1. #1
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    Default Does this sound right to you?

    I am a member of a volunteer department. We have just formed an association(union) to negotiate wages,benefits,insurance and general conditions of employment with our city council. The negotiations have proven fruitful cause our wages have increased 33%, our insurance benefits increased 7 fold, we will be getting paid for ALL training hours and other misc. items have been successfuly negotiated. In our(general memberships) opinion this is an acceptable contract and the first draft has been ratified. We are the first volunteer department in the state of Wisconsin to organize on this level. The main question we cannot get a straight answer to is if we are unavailable or unable to respond to a call (ex. childs birthday party,new years,flu etc.)can the members who signed the contract with the city be sued for breach of contract due to the fact that we stated we will provide 24/7 coverage. Our union president says no, that our only contractual stipulation to not responding to calls regards strikes. Being that we have no format to follow we have to trust his and our union attorney's word.This does not sound right to me. Noone has signed this contract although the ratified version has went to private attorney review for his input. So anyone who has knowledge of contracts and the like their advise/opinion would be gratly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Question

    I'm confused why are you getting paid for volunteer work? The Fire Department I'm on gets paid during the summer on weekend to stay around and not work, but they get paid for not being able to work. so why are you getting paid?
    Always Remember:
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  3. #3
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    My Volunteer Department doubled my salary from last year.
    Nothing times 2 is still nothing !
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
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  4. #4
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    JrFF after I posted last night i realized the inaccuracy of saying we are 100% volunteer but get paid. We are more or less payed on call. We will be getting paid just for our level of training and rank in the department plus an hourly wage per call. We would be getting paid just for being on the dept.

  5. #5
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    i belive there is something in court right now here in tx about being paid for volunteer ff...either you are paid or vol

  6. #6
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    Talking

    thanks WI_firefighter for clearing that up!!
    Always Remember:
    FireFighters Never Die,
    They Just Eat Smoke and Breath Fire!

  7. #7
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    dude houston ff

  8. #8
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    Default

    Originally posted by AFD368
    My Volunteer Department doubled my salary from last year.
    Nothing times 2 is still nothing !

    hahaha good one, my dept is the same, but we get an extra bonus of aggrivation each year
    " truck till the casket drops "

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    My views and opinions do not represent the views and standards of the Department or Company that I belong to.

  9. #9
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    Default Forming an Association

    We are a municiple Volunteer Fire department, which means that our entire budget comes from our Village. Our membership is considering forming an Association, so that we can have complete control over money we make on raffles, picnics etc. The way we are currently organized, legally, any additional income goes back into the village coffers. What a deal for them. We figure if we form an assoc. we would have some insentive to try and earn a little extra for things we need.
    Any ideas, suggestions on how to form an association would be welcomed. Also, what are the advantages, disadvantages of goingthis route.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Can't speak much about associations as not familiar with it. We are a volunteer (means we don't get paid) organization that receives a budget from our local government which is collected as part of the municipal tax. It covers most of our fire fighting equipment needs. We do extra fund raisers to pay for maintenance and upkeep of the building as we own the building, not the municipality. We "rent" them space to park their fire trucks. As a Non-Profit organization, you are expected to account for all monies raised and how they are to be expended, basically make what you need to survive. I think you would best be served by talking to some accountants and lawyers to find all the legalities involved with having control over the money. Having a fund raiser to raise money for fire equipment and then spending it on something else may get some bad press for you. Good Luck.

  11. #11
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    Yeah we are basically like Bones's dept. We do not own our trucks or house and are given a budget from the township for expenses. we do however have our own account from dinners etc for our own use. We use this for drinks, food, tv, bar, etc. We used to get paid I think something like 1$ for every call run, I guess pretty much paid for our gas to get there and home
    **This space for rent**

  12. #12
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    Default Associations

    We are paid on call fire district. We have a Firefighter's Association that raises money through fundraisers, and then buys equipment for the FD and donates to them. We are a State licensed non-profit corporation and in the process of being a 503(c) non-profit corporation. The reason we do this is that we can then save money for an item, and free the district funds to pay for other things. Over the 50+ years of the Association, we have purchased and donated over $250,000.00 worth equipment and items to the fire district.
    If you are going to form an association to keep control of fund-raising money, my advice would be to keep strict control of the funds, and do what you say you are going to do when the money is raised. Also, look into the legalities and requirements of non-profit status, both within your state, and federally. Speaking from experience, you don't want to get on the bad side of the IRS!

    Good Luck.
    Last edited by jstafrftr; 07-03-2002 at 04:41 PM.

  13. #13
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    As a voli I am worth $1.35 NZ dollars a week to my brigade, paid by our national fire service. Thats used for equipment upkeep, power etc.

    So I guess you could call me paid.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
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  14. #14
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    Question ???????

    Volunteers negotiating salary...???

    If you are paid on call then you get paid when you respond. I dont know a lot about contracts but it would seem that if your department agreed to respond to all calls 24/7 with appropiate staffing, then if you are in the area you would be required to respond. Obviously if you are in another state or on an airplane you can't be there. But if you are in your response district you are available (birthday party or not) and should respond. Guess it needs to be tested to see who gets sued first.

    I am with bones here. I volunteer and receive no compensation except coverage for insurance.

    Volunteer is volunteer. I have no problem with "paid on call" but I dont consider that to be volunteer.
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  15. #15
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    Default

    Just for curiosity's sake,
    http://www.dos.state.ny.us/fire/pdfs/firefacts2.pdf
    indicates that there are 109,946 Volunteer Firefighters
    19,312 Career Firefighters
    and 1,293 Paid on Call Firefighters
    in New York State. I know that these statistics, at least for the Volunteers, has decreased from approximately 112,000 Volunteers over the past 10 years.
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
    I.A.C.O.J. Member

  16. #16
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    Default

    Being a former contract negotiator, I can tell you that some States has different collective bargaining laws... and others are what is called "right-to-work" States. You might want to see if there is an office of collective bargaining in your state. If there is, they can help you answer your question. If there is not, you might be able to work with your elected state representatives for some guidance. My gut feeling on this is that if you have a signed contract where your organization agrees to provide a service, you are in violation of that contract if those terms are not met.

    As for volunteer vs. paid-on-call, around here more and more departments are forced into the paid-on-call position due to workers' compensation requirements. It is also awkward for municipalities to have people on their payrolls who are not hourly employees. Technically, we are considered "part time" employees, but we still consider ourselves to be "volunteers" since we have no "duty to respond" to every single call.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  17. #17
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    Default

    Is that Paid on Call or Paid for a response.

    It may seem I am splitting hairs, but the wording
    could be significant. If you are paid to be on call
    i.e. waiting for a call then you would be obligated
    to respond. If you are paid when you respond only
    then I could see where you could "miss" a call.


    Not a lawyer, just my $.02
    Remember,

    If you don't respond.....who will

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  18. #18
    iceman4442
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    Talking

    Hey AFD - I got ya beat!

    We're getting our wages tripled (3 X 0) this year PLUS a Christmas bonus - they're letting us come back next year!

  19. #19
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    I have been a volunteer fire fighter for 18 years, and we were paid $10 a call, but the fire fighters elected to turn our money into a general fire fighters fund to buy the equipment we need. We did this because our funds from tax revenue was so small we could not buy the equipment we needed, so all the fire fighters agreed to pool our money and buy the equipment ourselves. We have applied for FEMA grants but so far have been unsuccessful. We work with the MO Conservation Dept., and have received a deuce-and-a-half from them. I'm not in this for the money, but to help/serve the community I live in.

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