B.F.D. Members vote "No" to thinly disquised give back contract proposals presented by Local Union President.
Factors add up in defeat of Buffalo firefighters contract.
Buffalo News article:
Quote Bufnews,"Measuring the raises against the givebacks, some firefighters said the contract’s defeat wasn’t surprising. Of the 600 who voted, nearly 60 percent opposed the pact.
Article quote : "About a third of all firefighters would have moved to a different health insurance plan — a change that city officials insisted would not have diminished coverage. Firefighters would have given up 33 hours in paid time off and agreed to work-schedule changes that would have allowed the city more flexibility. The scheduling changes and a lessening of overtime rights would have cut overtime costs, city officials said." (End quote)
View article at link below.
Buffalo N.Y. City Mayor Byron Brown Offers "New Proposal to B.F.D."
First and foremost: Buffalo N.Y. has a "Control Board" - - this board has the power to shred contracts. It has been known to be "Selective" in its "Contract Item Enforcements" - another words they pick and chose which parts of the contracts they want and disregard the rest - usually the "Funding Portions" for raises.
Bottom line has been - the Union and City negotiate - the Mayor tries to get us what he believes is fair to all, including tax-payers.
The Union tries to "Pitch" bits and pieces of "Contract Items" to the members. The Voting,Dues Paying Members don't get to see a "Full Written Copy" of all the items, issues or long term affects of same.
They aren't presented a "Complete Written" list of grievances squashed , or "Hand shake deals" included. Then even if ratified - then the "Contract" goes to the Control Board where its shredded. The Members are still bound to the "Give-backs" - even though the "Entire Contract" isn't honored.
This leads to distrust of ones "Leaders" and their actions.
Yes the vote was close - first you have about 900+/- eligible voters - 600 vote - 60% vote "No" - what does that tell you ?
Many see it like this - 300 of the eligible voters believe its a waste of their time.
40% just want a contract or are loyal to the B.F.D.Admin/Union.
60% of those who voted see or have seen the affect of voting for something they weren't openly or honestly given details of prior to being "Rushed" into voting for.
They don't trust the outcome, because they can't trust those who present it or those who will have the last word over actual implementation.
The issues of "Shift changes" - "lateral assignments" and the "Possibility of Bringing in Outsiders to fill Positions" - were all buried in the "Bits and Pieces" presented to some members. Many Members - as all to often is the case - were only "Guessing" on the proposals content not having read a "Full Written Statement."
Nov 9Th - - - Members say "No" to the Latest "Amended Proposal." The Dues paying members of the Buffalo Professional Fire Fighters Association - this time backed by most "Union Boards Members" again said "No Thanks" to the "Amended Contract Proposal" from the City of Buffalo N.Y.
Most members are wanting to see who the new Union President will be! Although insiders see two reasons that might also be fruitless. There are currently three people in the running for President.
The current President who suffered a "No Confidence Vote" against him last year is actualy still running for a third term. Even though he has been unsuccessful in creating a successful contract platform (in four years), even though he hasn't been successful in enforcing the past contracts - he wants to be re-elected.
Some worry, that because of the other two guys running - that could actually cause him (Current President) to win.
If the other two guys split the votes - they could actualy pave the way for the present President to remain in office.
Well , it seems once again "Politics" is going to stop the Dues paying members from achieving their goal of "New Leadership" for their Union.
Its "Politics" that has caused most of the "Contract Issues and eroded Workers Contract Rights" - there is no definative dividing line between City Hall-BFD.Admin(Management) and the Current Union President(Captain=Management). There is no seperation, because all are one and the same.
More and more Line Firefighters are sencing a "Shift" in the Unions Contract Priorities - their recent actions and proposals do seem to lean towards "Strengthening Management."
To this day - no full written, complete legal contract proposal has been presented to all the B.F.D. Dues Paying Members. No Union Rep claims to have full knowledge of the "Entire" package content and its full effect on the Present members overall contract rights and benefits - so how can they - why should they vote ?
When the Buffalo News tried to get the Union Presidents comments on the "Contract Issues" all they got was "No Comment." Shouldn't the Union's President be clearly stateing his case in the media whenever he's given the chance?
You have the right to receive a copy of your collective bargaining agreement (union contract) along with all riders and supplements, and to inspect copies of all contracts that your local union administers. (This may include hiring hall rules.)
This is one rule of many available to you on the Union Bill of Rights.
Thanks for the help - the key word in the above is "Administers" that implys contracts that have been ratified. Thats how they get around full disclosure during "Negotiations" they say "we can't disclose every thing until its finalized or we don't won't to jepordise negotiations so we can only show highlights"
Believe me , all Unions don't work this way at all. I worked with the UAW 13yrs and never seen such closed door - misleading deals in all that time.
When a Firefighter once asked our Union President - "Why don't we get full - new - updated contracts and proposals?" - The President replied(in a open Union Meeting), "You don't have to know - we do so we can represent you if theres a problem."
Hopefully our "New" President won't have that same attitude. I know most of the guys Elected last night don't share the old "Closed Door" mentality. Our New President and Vice President have already proven their committment to Protecting our Union Contract. Both are seasoned Veterans and know how to seperate Union Buisness from personal interests.
Time will tell - my hope is that finally Admin and Union will actually enjoy a "Clear Seperation" as far as Union Affairs are concerned. Yes, they both should serve the over all good of the Department - but there has to be a clear line between the two.
The site link is helpful , Thanks