?

Log in

No account? Create an account

I agree with the IAFF...

« previous entry | next entry »
Oct. 10th, 2007 | 09:12 pm

I completely disagree with what this guy has to say... I support the IAFF and it's stance on this issue... Gotta think.. most members live in those areas and would be better served by a professional career staff as opposed to a volly system.



Heat on volunteer firefighters
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
James Sherk
The Washington Times

You probably haven't heard Congress is about to shut down many of America's volunteer fire departments. Not intentionally, perhaps. Yet a little-known bill advancing through Congress would do just that.

Nearly 26,000 volunteer fire departments protect tens of millions of Americans and their homes from fires. Almost 3 in 4 firefighters in the United States are volunteers, and smaller towns and cities call on them for protection. A town with 3,000 residents simply cannot afford the expense of hiring full-time career firefighters. They rely on volunteers.

These volunteer departments are usually anchored by a core of professional career firefighters. Often they work in another city and volunteer to protect their neighbors in their off-duty hours. Volunteer firefighters risk their lives and sacrifice their time for their communities. Who would want to shut them down?

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), that's who. The IAFF represents career firefighters. Volunteers who give their time and efforts to their communities allow many communities to do without full-time career fire departments. This means fewer jobs for career firefighters, and fewer dues-paying members in the union that represents them. So the IAFF does everything in its power to stop "two-hatters" from volunteering.

The IAFF constitution prohibits its members from belonging to a volunteer fire department. In the words of IAFF President Harold Schaitberger, the decision to volunteer is a personal choice, but "that personal choice is one that can have serious consequences under our Constitution." Union members who disobey face steep union fines that the courts will enforce. In some cities, the IAFF negotiates, on its members' behalf, contracts stating they will lose their jobs if they volunteer in off-duty hours.

The union's effort to ban volunteering is an assault on our civic fabric. Doctors who provide free care to the poor, lawyers who work pro bono for the disadvantaged, and firefighters who volunteer for their communities make America a better country.

Without career firefighters willing to give their time, many volunteer fire departments would have to close. Look at Connecticut. The IAFF negotiated "no-volunteering" clauses in the contracts of every major city there. Now many of the state's volunteer fire departments are having difficulty finding enough volunteers to protect their communities. Some cities have had to raise taxes significantly to hire career fire fighters — exactly what the IAFF intended.

Enter the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, which would make it significantly easier for the IAFF to close volunteer fire departments. The bill, which passed the House and is before the Senate, has nothing to do with employer-employee cooperation. This bill requires every state and local government to collectively bargain with their police officers and firefighters, and to negotiate virtually every term and condition of employment. Those states that have decided collective bargaining doesn't meet their needs would have to do so anyway. States that limit what they negotiate would have to negotiate almost everything — including "no volunteering" clauses.

If this bill passes and forces every local government to collectively bargain with its firefighters, the IAFF's membership rolls will swell and the union will have enhanced powers to negotiate away the freedom of its members to volunteer. Many career firefighters who want to serve their community will lose the ability to do so, unless they want to lose their jobs.

Recognizing that concerns for volunteer firefighters could sink the bill, its supporters added a provision specifying that private sector collective bargaining agreements cannot prevent workers from volunteering. Since virtually every firefighter works for the government and not in the private sector, this actually does nothing to protect volunteer firefighters. But it sounds good.

Instead of adding meaningless provisions that do nothing to defend firefighters' right to volunteer, Congress should let local communities decide if collective bargaining is right for them. Many communities have decided it is. But others, concerned about how unions would attack their volunteer firefighters, have not.

Congress should not make it easier for the IAFF punish firefighters for volunteering to protect their neighbors.

Link | Leave a comment |

Comments {7}

Adam

(no subject)

from: xaoswolf
date: Oct. 11th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
Link

gotta disagree.

coming from an area where the closest non volunteer outfit is 45 minutes away, and where several of my family and friends are active as fire fighters, fire police and emt's. Saying that the fact that they volunteer hurts firefighters ib pittsburgh is ludicris. there is no money here to higher several people for coverage all the time. there is barely money for gear.

I see this as a union looking for more money. My dad didn't pay dues, so he's the enemy...

Reply | Thread

Don

(no subject)

from: shoshiki
date: Oct. 11th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
Link

Most counties/towns would end up saving money in the long run by switching to a full paid staff as opposed to volly departments...
I take my county for example... 150000 or so in the city of syracuse... we have ONE heavy rescue and 3 major interstates we cover....
the county? Has something like 30 or so heavy rescues... thats just an example... cut down on the overlap in apparatus and you will have more than enough money to staff and provide better protection for the citizens in those areas... now, naturally this would not be the case for rural rural america... but, for sub burbs and major counties? I completely agree with all they have said....

Reply | Parent | Thread

Adam

(no subject)

from: xaoswolf
date: Oct. 11th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
Link

So, you are saying that the area where my dad lives, which is a township of maybe 1000 or so. should join with the neighboring areas and have one department?

That won't work out here, it's too big of an area. We cut down on trucks and manpower, and when something happens, we have five guys that have to drive maybe twenty minutes to a half hour to get there and be understaffed...

And then when something else happens (brush fires are fun out here...) instead of being able to send trucks from a neighboring area or even cut down on the people at the first fire, they have to decide which one to let burn...

Reply | Parent | Thread

Meghan

(no subject)

from: mightymegs2000
date: Oct. 11th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
Link

i have nothing to say on the subject....
what i do have to say is im going to be in cuse this weekend.. my cousin is getting married

Reply | Thread

Don

(no subject)

from: shoshiki
date: Oct. 11th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
Link

I am off friday... working days on saturday and sunday.. (days are 6:30am-4pm)... so... when are we hooking up!
..
..
..
..
well... ok. not "hooking up" but.. you know what I meant.. lol

Reply | Parent | Thread

Meghan

(no subject)

from: mightymegs2000
date: Oct. 11th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
Link

wedding is on saturday... as for sunday im sure itll be a family breakfast or soemthing before we leave...

Reply | Parent | Thread

Don

(no subject)

from: shoshiki
date: Oct. 11th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)
Link

well hey, do you still have my number? 315-436-0300... give me a call if you have free time!

Reply | Parent | Thread