Sunday, February 8, 2009

Union Influence

At Firefighter Nation, Mike Ward has an interesting piece on the sometimes-hostile relationships between volunteer and paid firefighters. He cites a resolution that some committed IAFF members presented at a recent IAFF convention.
Resolution 2 directs the IAFF to delete Article XV, Section 3 and insert a new subsection to the list of defined misconduct as “working a secondary job part-time, paid on call, volunteer or otherwise as a firefighter, emergency medical services worker, public safety or law enforcement officer, or as a worker in a related service, whether in the public or private sector, where such job is within the work jurisdiction of any affiliate or which adversely impacts the interests of any affiliate or the IAFF.

Upon a finding of guilt…it is recommended that the penalty include disqualification from holding office in any affiliate and/or expulsion from membership for the period that the misconduct persists. Charges filed for the misconduct described…shall be preferred by a member of the charged party’s local and/or member of an adversely affected affiliate.”
In other words, some of the union members want to prevent professional firefighters from volunteering (or working part time)  in nearby areas because they fear it might infringe on their labor monopoly in firefighting. We all know how well this kind of exclusionary, union rule-making has done in other areas of our economy

I love when our union leaders try to run firefighters lives away from work--like telling them to vote for far left-wing candidates, or donating union dues to candidates and causes that many firefighters despise. We all know that, while the IAFF leadership tends to support radical left-wing candidates and causes, most rank-and-file firefighters are moderate to conservative in their personal beliefs. Likewise, most professional firefighters see no conflict of interest between their paid jobs in bigger cities and their volunteer or part time work in smaller communities nearby. 

I am a dues-paying IAFF Member and, for the most part, we haven't faced this kind of nonsense in my part of the country. But most things, --race relations, union issues, disaster response, etc.--are less dramatic and more rational and efficient around here (with some exceptions ).

This growing divergence of the IAFF leadership and its rank-and-file will continue to be an hot button issue in the future.

Update: Mike Ward justifiably objected to use of the term "thugs" above. He was right. Poor choice of words. That and other harsh terms have been corrected. My apologies to any I might have offended.

You can click here to see the original, offensive version.

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