Just wondering how other people deal families that are on both sides. I have a father and older Lt. brother are non-union. My Father stays out of the discussions, but says unions are a good thing. My brother a POC Lt. and I do get into some dicussions that end on sore notes most of the time.

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I am a Union Firefighter, have been for 16 years. I have gotten into discussions with my family over unions regarding carpentry and the fire department. Unions are a good thing, at least they are suppose to be. Fair pay, benifits, safe working conditions. I think to many people use the union for the protection of the lazy.
I don't believe in riding the fence either, if your union, then back off the POC. POCs are not wrong but I view it as an apprentiship program if you will.
Best of luck with your family, your father sounds like he has years of wisdom.
UNION Brother . A strong and not greedy Union is the only way . The Hoffa way. Rely on your fellow Union Brother and sisters to protect your job and its safety. Buy American or good by America. We can win all wars but we cant win the Market. The US will be owned by all other Countries with our greed of money. A greedy Union like UAH always wants more money and not safety. Who can afford a US car these days with Labor wages that high. U should feel lucky u make 5.00 per hour. Other countries make 75 cents a day or hour. That's why they are doing so much better. Look at China. With that said and me being a Strong Union Man . Unions are good and bad .
As far as I can see, Union and POC or volunteer firefighters are never going to see eye to eye on things. Unfortunately the role of the Union is misinterpretted by many. People always assume that it's always about money, it's always about greed and it's always about upping numbers (again for the money).

We have no leadership on my department aside from our Union. Our Management team is in the pocket of the City and has gone so far as to berate our actions at fires (too many examples to get into). We have not had a contract for many years, not for lack of trying and going to arbitration. Without our Union we wouldn't even see this coming, we would be sitting with less benefits (if possible, they are pretty piss poor), less pay (again, pretty piss poor) and worse working conditions. We are a liability to taxpayers, we need someone to support our interests.

I would recommend not getting into it with your brother. Until he is a member of a Union and can see what it can do for him, he will never understand. Many don't.
Unions are overall good, to many people forget what they fought for in the begining. Fair pay, fair promotions, Safe work enviorments. There are those who will use the Union to help them push the limits on every rule............yes we do have to provide them with representation..........but they are the rare ones.
One way to look at it, if He is a paid on call firefighter, what does he do to feed his family? Next time yor off show up at his place of employement and Volunteer to do his job for free for the next month You mayhave to do it nights and weekends to get tasks completed But In this economy Iam surehis employer would love to have you doing it for little or nothing andlet him go be a paid on call firefighter " professionally" ... It sounds to me like he is starting the carp just to start crap, mostlikely he's just jealous because your on the job and he's not ... why waste your time trying to justify what he knows he wants whether or not he is too old now or never had the chance or never had the balls whatever... The union isnt something My live revolves around ButI can tell you I wouldnt want my job if not for it, They'd still have us getting a day off a week or more///
Walter, I believe that my father was in the CWA years ago before being promoted to management at the telephone company here in Maryland. He worked there for 44 + years. No one in my immediate family has any particular issues with Unions or my position as Union President, but I do have a lot of friends that I grew up with, and some extended family, that are constantly on my ass about unions in general and the perception that all unions care about are Democrats.

I have taken a lot of heat from friends and extended family for being in a leadership role in a local union. When Ehrlich was running for Governor against Kathleen Kennedy Townsend years ago our State Association endorsed Townsend. My uncle made fun of me the entire week during our annual family vacation to the beach; putting Ehrlich stickers on my car, on our condo door, etc. Hell, I couldn't even go to the bar to hear a favorite band without having to hear how ugly Townsend was (didn't know looks mattered), and how she was going to do nothing good for the State of Maryland. I am not going to lie to you, it was tough. I would have rather been on vacation from all of the Union stuff.

While I am a registered Democrat I personally have some typically Republican opinions. I ride the fence on a lot of national matters that seem to divide this great country along party lines. Other times I am with the Republicans and others with the Democrats. No matter how hard I try I can never seem to get my friends and extended family to understand that the political activities of our Union (both the IAFF and our Local) are centered SOLELY on what will make our members' careers, jobs, pay, benefits, and safety better. They automatically assume that we will endorse a Democrat every time. About the only thing I can say in return is, "Show me a Republican that will increase firefighter pay and benefits, improve staffing, open new stations where necessary, retain Defined Benefit Pension plans, and have a working relationship with firefighters, and I'll show you a Republican that gets our endorsement!" Problem is, they are hard to come by. If a Republican IS willing to support firefighters, he/she is likely to find themselves so far away from the traditional Republican base that it would be hard for them to get the suppport of their own party.

In some ways I have a great dislike for the political system we have in this country; but it is ours, and it is up to us to play the cards we are dealt. Either we play, or we sit on the sidelines and end up with next to nothing to show for it. It is even harder when our own members often say, "I don't think we should be involved in politics." Hell, I've even had members begin by asking me who the Union was going to endorse for our county executive, only to have them cut me off before I could finish my answer and say, "I don't even know why I am asking. It doesn't affect me. I don't live in the county." Well, of course it affects them, they WORK for the county.

My point is this. While it is hard to have family that doesn't see eye-to-eye on the issues and may even be irritatingly unsuppportive, do the best you can to stick to what you believe in. I don't necessarily think that you have to be a diehard Union guy to be a good union leader or member. I think you just have to remember that you are in a career where every decision that affects you for your 20-30 years in the job is decided by a politician. If that isn't sober enough to get you active, then I don't know what is. Isn't it better to have some influence and none at all?

Don't let your family get to you. Stick to your guns, work hard, and believe that as a Union you can accomplish good, healthy, and fiscally responsible things.


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