To the Contrary

Bill gives bargaining rights to emergency personnel

I am a former firefighter in the city of Rock Hill. I enjoyed my time there working with the fine men and women of RHFD. On the other hand, working for the city, and that particular chief was by no means enjoyment for me. I was lied to, and the city tried to bully me around.

Since then, I left Rock Hill and moved to my current employer, working as a firefighter with my father in the same fire department. It worked out for the best. There are many cousins, brothers and father-son combinations in this fire department. They have never had a problem. Makes you wonder what Rock Hill is so afraid of?

New York City as well as cities in most of the United States have the same in their fire and police departments and never have had a problem. I just want the people and the firefighters in Rock Hill to know something about what I have enjoyed as a fireman in a different community: collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining gives firefighters a voice in working conditions and wages. As for Rock Hill, the firefighters are very underpaid for the risks they take every third day when they come to work. Let's face it, you can die at any time for a lousy $8 an hour, or whatever it is. It most certainly isn't enough for your kids to grow up without you.

Some might say, "Well you chose that profession." That is true, but without you, no one would do it; it takes a special person to risk his life for other people and their property.

A new bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in January called HR 980. The IAFF is a major supporter of this bill, so for the ones who think that the IAFF doesn't do anything for you, you will see very soon. Since January, this bill has made many leaps and bounds. It passed in the House subcommittee 42-1. On Tuesday, it was brought to the House floor for a vote, with 314 yeas and 97 nays. Next stop, the Senate. This bill gives every firefighter, police officer, EMT and any other people who risk their lives, a fair opportunity to collectively bargain with their employer.

Look out, city of Rock Hill, it is time to be fair to your men and women who risk their lives to protect you every day of the year, every hour of the day, including holidays! This bill would force the city of Rock Hill to bargain in good faith, a couple of words I don't think the city has ever heard.

I hope city officials are scared about this bill passing because they know and I know that they do not treat their firefighters and police officers with respect like they should. To those officials, they are just an employee number.

Most of the time, when we respond to your houses or your accidents, it is one of the worst days of your lives, and we are there to help! I write my congressman and senators every day praying for this for the firefighters and police officers in Rock Hill. It's time the city treats them fairly. IAFF for life, brotherhood for eternity!

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