1. #1
    HHoffman
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    Exclamation Contracting Out Of Fire Protection

    Let's kick this issue around. Why should the government keep Federal Firefighter over contractors? I see this issue hitting the floor during the next few years.

    I think it would be a big mistake to drop the prohibition on contracting out. You tell me a contractor is going to get up in the middle of the night and go check a furnace in a quarters. I don't see them working 72 hours shifts, that means more people to do the same work. For profit Fire and EMS is a joke, they only see the bottom line!

    When this issue hits the floor we are going to need all hands working to beat it!! Let me hear your ideas on this issue.

    ------------------
    Henry C. Hoffman Jr.

  2. #2
    crashman
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    .."When this issue hits the floor we are going to need all hands working to beat it!!"...

    Agreed.

    Two words: Congressional pressure

    Was tried here two years ago. The only thing that saved us was pressure by both of our reps to squash it.

    [This message has been edited by crashman (edited 06-10-2001).]

  3. #3
    firedog30
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    You bet we better keep the pressure on the Congress to maintain the moratorium on contracting out. DoD firefighters may be underpaid and overworked on hours, but we can and do get the job done. My current base just passed an ORI with an "Excellent" rating. I was at a BRAC-closed base that ended up with a fire protecion contractor. Besides paying the employees aobut $6.50/hr and demanding they buy-in to the company's stock, they only performed as the contract was written--fire protection. The Port Authority operating the facility found out they had no EMS, no HAZ-MAT, no Confined Space, no Inspections, and a host of other things that we formerly provided. The hired contractor was (very) willing to discuss additional service for additional $$$. Imagine that...... I guess you get what you pay for.

  4. #4
    Herb King
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    As part of the crew who fought to get the original legislation and the subsequent passing legislation through and signed I can definitely tell you that Congressional pressure is the ONLY way to keep contractors out of your jobs. For three years we pounded the halls of congress, talking to anyone who would listen, met with congressional sub committees, testified before OMB and wrote everyone we knew to do the same. We had a phone tree that could get information to 80% of the Federal Departments within 24 hours, a mailing list for regular updates on action and special mailing for breaking news. No this was not a Union, it was brother firefighters working together with contact points in Lakehurst, Ft Watchuka, SF Bay Area, Mississipi, Willow Grove Pa and other locations that worked together. I remember walking into a Southern Senators office and he told us first up that he was aware of our position because he had recieved over 10,000 letters on the matter and he knew there were not that many Firefighters in his district. Whenever we went to non-home representative we had the names and permission of FF's from their district to say we were talking for them. But nothing beats a home town person write, e-mailing or calling HIS or HER Senator and Congressma to tell them that THEY want to keep the Federal Firefighters federal and non-contract.
    The horror stories like the one before are true, Pamona NJ went contract and the "add-on"s tripled the contract within two years. The ANG had to step in and send drilling reservist on rotation to cover their operations there for fire protection. Hanover shipyard went contract (before the moratorium) and cost overuns were standard, while the prosie of hiring current employees at a "reasonable" salary lasted until the contractor could find "cause" to fire or force the crossover feds to leave and hire off the street for $5. per hour.
    If you want more information about the sins of the past of contractors let me know and we can talk. You need to know that recent memos from the Army Chief of Staff's office support the revocation of the moratorium and other DOD entities are right behind them. DOn't wait till the bill is on the floor or the Executive Memorandum is ready to sign to talk to your representatives.
    Herb King (S.C.O.T.)

  5. #5
    HHoffman
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    Cool

    Thanks for the information Herb. It is nice to know that some people with the real information are still around. I have already sent an email to Mr. Spector of PA, and will be send others out soon.

    ------------------
    Henry C. Hoffman Jr.

  6. #6
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    Hi All
    Just received a call here at the station, from our local AFGE President, telling us he had learn of the Bush administrations plans to contracting out fire and security in 2002.
    I am old and time to go, 25 years service, but I care about my fellow firefighters. Has anyone heard that the Bush administrations plans on sending us all to pasture in 2002?
    Have a GREAT SAFE 4th JULY
    David Wilder
    Capt. FD
    U.S. Navy
    Communications base
    Cutler, Maine
    email woodshop303@yahoo.com

  7. #7
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    6 July 2001

    Memorandum for IAFF Federal Locals

    Subject: Contracting out

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    Over the past few days, members have posted several messages on yahoo and other areas and local leaders have raised concern over a recent Federal times article. The article
    discussed Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld testimony before the Armed Services Committee on the Proposed Amended DOD Authorization bill.

    For those that don't know, DOD each year submits through the Chairman of the Armed Service committee(s), the agencies request for program funding, troop strength and other items. Basically, this is a wish list of the President and the Secretary of Defense. The Authorization bill now gets sent to each subcommittee for review, hearings, amendments etc. After that it goes back to the full committee for final action before being sent to the floor of each
    body. There are two separate bills for DOD, the first is Authorization bill which is more or less a planning bill and then the Appropriations bill which actually funds the planning items that Congress and the Administration desire.

    For the first time in a number of years, the proposed and amended DOD Authorization bill does not contain language that would repeal the prohibition on contracting out of federal fire fighters and security guards.
    This does not mean that a member of the Armed services committee can't insert
    language into the bill that would repeal the prohibition it just means that it is not on DOD radar screen at this time.

    The Federal times article mentions DOD's overall concept of contracting out everything that is not core to the mission. That is not necessarily a new concept but it is one that with the change in administration, things are getting a different perspective.

    Myself along with the IAFF have been monitoring all of the information as
    well as having key meetings with members of Congress including a recent meeting with the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee. They have assured us they are monitoring the issue very closely and support our position. We have also been in constant contact with a member of the GAO
    Commercial Activities panel who is very influential with the Bush Administration. He is also a longtime friend of the IAFF.

    We have information that some other unions are asking their members to contact Congress over concerns with repealing the contracting out. We feel that this is premature and may actually cause a member of congress that is
    pro-contracting out to become aware of our prohibition and actually move to repeal it. We have been successful over many years in our strategy of low profile lobbying with key members. When needed, we have sounded the "Call to Arms" but at this time, we are asking everyone to not contact anyone
    regarding this issue. We will keep you fully informed in the event that anything changes.

    Fraternally,


    Nick Davila, Vice President
    IAFF 16th District
    Office 210-337-1003
    Cell 210-825-0322
    Michael P. O'Neill, State Representative
    IAFF 16th District
    Office 202-438-0545

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the information Mike. It makes things easy when you have up to date information, and know what is being done. I trust that Mike C., Nick, and you will take good care of the membership. Again thanks for the post.
    Henry C. Hoffman Jr.

  9. #9
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    I have just recently received an "ACTION ALERT" from our union requesting we act now not later to head off the Bush Administrations sneaky attempt to remove the moratorium from law. I have included below the web pages for Congress so that everyone will know how to contact their representatives. ACT TODAY!!!

    All our members of Congress can be accessed from one of the following sites:
    Senators - http://www.senate.gov/
    Representatives - http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html

  10. #10
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    Having been involved in the fight against Contracting of Federal Fire Fighters since the 1970's, I would like to add a few thoughts to this discussion.

    Every year, in some manner, the threat, or potential threat of Contracting appears. And every year, some people, with good intentions are ready to charge Washington to "Stop" the threat. No game plan, no direction, just start banging on Congressional doors...

    At this time, as IAFF Vice President Davila has stated, there is NO threat to our current prohibition. Not to say that it won't appear in the future, there is still a long congressional session yet to play out, but as long as the DoD is not pushing it as an item, it is, at least in my opinion, Not the time to start any lobbying effort.

    However, a recent poster stated:

    "I have just recently received an "ACTION ALERT" from our union requesting we act now
    not later to head off the Bush Administrations sneaky attempt to remove the moratorium from law. I have included below the web pages for Congress so that everyone will know how to contact their representatives. ACT TODAY!!! "

    To that I would add, can you post a copy of that Action Alert, or send it to VP Davila? Without knowing, or caring which Union sent it to you, I believe that we all should be on the same page. If indeed there is a problem, we should be ready to take action, if not, we should not be the ones to create it.

    Joe Love
    IAFF F-61
    Navy Yard, Philly

  11. #11
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    IMPORTANT: This information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time or sent to others using government equipment, because it suggests action to be taken in support or against legislation.

    ACTION ALERT

    It is very likely that the Bush Administration will attempt to eliminate one of the most important safeguards in law against contracting out. It is absolutely imperative that you contact your Senators and your Representatives now, particularly if they serve on the Senate or House Armed Services Committees, and tell them to oppose any effort to repeal the moratorium against contracting out fire fighters and security guards. The moratorium (10 U.S.C. 2465) ensures that this Nation's defense hardware and those who are employed at military installations are protected from the threats of terrorism (security) and the risk of loss from fires and other emergencies (fire fighting). We have every reason to believe that another push to lift the moratorium will be made. This message and the following talking points, which were prepared by AFGE's General Counsel's Office, will help you discuss this issue with your lawmakers.


    FIREFIGHTERS

    Federal firefighters don't just perform structural fire suppression work. They are responsible for fire prevention, education and training; fire alarm and fire suppression; system maintenance and inspections; fire incident investigations; hazardous materials incident mitigation and abatement; emergency medical services; and terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction. They are trained to respond to airplane crashes, nuclear and biological incidents and on shipboard. At risk and under the protection of federal firefighters are not only civilian and military personnel and their families who live on military installations, but the very infrastructure of this Nation's defense.

    Many DOD installations are located in relatively isolated areas. The fire departments in the local municipalities surrounding them rely on volunteers to perform fire suppression functions. Even those who maintain paid fire departments, do not employ firefighters with the requisite skills and knowledge to handle the responsibilities not performed by federal firefighters.

    Contractor fire fighters have consistently proven unable to respond to emergencies within the maximum times set by the National Fire Prevention Association. These response times constitute national standards, and pursuant to the National Technology Transfer Act, have been adopted by DOD.

    Contractor firefighters have the right to strike and therefore, could strike and leave the installation without any protection. Recently, a specific test was to be conducted at Wallops Island. For this test, it was imperative that a ground firefighter crew be on site; standing by to respond in the case of an emergency. However, in this case, the contract firefighters were on strike. So, the entire scheduled test had to be postponed until either the strike ended, or firefighters from other installations could be flown in.

    Whenever a contractor for fire and emergency services files bankruptcy, an installation is left with no responders until it can hire employees or fin.

    Where contracts were in place prior to enactment of the moratorium and have continued in place, DOD has not demonstrated any cost savings.

    Because the lives of members of the Armed Forces and civilians are at stake, because expensive military hardware vital to national security is at risk, and because only highly-trained and certified federal firefighters are capable of performing tasks as varied as providing emergency medical services, responding to nuclear and biological incidents and serving as the response team to any weapons of mass destruction incident, there has always been bipartisan support for preventing DOD from cutting corners by contracting for fire fighting functions on installations.

    SECURITY GUARDS

    Contractor security guards are subject only to the laws of the state in which they are employed. And in over 25% of the states, there are no statutory requirements for the training of security guards, including those who are permitted to carry firearms.

    In stark contrast, federal law enforcement officers receive extensive training before being assigned to their posts.

    Background checks on contractor security guards are minimal. This means that any individual wandering the streets could apply for a job with a security contractor, receive a firearm, and then be sent out to protect federal property and federal employees. Contrast that "any warm body" approach with the experience of federal law enforcement officers whose backgrounds are extensively checked.

    Contractor security guards have the right to strike and of course, they may declare bankruptcy. One only has to think about the recent situation at McAlester Army Depot when the contractor walked in and announced that he would no longer provide security for the installation because he had just filed for Chapter 11. The Depot borrowed guns from the local police force and scrambled to hire employees. Was contracting out the security guard function at McAlester a wise decision?

  12. #12
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    FedFire.... Thanks for posting the Action Alert..

    After reading it, I still maintain my original position that this is NOT the time for any of us to start bombarding Congress raising the issue of Contracting Out. Although we have many friends on The Hill, there are still a number of Members who believe that contracting of any service is the way to go for the Federal Government, fire fighting included.

    As your posting states:

    "ACTION ALERT

    It is very likely that the Bush Administration will attempt to eliminate one of the most important safeguards in law against contracting out...."

    Of course it is very likely, just as they have been trying for the years since we were successful in having the original Moratorium passed, it is no secret that they will again. However, there is a system in place to deal with it, the one that has worked so well for so long, and it does not include any of us attacking Congress over a "potential" threat.

    If, or I should say when, an attempt is made, then it will be our reponsibility to stop it, and we will.

    With that said, if you still feel the need to contact your Congressional Representative, I'd like to offer this suggetion. Don't contact them initially on Contracting, start with a discussion on the Federal Fire Fighter Presumptive Legislation and why it is so important to enact it into Law. Then, after you have their attention, go into Contracting on a generic basis, just to remind them how important it is to the Government. In this way, IF we need to go back to them on the issue, it will still be fresh in their minds.

    If you, or any one would like to discuss this further, please feel free to email me at:
    JFL3rd@Yahoo.com

    Joe Love
    IAFF F-61
    Navy Yard Philly

  13. #13
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    I ran across an interesting article in the Federal Times recently, Do to space limitations I have only included a part of the article:

    "Pentagon Opens More Doors for Contractors
    Published: 07-02-01
    By Tichakorn Hill
    FEDERAL TIMES STAFF WRITER

    The Defense Department plans to contract out a wider variety of commercial jobs done by federal employees beginning next year.

    Defense Department budget documents reveal plans to expand the department’s reliance on contractors to provide depot maintenance and repair, security guard and fire-fighting services, refueling support and commissary services.

    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told lawmakers in prepared June 28 testimony the department could save money by “contracting out commissaries, housing and other services that are not core military competencies and that can be performed more efficiently in the private sector.”

    “In addition, government guards and firefighters, both civilian and military, cost substantially more than contracted personnel based on a variety of factors, such as retirement and benefits.”


    Now is not the time to play ostrich and stick our heads in the sand and wait for this to go away.

    Now is the time to get involved and to recruit the assistance of our family and friends to contact our congress representatives and let them know how we feel.

    Do you really think the Defense Secretary is going to sit back and wait till the last minute to lobby his position to Congress, not!!

  14. #14
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    These "contract" things just boil my blood. Are these people blind? We have numerous examples of crap contractors here. A contractor was hired to take care of the golf course. Whoops, he didn't plan enough dollars to get the course watered. GUESS WHO WAS WATERING THE GOLF COURSE AT 2200 HRS????

    When the "contract" fire department chief visited a co-worker's military fire station in Bosnia, he loudly proclaimed his company paid him big money to sit on his ***** and do nothing. And I don't have to do the crap you Army guys do-like rescue and first responder. Unless they want to pay more money!

  15. #15
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    Angry Contracting Out is rearing its ugly head again

    <I>Note: The first paragragh below is about Federal Security Guards and not Federal Firefighters, but as federal employees we should stick together and help each other. Also note that the same laws that protect Federal Secuity Guards are the same laws that protect Federal Firefighters.</I>

    <B>ACTION ALERT</B>
    From: AFGE Federal Firefighters Steering Committee
    http://www.hellointer.net/afgefederalfirefighters/


    The Administration's Emergency Supplemental Appropriations proposal contains a provision that would repeal the moratorium with respect to Security Guards. As DOD testified late last month, it believes that managers of installations should have the freedom to determine whether or not security guards are employed by the Government or by contractors and in order to facilitate this, the moratorium should be lifted to achieve that purpose.

    <I>Note: Doesn't Congress/DoD ever learn,isn't the reason the Federal Goverment took over Airport Screeners at all U.S. airports is because we as Federal Employees are more reliable and can be trusted more.</I>

    AFGE has now learned that repealing all of 10 U.S.C. 2465, (provision prohibiting the use of appropriated funds for entering into a contract for the performance of firefighting or security guard functions) is now being considered. <B><U>Our lawmakers tell us they have not heard from firefighters.</U> It is imperative that you contact your Senators and Congressmen, particularly those who serve on the House and Senate Readiness Subcommittees, immediately.</B> Discuss the importance of your job and the many functions you perform particularly in light of 9/11/01 and ask for their support and help in keeping the moratorium in place.

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    The idea of being contracted out has been a small rumor heard occasionally here at the Norfolk Naval Base. Luckily, all the bases in the area have regionalized into one large department( about 400 men strong ). We provide structural, aircraft, and shipboard fire fighting, ALS care AND transport, HazMat, Technical Rescue, water rescue, radiation emergency responses, and fire prevention. Now, for a contractor to come in here and be able to provide 400 fully qualified men and women to provide all of those services to the NAVY at 7 different bases, 24 hours a day, with all the current certfifications and training would take a hell of alot of money from Uncle Sam. The bases in area depend on the Regional Fire Dept heavily, which gives us a great reputation with the brass. I am not saying that contracting out is impossible. But to do so would be a pretty incredible task. Luckily, we (as a region) are now under one Union which is the IAFF. For the smaller bases out there, I hope things are just as hard to contract out, as they fortunately are here. Stay safe and God Bless.

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    First off I will introduce myself, My name is Chris and I am a Volunteer Firefighter near Washington DC. I am also a contract dispatcher for the General Services Administration Police Department. I must say that while working as a Federal contract employee I have enjoyed a much higher salary rate than would a GSA employee doing the same work, However, the benefits are terrible, my compnay pays very little if any of my health insurance costs. There is no Life, Retirement or 401k plans. Also, because the company is in Denver Colorado, while the payroll department was figuring up our tax forms this year, they only took the bare minimum for Maryland State taxes and forgot to deduct the local tax for the county I live in. I ended up having to pay out for state taxes versus getting a refund. There are good sides and bad sides to contracting. One good point is you can get rid of dead weight easier. If a GSA employee screws up, he is transferred. If a contract employee screws up, he is fired. That eliminates the possibility of a Slug employee just being transferred to screw up another division of GSA. However, I do agree that the work quality is different, and most contract employees do not go through the same hurdles as a regular GSA/DoD employee does. We have more Lax backgrounds and medical Checks. I have my application in to several Federal Firedepartments in the area, hopefully I can get picked up by one of them, because even though the contract money is excellent, I would take a pay cut to ensure I did not have to pay full price for a prescription for my daughter when she is sick.
    You Waste your time, YOUR LINE IS MINE!

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