Thread: Two Hatters

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    Default Two Hatters

    I felt it would be more appropriate to move the Tim Lee etc. issue into the Canada forum, anyone who would care to respond, here's your place

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    Smoke, you mentioned in the ot her thread that you had an opportunity to converse directly with Mr. Lee. How did that go?

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    Ontario bill to protect career fire fighters who volunteer services defeated

    TORONTO (CP) -- A bill intended to protect professional fire fighters in Ontario who volunteer their services in their spare time went down in flames Wednesday, Dec. 11.

    The legislature soundly rejected the bill to protect ``double-hatters'' -- put forward by Tory backbencher Ted Arnott -- by a vote of 52-37.

    Double-hatters are considered crucial to scores of small communities across the province, who rely on them to beef up their volunteer fire fighter ranks.

    They are also a longtime tradition in the province.

    However, the International Association of Fire Fighters union bars the practice on the grounds that tired members could pose a safety risk and because they want communities to hire full-time fire fighters.

    In some cases, such as Whitby, Ont. fire fighter Tim Lee, the union has revoked his membership, putting his full-time job in jeopardy.

    Several cabinet ministers, most Liberals and all the New Democrats opposed the bill.

    Dave Thomson, who represents volunteer fire fighters in the province, was disappointed with the vote.

    ``I hate to say that the union will go after all two-hatters in the province and eliminate all two-hatters across in the province and it will have a big impact on fire protection and fire safety,'' Thomson said.

    ``It has an impact on all rural volunteer fire fighters across the province.''

    Professionals provide crucial training and direction to their volunteer colleagues, Thomson said.

    Supporters of the bill argued that small communities cannot afford to hire full-time fire fighters and would be left without effective services, creating a public safety crisis.

    The bill, which had narrowly passed second reading in June, had the support of dozens of municipalities and the provincial association representing fire chiefs.

    Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion previously said she was shocked by the union's threats to expel Lee and other volunteers, calling it a ``sad day'' for the province and fire fighters.

    ``This province, this country, would not exist without volunteers,'' McCallion said.

    One of the worst cases of biased reporting I have ever seen.

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    Sorry LadyCapn I mispoke or mistyped or whatever I did make a comment directly to him on a forum that he frequents, it went quite well as far as I'm concerned, although I may have upset a few of his minions

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    Default Two Hatters

    If the quote is correct...Tired members
    pose safety risk...I guess the union will
    try to ban firefighters from getting up
    in the middle of the night to feed babies
    while on their days off...
    What a joke! In my dept. lot's of guys
    have side jobs that pay....Some are vol.
    f/f too.

    Stay safe

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    Don try reading LadyCapn's post above, then try putting yourself in the shoes of some of your brothers that may be threatened by these two hatters, no one ,I think really has a problem with firefighters who want to volunteer their time in rural settings.

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    Default Two Hatters

    Sorry smoke286, maybe I'm stupid,but when
    I see a union going after their own...

    Could be I've been this job too long and seen too much (23+ years).Firefighters and all emergency workers generally are people
    who give of themselves to others.When any
    union or employer does something to squash
    that spirit they are harming themselves.
    This cannot be a motivating influence on
    firefighters...I don't know much about the
    story, but the IAFF, I am told is looking for ways that will increase new membership.

    If going after two hatters is their way
    God help rural FD.I am sure the former two
    hatters will be not too thrilled either.
    Firefighting is not a job...
    It is what we are...

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    Don, I'll have to disagree with you I guess, it may be what we are, but its also a job, just ask your employer next time you work, he'll be sure to tell you exactly who you work for.

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    Don, I get the impression that you are not an IAFF member so maybe don't understand all the issues.

    The big bad union has nothing against rural firefighters. What they are fighting against is full time firefighters who take advantage of all that the IAFF negotiates on their behalf, and then works part time for either the same municipality or another municipality for $11.00 an hour. I'm not talking about volunteering and responding when a call comes in, these guys work actual scheduled shifts along with full time personnel. Here is a municipality that has recognized the need for full time personnel, often has the tax base to support it, but will not hire them.

    Or maybe you have firefighters working full time for a municipality, and volunteering within that same municipality. When the union negotiates a contract and tries to increase wages, does it not weaken their position when city negotiators point out that these same firefighters are willing to do the same job for 1/3 of the money? I have no idea what you do for a living, but I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate it if your employer hired a few more at substantially less your wage. Good luck negotiating a raise at your next evaluation.

    Those fighting for the two-hatters have consistantly stated that by making them quit, it is a public safety risk. Saying basically that if a rural department doesn't have two-hatters then they are no good, can't cut it and are a risk to the communities they serve. I would think that would anger all rural firefighters who take pride in their training and dedication.
    Last edited by LadyCapn; 12-16-2002 at 08:41 PM.

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    Very well put LadyCapn

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    Default two hatters

    Hi,
    I am a Full-time Captain in the 2nd
    largest Fire Dept. in Canada.Montreal.

    In 2002 all cities on the island of
    Montreal were merged into one.

    The new City of Montreal.

    Prior to the merger there were several
    smaller cities had both full-time and part-time firefighters.
    The part-time f/f would be used to fill
    absences but the the minimum staffing of permanent f/f on duty was maintained.

    ie. full staff=15
    min-staff =12 + 3 part-time.

    These clauses in collective agreements
    were negotiated in good faith to the
    satisfaction of the majority of the each
    local's members.I don't even know of
    any situation in Quebec where an employee could work(paid) in two functions within the same dept.If that is what is going on those people who are doing it (F/F) need to be taken out behind the barn.
    Sorry about the misunderstanding.

    Don

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    No problem Don, I apologize as well.
    It is a very emotional issue and unfortunately there is no clear winner.
    The original issue was an American initiative and as the union is international, we must follow as well.
    There are numerous career firefighters who still volunteer in their rural home communities without being bothered by their union. With the specific case in question that was discussed on this other thread, I suspect the reason he has been such an issue is possibly the "in your face" attitude so there was little choice but to uphold the constitution. Just my opinion and not based on fact.

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    Don ,there are locals out there who do have this problem though. Because we work in an urban enviroment and do not face this problem ourselves does not, in my opinion, mean that we should not support the wishes of ours brothers who have to suffer through this situation. Of course we have no problem with volunteers per se (I myself was one for 12 years) but in some unfortunate areas management has made the threat of using or expanding the role of volunteers in essence in essence a bargaining ploy. It sort of defeats the purpose if some of your own union members are also volunteering in these "rival organizations"

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    My two cents for what it's worth. This topic,(Two Hatters)has been and continues to be a somewhat sensitive issue both for the fire service,(full time and volunteer), as well as a political hot potato in certain municipalities. As stated above there are those municipalities that may have the tax base for a full time service, but decide on a composite (or volunteer) system. With all the provincial downloading these days and the demand from interest groups for funding, it may be seen as being prudent and fiscally responsible. Of course there is risk management and liability to consider. So then taxpayers demand a higher level of protection, but soon balk at the cost. Therein lies the catch 22. Of course, the IAFF has its adgenda. The OFM creates the guidelines, but offers no solutions to the cost, and everybody points the finger elsewhere. It is easy to make statement and demands, but who foots the bill? Again just my two cents worth.....

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    Although I don't nessesarily agree with the union's stance, if bill 30 had of passed it would have been a major blow to labor relations all across the province.

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    Not just labour relations scoop, but it would have affected every single organization that reserved the right to govern their members.....including all three major political parties.

    I must say that I am extrememly disappointed with the positioin of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. They have taken an extremely childish response, by saying that because Runciman was not present in the legislature for the vote, they will no longer co-operate with the Solicitor General on anything that does not directly involve public safety. Smells alot like "I'm taking my ball and going home" to me.

    I can respect the stance of the IAFC, by saying that although they do not agree with the IAFF's position on two hatters, they do respect their right to make that decision.

    Bill 30 failed because of the far reaching affects it would have had. Fortunately there were enough educated MPP's who could see past the emotional issues and see the ramifications of this vote. Settlement of the two hatter issue does not belong in the legislature.
    Last edited by LadyCapn; 01-13-2003 at 02:22 PM.

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    Unhappy Two Hatters

    The two-hatter issue is definitely a confusing one for many of us...but for me the issue is this: I don't have a problem with "volunteers"...there are communities out there that need the dedication and skills that full-time firefighters are capable of providing and who are more than willing to "donate" their time to their community...my concern lies with "part-time" firefighters who hide behind the "volunteer" moniker while getting "paid" a good wage to perform these services and thereby preventing their community from the getting the full-time fire department that they deserve.

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    well put horhay

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    Does anyone know the current situation with Mr Lee?

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    I feel the need to reply to horhay's comments regarding the stipend or wages that "volunteer firefighters" receive. If you equate this amount to that of what a full time fire fighter receives then I believe that you may not understand the full economic impact of the statement made. Yes there are many communities who in fact make payment to their "volunteers" and even provide benefits in the event of accidental injury or death while in the performance of their duties. But when one looks at the cost of providing one full time firefighter versus the cost of making payment to a volunteer manned Station your comments leave much to be desired. Where communities have a population base sufficent to support a full time department there may be arguement with regards to the type of service provided, but where communities that are not so well populated or have geographic boundaries that exceed the tax base available, then the economic factors are much different and as such then services are provided on what can be afforded. And if said community provides to its fire service a stipend then that is the choice of its elected officals. "Volunteers" recieve payment for responding to calls, training and ungrading courses to further enhance their skills and knowledge only,so how can this relate to the annual salary of a full time firefighter? I am not going to make comment about the number of "unpaid" volunteer hours that are put in for their community in the name of public education or recognition. In conclusion then, I don't believe that horhay's comments were well suited for the topic of "two hatters" and if relevant for further comment, maybe we should open a new thread!

    A "paid" volunteer and proud of it.

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    mesha, you make some excellent points however you are under the same misunderstanding that most who so vehemently fought for Bill 30 were under.
    The "two-hatter" issue isn't about people volunteering in their community for a minor stipend,at least not here in Ontario. It was about people working full time at one fire department while also working actual scheduled shifts at another, so in essence a "part time" job. This is a community that has recognized the need for full time staff through the day as they ran a full time Captain along with two "volunteers". The call volume within the stations area was sufficient to warrant a staffed day Pump and the tax base was more than adequate to support them (the majority of the homes in the area are worth upwards of $300,000+ and construction and population had boomed over the last few years). This Department also included rural stations as well. Being one of the other Municipalities that amalgamated you now had firefighters working full time for the city, but volunteering in the rural part of the same community. Not only does this make it difficult for the Union to fight for good wages but it is also against the cities own Policy of working for more than one area of the Municipality.
    It's about Municipalities not spending the money for adequate training of volunteers, instead relying on other Municipalities to train their firefighters while they reap the benefits for nothing. There are hundreds of firefighters across the Province who are "twohatters" and don't have a problem. It's not those volunteering in their small town community that are the issue. That seems to be the point that no one seems to remember. Some get far more mileage out of making it seem as if the issue is against volunteering period and that isn't the case.
    Before you become defensive please take the time to talk to someone who can explain the whole situation. The information coming from the FFAO is extremely biased and inflammatory and quite frankly as far as I'm concerned does more damage to the image of Volunteers than the IAFF ever could.
    Last edited by LadyCapn; 01-24-2003 at 12:05 AM.

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    mesha47, feel free to correct me if I am mistaken, but did not a study issued by the Ontario Labour Board during the kerfuffle over amalgamation in the Hamilton region reveal that some of those "volunteers" were in fact receiving as much as 21,000. I'm sorry but that is not volunteering, its just a very poorly paid (non-union) career firefighter.

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    smoke, I happen to have a copy of the transcript and ruling of that if you're interested.

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    LadyCapn and Smoke20286, It is possible that my interpretation of horhay's comments are in fact incorrect, but let me assure you that I am fully aware of the two hatters issue and all of it's repercusions. Furthermore, I am supportive of the decision to ensure that such practices are discontinued, permitting of course that such practices are within the envelope of a singular municipality. My intrepretation of horhays comments were more to the fact that this person seems to have contention with the fact that "volunteers" accept payment. If in fact this "bone of contention" is dealing with a specific municipality and the politics within, then obviously I was mistaken. However it may have been enlightning to have had that made somewhat clear.
    Smoke20286, I was not aware of the kerfuffle in the Hamilton/Wentworth amalgamation, but as you say this could be considered either a very poory paid Career Fire Fighter or a very well paid "volunteer" Since I have no "insider" information as to specific details, it would be remiss of me to stick my foot into my mouth once more. Don't you agree??

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    LadyCapn, I might take you up on that sometime, I did find a copy on the net once and spent an evening reading through it, but for the life of me I have no idea where

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