Reminder of How and Why CDF Benefits Exist
Posted originally on 10/15/03
May be setting myself up here for a little sniping, but I'm a little
confused over the recent "attacks" or ribs on some of the
benefits the men and women of CDF have earned through the collective
Portal to portal has long been a goal of the federal firefighter for as
long as I can remember. I find it to be fundamentally wrong when you ask
an employee to get on the road away from family and friends, risk personal
self for the mission, and not be compensated. It really is a matter of
fairness. I suppose this is why I find it odd that folks would jump on
this page and start slamming.
CDF firefighters work the longest workweek in the fire service. My class,
Battalion Chief works twice as long as my federal counter part every week
at 84 hours. My local counter part works a 56. I'm not here to make any
excuses, I signed up, but lets be a bit more fair about this issue. My
mission is completely different from my federal counter part in that I am
also expected to proficient and can be held accountable for additional
duties in the all risk environment. By the same token, I do not begrudge
my fellow firefighters for what ever benefit they can attain through what
ever means, be it collective bargaining or what ever else.
The motel issue smacks of good old jealousy. This benefit was bargain for
fair and square at the table. There are give and takes in bargaining. We
gave up something in return for it I can assure you. What people tend to
forget is that motel use can be shown on par to be as cost effective if
not more when you figure in the costs of supporting folks living sleeping
on the ground. I know I don't have to tell you this, but lets look at
shower rentals, potable water, gray water haul outs, wash tables for
shaving and washing hands. then let's talk about the fad out there of tent
rentals that come complete with the portable air conditioning units, and
companion whisper quiet generators to run them.
Is there abuse of the motel use policy? Sure there is! And I'm sure if we
looked hard enough we would find examples of abuse in ever aspect of the
base/camp. Why is it we will fly an aircrane all day on a fire and not a
word is said regardless of whether it is effective or not. How many shower
units can you rent for 40K a day? How many rooms can you rent?
Keep in mind, that most of the time the motel rooms are doubled up. Now I
don't want to get into the quality of room issue here-I know there are
abuses there. I have seen plenty of engine strike teams lodging at a Motel
6 while the fats cats are hanging out a little better joint. I have even
seen personnel from other agencies signed in on CDF motel sheets (federal
and local both) who in reality are not authorized to do this for
contractual and department policy reasons. The fact is it is done
though-OK, big deal.
Anytime a firefighters benefit package is enhanced, that is a good thing.
be careful of throwing rocks at comrades just because they have a benefit
you don't. I don't throw stones at my local government counterpart for
working the same fire I am and making twice the money for it.
We all make our choices of where to work and for who, if this is a benefit
you would like to have on a fire assignment, then come join us, there is
plenty of room.
Incidentally, on the other hand, I wouldn't mind seeing the look on some
of our new people who have become accustomed to the motel lifestyle.
Technically speaking, if it operationally impacts the mission of the fire,
motels are not authorized.
Let's work together to better al the working conditions, not use this
forum to divide and concur.
We suffered a great defeat the other day at the hands of outgoing Governor
Davis when he vetoed our binding arbitration bill while he signed the same
thing for local firefighters. As you can imagine, we were stunned as we
have stuck with him (at great peril to ourselves) when he wasn't even as
popular as the bellhop!
"Another CDF BC"