Florida Town's Firefighters Seek Vote to End Union

Weeks after Palm Beach's police officers opted to leave their union, the town's firefighters are petitioning for a vote to do the same.

"For years, people didn't leave" the department, he said. "We have lost a half-dozen people since February, and we're going to lose more. ... I'm not sure the council even understands how much impact it has had on us, personally, by the things it has done."

Ricky Grau, president of Professional Firefighters/Paramedics of the Palm Beach County, Local 2928, did not immediately return a message seeking comment for this story.

Andrea de la Riva, a driver/engineer within Palm Beach Fire- Rescue, left her post as the local union representative about a month ago, and no one has stepped up to fill the void, Taylor said.

Whether leaving the union could result in pay increases for firefighters during the next year remains to be seen.

The council included increases in the pay ranges of all non- union employees when it approved a budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Now that they are also non-union, the council at its meeting on Tuesday will consider boosting the pay ranges of the police officers and sergeants, making it possible for them to receive their first pay increases in three years.

Citing state labor relations law, Town Manager Peter Elwell declined to speculate on whether the same might happen for the firefighters if they vote to leave their union.