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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Collective Bargaining...your questions answered

Last night at the Union Meeting, I was able to pick Mike Hanks' brain about collective bargaining. Ever since the Collective Bargaining Bill passed the House vote with such a strong vote, you guys have been hammering me with questions. I have tried my best to answer the questions, and now I have the answers you all were looking for.

Dave Statter found this article on Collective Bargaining and how it will effect Virginia:
Va. Has Big Stake in Bill on Public Safety Unions

Q - When will the Senate vote on the Federal Collective Bargaining for Public Safety?
A - The supporters of the Bill are waiting to get two more sponsors on hand before they vote on it. Once they get two more sponsors they will move it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. The reason they are waiting for two more is because then it will be veto-proof and President Bush will not be able to veto the Bill. The general consensus is that Bush will veto the Bill if able to.

Q - What does the Bill mean for the firefighters in Roanoke and in the rest of the State?
A - When the Bill passes, we will be allowed to negotiate a contract with our locality. The contract will be negotiated and signed by Local 1132 (the firefighters representation) and the City. If the contract is unable to be negotiated, Certified Arbitrators will be brought in and decide on the issues hampering negotiation and make a decision.

Q - What will be included in the contract?
A - Everything from salaries to what color shirts, POP's to retirement, rules and regulations to vacation and holiday. Every detail of our jobs will be dissected, analyzed, and written down in the contract how we want...and then we negotiate.

Q - Once the Bill is passed, how long do we have to wait?
A - We just have to sit down and draw up a contract. With help of the IAFF, and Attorneys of course.

Q - Who will write up the contract?
A - A committee within Local 1132, legal counsel, and more than likely an IAFF representative, as well as whoever we deem necessary to be involved in the formulation of our contract.

Q - What about Virginia being a right to work State?
A - What about it? Federal Law supersedes State Law! The only real effect the Right-to-Work issue will have is that the SCABS who are not in the Local will reap the same benefits of the Contract.

Q - Will this be expensive?
A - Probably, but it will pay off.

Q - How long will the contract be good for?
A - It depends on what the contract says. Most contracts are effective for 3-5 years.

Q - Will the Police and Sheriffs have the same contract?
A - They will negotiate their own contract.

Q - Who can I thank for all the hard work that has been put into getting this Bill to a majority vote in the House and Senate?
A - The International Association of Fire Fighters, and other organizations/lobbyists who represent Public Safety.

If you have any other questions, leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

Now the cities and communities in the state will start reducing the size of their forces like they do in the Northeast (most smaller cities have a reduced force and many times only have 2 on a engine/truck). Raise the costs and taxpayers will eventually rebell.

I am for reducing the cost of fire services by improving codes, sprinklering everything and paying my insurance (cheaper in the long run).

Anonymous said...

It will be intresting to see how this all pans out in Virginia and North Carolina (the only two states where its against the law for the state to nego with unions). I am sure with an intelligent approach to the contract process that you will neither see a reduction in pay or the tax payers turn against you.

I say its about freaking time the local govt sits down with its fire responders...especially in this "new age of terrorism".