1. #1
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    Default Another sound political decision

    Most of the firefighters in an Eastern Townships community have resigned in protest of the town council's plans to cut their salaries.

    At a raucous town council meeting in Bury on Monday night, the firefighters slammed their radios on a table one by one as they handed in their resignations.

    Fire Chief Darcy Eryou said 15 to 17 of the town's 22 firefighters quit.

    "It was once of the worst days of my life," said Eryou, who has been a firefighter for 18 years, 12 of those as chief.

    The firefighters are furious over the council's decision to change the management structure for fire services in the town of 1,200.

    As it stands now, the firefighters are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Eryou said. They are not paid for making themselves available to fight a fire or help in other emergencies, but receive $15 an hour when they are called to an emergency and $10 an hour for practices and training courses.

    The controversial fire department management policy reduces the wage to $7.75 an hour for practices and training.

    Townspeople rally with impromptu petition

    The firefighters had support from many people who were at the meeting, with some townspeople directing their anger at the mayor, shouting that Bury was more peaceful and loving before he came along.

    Although Mayor Marc-Jacques Gosselin called for calm, the meeting spun out of control.

    During the meeting, people wrote up an impromptu petition calling for the mayor to resign. Some firefighters echoed the call.

    "Take the door! Sign your resignation first," firefighter Dale MacLeod shouted.

    Despite the ruckus, council passed the policy and a second resolution saying it would take effect later in the week.

    Meanwhile, there may not be any fire department left to manage. The resignations mean the Bury fire department no longer meets minimum requirements under the law.

    The law requires "10 in 10," according to Eryou: 10 firefighters on the scene within 10 minutes. "We never had any problems meeting [that criteria] in the past," he said.

    Now the town will have to rely on help from fire crews from surrounding communities, Eryou said.

    The Bury fire department covers an area of about 250 square kilometres, Eryou said
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

  2. #2
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    Man, I really hope there is more to this than a $2.25 per hour for training reduction.
    "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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    Actually reading the article it sounded to me like a personal vendetta by the mayor. With very vocal support of the firefighters by townspeople present, which was ignored, and then an impromptu petition calling for his resignation by those same citizens who is the bad guy here?

    And a point has come to mind that I would like to make for all of those who choose to point fingers at volly firefighters walking out...has YOUR career FD ever gone on strike? Or been part of a job action? Didn't Chicago FD go on strike in the early 70's and the FDNY went out on strike around that time too if I recall correctly and didn't the London Fire Brigade threaten to strike and a last minute agreement was made to stop that? Someone please explain the difference? How can people say vollies walking off the job is wrong when there is a history of the paid side doing it too? If it is about the pay then this volly FD is completely justified...how many of YOU would take a $2.25 an hour pay cut without some action?

    I can't wait to hear the answers to this...

    FyredUp

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    FyredUp, there is a long thread on here with much debate/discussion (and now a lot of crap) regarding the Riverton IL FD and it's members walking out. No where in that is there any discussion about vol/paid. No where in this article is there mention of vol/paid. Why must you even bring that up?

    Secondly....the Council voted to pass this so it's more than just the Mayor.
    "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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    Holy Crap! $7.75 an hour for training!

    Say, what's the weather like in Quebec?
    "Yeah, but as I've always said, this country has A.D.D." - Denis Leary

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    Bones42:

    FyredUp, there is a long thread on here with much debate/discussion (and now a lot of crap) regarding the Riverton IL FD and it's members walking out. No where in that is there any discussion about vol/paid. No where in this article is there mention of vol/paid. Why must you even bring that up?

    Secondly....the Council voted to pass this so it's more than just the Mayor.
    I never mentioned the Riverton post here...you did.

    How is a volly FD walking out different than a career FD going on strike?

    I believe by the reaction of the citizens present this measure was the mayor's idea. I hope he got what he wanted, his city with no legal fire department under Canadian law. Smooth, real smooth. Especially when you have citizens moving a petition forward right there at the meeting for the mayor's resignation. What an idiot.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by GodSendRain
    Holy Crap! $7.75 an hour for training!
    That's what I say. That's pretty good money for a paid on call job. And they still get $15 an hour for emergency calls. Sweet.
    The full time paid FFs here only get $8 an hour.
    Steve
    EMT/Security Officer

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    I do not know the particulars on this specific department's situation but I do have some knowledge on how the standards have changed North of the Border.

    We Mutual Aid with departments in Quebec. (I sat at a banquet dinner a couple of weeks ago with a Providence of Quebec Chief we MA with.) We are 6-7 miles from the Border. In the last few years Quebec has made the Volunteer Departments take MAJOR hours of training and document everything. SCBA training is 40-60 hours just for starters. I think their FF1 is 400+hours and officers have another 300-400+hours of training.

    It is also standard practise that the Department and Officers will get sued for any fire loss. Yes, they plan on being in court for calls that go well. Guilty of screwing up until proven in court you did not!

    If for any reason that they do not meet the 10 FF in 10 Minutes they would be sued, personnally for not making that happen. (Talk about impacting your own family!!!) Even if they are at another working call and they get a second call.

    Life north of the border and what is expected is totally different than what I know of anywhere in the US. The rules for the Paid FF in Montreal are the same as volunteers in a small rural town. I know we all want to be professional and do the right thing, but when you can get sued personnally because your rural department gets a call at O-dark thirty am in the middle of a snow storm you would want the council to at least support your efforts. Especially if the location is 9 minutes travel time from your station in good weather!

    The Provincal Government has basically made the standard to have Career type response standards everywhere no matter what location and do it with Volunteer / POC support.

    Hopefully there are some people north of the border that have more info. But, I would bet a coffee that there is more to this than it sounds like in the article. I don't see this as the membership acting childish, I think they are putting out MAJOR effort and want the support from the Council for their efforts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp
    ...has YOUR career FD ever gone on strike? Or been part of a job action? Didn't Chicago FD go on strike in the early 70's ...how many of YOU would take a $2.25 an hour pay cut without some action?

    I can't wait to hear the answers to this...

    FyredUp
    It was 1980, cheesehead! get it right! I think our strike was right and I fully support this walkout. A paycut would not go over well here - much less cutting my training pay if was on call for free!
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    ChicagoFF

    It was 1980, cheesehead! get it right! I think our strike was right and I fully support this walkout. A paycut would not go over well here - much less cutting my training pay if was on call for free!
    Listen Brother, I am not arguing the validity of your strike, just making the comparison between a career FD strike and a volly / POC walkout. Same thing really if you truly look at it.

    But your response to the pay cut vaslidates my point entirely. Thanks for that.

    By the way wasn;t the Mayor Jabe Byrne? She was the first mayor to eliminate the good relationship and hand shake contracts of da mayor.. Richard Daley of course.

    Stay safe ya flat lander wanna be cheese head transplant llike me!!

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp
    Listen Brother, I am not arguing the validity of your strike, just making the comparison between a career FD strike and a volly / POC walkout. Same thing really if you truly look at it.

    But your response to the pay cut vaslidates my point entirely. Thanks for that.

    By the way wasn;t the Mayor Jabe Byrne? She was the first mayor to eliminate the good relationship and hand shake contracts of da mayor.. Richard Daley of course.

    Stay safe ya flat lander wanna be cheese head transplant llike me!!

    FyredUp
    Yep, Jane Byrne. Not the CFD's favorite Mayor! I don't understand why people are so quick to criticize the actions of guys like this. What did the city expect when they thought about cutting pay? Hugs and kisses? I'd walk too.
    You stay safe as well, my cheese eating friend.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    This has to be about more than money, as a $2.25 an hour reduction can't maker that much of an impact on the department's overall budget. Small town politics can get quite nasty, and sounds to me like this is another example of that.

    When talking about how sweet a deal this is, don't forget the exchange rate.
    That $15.00 translates into about $10 an hour US, and that $7.75 is just about minimum wage.

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    Not to stray from the main point of this post, but I just want to make sure no Canadians reading this get their feelings hurt about their money -

    One (1) U.S. dollar equals around $0.89 Canadian at the moment. It has grown roughly $0.15 to the U.S. dollar over the past 2 years, and continues to catch up. I still say that's pretty good for a paid-on-call department.

    The thing that gets me is the lawsuit factor. That's a lot to demand of a volunteer department. And a 40-hour SCBA class? Do they even have time to fight fires?
    "Yeah, but as I've always said, this country has A.D.D." - Denis Leary

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    Quote Originally Posted by GodSendRain
    Not to stray from the main point of this post, but I just want to make sure no Canadians reading this get their feelings hurt about their money -

    One (1) U.S. dollar equals around $0.89 Canadian at the moment. It has grown roughly $0.15 to the U.S. dollar over the past 2 years, and continues to catch up. I still say that's pretty good for a paid-on-call department.

    The thing that gets me is the lawsuit factor. That's a lot to demand of a volunteer department. And a 40-hour SCBA class? Do they even have time to fight fires?
    That is what I was getting at with my original post. The expectations of their departments are much different than in the United States. If the Chief can get sued and loose his family's home even after all reasonable efforts have been made with no screw-ups it would make you think about "volunteering". The second Chief I talked with told me that they get called into court and are basically guilty of screwing up until they prove they did not. That is a bit harsh in my book. How about the amount of time from the fire starting to being reported?

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