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Have folks been watching the headline lately? "Union not recognized by municipality" Union members work 5 hours of a week for free and pay 15 to 20 % more for health insurance to keep jobs" Firefighters hammered in the Press for sticking to their guns on Negotiated Contract terms, Union members agree to wage freezes with no return or re-negotiation dates set.-
What happened to the public that loved us, that grieved when we died or where injured, that came to our defence when they felt we had been slighted???
Where did We miss the boat - When did we begin to take things for granted, How did we forget who we are here for and at what point did being brothers and a united fellowship begin to crumble???

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Comment by Chris Fleming on September 29, 2009 at 9:52am
I think this is more of a societal problem than just a fire service problem. The loss of a sense of community has affected all of society. How many of our parents or grandparents worked for one company their entire life making a decent livable wage for 40 hours a week and benefits while also getting some vacation time? This is unheard of now. Unfortunately, this mentality of "All for me and me for me" has entered the fire service as well. I have horror stories about some of our union member's behavior in the face of tough times, as I'm sure everyone does. Fortunately, this is a small minority of our members. For the rest of us I think it is important to remember how fortunate we are not only in our profession but in our lives as a whole. We also need to remeber why we entered this line of work in the first place. Was it for the adrenaline buzz or for the satisfaction we felt at being able to help someone out when they were in trouble? What the folks at city hall, and in my opinion, our communities fail to remember is it is not "Us vs. Them" rather it's "Us IS Them". When the fire service is made ineffectual by budget cuts, poor labor/ management relations, etc EVERYONE suffers. I think a predominant attitude among many voters (ie. not the poor, elderly, disenfranchised) is that fire and emergencies happen to the other guy so why should I care about the fire department? John Nash, the Nobel Prize winner in economics proved that there is no such thing as a successful negotiation that is not "win/win". Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, "I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity toward man as a fire engine." Let's try to keep that idea alive. "The Brotherhood" of the fire service is one of the last great virtues of society, and though the cynicism of the ages are bleeding us little by little, each of us can stop further loss by living the values our calling is built on. "Nuff said!
Comment by Ben Fleagle on September 20, 2009 at 11:51pm
I got too much to say about all this, I need a little more time. Tim, I think in one way or another, it has always been this way. When the public citizen stopped seeing citizenship as something to be maintained they stopped looking at firemen as something that needed to be maintained. United we stand? Only until the threats are gone. People like their firemen to be quiet, shine their trucks and don't make waves. We'll call if we need you.
As long as they're not suffering, they don't really care about us. Because all they focus on is themselves. Volunteerism is dying, so respect for anything to do with service will begin to die as well. That is why we cannot stop standing up for what we believe the fire SERVICE is all about. SERVICE.

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