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Joining the Union

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by CSNeoM4A1, Mar 19, 2007.


  1. CSNeoM4A1

    CSNeoM4A1
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    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
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    Location:
    Arizona
    Anyone care to talk to me about the Firefirghter union IAFF? I have to make a choice on it in the future and want to know what I am getting into...

    Im not too keen on the 80 bucks a month they will pull from my check (not sure if this is exact...but I seem to remember a buddy getting $40 taken per 2 week pay period).

    I know there is a lot a peer pressure to join, and I heard almost everyone does, but what are the negatives of not joining? Benefits of joining?
     

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  2. DTLarson

    DTLarson
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    The choice is yours to make. For one side of the information talk to your local and go to the IAFF's website. TO learn about the other side of the argument I would recommend going around the National Right To Work Foundations website at www.nrtw.org That website describes the rights you have and what happens if you decide to join the union or not and other options. No matter what happens you are going to find people usually have strong feelings one way or another.
     

  3. CSNeoM4A1

    CSNeoM4A1
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    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
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    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks for the info.

    I guess I am looking for someone who is in the union to tell me about it, what the advantages they have are, what disadvantages they have and if they like it.

    Also, I wanted to hear from someone who has not joined it but could have. Are there big downfalls from not being a member? Are you singled out because you are not a member? Do people even know you are not a member? Etc.
     
  4. GusDog

    GusDog
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    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    27
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    Location:
    PA
    We're not IAFF, but we are union. Why wouldn't you want to join the union? The union negotiates your contract, which sets your wages and wage increases, benifits, protects you from unfair dismissal or discipline, etc, etc, etc.

    I don't know a whole lot about the fire service, but in EMS the guys in the non union shops make 20-30% less and their benifits suck, and managments walks all over them because THEY HAVE NO RECOURSE! (i.e. no shop steward to file a grievence). Non union shops also often work which ever shifts the managment feels they like that week or month because there is not anything (like a contract) that says they can't. There's also nothing stopping managment in most non union shops from handing out overtime to their buddies, and forcing those who they don't like for overtime.

    So if you want to work in a union shop and enjoy wages, benifits, and job security that the union has provided for you, but you are too cheap to pony up your dues, I guess that's your business...:upeyes: Not only will you be screwing every dues paying member in your station, but you will be an "At will" employee, which means you can be fired, or demoted, or have your pay or benifits cut at any time, for any reason, and you will have no recourse. Good luck with whichever you choose!
     
  5. oldstyle

    oldstyle
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    Jeep Pirate

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2002
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    Location:
    Jacksonville, Fl
    A union can be quite an ally for a politician, or it can be his/her undoing. A strong union support was responsible for getting our current mayor elected. In turn, we have several new fire stations and an updated fleet of vehicles. It's all about politics, and the union is YOUR voice!
     
  6. Fireman1291

    Fireman1291
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    Firefighter/EMT

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    2,486
    55
    Location:
    Land O lakes, FL
    My fees are only $30 a month. The union is your voice, as alrady mentioned they help us in many ways. Local 4420 here!
     
  7. fire1035

    fire1035
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    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    79
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    Location:
    Speedway, IN
    Local 416 here. It is a nice social club with free beer at the hall during FDIC. What do they do besides take my money? I don't really know. They claim to have gotten our raises over the last couple of years, but when you take the first thing the department throws at you I don't really consider that "them" "getting" me a raise.

    And the sticker will sometimes get you out of a ticket....... As long as it isn't a state cop.
     
  8. 4095fanatic

    4095fanatic
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    Oct 12, 2006
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    First off, I'd like to say two things: One: I absolutely hate the IAFF. Two: I'm going to be a member of them. I'm not sure about other jurisdictions, but I can't stand their politics in mine. They seem determined to make life as difficult as possible for volunteers, because once volunteer staffing goes away, more paid guys have to get hired. More paid guys = more IAFF members = bigger union + more revenue. While it's true you don't have to join the union, frankly you'd be an idiot not to. The benefits they give you are well worth the cost and then some. Just my $0.02...
     
  9. firedog978

    firedog978
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    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
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    Location:
    Cincinnati
    If you can live with giving your money to a biased, liberal puppet organization that is only about cozying up to Dems, go for it. Otherwise, think long and hard.
     
  10. oldstyle

    oldstyle
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    Jeep Pirate

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2002
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    Location:
    Jacksonville, Fl
    In this case, one must look at the small picture. The local union will do you more good than the international union does you bad.

    I think the real issue here is if you work for a unionized dept, are you going to pay your part or are you going to be a freeloader?
     
  11. 4095fanatic

    4095fanatic
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    I wouldn't call it freloading... if a non-unionized firefighter gets suspended/fired/etc. the union certainly isn't going to waste it's time/money defending the person... in fact around here it would gladly supply the rope.
     
  12. firedog978

    firedog978
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    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    445
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    Location:
    Cincinnati
    The statement of the local doing you more good than the international isn't necessarily true. In many cases, neither will do you any good.

    It really depends on if you're in a collective bargaining state. 28 states have collective bargaining; meaning that if you decide not to join the union, they will still grab your $ by the fair share labor act. This goes the opposite of 'freeloading'. The Local and the IAFF make out like legal bandits then.
     
  13. black rob

    black rob
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    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    97
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    Location:
    IA
    Keep an open mind, educate yourself on the issues you and your Local face, and do your part as a Union member.

    As you can see from the posts above, you are going to have the lovers and the haters. Your Local will only be as strong, educated and positive as it members.

    Just like most things in life, are you going to be a puppet or a player?

    BR - Union Firefighter
     
  14. fyrman

    fyrman
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    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
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    If all you're paying is $70-80 bucks a month you're lucky. Our dues are well over $100 a month. Being a member of the local doesn't mean you have to agree or disagree with the international. I was absolutely against Kerry in the last election and he even paid a visit to members of our department. I vote on the issues I think are important regardless of the union stance as does many of my fellow brothers. There are many of us who are Republican and make it known. You have to be able to stand up for what you believe in not what they want you to believe in. On the flip side, our local made enough of a stink to get a moldy fire station torn down, they will defend you and help with lawyer fee's if you are to get sued and they don't back down to city politics during negotiations. There are also many other pro's to being union represented. Let administration try to discipline someone who's represented vs someone whos not. The fire service is a career and way of life not a job and while I served 16 years as a volunteer Firefighter I have nothing at all against the volunteer departments nor do the majority of my fellow brothers. Take sometime and talk to as many as your brothers as possible and I think you will be hard pressed to find very many if any current union members who wished they could quit or disband the union.
     
  15. gloxter

    gloxter
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    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    126
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    Location:
    NorCal
    Like fyrman posted just above, unions CAN be a VERY good thing. If negotiating to help increase your pay, educational benefits, death/dismemberment benefits, working conditions (everything under the sun falls under this category), and so on doesn't appeal to you, then don't join.

    I'm in probably the first or second most liberal state in the nation. We are NEVER told who to vote for in state or local elections. They (our exucutive board) have the responsibility to "encourage" that we consider what's important as far as our jobs are concerned, but it never goes beyond that! They know darned well that 90% of our department are outdoor enthusiasts, i.e. hunters, shooters, etc. They can see through the John Kerry type BS.

    When it comes to local elections, we just want an ear to hear our concerns, such as stations literally falling around us. We offer our concilmen and women do do ride-alongs with us and attend training when feasable. We're not buying anyone's vote.

    And for those that believe union members are lazy, selfish, uneducated and undeserving of our salaries; take a look at the following link to the employee pension article. CPF is our state level professional firefighter's union, and CalPers is our retirement system. We're not all bloodsucking leeches who can't be fired. We actually benefit our state to the tune of BILLIONS!

    http://www.cpf.org/default/whats_new/calpers_boosts_economy/index.cfm
     
  16. azFIREguy

    azFIREguy
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    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2007
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    Location:
    Arizona
    CSNeoM4A1

    As a V.P. for my local here in AZ we have been very busy with issues. We have a chief that has actually fired people for being in the union. To date there has been a total of 45 people who have quit or been fired because of this chief. The IAFF is now taking this asshat to federal court of these issues. Here is a link to the states (PFFA) web site take a look under the news section.
     
  17. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman
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    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    6
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    Location:
    DC Metro Area
    :rofl:

    I'm sorry...you meant to say you were from Local 36, right? because i swear, that's a fairly accurate description of Local 36, too!

    -tc
     
  18. firedog978

    firedog978
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    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    445
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    Location:
    Cincinnati
    If you want all the facts and the straight facts go here:

    http://www.unionfacts.org/index.cfm

    And look up the IAFF
    It's quite eye-opening to some blindly led down the union path.
     
  19. mr fixit

    mr fixit
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    Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    18
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    Location:
    SE of Dallas
    I'm in the IAFF, and I am very anti union. However, the International does nothing within our local, they can't unless asked. What my dues go to is our local. The local can not send any of my money to the international unless I OK it. If I join our local PAC fund, it stays in the local coffers,to be used for local elections. That is where the advantage is. Ours is very active in local politics. As a consequence, our city council is on our side most of the time.

    What the International does is join the fight on the local scene if asked, and to assist the local in paying the lawyers and such if needed. They are there to provide money and muscle if the local needs it.

    You will find that the local does as it says, works for you on your local level. It is very worthwhile to join a local if they are strong. You become a member of the International as a consequence of joining the local.
     
  20. nsb22

    nsb22
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    TEAM OAF

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    748
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    Location:
    cornville!
    Sadly, it is freeloading and it pisses me off. I pay my hard earned money to MY union so that I can get the wages and benies that I deserve. For some scab to sit there and get the same things for free? Yea, that's freeloading.

    I know for a fact that in IA, Unions are required to represent everyone, member or not. I'm not saying that the scabs are going to get repped as well as a member in good standing is going to, but they will get something.


    Iowa is working on a Fair Share Act were non-members will have to pay the union an amount agreed upon by the Union and the Management. I think we should make them pay what our topped out guys pay. What do my brothers in good standing say? They love this idea. What do the scabs say? They obviously hate it, because they are freeloaders.

    It also chaps my ass when a scab starts *****ing about this or that and saying that the union should be doing this instead of that. You know what. If you want a voice in how things are being done, join the union. If you want to sit around the fire house wondering why the guys pick on you a little more than the other rookies, don't join the union. It's an easy choice to make.


    Lets take a look at something that happened a year ago. A union member was charged with domestic abuse, which meant he was not to have firearms in his posession until the case went to court, which meant he couldn't work. Long story short, he was off duty for a good period of time and when he came back, the company tried to short him a bunch of money. They didn't want to pay him all his back wages and the didn't want to pay him for any of his holidays that he would have worked. Our union fought for weeks with the company and this member received ALL of his back wages, all of the holiday pay that he would have earned and all of his sick leave that he would have accrued if he had been working. Would someone not in the union have gotten that? I highly doubt it.

    That's just my little rant and my 2 cents worth.