1. #1
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    Post Lateral Firefighter Issue

    I posted this on the "career firefighter forum" yesterday and only received 44 views and 0 replies. Give me your thoughts. -Thanks


    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:
    - If a city told (threatens) a new candidate not to join the union, they would be up for federal charges. What happens when a union threatens new employees not to take a job?

    - 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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    Oh yeah... my friend IS already an IAFF member that is stuck at a small department. He is only trying to advance his career at a larger department with lots of opportunities.

  3. #3
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    Default dejavu

    Wow, do I know you? I find myself in the same predicament. I am a medic in a small (36 member) department. I too want to further my career and I feel a larger city is the place to do that. I applied for a lateral, and the city started to proces me. Then, the process abruptly stopped. Friends I have in the department in question told me that the union was dead set against laterals, and they were trying to stop it. Furthermore, they told me if I got the job I should "watch my back". I was dissapointed, and of this time the city has never gotten back to me. I have a few theories I why fire departments are against laterals.

    ..by the way, I am an IAFF member.

    1. Politics- Here in upstate NY, any civil service job is treated like a gift reserved for loyal voters. Job qualifications are often a distant second.

    2. Nepotism- Many of the firefighters on the job in the department I was trying for have kids on the list. They see laterals as someone (who already has a job) stealing the job from thier kids. For this I can't blame them.

    3. Principle- Some IAFF locals are against "Stealing" members from another department. It is another way for a city to cut money fom the FD.

    With that said, I think allot has to do with the culture of your department. Tradition dies hard in this job, and the older and more traditional your department is, the less likely they are to accept change. The idea of moving laterally between careers is a concept that is approved of in the civilian world, but the fire service has always been a place where you work form the bottom up, and every firefighter and officer came from the same place. Hiring laterals takes away that continuity. Bck to culture though; I am always looking for a new job, and I want to get out of the northeast. Mill fires and leather helmets are great, but the progressinve departments are generally south and west. That is where you will find departments more willing to take laterals. They are more progressive, and look at the advantages of laterals. I myself presently have applications in for Clark County, NV and Sacramento CA.

    Thats my 2cents....I wish your friend luck.

    Matt Dudek
    Cohoes, NY FD
    L-2562

  4. #4
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    Matt, any relation to a "Sandra?"

  5. #5
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    That dosen't ring a bell, but I do have family down that way.

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    Default

    Gee, unions sound great, I sure wish us voly guys could have a union...



    Call Tonite my arse, what a jerk.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Angry

    ....Unions may have there problems, but then again it sure is nice to get paid for this job!

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