Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is the federal employees union discriminating against AD firefighters?

Wildfire Today has learned that the union that represents federal employees in the southeast geographic area is using their power and influence to make it very difficult for AD (Administratively Determined) firefighters, who are not full-time government employees, to be selected for incident management teams.

We are for unions, mostly because over the last 100 years they did a lot to improve the working conditions and pay for workers. But there have been times when the power went to their heads and it was not always used for the overall good. Examples would be the impacts on the railroad and automotive industries in the middle of the last century.

In this case the union is again going too far, and taking advantage of the fact that AD employees have no union or anyone to represent their interests. The U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and other federal agencies in the Southeast are is cutting back on the number of AD employees on incident management teams in order to avoid the inevitable fights with the union. The Forest Service has an agreement with the union that says the Forest Service will minimize the number of ADs on teams and on other fire assignments.

Does the southeast geographic area have such a wealth of highly qualified fire personnel clamoring to get on the teams that they can ignore AD employees?

Is this happening in other geographic areas as well?


ForestRanger said...

I didn't know there were many ADs on standing IMTs to begin with. I thought most (all) were state or fed employees. Is that different elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

Many of the Regional/National IMTs have a significant number of retired staff serving on C&G, hired back as ADs. Decades of experience walks out the door at retirement, to not use this expertise is wasteful at best and in the case of safety could border on criminal.

Anonymous said...

For the Union of the Forest Service (NFFE) to be involved it would have to be a national issue, not a regional issue. I myself have not heard of this and doubt that the union would support this.

Anonymous said...

Is there a weblink to the agreement between the Forest Service and the Union?

Bill Gabbert said...

The high-ranking person that told me about the agreement has been directly affected by it and has knowledge about how it is implemented. But the person has never seen a written copy of the agreement, and in fact it may not exist in writing at all; just in practice, as well as demands from the union.

Anonymous said...

Without ADs teams would be hard pressed to surive. Some C&G need to be agency but many of the higher up support positions can be filled with retired people. Pay rates need to be looked at.

Anonymous said...

I have had trouble receiving training, support and a Red Card for almost two years as an AD Wildland Firefighter. What problems are others having?

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