1. #1
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    Default IAFF Stops Talks With DoD

    IAFF Stops Talks With DoD

    May 17, 2005 - The International Association of Fire
    Fighters and five other unions, which together represent
    more than 80,000 Department of Defense (DoD) employees,
    have pulled out of “meet and confer” talks with the DoD over
    new rules that would change how civil service employees in
    the department are paid, promoted and disciplined.
    Representatives from those unions held a press conference
    today in Washington, DC.

    IAFF 16th District Vice President Jim Johnson and
    representatives from the Metal Trades Department (AFL-
    CIO), National Federation of Federal Employees, the
    International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
    Workers, the National Association of Government Employees
    and the National Association of Independent Laborers called
    what has happened “a scam,” maintaining that DoD is not
    willing to bargain in good faith. “We will not sit back and let
    basic workers’ rights be taken away,” was the message
    echoed by the six unions represented at the press event.

    IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger released a
    statement that said, “DoD is not sincere in its efforts to work
    with federal employee representatives to develop a new
    system that better protects our country. If it were, DoD
    would have followed the law rather than embarking on the
    unlawful course that has been chosen. DoD’s actions are
    illegal and we will fight them using every legal avenue
    available to us.”

    “We, as a group, have put forth several alternatives to the
    DoD proposal,” said District Vice President Johnson. “But,
    they refuse to acknowledge employee rights. The lack of
    response is not acceptable and will not stand.”

    In addition to withdrawing from the “meet and confer” talks,
    the IAFF is among 10 labor unions that filed a federal lawsuit
    against Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on February
    23 for refusing to negotiate changes in its labor management
    system. The lawsuit maintains that while the department has
    the right to establish changes in its labor relations systems,
    by law, those changes must be done in collaboration with
    employees.

    Problems between the two sides arose after the DoD told
    Congress it needs to change provisions of its personnel
    system in the name of national security. The proposal
    specifically states that it could issue a directive overriding a
    contract or any part of a contract. In addition, if the proposal
    is approved, collective bargaining would be restricted to the
    point that unions could not raise questions about numbers of
    employees, technology or means of performing work.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I think the DOD is right on spot in this. While Unions like to have things their way, the DOD has a much broader responsibility than just an employees wishes/desires/demands.

    The DOD has to move fast in many situations and requiring them to review contracts in order to provide critical staffing is just more antiquated bureaucratic BS that hampers rescue efforts.

    The DOD has areas it can certainly improve, but dealing with Unions? This is the Department of DEFENSE! Not the IAFF... the DOD has goals and responsibilities that may, at times, conflict with what a Union member wants. So be it IMHO.

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    "I think the DOD is right on spot in this. While Unions like to have things their way, the DOD has a much broader responsibility than just an employees wishes/desires/demands.

    The DOD has to move fast in many situations and requiring them to review contracts in order to provide critical staffing is just more antiquated bureaucratic BS that hampers rescue efforts.

    The DOD has areas it can certainly improve, but dealing with Unions? This is the Department of DEFENSE! Not the IAFF... the DOD has goals and responsibilities that may, at times, conflict with what a Union member wants. So be it IMHO."

    You just have to be one of three things:
    1. Management
    2. A newbie, too ignorant to know any better, or
    3. Too dumb to realize how much damage NSPS is going to do to Emplyees Rights.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I worked as a civilian firefighter on a military base for 7 years. The need for fast redeployment of civilians is NOT an issue. We were not military so we were not subject to be deployed anywhere. The IAFF is seeking to get the right to represent the CIVILIANS, not the military members of the military fire service.

    I was a member of AFSCME when I was a civilian firefighter for the military. You know what? The military functions as well as the fire department functions of the base never faultered because of that Union affiliation. What it did though was get us a living wage and decent benefits and reitrement.

    Sorry if the thought of that causes the DoD pain.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff
    "I think the DOD is right on spot in this. While Unions like to have things their way, the DOD has a much broader responsibility than just an employees wishes/desires/demands.

    The DOD has to move fast in many situations and requiring them to review contracts in order to provide critical staffing is just more antiquated bureaucratic BS that hampers rescue efforts.

    The DOD has areas it can certainly improve, but dealing with Unions? This is the Department of DEFENSE! Not the IAFF... the DOD has goals and responsibilities that may, at times, conflict with what a Union member wants. So be it IMHO."

    You just have to be one of three things:
    1. Management
    2. A newbie, too ignorant to know any better, or
    3. Too dumb to realize how much damage NSPS is going to do to Emplyees Rights.

    Sorry, just sharring my opinion. Did not realize it would be responded to with insults.

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    TalkMilitary...

    I think his response was perhaps harsh but true.

    The simple fact is most firefighters on most military bases are federal civil service, unless it is an ANG base where they may be state civil service. As such they are NOT subject to fast redeployment as if they were in the military. Hiding behind the contract thing is a lie of major proportions because those firefighters are already unionized. I can't remember the name of the federal firefighter union but as a state civilian ANG firefighter I was in AFSCME. The issue is what union is better able to serve the nneds of those firefighters.

    Honestly I have a hard time figuring why anybody would want to stay a DoD federal employee firefighter. The hours suck, 72 a week every week, the pay is traditionally substantially lower than municipal firefighters, and job security no longer exists with base closings. Gee, kind of puts the wanting better union representation in perspective doesn't it?

    FyredUp

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    Well, it will be an interesting one to follow, that is for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp
    TalkMilitary...

    I think his response was perhaps harsh but true.

    The simple fact is most firefighters on most military bases are federal civil service, unless it is an ANG base where they may be state civil service. As such they are NOT subject to fast redeployment as if they were in the military. Hiding behind the contract thing is a lie of major proportions because those firefighters are already unionized. I can't remember the name of the federal firefighter union but as a state civilian ANG firefighter I was in AFSCME. The issue is what union is better able to serve the nneds of those firefighters.

    Honestly I have a hard time figuring why anybody would want to stay a DoD federal employee firefighter. The hours suck, 72 a week every week, the pay is traditionally substantially lower than municipal firefighters, and job security no longer exists with base closings. Gee, kind of puts the wanting better union representation in perspective doesn't it?

    FyredUp

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    The union in question is probably AFGE. The represent a number of federal employees in different agencies.

    As others have said, civilian employees are not subject to the same rapid deployment as the military. They are not combat troops.

    The issue in question that the IAFF and other unions face is federal service wide. The agency I work for has also broken off talks with the union on the master agreement that covers all employees nationwide in spite of federal law requiring the talks.


    DOD and Homeland Security are the pilot programs for a new civilian personnel system that the courts have blocked part of and now members of congress on both sides of the asile are expressing doubts about the way the system is set up.

    I have been able to observe several impasse (arbitration) cases that should have never gone that far because management refused to follow existing agreements and directives. In most cases the union won the case and another large chunk of your tax dollars went down the drain because of political appointees (both Republican and Democrat) felt that employees of their agency have no rights regardless of the law.

    The federal unions are limited in their actions by federal law. All we ask is that management comply with the same laws we are held to.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    Default Iaff Stops Talks

    I totally agree that it is a waste of time to sit and listen to lies. Lies told by folk who are either not knowledgeable about the subject matter or who do not care one thing about the welfare of federal firefighters.

    Federal fire fighters are paid to be ready, paid to be prepared and paid good wages, far beyond what most local fire dept.'s earn. These good wages come with some responsibility. You must work a 72 hour work week, lots of
    hours away from family and loved ones. You must hold certain certifications in order to advance. You must be a professional fire fighter.

    Unions are the only path to seek relief from unfair working conditions. I am a Union representative and as such I see much of the working conditions these folk must suffer through each work day. If we do not stand up in UNITY now we stand to loose not only our contract language but perhaps our livelyhood. If they could the government would disbaned all Unions and totally contract out the firefighters jobs at much lower wages.

    Stay focused now or you may find yourself making minumum wage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flashl123
    I totally agree that it is a waste of time to sit and listen to lies. Lies told by folk who are either not knowledgeable about the subject matter or who do not care one thing about the welfare of federal firefighters.

    Federal fire fighters are paid to be ready, paid to be prepared and paid good wages, far beyond what most local fire dept.'s earn. These good wages come with some responsibility. You must work a 72 hour work week, lots of
    hours away from family and loved ones. You must hold certain certifications in order to advance. You must be a professional fire fighter.

    Unions are the only path to seek relief from unfair working conditions. I am a Union representative and as such I see much of the working conditions these folk must suffer through each work day. If we do not stand up in UNITY now we stand to loose not only our contract language but perhaps our livelyhood. If they could the government would disbaned all Unions and totally contract out the firefighters jobs at much lower wages.

    Stay focused now or you may find yourself making minumum wage.
    You speak of the additional wages of the Federal Firefighters for the additional sacrifice and responcibility and then you speak of unfair working conditions. Are you implying that the Federal Firefighters of this country are working under unfair conditions even though they are also, in your implication, well paid for what they are asked to do, or are you implying that they will no longer be taken care of if they don't continue to fight for what they have already won?

    IAFF just needs to be careful with what they demand and how they go about demanding it on the federal front, don't want any brothers ending up like those air traffic controls that pushed the "law" beyond its bargaining point back in 1981. Better to be paid well for a job and have it stay to enjoy, than it is to demand to be paid increadably and have the job disappear.
    Last edited by DennisTheMenace; 12-02-2005 at 04:40 PM.
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    Default Great Things

    Well lets see I was a former GS-0081 56 hour fire inspector for 10 years. No night diff, Sunday Premium, Holiday Pay. I work as close to the Pentagon as any one here on the Hazmat team. They have yet to have any meetings with any of us. This winter we all switch over to the band system. I really do not think that is it the best for fire fighters or any federal employee in the service of the DoD.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
    You speak of the additional wages of the Federal Firefighters for the additional sacrifice and responcibility and then you speak of unfair working conditions. Are you implying that the Federal Firefighters of this country are working under unfair conditions even though they are also, in your implication, well paid for what they are asked to do, or are you implying that they will no longer be taken care of if they don't continue to fight for what they have already won?
    While I see this is an older post, I am suprised no one else has replied to it.

    Higher pay, yes on a per month or per week. Per hour is a little lacking, of course we make more than most civilian FDs.. because they usually work 53-56 hours a week or less, we are working 72 hours a week, so yes, I think we deserve the pay. Regardless of the pay, the working conditions are still quite deplorable in most bases. We have no access to Federal grant funds that civilian departments get, we usually have the worst or oldest equipment for in the whole area. Every town around us has Thermal Cameras,even the small fire district with 2500 residents in the city, we cant get one approved. My base, we finally got rid of a truck that had its engine replaced in 1972.. I was born in 71... the life of a fire apparatus usually is 10-15 years, even streched out to 20, we are still 14 years over that. We have trucks that should have been pulled from service due to killing firefighters and problems with diodes and such in the shifting gears. Outside the Feds, there would have been a recall. Inside the Feds we get a metal latch to keep the shifting level out of drive (even though that is not the problem). We constantly have non-FD managers over the fire chief who constantly micro-manage, the overall system is still a good-ole-boy, where people bust *** and the chiefs buddy gets promoted or the award in the department. We also guard stuff that makes alot of departments crap their pants, Nuclear, Chemical Weapons, Nerve Gas, Enough Bombs and explosives to take out a few small cities. Having to deal with an agency that is basicly above the law in alot of aspects, whereas some bases OSHA does not care about, EPA cant get into. many buildings firefighters are housed in are WWII or before. Ours still has cotton covered wiring. I have worked with and talked with people who have exposures to radiation, asbestos, hydrazine and numerous other problems, and I myself have been exposed to some stuff. Alot of times, We are told, it never happened, and you cant prove it did. So 40 years from now we will have no health claims because of it.

    So, yes, i can see us having problems with working conditions.

    Please understand, this is not ALL the Federal FDs, there are some that are managed great that can get the equipment and have new facilities.. More power to them, but in general, that is not what I have seen.

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    I have worked at many bases and found the problems you are describing related to one thing...your fire chief. Every DOD base has the ability to upgrade, buy new equipment, including cool toys, if the fire chief is able to justify it.

    Maybe your chief is not convincing enough or is not much of a technical writer. There are DOD bases that have better equipment and cooler toys than the towns around them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by turnout733
    I have worked at many bases and found the problems you are describing related to one thing...your fire chief. Every DOD base has the ability to upgrade, buy new equipment, including cool toys, if the fire chief is able to justify it.

    Maybe your chief is not convincing enough or is not much of a technical writer. There are DOD bases that have better equipment and cooler toys than the towns around them.
    The fire chief can justify it all he wants.....with a degree in english composition and a degree in mechanical engineering.......But when the pentagon says "Sorry, no extra money this year, all money is going to the war effort......" you are screwed.

    And as an ex federal firefighter- I would have gladly taken somewhat of a lower pay, in exchange for a better schedule (IE 24/48 or 24/72....)
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by turnout733
    I have worked at many bases and found the problems you are describing related to one thing...your fire chief. Every DOD base has the ability to upgrade, buy new equipment, including cool toys, if the fire chief is able to justify it.

    Maybe your chief is not convincing enough or is not much of a technical writer. There are DOD bases that have better equipment and cooler toys than the towns around them.
    I agree and Disagree with you. Alot of times, it is the chief not pushing the issue, or such But there are also alot of times that the people over the chief ALSO have their own agendas (not a bad thing, just different) and feel the money could be used elsewhere. In a city, usually the Fire Chief is maybe 2 or 3 steps down from manager/mayor, In the Federal Service, he can be (depending what chain of command he is needed, such as Base-Chain, or their MACOM) 10 to 12 people between him and the final authority.

    One of the examples I have used was the Amertek (P-19 look alike) has killed people and they give a hokey fix that really does not fix the problem, just a small symptom (kinda). The Army says they want to replace all of them, and they are getting a total of 7 replaced in the next 3-5 years. because of the war, the vehicle budget went right down the drain. Add in problems such as the Base Closures, these bases get even less funding becaue of course, they will be closing in maybe 6 years.

    But you are right, there are alot of times that the Chief could be a little more agressive and get more funding.

    But also, they have Fire ACT, How many Billions?, VFA, RFA, Homeland Security SHPS and other grants, because they are not allowed to have federal funds as matching, Federal departments cannot even apply for them.
    So there is billions of dollars that were lost out on by the federal fire departments.

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    I guess my experience has been better than most.

    What i have seen at a badly supplied base is a Chief and management more concerned with getting along with the commander and making political friends than making their department a "progressive"work environment. Many Chiefs don't spend all of their budget to take the opportunity to impress the Commander. "See, look, i can do it and have money left over!"

    At better bases, the Chiefs use the exsisting regulations to the maximum to get what their department has coming to them.

    I've seen both sides, and usually, its the Chief that makes the difference.

    Agree or not, those are the facts from my experience.

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