KNOWING MATTERS - JIMMY SMITH
LET’S Make A Deal…
But Let Us Make It A Fair Deal!
As many of you know we are in the middle of contract negotiations. We as a union board will not be able to discuss the particulars of the negotiations until we have a contract to present to the membership to be ratified. However, we wanted to explain in this Kitchen Table issue why it is we have the ability to sit down and negotiate our contract.
Collective bargaining gives IAFF/CPF members a voice in matters that directly affect their employment. Actively negotiating a contract is one of the most important functions an IAFF local can perform for its members and is the key ingredient in fire fighter-employer relations.
IAFF/CPF firefighter local’s enjoy this benefit because of the right to collectively bargain. This type of deal is a labor contract and is often referred to as a “collective bargaining agreement” or CBA. Examples of some of the many topics covered in CBAs between management and employees include employee wages, hours, benefits, time off, raises, promotions, and disciplinary issues.
If you have only served as a firefighter in California you may be surprised to learn that there are several states that do not have the right to collective bargaining. Five, mostly overlapping, states –Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, plus Texas– do not allow collective bargaining. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have blanket statutes that prohibit collective bargaining for all public-sector employees and do not make exceptions.
To be successful at the bargaining table, our local must lay the appropriate groundwork for building a sound organizational structure. Cohesion and morale must always remain a top priority because our local’s strength is in its unity. We need to know the determination of or own members and to have their support before beginning the collective bargaining process. If our local wants to be perceived by its employer as being united and having influence, then we will need to project that kind of image.
Relationships with other professionals in and out of the labor movement are important to our success as well. Our local must develop business-like associations with those persons who can influence the attainment of your goals. These professionals should include members of other labor organizations, local politicians, and citizens of good standing in your community. The level of support from persons such as these will have an impact on our success rate.