12/02/2009

Firefighters Suing the City

Posted by MJ

Per today's Buffalo News.

The city firefighters’ union has filed suit against the city in an effort to get a judge to enforce a state mediator’s ruling requiring more firefighters to be assigned to each shift.
Randall Parker, president of the Lockport Professional Fire Fighters Association, also said Tuesday that the union has filed an improper labor practice charge against the city because of the Common Council’s refusal to vote on a new contract with the union.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker said, “I don’t foresee us changing our stance.”...
 Seems the other unions can get things done with the city that works to benefit both them and the city (residents).

UPDATE 12/3: LUSJ Article

...Of the new lawsuit, City Attorney John J. Ottaviano said Wednesday management expected it and will respond accordingly.

“We take great exception to (Campagna’s) decision, obviously, but decided not to try having it overturned unless the union pushed for enforcement. They have, so we will file for a stay (of the decision),” Ottaviano said.

LPFA President Randall Parker could not be reached to comment on the suit late Wednesday.

LPFA and city attorneys are due in Supreme Court today to argue the merits of a permanent injunction preventing the city from handing LFD communications over to Niagara County Central Dispatch. Currently, one firefighter on every shift is assigned to in-house dispatch duty. A hearing on this case has been postponed repeatedly since October 2007...
...Several city officials said Wednesday that the union seems eager to strike a deal with the existing Council, rather than take its chances on the 2010 body — some of whose new members have promised to pursue a harder line with the union....

With only a month to go, why not wait for the newly elected council to weigh in?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Seems the other unions can get things done with the city that works to benefit both them and the city (residents)."


And the mayors son. But you're right I guess he's a resident too.

Rocketboy said...

So, if the Mayor's son is part of the union that gave the city of Lockport concessions to it's health care, and allowed for a possible elimination of a department, what does that have to do with anything?

Other than show that the union that the Mayor's son is part of didn't get any sweetheart deals, that is.

How does that change the fact the firefighters only ever want more, and refuse to work with the city? Really, do they need a fully trained, able-bodied firefighter to do dispatch?

Anonymous said...

I don't see what the mayors son has to do with anything, except his job was on the back of a truck slinging garbage and now with the new contract that job might be outsourced so he will have a different (better?) job. No isues I can see there.

These fireman though, geez. Can't they see the world has changed? Don't they see what few Delphi people are left are working for 2/3 of what they were making, and doing more work? Don't they see the people fed up with taxes?

It's time for them to come to the table. OK, give them the 10 man shifts as long as they accept a 33% pay cut like Delphi (and other companies). Or they should just shut up, quit spending their union dues and our tax dollars on lawsuits and do whats right.

And if not, it's definitely time for the city to come up with a plan that eliminates their jobs.

We have always heard how important the ambulance service is they provide, that that needs to be kept. If everyone is so worried about the few fires we have here, how about if we eliminate the ambulance then. let Rural metro or another company bid on the rights to provide it in the city (in order to replace the lost income the ambulance provides us now) then minimum maning can really drop for the department. Did the fireman win or lose the lawsuit that they wanted like a dozen guys (i'm being sarcastic)in each ambulance? However many they do have (2 or 3 I think) that can be dropped from the minimum, move dispatch to the sheriffs and all of a sudden you'd have a minimum of 6-7 per shift. You could then lay off firefighters!

Anonymous said...

The facts are:

The average response time by the Lockport Fire Department to any emergency is 2.7 minutes.

The Lockport Fire Department responds to 100+ fire calls in any given year (false alarms, car fires and... grass/refuse fires are NOT included in that figure).

The public does not hear about these fires because the Lockport Fire Department is there fast enough to put them out before they turn into headlines.

In one of those fires last year a little girl was saved.

South Lockport Fire Company and Rapids Fire Company do not meet the National Fire Protection Agency maximum safe response time. 6 minutes or less is considered a safe on time response.


The following is a timeline of an actual 2-story house fire as studied by the Nation Fire Protection agency (NFPA). It will show you just how fast fire spreads and why The Lockport Fire Departments average response time of two minutes and 42 seconds is so critical:

• :30 Fire ignites and grows rapidly.

• 1:04 From first flame, fire spreads and smoke begins to fill room.

• 1:35 Smoke layers descends rapidly, temperature exceeds 190°F.

• 1:50 Smoke detector at foot of stairs alarms. Still time to get out.

• 2:30 Temperature above couch over 400°F.

• 2:42 The average time it takes the Lockport Fire Department to get to any emergency.

• 2:48 Smoke pours into other rooms.

• 3:03 Temperature three feet above floor in room of origin is over 500°F.


• 3:20 Upstairs hall filled with smoke - Escape more difficult.

• 3:41 FLASHOVER - Energy in room of origin ignites everything. Temperature is 1400°F.

• 3:50 Two minutes after smoke detectors sounds, 2nd exit is only way out.

• 4:33 Flames just now visible from exterior of house - first evidence of fire from outside.

AT THIS POINT, RESCUE IS VERY UNLIKELY

• 6:00+ Most Niagara County Volunteer Fire Companies and 65% of all fire departments/companies nationwide do not meet the National Fire Protection Agencies standard of a 6 minutes or under response time.

The Lockport Fire Department ranks 288 out of 11,987 Fire Departments nationwide with a 99.1% response time of under 6 minutes.

Lives and property saved, The Lockport Fire Department does its job consistently year after year and has proven such with job performance.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the 2 sides can come to an agreement soon. I pay city taxes because I like the services provided to me. If I need police, fire, or medical service it is at my door within minutes. They are services that I hope i'll never need...an insurance policy of sort

MJ said...

I don't recall anyone complaining about the lack of response time, etc. One of the benefits I find living in the city is having a professional fire department and I would not want a volunteer one. I commend the job the LFD does.

The issues are:
-if all of the above is being done now with a 9 man staff why force taxpayers 500k more per year to have a 10 man requirement? Since 2006 what are the instances of injury that would have been precluded with an additional person on the scene?
-if another work schedule would reduce overtime (thus tax load) with a similar amount of personnel and man hours, why fight it?
-why does an active firefighter have to work dispatch when he could be available for fighting fires and saving lives?
-why should a 1/3 of a platoon be able to take off on any given shift (not including those calling in sick)especially when it threatens the minimum manning in itself?

I have yet to see the hard information to preclude initiating the above cost savings besides jobs (overtime) for the sake of jobs (overtime) or "because that's the way it is" arguments. Our society is based on continually improving efficiency. Any company (or for that matter, municipality) that fights it gets left behind.

With any change to a contract (even a lateral one) requiring some kind of "payment", I am happy they will not vote a hard number into the contract.

Rocketboy said...

I've mentioned this before, but the amount of sick time that the LFD gets is, well, sickning. If sick time was reduced by half, you'd see the amount of sick time being used, not only would OT drop drastically, but the number of firefighers working while sick will not increase. There's really no penalty for taking a 'me' day as paid vacation, because there's always enough days available for when they really are sick.

Anonymous said...

and now that the judge ruled dispatch can be done by the county since they are working on a minimum 9 man shift now (including the one who sits on his butt dispatching) couldn't they go to a minimum 8 man crew?

Rocketboy said...

If you ask me, they dug their own hole in this one. I'd say that they've already made their own argument for a min 8 man crew.

ajlounyinjurylaw said...

I'm sure this issue has been resolved since, but it's incredible how some issues dig a hole so big,that effect so many.

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