F-bombs Fly at Fire/Rescue Negotiations

TAB has been attending the meetings between County Fire/Rescue management and IAFF Local 2928 since they began four months ago (See Genesis of a Collective Bargaining Agreement, Fire / Rescue Contract Talks Continue, and Little Progress in the IAFF Contract.)

We had been advised that the meetings tended to be raucous and filled with stunts and theatrics on the part of the union, but in three meetings we saw none of that. While very little progress was made, the tone of discussion was professional and cordial.

Apparently, that has all changed now.

The latest meeting was Wednesday, 9/14, starting at 10:00am. After about an hour in which the county proposed that a group of sections that were not particularly controversial be approved as a package, the union began a private caucus that lasted about an hour. Since the caucus is private, members of the public are excluded so we went into the conference room next door. This wasn’t far enough evidently, as one of the negotiators suspected we could hear them through the wall and asked us to go farther away.

We returned at the conclusion of the Caucus for 10 minutes only as they spoke briefly to the county and went back into caucus for the next two hours. We were not able to return at that time, but a member of one of our coalition partners attended the afternoon session and sent us the following report. Evidently, the negotiations are taking a different turn. We are speculating that the union attorney has been restrained in his language up to now because there was always a woman present.

I attended the Palm Beach County Firefighters Union negotiation today. Here’s how it went:

I arrived at the new facility on Pikes road at 1:45 pm, checked in and went upstairs to the room were the negotiation were taking place. The union reps were the only people in the room and they asked me to leave because they were in caucus. I would have used a different word. They finally sent someone down to the lobby to advise me I could attend at 2:45 pm.

When in the room the management side of the bargaining table said I could sit by the wall out of the way. The attorney representing the union started turning pages of the new contract and would say we agree or we don’t agree and so on. (I thought man, I could have gone fishing or maybe the range.) Ah then it started!

But first let me point out how weird they operate the fire department money tree. The management side includes the Fire Chief and other management and administrative members and they are ones who go to the county for money. You know, our tax dollars. The Union representatives on the other hand are asking, pleading and even begging (actually more like demanding) more money and expect management to go get it.

Then it happened – the monster page appeared. It had something to do with an EMS person or Firefighter having to drive maybe fifty miles on occasion, to work at a different location if someone called out or they just needed help. The attorney who represented the union said no; we will not accept any part of this section. A management team member said that they had to because every staff member, no matter the profession is challenged on occasion and must participate in what might be a temporary inconvenience.

The union attorney said no way would they consider it. The management side said it didn’t matter – every one must participate in an inconvenience when the economy is tight. The (union) attorney then said f–k no, we are not accepting this. The management person said he would produce the travel records to show that the long commute didn’t happen very often. The attorney said f–k no, the union would not agree with it and that it was f–king not even going to be considered.

The (union) attorney then said bring it on, bring your f–king records. The management attorney said they were going to bring all the records to the next meeting. Mr. (union) attorney said he didn’t give a f–k, what they brought – this session is over and I’m f–king out of here.

The (union) attorney then packed his stuff and the union reps followed suit.

The Fire Chief was sitting across from this attorney while the the attorney acted like a disrespectful jackass. I won’t mention what would have happened if I were the Chief. I came away thinking that these union people are bunch of spoiled rotten brats sucking on the money nipple and can’t be weaned off the freebies. Of course our tax dollars are the freebies.

I believe it is time to fully investigate privatizing as much of the EMS services as possible and maybe some Firefighter services or at least force changes in the way they operate. Unfortunately I do not believe this is ever going to get better for the taxpayer, and the time to investigate the possibilities of some privatization happens to be right now. You can be assured I will not miss the next session.


3 Responses to “F-bombs Fly at Fire/Rescue Negotiations”
  1. dlipp says:

    I believe it was Winston Churchill who said: If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always depend on Paul’s support.” Margret Thatcher was quoted on the topic of Socialism, “Socialism works great until you run out of the other guy’s money.”

  2. Laura H. says:

    Reading the notes about the fire/rescue contract negotiations makes the union attorney sound like a thug in a suit and tie. Not surprising. Brutish behavior is the MO of union operators. Not only that, these union members want to do as little as possible for their six-figure salary. That’s what happens when there is no competition. I say privatize the EMS. If Rahm Emanuel (!) can outsource garbage collection in Chicago, we can outsource EMS in PBC.

  3. Joe says:

    Funny….. when the elite 1% (Tea Party Sponsors) were asked to increase their contribution to society just a little bit to help with the economy, their reply was F*** NO!! THEY CONSIDER THAT CLASS WARFARE…. just sayin’.

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