Thread: IAFF Membership

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    Posted by Mulldog...
    To the part time contractors, plumbers, electricians, masons, painters and roofers. Do you feel bad when you see those union brothers/sisters accepting an unemployment check when they are unable to find their next job site to go to?

    To the truck drivers and delivery people. Are you Teamsters or taking their jobs away too.

    And the list could go on and on.......
    Most of the unionized trades work for large construction companies working on large projects... municipal buildings, skyscapers, large hotels, road construction etc. and not the small residential projects that firefighters who work part time do. They are doing what everyone else is.. . pursuing the American Dream, saving for college educations for their kids and retirement. The arguement you put forth is like apples and ornges.. both fruit, both tasty, yet have their own distinct flavor.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    Posted by Mulldog...


    Most of the unionized trades work for large construction companies working on large projects... municipal buildings, skyscapers, large hotels, road construction etc. and not the small residential projects that firefighters who work part time do. They are doing what everyone else is.. . pursuing the American Dream, saving for college educations for their kids and retirement. The arguement you put forth is like apples and ornges.. both fruit, both tasty, yet have their own distinct flavor.
    And most volunteers are in small communities that can't afford to have career departments to cover their small call volume with their small tax base. So volunteers work for the American Dream in other careers, and serve their communities on the side.

    All different types of fruits in this great Nation of ours, and that is why some departments are fruit salads (combos), hopefully there is a good salad chef (leadership) to keep the flavors well balanced and complementary.
    Last edited by DennisTheMenace; 01-28-2005 at 05:08 PM.
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    as boring as this is, I thought I would add my 4 cents

    You donít find many volunteer police officers or schoolteachers. Those a very important jobs within our communities.
    this is true. but you ever seen a volunteer EMT or Paramedic? you know, those guys who drive around in a big white truck that takes the sick and injured of YOUR town to the hospital? you thnk that's a important job within your community?

    were most of your instructors for training paid or volunteer firefighters?
    all were paid as instructors (by the county academy), however it was probably a 30%/40%/30% ratio totally paid / totally volutneer / volunteer and paid either full time or part time.

    most suburban communities could probably afford 1 four person crew per department. that meant the town would pay a 4 man crew to staff (in my home town) 4 engines, 1 tower, 1 snorkel, and 1 heavy rescue, or (in my current town) 2 engines, 1 tower, 1 heavy rescue, 1 lite truck (not counting the 3 other engines and 1 squad that are on the other department in district). they would probably need to first respond to all EMS calls (which we currently don't) and have to respond to all calls in town (we are one of 5 districts spread out of something like 40 square miles). but it's more effective to use highly trained professional voluteers.

    oh, and Chip, in case you didn't know, a career FF volunteering in his hometown isn't taking a union job. the job never existed in the first place, so their is no job to take. it's one of those little facts that the IAFF likes to ignore.

    just as an FYI, the City of New Brunswick NJ (fully paid department) had a 3 alarm with probably 7+ departments there (excluding NB) all but 1 are 100% volunteer. it's amazing what can happen when paid and voluteer firefighters work together, and don't put themselves down like you are trying to do.
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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    Posted by Mulldog...


    Most of the unionized trades work for large construction companies working on large projects... municipal buildings, skyscapers, large hotels, road construction etc. and not the small residential projects that firefighters who work part time do. They are doing what everyone else is.. . pursuing the American Dream, saving for college educations for their kids and retirement. The arguement you put forth is like apples and ornges.. both fruit, both tasty, yet have their own distinct flavor.
    Gonzo,

    I do agree that most union work is industrial or commercial but the key word is most. I do agree that they are doing what is best for their families. I question whether or not union firefighters are charging prevailing wages so that the union shops would have the opportunity to compete in the bidding for these smaller jobs. This is where an orange and an apple maybe different but they are in the same family of fruits. There are volunteer departments that have retirement programs(incentive), tax breaks and opportunities for their children to recieve scholarships. Now putting this along with serving your community it seems like they are following the American dream and taking care of their family.
    Nobody should be able to tell someone what they can or can't do on their day off. When I am at work I am at your mercy for every rule that is placed on me BUT when the time clock gets punched out the only thing I should be concerned with is staying out of trouble with the law.
    This is just my opinion.
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    Cool

    You donít find many volunteer police officers
    http://www.policevolunteers.org/
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    If volunteers willing to do the job for little or no compensation are taking jobs from union members, then what are the union members in most locals doing by running undermanned? If you are IAFF and you are willing to run with any fewer than 4 on an engine crew, you are denying your fellow union members the right to the job. It works like this: NFPA says an engine crew should be at least a crew of 4. If you are willing to run on a 2 person engine, you are denying the other 2 men who should be on the crew a job. You should refuse to work until every piece is fully staffed, otherwise I guess you're a scab if you run understaffed.

    Just to make it clear, I don't buy the whole "scab" thing anyway, I'm just following union thinking.

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    Originally posted by Ladder27
    If volunteers willing to do the job for little or no compensation are taking jobs from union members, then what are the union members in most locals doing by running undermanned? If you are IAFF and you are willing to run with any fewer than 4 on an engine crew, you are denying your fellow union members the right to the job. It works like this: NFPA says an engine crew should be at least a crew of 4. If you are willing to run on a 2 person engine, you are denying the other 2 men who should be on the crew a job. You should refuse to work until every piece is fully staffed, otherwise I guess you're a scab if you run understaffed.

    Just to make it clear, I don't buy the whole "scab" thing anyway, I'm just following union thinking.

    www.palmerfire.org
    Staffing levels are dictated by budgets and the Chiefs and politicians who formulate them. Career firefighters are not taking jobs away by running a two man or three man company. They are dealing with the resources and cards that are dealt to them.

    Using your analogy, no volunteer or POC FD should roll a rig out of the station with less than the number of personnel than a career FD. That eliminates the rig with just the driver and everyone else responding in POV's responding to the scene.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Two points, that should be of interest to all on both sides of the coin.

    1.) Volunteers did the job first, right? Are careers infringing upon volunteers? Are they infringing upon lower taxes? But could the volunteers flourish without the work of the IAFF? Hasn't the IAFF won many advancements for firefighters? If you saw either of these points as fuel for your argument, you are missing the point. What came first, the chicken or the egg? You all can keep wasting your time wondering which, I'll focus on the fact that they are both very necessary. Us city/ urbanized suburbs folk may never know what a true rural department is like, while those rural/ rural suburbs will never know what a city department is like and tries to get away with. I will agree with the union when they tell us the paychecks are going to stop because they found some vols to drive the trucks, or run on the IAFF engines.

    2.) Parasite, I don't mean to gun for you here, but maybe we all just have too much equipment. Sure, using your example, 4 guys amongst all those trucks may be too many. But how about some of the money is saved and its 8 guys on two trucks? With trucks running 150k- close to a mil, it seems there is such an insistence on being completely independent. Is there such a severe call volume in these communities that it is impossible to regionalize. I know of plenty of places this worked. Plenty of career companies run 1000+ calls, yet not many of these equipment heavy departments do. Not saying it is the case in your community by any means, there are certainly plenty of places that do require those resources. All I am trying to say is that to me, the financial argument is not always completely sound.

    Please don't take me as advocating any side here, but here is something that gets to me. The IAFF's job is to PROTECT its members. Are there members of the IAFF who are waiting to be appointed to the job like union carpenters? If the city halls out there cut firefighters, thats one thing. But I always thought a union is there to protect the existing jobs, not to assume a monopoly. I think this argument is of the same theory of the Cold War- Vols are scared the Careers will take over, and vice versa. When we look at each other as enemies, then enemies we will become and we miss out on the fundamental purpose of our occupation.
    Last edited by orangehopeful; 01-29-2005 at 08:54 PM.

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    "Staffing levels are dictated by budgets and the Chiefs and politicians who formulate them. Career firefighters are not taking jobs away by running a two man or three man company. They are dealing with the resources and cards that are dealt to them.

    Using your analogy, no volunteer or POC FD should roll a rig out of the station with less than the number of personnel than a career FD. That eliminates the rig with just the driver and everyone else responding in POV's responding to the scene."


    This is my point exactly. Just as staffing is dictated by budgets, so is the choice to run paid or volunteer. I'm not in any way saying all departments should become volunteer, or that it is the best way to get the job done, I'm just pointing out the absurdity of the argument that volunteers are taking jobs from union members. And I don't POV's should be responding to the scene to make up for shortages on the rigs, there are regulations prohibiting that in my department, we roll with 4-5 on an engine and 4-6 on a truck and yes our response times are a minute to 2 minutes slower than the paid guys if no one is in the stations but we make up for it with full crews, aggressive interior attack, and a high level of professionalism- don't assume paid and professional are synonyms. My point is I do not begrudge paid firefighters, nor do I herald the volunteers. There are departments getting the job done and there are departments that aren't, regardless of pay.

    And just to clear up the confusion, just because a department is volunteer does not automatically make it a rural department with on guy on the truck etc. and just because a department is paid does not automatically make them an urban department. My department is all volunteer, with the exception of the chief and we are not a rural department with staffing issues and we are not alone in that category. So please do not talk down to all volunteers assuming they are undertrained, undermanned, etc.

    Hopefully someday every municipality will be able to fully staff adequate equipment to do the job safely and effectively, but until that day I wish people on both sides of the argument would stop and think before trashing each other. We are doing the same job and should work together to ensure it gets done right.

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    Originally posted by Ladder27
    "Staffing levels are dictated by budgets and the Chiefs and politicians who formulate them. Career firefighters are not taking jobs away by running a two man or three man company. They are dealing with the resources and cards that are dealt to them.

    Using your analogy, no volunteer or POC FD should roll a rig out of the station with less than the number of personnel than a career FD. That eliminates the rig with just the driver and everyone else responding in POV's responding to the scene."


    This is my point exactly. Just as staffing is dictated by budgets, so is the choice to run paid or volunteer. I'm not in any way saying all departments should become volunteer, or that it is the best way to get the job done, I'm just pointing out the absurdity of the argument that volunteers are taking jobs from union members. And I don't POV's should be responding to the scene to make up for shortages on the rigs, there are regulations prohibiting that in my department, we roll with 4-5 on an engine and 4-6 on a truck and yes our response times are a minute to 2 minutes slower than the paid guys if no one is in the stations but we make up for it with full crews, aggressive interior attack, and a high level of professionalism- don't assume paid and professional are synonyms. My point is I do not begrudge paid firefighters, nor do I herald the volunteers. There are departments getting the job done and there are departments that aren't, regardless of pay.

    And just to clear up the confusion, just because a department is volunteer does not automatically make it a rural department with on guy on the truck etc. and just because a department is paid does not automatically make them an urban department. My department is all volunteer, with the exception of the chief and we are not a rural department with staffing issues and we are not alone in that category. So please do not talk down to all volunteers assuming they are undertrained, undermanned, etc.

    Hopefully someday every municipality will be able to fully staff adequate equipment to do the job safely and effectively, but until that day I wish people on both sides of the argument would stop and think before trashing each other. We are doing the same job and should work together to ensure it gets done right.
    Show me where I talked down to volunteer and POC firefighters....

    What I stated is fact for most volunteer and paid on call fire departments when it comes to responding.

    Check out the Boston Globe story about fire response on the home page...
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Default yawn.....

    I really see this discussion is going nowhere pretty quickly, and as much as I used to really defend Volunteers on this site, even I am getting tired of it.

    Really, just do what you do. Volunteer, Career, On call or what ever. No side will ever be happy or ever concede that the other is right, so life goes on. I really think some of our more esteemed union Firefighters on here could care less about this topic. Gonz, HFD66TRuck, E229Lt. and so on....those guys don't care about your union card, they care about your actions. And Chip, actions speak louder than words my friend.

    Just a sidenote though, the Metropolitan Police in Washington DC does have Volunteer "Reserve Officers" who are armed, have arrest power and do regular patrols. My Dad did the Reserve thing for a couple years after he retired from 25 years as a Regular Police Officer with the city.
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    CaptainGonzo, I would hate to reduce my responding engine manpower to "paid" levels. I respond with anywhere from 5-7 on my engines.

    orangehopeful, I don't think of paid FF's as an enemy. There are places that need them. I just don't understand why they consider volunteer's an enemy. It's not the volunteers fault that a paid FF's boss won't hire more people. I just really have a hard time figuring how FF's that claim they are shortstaffed, need more help, will get someone killed due to low manpower, are so unwilling to accept help because it's for free. I like ALL FF's to go home safe, whether they are paid or not.

    It is a way of life for many of us
    while they are receiving a paycheck for it. How much do you help your fire department when you are off the clock? or is it just a job?

    higher levels of education and expertise are needed to address the expanding role of modern fire departments
    for all FF's.



    Again, interesting to see each others viewpoints on life.
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    Default IAFF Membership

    Well I see this whole thread was indeed taken out of context.

    Chip, you just gotta understand that some things just can't be said and discussed with-out major hostility.

    I belong to another Firefighters union. This union also has a stance on its members performing volunteer services. Not all comply.

    And as far as the post that offered the website to another well-known and "very busy" company, I understand that company is comprised of many career firefighters from other depts.

    I can not understand any department that produces that many runs staying all volunteer if the union members complied.

    I refuse to to equate paid vs. vollies.

    To do that comes down to individual vs. individual.

    But I will say that I believe your intent was to discuss issues of interest to you and your career dept. You should have seen it coming!

    I agree with CaptGonzos comments also. But the comments on the FFs that were LODD in texas are the prime example of why I will not volunteer to do my career job. It makes no senese to deny my family of any benifits. And how much fire does one need?? Those that do not earn a living from this occupation may have opinions regarding your comments, but you must realize, as I said.....you just can't say that stuff. Or you invite attack from every direction.

    Now I know that this forum is not for Career interest. So I will not discuss any issues. But when the local school districts finances become to costly to taxpayers, I will volunteer to teach. When my neighbor needs his driveway repaired, I will repair it free. And my pick-up truck has the word volunteer mason stenciled on it. And I am listed in the yellow pages under free services.
    This is my right. And I am just as experienced as those who charge big bucks....got all the certs too!

    SEE? It can go on and on in both directions. And it has been beat to death. As I said-I believe it comes down to individuality and choice.

    And that is America. We will never unite and gain the trust and financial backing of our government as long as we are fragmented.

    And I agree that to volunteer is to truely give of oneself.
    So how about all those community and service to the public oriented politicians work for free??? I am sure it is a lot less dangerous, and requires far less training....and would free up some cash to finance the Fire Service....paid and volunteer!

    I do not live for this job, I live from it. I live for my family.
    But I love this job, like my family.
    And aint we all family??

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    Maybe it's just me, but if someone is willing to stand with me, bleed with me, or potentially die with me, I see them as most assuredly my brother. I never saw their payroll status or union membership as the determining factors for the "brotherhood" I see.

    If a volunteer is trying to take my job, then he/she is a mutt, but that doesn't mean that all volunteers are of that ilk. I try to assess each person (paid or volunteer) based on their honor and integrity. You're fooling yourself if you think the paycheck or union card is going to compensate for a lack of either.
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    "...I needed to figure this out so that I could better deal with the issue..."

    I fail to see this as an issue needing to be dealt with. In my area, volunteers are not trying to move in on career departments. If an IAFF member wants to volunteer or work part-time for a non-union department that is fine with me. If the department in question ever does unionize, then I wouldn't recommend continued volunteering or part-time work. There can be many reasons for working part-time. The extra employment may provide the financial stability needed in someones family. Volunteering may come purely from ones sense of community and the desire to help ones neighbors. I find that to be a noble sacrifice.

    "...also have a real problem with volunteers assuming that they are our brothers and sisters. For the most part, I feel we have dedicated our lives and sacrificed many things to be paid, career firefighters and that those who volunteer should not be allowed to share that distinction"

    "...and if I have to go after volunteers trying to take my job, I'll cross that bridge at that time."

    Get real! What are you going to do, start hunting down volunteers and part-time firefighters? Sounds like you have some issues with paranoia.

    "How do you think the Teacherís union would respond to the school board putting out advertisements for volunteer teachers? I donít think it would be well received."

    I don't think you can make the comparison because, in that situation, the school board would already have an agreement with the teachers union. If your community were advertising for volunteers for your union department, there would be an issue. I truly hope that this is not the case. There are many small communities that can't support a school system of their own, but the need for volunteer teachers does not exist. Widespread areas and many communities can combine to form a school district, and this works because an "emergency school day" is not something you will ever see. The same widespread areas and many communities would not be able to pool enough resources and manage them effectively enough to provide Career/Full-time/Union Fire and EMS protection that adequately serves the above mentioned areas.

    After reading and re-reading your posts and considering the comments that you have made, I find your comments and views embarrassing and degrading to many true fire professionals. I feel my brotherhood with you only goes as deep as the monthly dues we pay, and would sooner consider most other career/part-time/volunteer firefighters on this site and those I know in person to be true Brothers and Sisters in firefighting.
    Marc S.
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    Solon Local 2079

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    Default One Last Comment

    I just wanted to post one last comment on this issue. While I am aware of all the different circumstances and could comment on all the issues laid out, I really did not comprehend the depth of the feelings everyone had regarding this issue.

    With that beginning say, I appreciate everyoneís input and I WOULD LIKED TO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE I HAVE OFFENDED. After re-reading the numerous opinions, I have discovered that there will never be total agreement when it comes to this topic, so it would be far more productive to try to work together and provide the best service we can to the people we protect.

    This all just proves that, no matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn. Thanks for the comments and once again, I apologize if I offended anyone. That was not my initial intent.

    God Bless and stay safe.

    Chip

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    I have discovered that there will never be total agreement when it comes to this topic, so it would be far more productive to try to work together and provide the best service we can to the people we protect.
    And that's exactly the point I was trying to make, Chip. We both want to provide the best service we can, under our respective circumstances, to the people we protect. You and I just have different means of reaching that goal.

    Apology accepted
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    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream ó and I hope you don't find this too crazy ó is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    ó C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    I wanted to say one thing about this that just occurred to me. I am in a union (teamsters, not IAFF). if i do decied to try to become a career FF, cool, if not, no biggie.

    while the previous aside isn't really relavent, I would like to say this:
    As a union man, I have a job. It pays me about $35,000 a year. now I have that job, it's mine, it's what I am getting paid for. however, if I had 6 clients who needed my help at the same time, and someone volunteered to help me, then I would not turn them down. if it was a fellow worker whose shift was over, or just someone who was hanging out on his day off (which happened at my last job quite often), it wouldn't matter. but the last thing I would do is look down my nose at them, or demean them in any way.

    to this day, I don't understand the insecurity paid FFs feel when dealing with volunteers. I trained for my FF1 alongside paid guys. I screwed up right next to them, and vice versa. just last week the paid guys had a structure fire in the city, and called several volunteer departments to help. we all put it out. there was no "I'm paid and because your not I'm better than you" or "you paid guys get paid to sit on your *** and watch TV." New Brunswick Fire Department had a big fire, and realized long ago that their neighboring volunteers were an asset, and use them frequently.

    the biggest time I have seen problems is when a department is all paid and has nothing to do with their vounteer neighbors, and in a combination department where the paid crew does everything (which results in less volunteer turnout).

    maybe i'm young and idealistic. I think all people are good people. who knows, maybe in a few years that will change. Chip, i wish you luck on becoming a chief officer soon.

    and btw, most volunteers I know would considering any firefighter as part of the brotherhood, whether paid or volunteer. we both put the fire out using the same water. just food for though.
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    if I had 6 clients who needed my help at the same time, and someone volunteered to help me, then I would not turn them down. if it was a fellow worker whose shift was over, or just someone who was hanging out on his day off (which happened at my last job quite often), it wouldn't matter. but the last thing I would do is look down my nose at them, or demean them in any way.
    OK this has nothing to do with the previous discussion, which I had no intention of getting involved with. I have nothing against volunteers (I, like many here was a volunteer at one time)

    But you mention volunteers or off duty personal helping me at my place of work. Not going to happen for several very good reasons.

    Firstly if my employer requires more personel there is a mechanism in place by which he can do that. Its called overtime. I I or another of my brothers were to volunteer to stay back and do work for free, then the individual who should have been called in for overtime is going to grieve it, (quite rightly) Which means my union, will have to use my union dues to file a grievance against managment. This is illogical, and in fact my employer would not even dream of allowing it.

    Secondly I have no interest in getting assistance from someone who I have no idea to what leve he is trained or what experience. again my employer would not even dream of allowing something like that.

    This is not an issue for those of us in larger urban fire depts, and in truth we really don't care if a union brother wants to volunteer in another jurisdiction.Nor do we have a problem with volunteers. We however do attempt to show solodarity with our brethern in smaller and composite fire depts.

    While your post may make sense to you in your locale Drparasite, it truely holds no meaning for most of us career firefighters who work in an urban enviroment, indeed many of my brothers will go through their careers without ever having met a volunteer firefighter
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    Default Just my thoughts...

    First, a full disclosure: I am a proud union firefighter in a mostly suburban/rural combination department with a total career strength of about 100 and roughly (very roughly) 100-200 ACTIVE volunteers (as opposed to just being on the rolls). I volunteered for a number of years before being hired. I no longer volunteer for a number of reasons, which are my own.

    I don't have a problem with volunteer firefighters as a whole. As has been said, there are many small localities that simply cannot afford a full-time career department. I have met many volunteer firefighters who are at least as "professional" as any career firefighter I know, and I would be proud to work beside them on any incident.

    I don't even have a problem with career firefighters volunteering, even if it is in my jurisdiction. Just don't join the union (I live in a right-to-work state). My problem comes when a union "brother" from a neighboring jurisdiction comes and volunteers in the jurisdiction where I work. Even worse, those so-called "brothers" are the strongest voices in the jurisdiction crying, "We don't need paid firefighters!" when the evidence clearly shows otherwise.

    There are several career union firefighters volunteering in my locality who attempt to road-block any effort by the career staff to increase staffing levels or improve service. As a result, we are forced to work with two man engines, and we frequently wind up leaving ladder trucks sitting in the station. NFPA 1710 for us is nothing but a wishful thought. I doubt the rabble-rousing is even a concious effort by the volunteers anymore. It's as predictable as clockwork. They have a strong influence with the local government as well. They have a strong tradition of getting whatever they want. This makes our efforts that much harder.

    As a result of this action by a few outspoken, incendiary volunteers, our local has been forced into a position antagonistic to the volunteers as a whole. In order to avoid any accusation of hypocrisy, we have had to adopt a bylaw barring volunteerism among our own members, to the unfortunate detriment of a few surrounding volunteer agencies that were a valuable mutual aid resource. We are investigating the possibility of pursuing grievances against these volunteers, however our own membership is torn on the issue.

    I relate this story to illustrate my chief point: every situation is different. Some areas have career and volunteer staff that work very well together. Just not mine. There are all-career departments that I would not trust to put out a simple rubbish fire, and there are all-volunteer departments that I would love to have put out a fire in my own home. The unfortunate truth is that the reverse is usually true in my area. Volunteerism is on a slow, steady, tortuous decline. And it's kicking and screaming the entire way. My locality NEEDS full career staffing along with a serious reconsideration of its public safety plans. The volunteers are now accomplishing nothing but getting in the way.

  21. #46
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    I am a career and a volunteer.


    And right now I'm really glad I don't give a damn what anybody thinks.



    Mike

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    Plattsfire2, What if it was an issue in your dept? What if your fellow firefighters really didn't want you to volunteer. Would that make a difference to your decision?
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    I'm both a career and POC, so here's my take on it.
    Chip, I don't see Covington giving up your position and filling it with a volunteer fd. If you are not comfortable with who may be called for mutual aid, train with them, or get the policy changed so you don't have to use them. Call Newport, FDBD, etc. You have a great fire school there, push to get a Mutual Aid class so you can aleviate your fears. There are some good firefighters in those Northern KY depts., and there are some duds. Take a good look and see if you can figure out if all duds are volunteers, and all good firefighters are career. I do not believe that paying dues makes your skills better automatically. The only automatic issue with paying dues is the tax deduction. I do not disagree that you could be surrounded with career departments. There should be alot of tax dollars around you. But, until the people who decide how to spend the dollars choose to buy firefighters, you get what you pay for.
    Let me ask you this Chip. If you were outside the city limits of Covington at a gas station. A 20# fire extinguisher is hanging on a post 20 feet from you when a vehicle in the parking lot catches fire. Do you consider that you are in a jurisdiction protected by a union fire dept., and if you take action with the portable extinguisher, you may reduce the local populations perception of need for fire protection, thereby having a negative impact on the union fire dept? Or do you do the right thing, apply your professional expertise and skills and put the fire out?
    I see it like this. The career firefighters where I volunteer are always looking for more help. They battle for more people every day, and I support them on that issue. But, when they are faced with an incident that is more than they have the people to handle, I pitch in because I don't want to see one of them killed or injured by their staffing levels. In the 17 years of progressing from all volunteer to the current combination dept, there has been less and less call for volunteers. But occasionally, we just need more people. And if those people are firefighters somewhere else who are willing to contribute to their community, so be it.

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    Smoke,


    To be honest with you, I do get some guff from certain guys on my paid dept. The thing is, I've watched about half of them start out from rookie status. Beleive it or not, I've never heard a rookie talk down about volunteers. It's usually guys who have been on a while. Which leads me to beleive that they are just repeating what they've heard from past fireman. I've always beleived that if any of them actually gave volunteering a shot, they'd probably enjoy it. But this is just a few isolated incidences in my little corner of the world. (Omaha)
    Bottom line is, I really enjoy helping people. That will never change. So anybody who may have a problem with where I help people will just have to get over it.

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm not disagreeing with you, I am just raising a point. If the majority of guys in your Paid Dept had a serious issue with you volunteering would you consider giving it up, or carry on regardless? ( I know for example some unions had trouble with members volunteering in the same jurisdiction, some laid off members felt that this act was preventing them from being hired on a full time basis - just as an example)
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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