Thursday, November 10, 2005

Detroit Fire Fighters Stay on the Job

John Trautman found this story on the IAFF website. Seems that the Detroit IAFF Local took the city to court to stop them from laying off firefighters and the firefighters won...

November 2, 2005 – The Detroit Fire Fighters Association Local 344 has won a major battle in the fight against the City of Detroit to stop layoffs, demotions and fire company closures. A Michigan Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge has granted a preliminary injunction to stop any further cuts to the fire department. In addition, the ruling requires any proposed cuts to be discussed and settled through binding arbitration.

“This ruling is the right ruling for the citizens of Detroit and the fire fighters sworn to protect them,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “But the fight is not over, and the IAFF remains firm in its support of its Detroit brothers and sisters.”

Dan McNamara, president of Detroit, MI Local 344, adds, “This ruling is a big step in the right direction. We’re not just saving jobs here. We need to keep the citizens of Detroit safe.”

Earlier this year, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick announced 65 planned layoffs – these following 63 layoffs, 10 battalion officer demotions and five engine company closures in July 2004. This summer, IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger, McNamara and members of Local 344 held a 200-strong rally to protest the layoffs. Soon after, the Detroit fire fighters took legal action based on interest arbitration law, failure to negotiate, battalion chief reductions and staffing and overall safety.

The preliminary injunction will expire as soon as a binding arbitration ruling is made.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lid Lift Levy Passes...

Thanks to all Spokane citizens who voted for this proposition. We appreciate the support. You've just kept a fire station or two from closing. This is a first step in restoring a level of service in your libraries, fire department and police that you deserve as residents of a thriving city.

And for us firefighters, we need to take a look at the numbers. This proposition didn't quite get 60% of the vote. In other words, if this were the EMS Levy, it would have failed. And that's after a lot of campaigning on our parts.

We have two years to show the citizens that we are on their side - that Local 29 is an organization they can trust. As the city prospers, we face a deficit. Why is that? We've got the numbers that show it's not because of an increase in wages and benefits. Where is the money going? Let's join other city employees, elected officials and citizens in finding out.

There are all sorts of opportunities Local 29 can use as advocates of helping Spokane citizens realize their ownership of the fire department. I think it would create stronger bonds between us and the voters, create a long-term vision for the fire dept, ensure accountability in management and help our image - a lot.

We've got two years. We still have a lot of guys laid off. We still are understaffed. We still are going to lose buildings to fires that we wouldn't have lost a year ago. Some of our EMS outcomes are still going to be unsuccessful because of understaffing.

We've got two years, and we can't waste a second getting started.