Pennsylvania Town Switches To Volunteers; Chief, Career Staff To Be Laid Off

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Tribune-Review

Uniontown has notified its entire paid fire department that all six members and the chief will be out of jobs by the end of the year, with volunteers to take their place.

In a letter sent Wednesday to the International Association of Firefighters Local 955, Councilman Gary Gearing notified firefighters the layoffs will be complete by Dec. 31, when the next contract expires.

City council voted Tuesday to notify the fire department of the intended layoffs. Mayor Ed Fike said the move is intended to save money.

Fike said although the fire department recently landed a $632,835 federal grant to bring the force back to its full complement of 11, council is uncertain it can legally accept the funds.

Fike said city officials have questions about how to replace those funds when the grant runs out.

Joshua Bloom, a Pittsburgh attorney who represents the firefighters, said today the union plans to fight the layoffs.

Copyright 2010 Tribune Review Publishing Company
All Rights Reserved
August 26, 2010

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Even if they wanted to volunteer, and get paid elsewhere, the IAFF would likely charge them with violating THEIR rules, wouldn't they?

Not really wanting to bring up the whole "two hatter" mess.
Or does that issue not exist in the U.S.? It occassionally pops up here in Canada.
We reciently had a rural town dismantle their all VOLUNTEER F.D. to save money! Sold off their trucks and everything.

They have the two neighbouring town's Fire Departments share coverage half-and-half.

Man, would I hate to be a resident of that community! (extended response time, higher fire insurance rates, drain on resources for the FD's that have to provide the coverage, etc.)
Even if they wanted to volunteer, and get paid elsewhere, the IAFF would likely charge them with violating THEIR rules, wouldn't they?

The issue being brought up is typically due to the misinformation of those who raise the issue.

Like here, you may think that it is the IAFF's stance that members can not volunteer elsewhere or that it is in the rules. Contrary to that belief, there are no rules stating a union member can not volunteer elsewhere. The only reason this is confused is because the IAFF does frown upon the volunteering of IAFF members to those depts that also have IAFF members.

In this case, this would be such a dept where if an IAFF member of a different dept, were to volunteer in this city. It is viewed as the union member doing the work at discount or free from other IAFF members. If such a thing were to happen the IAFF has no recourse in the matter, it is just frowned upon and discouraged.

However, there isn't an issue with an IAFF member of a dept, who may live in an area covered by a volunteer dept without other union personnel, to volunteer with that dept as well.

It is a common misconception by non union members who think the IAFF is against volunteers or even union members volunteering. The union can not make up the stipulations that members can not volunteer elsewhere, however, the dept can. As such the City of Madison, WI has such a policy in place. From about the early 2000s or so, any new hires could not volunteer with another dept. This was not the union establishing the rule, but the dept itself. If that is the case, there isn't a thing one can really do about fighting such an issue.
You made me chuckle:0)
That has been an issue in places, but not what you are thinking, the IAFF does not like it when you volunteer for the department that you work for as a paid FF. Nor should they.
Most people don't get it or do not care, they just want less taxes, that is all less taxes.
Maybe the IAFF constitution is different in Canada?? (I have not compared them). Here a whole bunch of career FF were getting charged by the union for "volunteering" at a different department.

Part of the problem is that most of those departments PAID their "volunteers" so they were actually "part-time on-call" that were dispatched and responded like volly departments. And, as you said, there were often a F/T monday-to-friday day crew that were IAFF members in those departments.

In THIS situation, I understand it. Sorta.

The Canadian IAFF actually managed to successfully lobby the Ontario provincial government to NOT pass a bill that would have protected volly FF from loosing their paying jobs if they were "stuck" at a fire call and couldn't go to work. (Similar to existing legislation that protects reserve military personel.) Apparently they WANT career FF to be able to loose their job if they volunteer??? (Why else would a union get involved in politics that is designed to protect volunteers that are (largely) not members???) I would have liked that law passed to protect my paying job (I am not a career FF). Sure, I wouldn't get paid or have to use a vacation day or something, but at least I wouldn't LOOSE my job.

I don't get it. Why all the hate?

Sounds like the U.S. IAFF is a better and more accomodating group, based on what you tell me.

Can't we all just get along?
THAT makes sense. I wouldn't do that myself.
Good news for the guys.

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