Wanted to reach out to members of IAFF. I am a sworn member of a 56 sworn member department. We have the labor board coming in at the end of this month for a vote to organize. My opinion is that the members are split down the middle at this point. I have family and friends that are (or were) members of the IAFF. They have had both good and bad experiences as with anything in life. We have it pretty good on our job. Starting pay is comparable to others, we get 6 Kelly days a year, 5 vacation the first year, and we dont pay for our insurance. I am concerned what will happen when we become union. Right now we negotiate with the board and the Chief, and we need some things to be in writing. The district lawyer says that we have a contract and that if we organize we are in violation of that contract. As a member of the district, I want what is best for all the members, SAFETY, EQUIPMENT, & RESPONSE PROCEDURES are just a few. I apologize in advance for joining the group, but I couldnt reach out to you guys without joining. I am looking for any positive (or negative) feedback regarding anything that will help me and my fellow members. Stay safe to all of you.
Union is the best way to protect what you have and not just the money either, it covers all sides, from health and safety to pay to, ppe you name it, once voice for all. A yes vote would be the correct vote in my book joining a union is the only way to go!!
BE CAREFULL Brother, we were a part of another local and this past summer. we went on our own and holly Sh** it has been down hill ever since. Our Dept in combo and with paid chief and deputy chief and 10 members less than smooth. The best advice I could give is small steps and make friends. Depending on which your at there my be laws that will help you. There are alot of benifites that most fireifhgters don't know about. Remind the ones on the other side " the IAFF as fought for the Grant money that so many Dept have recieved."
Anthony: For any union to be successful, you and your 56 brothers and sisters have to be united. If the department is fractured now, you will have many bad experiences. There is a very old saying that to defeat your enemy - divide them. Divide and conquer. Government poilicy makers know this and will count on this division and in-fighting to keep you all in line.
I was part of the original group of firefighters that organized our department 22 years ago. It wasn't easy but we had a common goal. We were about to lose a beloved chief to retirement and the possibilities of his replacement frightened us. We were a solid group committed to unionization and to protect our way of living. We hired a good lawyer and have never looked back.
I work in a village of 24,000 residents and not a district. Things are different. You need good legal advice. Don't listen to the District lawyer, he can't be trusted - his loyalty is to the District and not you. Find a good union lawyer and take his advice. It will be the best money you can spend.
You sound like you have some good benefits and it is an unfair labor practice to take your rights away just because you want to unionize. Remember that your chief and the District trustees will depart some day and then there are no guarantees as to how your lives may change. What if the District decides that it wants you to pay for insurance down the line, what imput will you have. A union contract assures that the District will have to bargain with you and not just impose a new fee structure without any imput from you.
Is the union perfect - no. But it is better than anything else out there. The union does look after you, your rights and your safety in hundreds of different ways.
I am in Local 4606 and we formed late last year. Earlier this month (FEB), two of our Bat Chiefs were fired. The IAFF came in and helped us secure their jobs back. I was amazed of the backup we recieved from the International. Before the firings, we took baby steps and were making good face with the city council but now that the guys got their jobs back, we are in talk with the city and changing existing policies to suit the fire department. It was probably the best move we ever did as firefighters by joining the IAFF.
Well we lost the vote. It wasnt even close. Now I guess we sit back and see what happens. Thanks to all of you that gave some input. I really appreciate it. All of you stay safe, and keep up the good fight.
Remember Unions are good and bad. I am a strong Union member of IAFF Local 73 ST. Louis Fire Dept. My family is strong into Unions. Now one big reasons our Automotive companies are hurting is the Greedy UAW workers. Money Money . Now the price of cars go up when your employees want 30 plus an hour for barely graduating High School with no college . So the companies pack up and move to other countries with cheaper wadges. That's y so many American jobs are leaving. We should be happy we have jobs. Now we should be fighting for safer working conditions and health benefits. We should be fighting to get better equipment to help others. Remember this when your Fire Dept is cutting jobs because they have no more money to give you.