View Poll Results: Do you think this lawsuit will cause firefighters loose the right to do shift trades?

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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down S.D. firefighters sue city for O.T. from shift trades

    Does anyone else have a problem with the article titled "S.D. firefighters sue city seeking overtime for shift trades"? I have a real problem with this. I consider it a privilage that we, as firefighters, get to trade shifts. My department, as with most departments, have minimum staffing requirements and without shift trades we would have a hard time getting off when we want to. The article states that these guys feel that they deserve overtime for swapping either full or partial shifts with someone. I feel that this is one of those privilages that could easily be taken away. This lawsuit could set a precedence. Please feel free to point out the good and the bad of this lawsuit, if there is any good from it.

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    We have a clause in our contract that allows for swaps.

    Article XXVI, swap time
    Bargaining unit employees shall be allowed to trade regularly assigned shifts or parts thereof, with the following restrictions:
    (a) They will not be alowed for outside work.
    (b) A log book will be used and both parties must sign.
    (c) the firefighter agreeing to take the place of another will be financially responsible for the swap.
    To expect overtime compensation is unreasonable. I think it will come back to haunt them at contract time and they may lose the right to swaps.

    Personally, this sounds like a harebrained scheme thought up at the kitchen table. The firefighters agreed to swap shifts for their convienience.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 07-21-2004 at 06:45 AM.
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  3. #3
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    We have a clause that states swaps cannot cost the Town money, period. If an EMT swaps with a Medic, and then they are forced to hire back Medic becuase none are on duty.....this would violate the contract.

    I don't think this will have any affect on my world, maybe it will in some places.

    Dave

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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo

    Personally, this sounds like a harebrained scheme thought up at the kitchen table. The firefighters agreed to swap shifts for their convienience.
    Gonzo,
    Exactly what we were talking about a couple of shifts ago when i read this. Why would you shoot yourself in the foot like that??? Good way to loose the ability to swap shifts
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    I think you guys are spot on with this one. When I was on the FD we could do unlimited swaps so long as the minimum manning was not violated, someone was there for the shift, and no overtime ws incurred by the city or town.

    I now work for a county based third service EMS provider. We can swap so long as it is within the same two week period of our pay period and no overtime is incurred.

    Unfortunately for these twits that now want to sue the city, they have just screwed every current and future member of the department for years to come. Even if the suit is dropped, dismissed, or settled, like Capt. Gonzo said, the city is coming back to the bargaining table and the union is going to have to fight, and kick, and go to arbitration to keep swaps in their contract. They have an extremely high likelihood of losing too.
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  6. #6
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    Thumbs up

    Hopefully someone will stick it to these Overtime Criminals.

    This kind of crap goes on in our County on a regular basis. Dudes calling in sick and then working OT at another station, taking vacation or annual leave and working OT in their own spot. It's criminal.
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    Angry

    What morons! Nothing like taking a privilege and trying to take advantage of it. That's the best way to get the administration on your bad side, then you have to fight for everything. I agree that they are just screwing themselves for the future.

    Also, if I'm not mistaken, I believe that the story said that this was going to FEDERAL court. That could cause wide reaching ramifications. This story bears watching.

    And if anyone lives in that neck of the woods, go up there and slap some sense into them.
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    On face value, I would have to agree this seems a bit of a reach. I would like to hear more of the story.
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    At my FT job (dispatcher for County EMS) we are allowed unlimited trades. Nobody gets overtime for it.......... that's why they call it a TRADE........ Yes, you may work an extra day one week, but when the trade is paid back, you are getting a free day off.........

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    Swaps in our department must be approved by company officer, and payed back in 1 year. Could not attend school without swaps.These guys are going to make it hard on everyone.

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    Originally posted by TillerMan25
    taking vacation or annual leave and working OT in their own spot. It's criminal.
    If you want to take a vacation day and work it for OT, who freakin cares. They have to cover the spot and what difference does it make. Can't say that I ever would, but I can't see the harm. OT for a swap, not on your life.

    A question...what happens if you are on a swap on get held over, late run etc? Are you entitled to OT? In my place....yes. Just wondering.

    I have never seen a place where you can call in sick an work OT. That ranks up there with sh1tting on the Chief's desk.

    Dave

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    Default Watch how you accuse people

    I have come in on my Kelly and vaction days for emergency "call backs". Does that make me a thief? OR does that make me someone who cares about the people I protect enough to do the right thing?
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    If you want to take a vacation day and work it for OT, who freakin cares.
    That surprises me coming from you Dave. You seem like a "Do the right thing" kind of guy. If you want to work, come in on your scheduled day, man. Taking a Vacation day and working in your own spot for OT is a Bad Labor Practice and the employee who does it should be reimbursing the city/county for the money paid in OT. OT is for Emergencies, not because you feel you need some money in your pocket. If you are on Vacation and get called in for an emergency than you get the OT, not the OT and the Vacation pay. I have seen guys making triple time when they do this.

    Why don't you ask the taxpayer why they are paying you 12 or 24 hours of vacation at straight pay plus 12 or 24 hours of Time and a half and you will see who cares. As far a Defecating on the Chiefs desk, come down here, it happens daily. Guys call in sick and then work their own spots.

    MIKEY, as long as you aren't collecting OT and Leave pay!
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  14. #14
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    Originally posted by TillerMan25
    That surprises me coming from you Dave. You seem like a "Do the right thing" kind of guy. If you want to work, come in on your scheduled day, man. Taking a Vacation day and working in your own spot for OT is a Bad Labor Practice and the employee who does it should be reimbursing the city/county for the money paid in OT. OT is for Emergencies, not because you feel you need some money in your pocket.
    Must be a MD thing. This is "the right thing" around here, an accepted practice. By contract we are allowed to have an unlimited number of guys off per shift, we also guarantee shift manning by holdover. So if I take a vacation day, say in June because I have to use it or lose it, and they offer it to me..beacuse OT has to be offered to all members not working in a fair and equitable manner...whats the big deal. They are going to pay someone to work the shift anyway. If I want to burn a day and go to work for OT, that is my choice.

    Furthermore, to touch on MIKEY'S point, we rely entirely on off duty response when we have a fire. 6 guys on the floor doesn't cut it. Why forbid a guy from coming back just because he is on vacation? He is entitled to x number of vacation days a year, and he also entitled to OT if he responds off duty.

    If you are on Vacation and get called in for an emergency than you get the OT, not the OT and the Vacation pay. I have seen guys making triple time when they do this.
    And again, I miss your point. Does vacation time mean you are prohibited for working at all? What if I work a side job? Is that OK, or am I only supposed to sit around the house and do nothing? If they call for EMERGENCY OT, then someone is going to get time and a half, right? Who cares if it the guy on vacation, if that is what he chooses to do?

    Why don't you ask the taxpayer why they are paying you 12 or 24 hours of vacation at straight pay plus 12 or 24 hours of Time and a half and you will see who cares.
    If the Taxpayer is going to be paying a Firefighter time and a half to cover the slot anyway, who cares if the guy is on vacation. Its his right to time off, and if the OT is offered to him so be it. I agree that the sick thing is BS. Sounds like they need a better payroll person....

    Dave

    ps.... I personally like to use my vacation time to get away from the place, although I have been known to go back for EMERGENCY OT while on vac.
    Last edited by hfd66truck; 07-22-2004 at 08:04 AM.

  15. #15
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    Just to chime in from experience in other careers, if you take a vacation day and you are called back for any reason, you already were scheduled for that day: on vacation. So by coming back, you are not only working your assigned daily duty of being on vacation for the day, but also working overtime since coming back to work means you'll be working your 8 hour vacation day, plus however much you worked back on the job, all at OT since you are over your daily 8 hour limit. Get called back from vacation for 8 hours: 8 hours of vacation pay, 8 hours of overtime.

    Personally, I'd stop the vacation day at however many hours I already took. Most places give OT on callbacks because normally those that were called back already worked their full week (40 hours or so).

    And yes, I agree, I don't see the city being really favorable towards shift swapping in the future. They may have to still allow it otherwise they will be forced to do callbacks when people are out sick or on vacation. But they probably won't give too many concessions in other areas of the contract. Further proof that you can always find a lawyer that will sue for any cause.

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    Does vacation time mean you are prohibited for working at all?

    Not at all, but if you work, you get the Time and a half OT pay and you keep the day of vacation versus losing it. Speaking fiscally, I would rather pay someone time and 1/2 for 24 hours than pay them time and 1/2 plus 24 hours of straight time for the vacation day.

    I will use my own example here:

    Base Pay: $20.20 Hourly
    OT rate: $30.30 Hourly

    8 hour work day = $161.60 on Straight time
    8 hour OT work day= $242.40, a difference of $80.80

    8 hour work day on Vacation with OT(if it was permissable and not a criminal fraud as is stated in our rules and regs.)= $404.00

    I would much rather pay the difference of $80.80 per shift than $242.40 per shift (Which is the difference when you add the extra 8 for your paid vacation day.)

    Why is it that when governments/employers attempt to be fiscally responsible, employees always think they are getting screwed? It's a wonder some jurisdictions don't go bankrupt.

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    We have straight time overtime. We have some guys who will pick their vacation ahead of time, and when that vacation day comes up, there is NO ONE to fill it. So the OPTION (I stress that, because it is not forced on them) is given to the member to work their own vacation shift on overtime. If the member doesn't do it, the Station would go short or unmanned. Which is worse??? Getting paid for a Bargained Benefit (Vacation) and working Overtime (bargained agreement)>>>> Or having the community we serve go short or unmanned. If we go short, it is only putting our fellow borthers and sisters at risk.

    I say fill the Station, as long as you are working within the rules and guidlines of your CBA and Policies.
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  18. #18
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    I think the problem with Vacation + OT comes when people are deliberately working the system.

    Getting held over, being called back, having to make minimum manning due to illness...fine, if the employee doesn't want the vacation on another day, pay both.

    When people see there's going to be a short crew...or worse make it a short crew by pulling a vacation day then covering it as OT on top of it, that's not right.

    We had an auto accident one night on a bad curve, utility crews needed a trooper for traffic control.

    Once the report was written up, the Trooper who had responded to the call -- with his Sgt's ok -- took a half a vacation day for the rest of his shift and then accepted the O/T job for traffic control. Sorry, but that's milking the system. Just because it's legally or contractually allowed doesn't make it right to manipulate system.
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    On the other hand I've worked for cities and Chiefs who also "worked" the system to get the men to work more or not pay them what they are technically due. Forget what is supposedly right or not right. Get what you can from them because they are trying to get all they can from you. The only one that is going to suffer in the end is your family. If they don't make their budget projections, their wife and kids aren't going to starve...whereas if you don't demand all that is due to you...you will get walked all over and your family's well being will be at stake. Do whats right for the men and your family and then worry about the bean counters.

    That comes from working in places where the pay will barely keep you off the governement poverty rolls. Do whats right for you and the Men, don't worry about whats right for the chiefs, because most likely they don't worry about what the right thing for you is.

    FTM-PTB

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    Forget what is supposedly right or not right. Get what you can from them because they are trying to get all they can from you.

    I don't know who you work for. My employer gets 40 hours a week from me, and compensates me for it. I get time and 1/2 OT for anything worked over 40 hours and if I take a day of sick, personal or vacation leave, I get my straight hourly wage. I also accrue 12 hours of leave per pay period Vacation and 8 Sick.

    I understand that alot of you don't live in the jurisdictions you work in, so why care if they raise taxes to pay your inflated OT bills right? So FFRED, basically you are saying get as much money as you can from your employer? No wonder work ethic is S--t in this Country and all our jobs are being outsourced to foreigners.

    I, as an employer, am going to hire the people who are going to help me be fiscally responsible, keep a profit, keep overhead down, keep productivity up and be loyal. How can you be loyal when you are raping your taxpayers by threatening their safety? You union has already been exposed to their practices of using scare tactics when it comes to public safety.

    Good thing you aren't paid by the call, most of you would be suffering while a small percentage would probably be in Fortune 500 (FDNY, DCFD, LAFD)
    Last edited by TillerMan25; 07-22-2004 at 01:15 PM.
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    TillerMan25,

    The point I am making is if it is in the contract then do whatever you want to do that will make you the most money. Both sides signed it so it must be good. Because if the Administrations will benefit from a certian action regardless of what it does to your income, morale, families well being, they will take advantage of it if it is in the contract. I've been subject to the creative interpretations of Chiefs and they are looking to benefit only them! While it may seem cut and dried on hours and pay it isn't.

    For someone who rails against the "socialist" unions I find it interesting you would worry about the "work ethic" and the greater good as in the city and the taxpayers. I think if you would read some Marx, Weber and others you will see some paralells between your comments and their thoughts.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 07-22-2004 at 05:57 PM.

  22. #22
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    Originally posted by TillerMan25
    Not at all, but if you work, you get the Time and a half OT pay and you keep the day of vacation versus losing it. Speaking fiscally, I would rather pay someone time and 1/2 for 24 hours than pay them time and 1/2 plus 24 hours of straight time for the vacation day.

    I will use my own example here:

    Base Pay: $20.20 Hourly
    OT rate: $30.30 Hourly

    8 hour work day = $161.60 on Straight time
    8 hour OT work day= $242.40, a difference of $80.80

    8 hour work day on Vacation with OT(if it was permissable and not a criminal fraud as is stated in our rules and regs.)= $404.00

    I would much rather pay the difference of $80.80 per shift than $242.40 per shift (Which is the difference when you add the extra 8 for your paid vacation day.)

    Why is it that when governments/employers attempt to be fiscally responsible, employees always think they are getting screwed? It's a wonder some jurisdictions don't go bankrupt.
    I am suprised Chris, I thought you were "brighter" than this.

    If you take a vacation day, and I get hired to cover it, assuming we are the same classification of employee, I would earn 242.40..right? And you would have 1 less vacation day to take.

    So, if I take one of my vacation days and then get offered my own shift at OT, I would make the same thing...242.40. I would also have 1 less vacation day to take. This is not screwing or manipulating the system....in my job they have to cover the 2nd vacancy, in other words we drop one position. OT is offered to all members on a rotating basis. So for me to take a vacation day and even have it offered to me is rare. However, since they are going to pay someone the time and one half, does it really matter if I take my own or someone else does?

    This is not some big conspiracy theory......

    Why is it that when governments/employers attempt to be fiscally responsible, employees always think they are getting screwed? It's a wonder some jurisdictions don't go bankrupt.
    No one said anything about being screwed here, and the topic has nothing to do with what you brought into it. Put away your braod brush and try something smaller.

    Dave
    Last edited by hfd66truck; 07-23-2004 at 09:21 AM.

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