04-08-2002, 04:39 PM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
- Philadelphia, Pa.
Pa. Firefighters who vote- READ THIS!!!!
Here's something I found on Local 22's webpage regarding Fast Eddie Rendell and his terms as Mayor of Philadelphia...So if you are considering voting for him for Governor of Pa.....Rethink!!!!
Ed Rendell is a Democratic candidate for governor in the state of Pennsylvania. When he was the mayor of Philadelphia, he had a profound negative effect on the lives of Philadelphia's firefighters and paramedics. Below you will find a description of just some of the ways Mayor Rendell showed his support and affection for the firefighters in this city. We will never forget "Fast Eddie Rendell." How could we?
Ed Rendell slashed the starting salary of newly hired firefighters by $6000 per year shortly after taking office. This slap in the face put some firefighters in the food stamp line. Can you imagine the sight of government cheese being issued to people who risk their lives fighting fires? For the first time since the 1950's, Philadelphia's firefighters had a substandard paycheck. Many young fire department families soon found themselves struggling below the poverty line. His administration then extended the time required to achieve full-paid status in the fire department from two years to six years.
Firefighters received a paltry 4-year contract in binding arbitration that year with 0, 0, 2, and 3 percent raises. There was nothing to be happy with in that contract; there were concessions everywhere.
The amount of sick hours that could be accumulated by a newly hired firefighter was cut by forty-two hours per year. When the firefighters argued that they had higher incidents for certain diseases and illnesses because of our exposure to smoke and hazardous material, Ed Rendell scoffed.
Ed Rendell then relegated newly hired firefighters and paramedics to a substantially reduced pension plan. Pensions were now two-tiered with newer employees having significantly less benefits. The Rendell plan also kept firefighters on the job well past their prime working years. This practice is considered to be unsafe due to the nature and conditions of our profession and the strain put on an older worker who must continue to fight fires 10 years longer than their predecessors did. New employees will receive fewer retirement dollars and have to work much longer just to get that. Considering that firefighters never had a cost of living adjustment in their pension checks, these new pension cuts were hard to swallow. In addition, Rendell was able to raid the City Pension Fund for millions of dollars. He used our money to run the public schools and it took a union-initiated lawsuit to get his administration to start paying this debt back. The Pension Fund is still unfortunately under-funded due in part to Ed Rendell's greed.
The American Liver Foundation notified officials in the Rendell Administration that firefighters in Philadelphia were contracting Hepatitis C at an alarming rate. This Hepatitis C Epidemic in the fire department was 6 times the national average. Instead of investigating and confronting this new threat to firefighters' health, his administration chose to keep the information quiet. During this time, firefighters and paramedics continued to be infected on the job and were still unaware of the silent killer. Those who were Hepatitis C-infected went without proper medical treatment and preventive measures for several more years. Today, over 250 Philadelphia firefighters have Hepatitis C. The state legislature recently changed workman's compensation laws and recognized firefighters as being at risk for Hepatitis C and, therefore, eligible for healthcare benefits. The city and their lawyers denied any responsibility at all saying that firefighters caused their own illnesses.
Ed Rendell cut the fire department's Health Plan and initiated a new plan where the city contributed just $450.00 per month. This shortfall hit firefighters at a time when healthcare costs were spiraling out of reach. The prescription and dental plans were hit particularly hard. Most Philadelphia dentists would not accept firefighters or their families as patients. Some dentists said that the firefighters' dental benefits were even below those of welfare recipients. Then, after a lengthy court battle, Rendell was able to take the last 4 million dollars from the Firefighter Health Plan Reserve Fund leaving it virtually penniless.
Through arbitration, Ed Rendell won the right to change the working schedules of fire department units. This cut put some medical units on a part-time-basis only. Instead of having a particular neighborhood covered 24 hours a day by manned ambulances, Rendell was able to shut down some medical units for 12 hours a day leaving some neighborhoods unprotected.
Rendell's Administration was able to understaff both Engine and Ladder companies. His fire apparatus staffing levels did not comply with OSHA's safety standards. In some instances, Engine and Ladder Companies would run as one unit. They referred to this unit as a Task Force. The Task Force system was dangerous to firefighters as well as the public. Ed Rendell's Fire Department Administrators did not assign enough officers to properly supervise Task Force operations. This made a bad situation even more dangerous than it should have been. During a fire, the use of a Task Force can often cause confusion due to this lack of proper supervision. Many firefighters were injured, some quite seriously.
During the Rendell Administration, Philadelphia reduced the pay of a firefighter injured in the line-of-duty from 100-percent to 75-percent. When the Pennsylvania State Legislature interceded on the side of the firefighters ordering the city to pay disabled firefighters 100-percent of their salary, Ed Rendell refused to do so. He actually said that he would not obey the state law that protected city firefighters from his mean-spirited disability paycheck cut.
Some firefighters were unable to return to fire-fighting duty because of their line-of-duty injuries. If a firefighter found a less strenuous job after being released from the fire department, his disability check would be cut on a 3 for 1 offset.
Example: If a firefighter is disabled in the line-of-duty and receives $1000.00 per month in disability payments and then secures a part time job earning $300.00 more per month in a less strenuous job, which is outside of the city's employment, his disability check will be cut by $100.
In Rendell's second term as mayor he was able to cut holiday time for firefighters to 97 hours per year. He did so by removing Veteran's Day and Columbus Day from the city calendar. Rendell's gubernatorial campaign produced a television advertisement that shows a highly decorated Army officer's uniform hanging on a hanger. The advertisement implies that Ed 'No Veteran's Day' Rendell served his country with distinction as a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran. When pressured by veterans to stop using a uniform with a chest full of medals for his own political gain, Rendell removed the ad from the airwaves. He said it wasn't his fault. It must have been the ad agency's mistake. Ed Rendell ducked the Vietnam War by acquiring a much-coveted position in the Army Reserves. Most Philadelphia firefighters are military veterans and, unlike Rendell, many are survivors of our nation's wars.
For 8 years Ed Rendell treated Philadelphia's firefighters like second-class citizens. During his administration, firefighters suffered through a continuing decline in pension benefits, healthcare coverage and wages, as well as other benefits. If "Fast Eddie" Rendell is truly a Democrat and a labor-friendly candidate like his political advertisements imply, then I guess he doesn't consider Philadelphia's firefighters as working men and women. If anyone connected to Ed Rendell's gubernatorial campaign says that Ed Rendell is on the side of Pennsylvania's firefighters, consider that statement an insult to your intelligence. Other Rendell political ads imply that a friendship exists between "Fast Eddie" and the firefighters of Pennsylvania. In one advertisement he is shown chatting amicably to a running-coat-clad firefighter somewhere in Lehigh County. The firefighter is obviously unaware of the disdain Ed Rendell has for the uniform he is wearing.
Finally, when Ed Rendell became the mayor of Philadelphia it was after the financially disastrous Wilson Goode years. Philadelphia firefighters were willing to do their fair share in order to help the city to get back on its feet. We expected some rather lean years. What we did not expect was the total lack of respect and the stripping away of our dignity that Ed Rendell and his sidekick David L. Cohen had in mind for us. His administration was repressive to the worker, while his friends in high places all lived high on the hog. This 8-year period was by far the worst time ever for Philadelphia's firefighters and paramedics.
Thanks Ed - Thanks for nothing.FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB
04-08-2002, 05:42 PM #2
What a MUTT!!!"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
04-08-2002, 05:50 PM #3
Sounds like he had been talking to Mayor Coleman Young of Detroit. If a starting firefighter here has a wife and 2 children, they qualify for food stamps. We went from a 4 tier pay system to a 6 tier system. In 1995, the next Mayor followed in Colemans footsteps and the city lowered the starting salary of a Firefighter by almost $7,000. In 1977 they cut staffing levels by 500 FF's and closed 22 companies, 3 man ride on trucks and engines since then, no pay raises from 1980 to 1985. I know that these two knew each other and apparently they may have discussed how to screw their best employees.
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