Thread: Negotiated Minimum Staffing
03-16-2000, 09:44 PM #1NJ-FFFirehouse.com Guest
Negotiated Minimum Staffing
It is almost time for new contract. Do any brothers out there have minimum shift staffing negotiated into you contract? I've always been told that it management's right to set the staffing level, is there any way to fight, and win this point.
03-16-2000, 10:08 PM #2mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
The New Bedford, MA Fire Dept. has a minimum of 4 on each engine and ladder company, and 2 on rescue. This has been negotiated into our contract. This minimum staffing has not come without cost however. Since the time I was appointed, the city administration has permanently decommissioned 4 engines and 1 ladder truck. Because there are 20 members assigned to each company, this has resulted in 100 fewer positions. For our safety and the ability to do our job properly, our local union membership has been very adament about keeping this minimum manning and I wholeheartedly agree. Good Luck and I hope your department prevails.
New Bedford Fire Dept.
03-16-2000, 11:01 PM #3SteamerFirehouse.com Guest
I'm curious...did the decommissioning hurt your ISO rating, and if so did anyone calculate the actual cost to the property owners due to increased insurance costs vs. what was saved by reducing your manpower?
Chillicothe (Ohio) Fire Department
03-16-2000, 11:15 PM #4Smoke286Firehouse.com Guest
We have minimum staffing in the Dept's "current configuration" written into our contract and a promise that if the configuration changes they will "endevour" to find alternate employment and or retraining within the city for those diplaced.
What do you think that would be worth when push comes to shove
03-17-2000, 07:15 PM #5mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
No Steve, our ISO rating remained Class 2 even after the closings. I'm not that well versed in ISO regulations but I understand their rating system depends on geography and not population or workload. From what I was told, we had to have an engine company covering each 1 1/2 mile radius in the city. I'm not sure about ladder truck coverage. Supposedly they take a map of the city and draw a mile and a half radius circle (3 mile diameter) around the location of each engine. All the circles must then overlap each other. The area of our city is very small. Only about 3 miles wide and 12 miles long with a population of 100,000 so it is very condensed. As in most industrial cities in New England, the majority of our housing is multiple family 2-3 story wood frame tenements built very close to each other. We call them 2 or 3 deckers. It's not unusual to have serious exposure fires here. On paper, the 7 engines we have left easily cover the area but in reality, every time we have simultaneous fires or go to multiple alarms we must man reserve apparatus or call mutual aid. We have heard rumors of possibly one engine being restored. Time will tell. Maybe others out there know more about how ISO works and could better enlighten us on how the number of required apparatus is determined.
New Bedford Fire Dept.
03-17-2000, 08:16 PM #6Dalmation90Firehouse.com Guest
I know just *enough* about New Bedford to make some assumptions here. (Keep having to remind myself it's the city without the Battleship on the way to the Cape )
The basic fire flow ISO looks for is gonna max right out at 3500gpm. Above that, the properties are individually rated. New Bedford shouldn't have a problem with their water grid making that kind of flow in most areas.
For a BFF of 3500, ISO looks for at least 3 engines. Plus, you add in enough engines to meet the "Distribution" requirement --
Engines withing 1.5 miles of built upon areas
Ladder-Services within 2.5 miles of built upon areas. So, 5 to 7 engines should cover the territory, plus three ladders, and a spare engine and truck and ISO is happy.
The number of engines & ladders you need are a seperate item from the responding manpower. So, depending on the math in your situation, you could put engines & ladders not needed to meet the ISO formula out of service, put their manpower on other companies, and make more points. The formulas are straightforward but a lot of if this or thats so it's best to do the math for your own particular situation to see if it helps!
03-17-2000, 09:13 PM #7mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
I guess ISO is happy with our apparatus distribution and like you say, we have no problem with that desired water flow so ISO ratings are of no help to us in trying to get more apparatus. I guess we must rely on public sentiment .
You're right about New Bedford being the city without the battleship (Fall River's claim to fame) on the way down the cape. It has more commonly been referred to though, as the armpit of Massachusetts. Find us on the map to see why. We're right under the arm of Cape Cod. In a few more years though, it will be a destination for many instead of just a mass of congested buildings surrounding Rte. 195. We will have a brand new zoo this year and a multi million dollar aquarium in a couple of years. Sections of our historic district and waterfront have just recently been given National Park status. We also have a great Fire Museum in an 1867 fire station that is open in the summer. Check it out if you ever come here. The Whaling Museum is also a must see. Sorry to turn this discussion into a trip planner but we can use those tourist dollars to get more fire trucks . Maybe we can get back some of the money we leave in the Connecticut woods. See ya.
New Bedford Fire Dept.
03-17-2000, 09:31 PM #8SABIL732Firehouse.com Guest
Woonsocket R.I. has minimum manning as part of our collective bargining agreement. We have 32 man shifts with a minimum of 28, anything under 28 is filled with O.T., we run the job six men short at all times this too is by contract(Saves city benifit money).
03-21-2000, 05:27 AM #9Dave GriceFirehouse.com Guest
It has been in our contract that all three of our apparatus have min. manning of 4, as per NFPA standard, making 12 the minimum for a shift. However, last year, we put a command vehicle in service for the platoon commander. He used to be on the second out apparatus from Station One. However, since the command vehicle was put in service right in the middle of our contract, nothing has been said about the second out apparatus. It is staffed with three, but since the OIC was on it to begin with, it is felt that we really aren't losing any manpower. We'll have to see if anything is done to get that extra man back on the apparatus, or if they will just keep us at 12 men a shift.
03-21-2000, 01:59 PM #10NJ-FFFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the responses so far. It's nice to know that others have it in their contracts, so why not ours!
03-21-2000, 07:34 PM #11MichrehfFirehouse.com Guest
BCoFD has minimum manning built into our contract at present. We maintain 4 man engine co's & 4 man truck co's. Also, one twist to our staffing levels is a minimum number of personnel per shift (i.e. 236 persons per shift). This is attacked during each new contract session, but has survived to date. We also maintain the number of promotional positions per shift. Such as Captains, Lt's, Drivers, Paramedics, EMT's, ect. Any questions I haven't covered drop me an e-mail.
Michael R. Rehfeld
Baltimore County, Maryland
IAFF Local 1311
03-22-2000, 06:43 PM #12Ed ShanksFirehouse.com Guest
The Boardman Ohio FD has minimum manning of 8 firefighters per shift. It specifies two at each of the outlying station and four at the main station. The outlying stations are only engine companies. The main has the ladder and rescue truck as well as an engine.
BUT we have in our contract a clause that allows the township trustees to terminate minimum manning if they have to use OT to fill shifts three times in one year. This has always been in the contract, and they've never invoked it. By now I don't think they could without our falling back on past practice. I've made in the neighborhood of $6000 in OT some years, and I'm not near the top.
03-22-2000, 10:26 PM #13WRENCHFirehouse.com Guest
njff, as your brother ff to the east, unfortunatly in our state manning is
set by law, unless we change the law were beating our heads. i believe linden had min manning in there contract and still lost out to manage. rights as law suppersedes contracts. we unfortunatly are not as progressive in our state as some of our other brothers on this posting.
04-04-2000, 12:18 AM #14Lt. ChesterFirehouse.com Guest
We have minimum of 15 on duty per collective bargaining agreement, but that is usually our maximum. until the city unfreezes positions that were given back 8 years ago 15 will be our min/max
04-04-2000, 01:25 AM #15rogerkFirehouse.com Guest
We have always had minimum manning in our contract, and nearly all the other departments I know of in Connecticut. There is minimum per shift and per firehouse. That way, if they want a truck out of service the manning stays the same. The per shift and per house was critical when they tried closing a firehouse. The per shift dictated they still have the same on duty.
If you negotiate just numbers per house, or numbers per apparatus, they can close the house, or eliminate the truck.
Interesting reading soon may be the final version of NFPA 1710. Fire Department Deployment. It has, in it's draft version, minimum staffing per engine and truck. It also has requirements for response times, which would be helpful for numbers of stations.
04-04-2000, 01:32 AM #16rogerkFirehouse.com Guest
I also wanted to say, I'm not familiar with other states statutes, but...the basic consept in labor-management negotiations is that management has whatever rights that aren't spelled out in the contract. However, whatever they negotiate in a contract, or aquiece to is union rights. Safety of the employees is always a permissible subject for negotiations, in that light, manning comes about as a safety issue. Use the available texts, standards, and expert testimony to prove your case.
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