Thread: Union Issues

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    Default Union Issues

    Need some opinions: Our union is currently going through one of those phases of "turmoil". Several members have made some not so intelligent decisions on and off the job which makes for nice gossip around the fire stations. My question is this, does your union provide fair and impartial representation of a member depite his actions or does the union have a right to make a decision whether a member has made a mistake and does not support him against management? Case in point: a brother got a DUI last month, not related to alcohol, was taking prescription meds and later in an MRI showed he had several small brain infarcts consistent with CVA. The union is taking a stance that any DUI is detrimental to our public image as a whole. I fel that despite this and in other similar situations, the union is here to protect our rights as firefighters and to assure management is following proper courses of action. I feel it is not the union's stance to condemn a brother but to support him. That said, there are times where union's should not protect or coddle (ie-child molesters, etc). Need some insight here men.

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    What happened to innocent until proven guilty? The union is not the judge and jury, the Union is! (how many guys will get that :-) )

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    If the brother gets a real good lawyer and makes his case on the DUI charges he could then also file suit on the union for failure to represent. It does not make for good relations but if innocent then go for it.

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    Being the chief steward for my department let me start by saying The union is makes perfect sence. Now to go into the problem at hand. Your union brother is entitled to proper representation. The union is there to make sure that the management does not go beyond the normal structure of disipline. They should be there to argue that the punishment fits the crime. If your member had a medical condion a lot comes down to if the docter allowed him to drive under his new medication and the union should do research as to the fact of how his condition and DUI affect the department if any. Nomaly in a situation like this it does not hit any major papers and he did have a medical condion so it should not have affected the department in any way. He hopefully has a clean personal file and has no disiplinary action so the union should show support as a hole and make sure that management uses DISCRETION when making thier discion. So that being said when it comes to somthing like a child molesters that is a major crime and a felony charge. So the union protects him or her until he is found guilty of somthing like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wag11c View Post
    Need some opinions: Our union is currently going through one of those phases of "turmoil". Several members have made some not so intelligent decisions on and off the job which makes for nice gossip around the fire stations. My question is this, does your union provide fair and impartial representation of a member depite his actions or does the union have a right to make a decision whether a member has made a mistake and does not support him against management? Case in point: a brother got a DUI last month, not related to alcohol, was taking prescription meds and later in an MRI showed he had several small brain infarcts consistent with CVA. The union is taking a stance that any DUI is detrimental to our public image as a whole. I fel that despite this and in other similar situations, the union is here to protect our rights as firefighters and to assure management is following proper courses of action. I feel it is not the union's stance to condemn a brother but to support him. That said, there are times where union's should not protect or coddle (ie-child molesters, etc). Need some insight here men.
    The union has a duty to represent its members reguardless of circumstances and reguardless of if it happened on duty or off. Now the member has to request representation once he does that the Union has to represent him in his case. Also be sure that your members know there rights when going before administration for a hearing or anything else.

    To give you insight I was at a conference yesterday. Anyway I know you all remember the case in Memphis where the firefighter shot and killed some of his brother firefighters? Well he requested to be represented by the Union guess what they had to represent him. So reguardless of the situations and in some cases like that and how you feel it is the job of the Union to represent them.

    Stay safe if you have any questions PM me.

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    If your union is going to hang this person out to dry, or any other person, is it really a union at all?
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wag11c View Post
    Need some opinions: Our union is currently going through one of those phases of "turmoil". Several members have made some not so intelligent decisions on and off the job which makes for nice gossip around the fire stations. My question is this, does your union provide fair and impartial representation of a member depite his actions or does the union have a right to make a decision whether a member has made a mistake and does not support him against management? Case in point: a brother got a DUI last month, not related to alcohol, was taking prescription meds and later in an MRI showed he had several small brain infarcts consistent with CVA. The union is taking a stance that any DUI is detrimental to our public image as a whole. I fel that despite this and in other similar situations, the union is here to protect our rights as firefighters and to assure management is following proper courses of action. I feel it is not the union's stance to condemn a brother but to support him. That said, there are times where union's should not protect or coddle (ie-child molesters, etc). Need some insight here men.
    Wow Im surprised the union would want to bail on a guy especialy under these circumstances. The union has a duty to represent him in departmental proceedings if he requests it. What has the department indicated that they want to do? I would think that they would take the fact that the DUI is related to medical condition and proscribed medications into consideration. The courts will usually take it into consideration. Even though its technicaly a DUI I have seen several dropped to Reckless Op in situations like this (depending on the driving record).

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    Quote Originally Posted by hfd326 View Post
    Wow Im surprised the union would want to bail on a guy especialy under these circumstances. The union has a duty to represent him in departmental proceedings if he requests it. What has the department indicated that they want to do? I would think that they would take the fact that the DUI is related to medical condition and proscribed medications into consideration. The courts will usually take it into consideration. Even though its technicaly a DUI I have seen several dropped to Reckless Op in situations like this (depending on the driving record).
    I'm surprised as well. While I understand the desire to shun a guy had he been driving around drunk as Cooter Brown, it's still the union's responsibility to represent him. Personally, I don't see any difference between driving drunk, high, or on meds. I do understand a situation where the medication had an unforeseen effect, though.

    However, if he was having a CVA, I would foresee the charges being dropped altogether. A CVA could easily be mistaken (particularly by an officer with little or no medical training) as intoxicated.

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