, reducing to 42 the number of five-man engines. (By 1982, the number of engines riding with five-firefighters is upped to about 140, leaving 71 four-man engines.)


    LEGISLATIVE COMMITTE 1976: Andrew Bennardo, President Mike Maye, Vincent Bollon, and Tom reilly discuss Albany legislative agenda

    1976 The UFA establishes a Security Benefit Fund for retired members.
    Federal legislation is enacted providing assistance to the family of a Firefighter who gives his life in the line-of-duty ($50,000 to surviving dependents).
    The first annual Delegates Seminar is held.


    THE FIRST DELEGATES SEMINAR, 1976:
    (l to r) Thomas Fitzgerald of Martin Segal & Co.; UFA attorney Bruce Simon; President Michael Maye; James Dunseith of Shields Capital Management, and Melvin Lechner, pension consultant

    1977 As the number of fires soared in the mid-1970's, and the fiscal crisis began to abate, the city agreed to restore five-man manning on 20 engine companies In June 1977. By this time, all firefighters who had been laid off and wanted to return were rehired by the FDNY.
    New programs created by Executive Board include free legal consultation and voluntary group life insurance program.

    1978 UFA achieves increase in pensions for line-of-duty widows through legislative actions signed by Gov. Carey
    Union negotiates increases in compulsory insurance coverage for active Firefighters from $5,000 to $7,500, retired Firefighters from $2,000 to $4,000.
    UFA inaugurates group life insurance program.


    Seated at left is UFA Negotiating Committe, led by President Richard Vizzini, with city officials on right, led by Deputy Mayor Basil Paterson. Photo was taken as they ironed out final details on the 1978-80 contract.

    1980 UFA plays key role with Uniformed Forces Coalition, which struck a deal with the city on a two-year contract with salary raises of 9% and 8% and no give- backs.
    Members vote to end the union's 63-year affiliation with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).
    Problems at the medical office, which had been brewing for years, came to a head in January 1980, when the UFA and 1,000 firefighters rallied outside the Medical Office to protest mistreatment and improper care rendered. The protest led to the appointment of a special panel by Mayor Koch which recommended several operational changes at the Bureau.


    1981 After many years of struggle, a supplemental cost-of-living increase was passed by the state Legislature, providing pension increases ranging from 3% to 29% for retirees.

    1982 As a unified show of support for their contract demands, more than 10,000 firefighters, police officers and correction officers marched on City Hall. Negotiating once again under the umbrella Uniformed Forces Coalition, the union leaders came back several months later with a two-year contract of 8% per year, one-percent higher than the civilian coalition had received earlier that year.
    The UFA filed for a court injunction to halt the retest of women who failed the Fire Department physical exam in 19


    1983 The UFA scored a huge political victory securing for members who were laid off in 1975 and subsequently rehired the right to buy back their time for pension credit. The new law affected about 950 firefighters. Also, back wages deferred as a result of the mid-70's fiscal crisis were negotiated by the UFA, with the City set to begin issuing payments in 1984 to active and retired members who were owed the monies.
    Union sues to bring five-firefighter minimum-manning level to the remaining 71 engine companies still riding with four firefighters.


    President Jim Boyle and members at 1984 rally outside FD medical office.

    1984 UFA lobbying resulted in a $5.2 million boost in the FDNY budget, including thecreation of two new engine companies, two truck companies, one battalion and the Haz Mat unit.
    The UFA rolls out the Med-Mobile, offering free comprehensive medical exams to members.


    Operating a heavy caliber stream.

    1985 A negotiated contract is rejected by the Executive Board and the delegates. The sticking point is the city's offer to restore five-firefighter manning to only six additional engine companies, out of 73 that still have four-firefighter manning.
    1987 A Federal Appeals court threw out a previous federal judge's ruling that would have turned the Firefighter selection process into a computerized lottery. Federal Judge Charles Sifton's "bizarre" decision to group all physical test scores into three "bands" or levels concerning exam 1162 was overturned on an appeal brought by the UFA.
    1989 After the membership rejected two negotiated agreements, the UFA was forced into a disastrous arbitration where the city's Office of Collective Bargaining "scoped out" several key provisions, including minimum manning, vacation, the group chart and the firefighter's job description. It would take several years and several negotiated contracts to win back some of these important provisions.
    1990 Calling it unsafe for firefighters and citizens, the UFA urged the city's Office of Collective Bargaining to eliminate the Fire Department's roster manning program, which-despite promises to the contrary-had failed to provide promised manning levels on engines (five firefighters) the majority of the time.
    For the first time, a retiree, Jimmy Boyle, is elected UFA president.

    1991 The UFA launches a political action committee, Fire PAC, to fund effective lobbying efforts in City Hall, Albany and Washington, DC.
    The union purchased a five-story building at 204-208 East 23rd Street in Manhattan, to serve as its new Headquarters.
    Proposed draconian cuts of 10% of the FDNY budget-including firehouse closings-are avoided due to intense UFA lobbying efforts. The Department takes only a $1.3 million budget hit, out of a proposed $57 million cut.


    1993 A pilot CPR program begins in Brooklyn, where firefighters respond to medical emergencies. The program, established without union input due to the loss of the firefighter's job description in the '87-90 arbitration, is expanded a year later to include the use of defibrillators.
    The FDNY signs a $53 million, five-year contract with a private firm, Fechheimer Bros. Co., to operate a Quartermaster store for uniforms and equipment.


    In 1994, after he had signed the Cancer Bill into law, the UFA endorsed Mario Cuomo for Governor. Ironically, both Sgt.-at-Arms Dan DeFranco and Firefighter Frank Salfelder, pictured here, later died of cancer, but the Cancer Bill helped provide for their families.

    1994 The Cancer Bill, allowing for line-of-duty pensions for members disabled by six different types of cancer, was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo, capping an eight-year struggle to protect firefighters and officers.
    1995 UFA settles Roster Staffing Hearings restoring five-man manning to 61 engine companies, and ending six years of hearings and legal wrangling over the contentious manning issue. In conjunction, 96 hours of RSOT is guaranteed for every firefighter.
    Members vote 2-1 to reaffiliate with the IAFF.
    First Legislative Day in Albany sponsored by UFA, and attended by several dozen members.

    1996 A major victory is won by the Executive Board with the elimination of the Home Visitation and PMLA programs.
    The Widows’ and Children's fund distributes $440,000 in funds to 220 children of deceased members.
    The Compensation Accrual Fund (CAF), or annuity, is converted into a self- directed plan, so that members have direct control over their investment funds.
    The Fire Department is merged with the city's Emergency Medical Service (EMS).


    1997 UFA negotiates five-year contract which includes chauffeur pay and restoration of several key provisions lost in disastrous 1987-90 arbitration decision: 39 hours vacation leave, and increased longevity and annuity pay ments. In the final year, the contract will provide a first-grade firefighter with a salary of $60,000, excluding any minimum manning overtime, CFR-D or chauffeur pay. In addition, contract includes provision for Safety Committee comprised of Department and union officials which results in an additional five five-man engine companies, bringing UFA-negotiated number up to 66 five man engines.
    1998 UFA negotiates and members ratify CFR-D agreement including a 3% pay differential, retroactive pay, training for ladder company members, and a voluntary feature that ultimately makes the program optional for all firefighters.
    The UFA celebrates its 80th anniversary.
    ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
    NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
    343
    CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
    LT. John Ginley Engine 40
    FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
    FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
    FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
    FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
    FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
    FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
    FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40

    Charleston 9
    "If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
    *******************CLICK HERE*****************

  25. #25
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    There are a lot of good points here being made on both sides, but unfortunately many of these points have nothing to do with what is truly the central issue.

    I don't think anyone could or would disagree that the IAFF, the UFA, and other firefighter and rescue worker labor organizations have done great things for their constituents over the years. E40FDNYL35's post, although obviously a little biased, was a pretty complete list of union accomplishments, and it's impressive as hell.

    But no one is arguing that, really. What we ARE arguing is the morality and ethics of coercing people into joining an organization (associating, in other words...just not "freely associating") as a condition of employment - an organization that not only does good things for them in terms of work benefits and safety, but also presumes to speak for them politically by sending millions of dollars to political candidates and causes which may have NOTHING to do with the political views of the member(s). It's a silencing of political speech through money.

    I would even argue that all the back and forth over salaries and whatnot is irrelevant, because from looking over Dal90's list, and hearing some discussion on relative benefits and cost of living in different parts of the country, it's fairly obvious that there's no "smoking gun" here. You're simply not going to find, all things considered, a particularly damning piece of evidence that is so overwhelming (like, say, a municipal department in a "right to work" state forcing its members to eat dog sh*t at least once per shift) that you can say - "See?". The simple fact is that there are normal variations in pay and benefits in the fire service, just as there are in any other occupation with national reach. It's blindingly obvious, so all this back and forth about "Oh yeah? Well, the guys in the next town over only get TWO weeks of vacation to start!! Horrors!!!" is so irrelevant and beside the point.

    The thing that really SHOULD be debated is whether it is 'right' from any perspective to force people to join an organization and pay dues even if they don't want to. And I can hear the cries now - "Well, they DO want to!!" OK, so why force them then? And is it right for such organizations to presume to speak for their membership as a monolithic whole when it comes to politics? I don't think so. That's stealing someone's voice.
    "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).

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