Does your Union Rep , Company Officer or you truly know the “Written Content” of your “Rights, Benefits and Procedures” as related to your “Employment Agreement?” Would you stake your future on it?

All too often we guess - some times we hear “Fire House” table talk. Some people seem to sound vary sure when they tell their versions or interpretations! Yes, we have classes on “Fire ground Tactics” - “Standard Operational Procedures” - “Fire House Etiquette” - and so on. But when did you actually see a “Full Updated Copy” of your “Contract?” Not just some parts of it - not just some “flyers” handed out or posted on a bulletin board!

Does your employment “Require” you to be “Unionized” - is it an “Agency shop?” What makes up the calculations for your Union Dues and Fees?” - What’s a P.A.C. Fund and who administers it, where does that money go and why?

What about “Judicial and Administrative Hearings” - in the Buffalo Fire Department / Local 282 book , that relates to pay for court time !

Here’s a posted question from another forum, “Is time off injured counted towards retirement?” Although that question seems to raise more questions then answers - in our “Red Book” it’s outlined in Article IV -Eligible Service, Section 4.2.

How about “Holidays” - which ones granted by your contract and include “Comp time” if you work them? Health and Life Insurance - are you eligible - what can you get - have you updated your beneficiary lately? How about your “Initial Vacation Entitlement, Subsequent Entitlements and Entitlement Schedule!”

Do you have a “Safety Committee” - who sits on that committee - do you know their functions and responsibilities - how do they “Protect You?” Are they supposed to and who do they answer to?

What is considered “Union Activities on Company time” - what is allowed and why - who decides - what do the “Union Reps” activities consist of - who do they answer to?

A few of my most recent favorites, Article XXIII “Settlement of Disputes” - “Grievance and Arbitration Procedures” - and the Grand Daddy of all “Discipline and Discharge.” Is there an “Outline or procedure” some call them “Steps” - ours goes like this - if your naughty Article XXIV (24.1) line B states:

Your supposed to get a (1)“Reprimand” - (2) or maybe a transfer ,(3) deny a transfer , (4)A fine not to exceed $100.00 to be deducted from salary or wages , (5) Suspension without pay for a period not to exceed two months (in the 1982-1984 version ) , (6) Demotion in grade and title ,(7) Dismissal from the service !

In the Buffalo New York Fire Department they can and have skipped the first “6 steps” - and gone to “(7) Dismissal” just for being out of Uniform or because you state you don’t believe a “thirty day suspension” was warranted for that same infraction .

Yet , a few paragraphs later in section 24.3 “Suspension Pending Determination of Charges: Penalties - it states , “ Pending the hearing and determination of charges, the person against whom such charges have been preferred may be suspended without pay for a period not to exceed thirty(30) days. In section 24.3 line B. states: The penalty or punishment imposed shall be as set firth in Section 24.1B.

So do you know what’s in your “Contract?” - Will your Union fight for you if these “Procedures aren’t evenly applied” - will you need a lawyer to defend you and who pays for that lawyer should you need one ?

Can Political Affilliation , Race, Rank, or even your Off Duty Interests affect these "Rights?" Don’t guess - get a copy of the Contract and an “Updated” Rule Book.


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