1. #1
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    tfdmedic's Avatar
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    Apr 2003

    Post Lateral Firefighters

    My friend recently applied for a lateral position at a fire department in my county. It seems that the department was looking to hire firefighter/ paramedics and their entry level candidates were all inexperienced and inept. The department felt that the best way to get qualified people was to use a lateral process.

    After a meeting in which six laterals received preliminary job offers, the local union president handed each of them a business card with the words "call tonight" written on it. Upon calling the union president, he proceeded to tell the candidates that they were not welcome on his department. He said the union would try to demote them, cut their pay and take their jobs. The union apparently did not like laterals coming in and making promoted wages, even when the laterals were filling medic spots that needed to be filled in order to meet staffing.

    Does anybody have any thoughts or ideas on this matter?

    My thoughts:

    - Entry-level academies cost a lot of money, and many of the recruits are totally unproven. I think in progressive systems sometimes hiring experienced laterals is a good way to save money. It is also a great way to hire proven firefighters and medics.

    - Unions need to concentrate more on equal pay for equal work. Nobody on this particular department is capible a filling the open paramedic positions. Hiring laterals is an attempt to fill the slots with the best (outside) candidates possible.

    - I am a very active IAFF member, and was embarrassed at this sort of union behavior. This guy is the president of that local. Like it or not... his tactics represent his brothers and sisters.

  2. #2
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    fieldseng2's Avatar
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    May 2002
    St. Louis, MO



    As president of my own local I couldnt even imagine pulling a stunt like that. With a paramedic shortage in our area, and the very few number of people that end up on our list (only 3 this time)because our chief requires you to be a paramedic before you even apply I would welcome a chance for our department to open up to a lateral concept.

    I don't know what your president was thinking, but that seems pretty unprofessional and foolish to me. Especially if those laterals were already union firefighters transferring from somewhere else. My suggestion would be to form a committee through your local and work with your city on the best way to handle laterals (obviously with the permission from the local body). If your president is still flying off the handle come election time, find a candidate that is better suited to represent the local and get him into office.


    Robert H. Fields
    Hobart, Indiana

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