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Thread: IAFF Membership

  1. #21
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    I have a few questions.....
    How many Firefighters do we have that have part time jobs?
    The majority of them that I know do

    SO
    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.......

    Moral of the story.....How many union affiliations have connections with the AFL-CIO that you are actually affecting their working conditions?

    I would not volunteer in any Fire Department that has Career staff.
    BUT if I want to volunteer at my home town that is 100% volunteer then I do not see a problem with that. I do not see my 400 call a year department ever justifying a career staff.So I don't see it as I am taking money from a starving firefighters family.

    Please answer these questions for me and tell me if you agree or think I am way off base. I am interested.

    Thank you
    Mike
    Last edited by Mulldog; 01-27-2005 at 11:39 PM.
    IACOJ


  2. #22
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    Well, I havent been on teh boards long, but i hve been around teh fire service a long time, my whole life actually. I can understand animosity if volunteer departments ARE taking away what would be legitimate, paid positions. But if you look at where I am from, a lot of it has nothing to do with the volunteers, but more with the crappy politicos. The city i live in a suburb of, is completely slashing the department here. Some of it is citing the willingness of volunteers to come help at big city fires. Cause you know, volunters have nothing better to do than wait by their scanner for the fire of the century that will never come. However, having volunteers where i live, is a necessity. the suburb im in can't afford a paid department. It's that simple. They arent taking away positions from paid departments, because the paid guys can't cover the area that would require. We've gone from over 13 engine companies, and four truck companies, to five engine companies, and two truck companies, for over 150000 people. the city needs the volunteers. I know the volunteer companies would be perfectly happy not to have to help out their city brothers. They dont need the added burden of watching the city, as well as the suburbs. If teh city had a full staff,t hat would be great, adn the volunteers would ove it. And if the municipality i lived in could afford it, they woudl go to a paid department. but thats not a possibility.

    I do always find itintersting to note though the number of paid guys taht will call volunteers not real firemen, when the majority of fire fighters here (in the US) are volunteer. but, as i said, if it's legitimately causing career guys to los ethier jobs, that's one thing. If it's a volunteer department, who is merely taking the blame cause some big headed mayor wants more money for the park system, thats another. in most palces taht jsut isnt the case.

    Also though, regardless, all firefighters are BROTHERS, just not all union brothers. They ll performt eh same job, some for free, some on a per call basis, and others as salary. But the fire doesnt differentiate, so neither will I.

  3. #23
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    I like your little term for Volunteers. I will make sure that if I am ever in Boardman Ohio ( Which I am sure is a busy place that has tons of Fire Duty ) I will stop by your station and let you know how much the "Volun-Queers" appreciate it.
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  4. #24
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    should note that this forum is entitled ďCareer/Paid Firefighters ForumĒ Issues and discussion impacting paid personnel. Once again volunteers infringing on the sanctity of the union.
    I'll ignore the rest of the posts as this has been hashed over and over and no one will agree.

    Welcome to Firehouse.com, THEY own the forums, not you. ANYONE and EVERYONE can post whereever they want. FTM
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  5. #25
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    Chip,

    I agree that many volunteer depts, including many surrounding my own district, have drastically longer response times and less experience and training, but I wanted to get the point across that there are vollunteer staffed departments getting the job done as well as paid IAFF departments that are not getting it done and visa versa. My department is well staffed, well trained and well equipped. We benefit from full backing of the taxpayers, we are not a volunteer fire company, we are a municipal department so we can use our time to train and cover our area rather than fundraise. We don't have a bar or a social hall. Every piece of structural firefighting apparatus has a new state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera. We all have two sets of Morning Pride gear replaced every 5 years. We have no limit on the amount of training we can obtain above and beyond the requirements. Our trucks have equipment our IAFF neighbors dream of. We have full benefits so if anyone, IAFF or not, gets hurt or killed they and their families are well taken care of. My point here is not to boast about or equipment, as I know there are departments out there doing the same thing, I'm simply saying communities do what works for them. We get an engine and truck on the road very quickly-obviously not always as quick as our IAFF neighbors, but they are responding in a minute with 2 men on each piece, while we are responding in about 2 1/2 minutes with 4-5 on an engine and 6 on a truck and we do not have guys who stand around and watch- you're either a true FF who responds to a minimum percentage of calls or you are terminated- we don't carry dead weight, it's too much of a liability. It would be great if every local could afford to be fully staffed and operate with the best equipment and training, but that's not how it works. I feel for all firefighters who have to make due with what they have due to budget constraints, paid and volunteer.

    As to volunteers posting on here, I came to this forum to see what the union members think of it. I personally have a lot of problems with unions in general including the IAFF. I am on several hiring lists and my own department will most likely be combi or paid in the near future, so I may have to join the IAFF soon and thought there would be some comments about the union on here, not someone telling me I cannot be their brother until I've signed the union papers and fallen in line like a lemming. I guess I'll just consider myself a leech until I'm IAFF. GO KERRY
    (might as well try to fit in)

    And just to clear things up, I do not in any way agree with people who trash other FF's because of a paycheck, regardless of which way the criticism is going.

    Unofficial poll:

    were most of your instructors for training paid or volunteer firefighters? I've taken MANY courses at the state and national level and an overwhelming majority of my training officers have been volunteers. Not saying they are better, just wondering if chip would tell them they are not qualified to be his brothers?

    www.palmerfire.org
    Last edited by Ladder27; 01-28-2005 at 11:10 AM.

  6. #26
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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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  7. #27
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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 04:08 PM.
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  8. #28
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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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  9. #29
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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.
    IACOJ

  10. #30
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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?

  11. #31
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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.

    www.palmerfire.org

  12. #32
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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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  13. #33
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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 07:54 PM.

  14. #34
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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.

  15. #35
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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."
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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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  18. #38
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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??

  19. #39
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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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