Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Are Out of Order!

 The following conversation has been paraphrased for brevity. And is not intended to be taken as quotes. However, the intent and outcome are the exact same.

Leadership: Your motion is ruled out of order.

Member: How is it out of order?

Leadership: Its a negotiable item.

Member: How is a motion to poll the membership negotiable or contractual?

Leadership: Its not.

Member: Then how is my motion out of order?

Leadership: Because its negotiable, its a contract item.

Member:  uhhh...WHAT? Are you serious?

Leadership:   yes

Member: One more time just for clarification, how is a motion to poll the membership related to the contract?

Leadership: Its not.

Member: How is a motion to the poll the membership negotiable?

Leadership: Its not.

Member: So how is the motion out of order?

Leadership: Its contractual, its a negotiable item.

Member: and your serious?

Leadership: yes

   If only this was fiction!

 Rights come with responsibilities, because you have the right to have your opinions fairly heard, debated and voted on, means you have the responsibility to stand up for it, when you see it being trampled on.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Attention Members of Local 1285

Here is a letter from your Local president:

Dear Members:

This letter is to make it clear to everyone that there will be no action taken regarding the 48/96 shift schedule at the regular membership meeting scheduled for September 15, 2011 or any other regular meeting of this local.

Nevada Revised Statue is very clear on what is negotiable.  I am amazed that members published a fact sheet with the first statement being that the 48/96 shift schedule is not negotiable. What that means is the Chief could tell us today that we are working 1 day on and 2 days off or that we will start working the CCFD schedule?  What would you think about that? Would you think that the Chief could just make that change?  What would you want the union to do?

I have personally told both members pushing the 48/96 shift schedule months ago in a meeting with them that this is negotiable. I also told them the time and place to deal with this issue is at the Special Meeting for negotiations.  The Chief has also shared a copy of an email sent to one of our members pushing 48/96 and the position of the City regarding this work schedule.

Remember where we are at right now in the fact finding process of our current contract negotiations. The focus of your principal officers is on preventing a salary rollback, protecting the Health & Welfare Trust Fund, and our Clothing Allowance.

Dean Fletcher, President

  The following is the NRS Statue that he mentioned without telling you which one it is. Why he did not want to actually tell you the NRS that he was talking about is anyones guess, but I think maybe it was because he was hoping you would not go look it up, so I did it for you. As you can see there is NOTHING in the NRS that would keep members from bringing this ideal forward, as NOTHING in the proposed 48/96 that Sarah is working on conflicts with this statute. 

NRS 288.150  Negotiations by employer with recognized employee organization: Subjects of mandatory bargaining; matters reserved to employer without negotiation.
      1.  Except as provided in subsection 4, every local government employer shall negotiate in good faith through one or more representatives of its own choosing concerning the mandatory subjects of bargaining set forth in subsection 2 with the designated representatives of the recognized employee organization, if any, for each appropriate bargaining unit among its employees. If either party so requests, agreements reached must be reduced to writing.
      2.  The scope of mandatory bargaining is limited to:
      (a) Salary or wage rates or other forms of direct monetary compensation.
      (b) Sick leave.
      (c) Vacation leave.
      (d) Holidays.
      (e) Other paid or nonpaid leaves of absence.
      (f) Insurance benefits.
      (g) Total hours of work required of an employee on each workday or workweek.
      (h) Total number of days’ work required of an employee in a work year.
      (i) Discharge and disciplinary procedures.
      (j) Recognition clause.
      (k) The method used to classify employees in the bargaining unit.
      (l) Deduction of dues for the recognized employee organization.
      (m) Protection of employees in the bargaining unit from discrimination because of participation in recognized employee organizations consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
      (n) No-strike provisions consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
      (o) Grievance and arbitration procedures for resolution of disputes relating to interpretation or application of collective bargaining agreements.
      (p) General savings clauses.
      (q) Duration of collective bargaining agreements.
      (r) Safety of the employee.
      (s) Teacher preparation time.
      (t) Materials and supplies for classrooms.
      (u) The policies for the transfer and reassignment of teachers.
      (v) Procedures for reduction in workforce.
      3.  Those subject matters which are not within the scope of mandatory bargaining and which are reserved to the local government employer without negotiation include:
      (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (u) of subsection 2, the right to hire, direct, assign or transfer an employee, but excluding the right to assign or transfer an employee as a form of discipline.
      (b) The right to reduce in force or lay off any employee because of lack of work or lack of money, subject to paragraph (v) of subsection 2.
      (c) The right to determine:
             (1) Appropriate staffing levels and work performance standards, except for safety considerations;
             (2) The content of the workday, including without limitation workload factors, except for safety considerations;
             (3) The quality and quantity of services to be offered to the public; and
             (4) The means and methods of offering those services.
      (d) Safety of the public.
      4.  Notwithstanding the provisions of any collective bargaining agreement negotiated pursuant to this chapter, a local government employer is entitled to take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out its responsibilities in situations of emergency such as a riot, military action, natural disaster or civil disorder. Those actions may include the suspension of any collective bargaining agreement for the duration of the emergency. Any action taken under the provisions of this subsection must not be construed as a failure to negotiate in good faith.
      5.  The provisions of this chapter, including without limitation the provisions of this section, recognize and declare the ultimate right and responsibility of the local government employer to manage its operation in the most efficient manner consistent with the best interests of all its citizens, its taxpayers and its employees.
      6.  This section does not preclude, but this chapter does not require the local government employer to negotiate subject matters enumerated in subsection 3 which are outside the scope of mandatory bargaining. The local government employer shall discuss subject matters outside the scope of mandatory bargaining but it is not required to negotiate those matters.
      7.  Contract provisions presently existing in signed and ratified agreements as of May 15, 1975, at 12 p.m. remain negotiable.
      (Added to NRS by 1969, 1377; A 1971, 1503; 1975, 919; 1983, 1622; 1987, 743, 1496, 1607; 1989, 1165)

  Unless of course he was referring to a different NRS, Its just my guess that the one about whats negotiable and whats not, was the one he was referring to, but that still remains to be seen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

From the Garland County Tea Party

   This video is worth the 14 minutes, it clearly lays out the choice we are facing in 2012.

 After watching the video ask yourself, what organization you may belong to and support with your money that is openly calling for global governance at the expense of our individual freedom and liberty.  When you do that,  then ask yourself why?  At what point will patriotic Americans put aside their self interest for the preservation of freedom not only in our country but in the world.  If you agree with the message then ask yourself, what do I intend to do about it?  I can tell you it would not  take much to do something about it.  If you are interested then drop me a line.  rsqrog@msn.com

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Tangled Web Indeed!

   In 1967 Egypt, Syria and Jordan prepared to invade and annihilate Israel.  The Israelites at the time recognized the impending attack and launched a pre-emptive strike against Egypt’s amassed army.  Syria and Jordan used this as an excuse to launch their already amassed armies into Israel.  What resulted is what history calls the Six Day War.   Conducting a pre-emptive strike was Israel’s only means to victory in the impending war, and they defeated the Arab armies and secured their borders.
    You may be asking yourself what this has to do with you as a firefighter and member of the IAFF.  Allow me to explain.  As a member of Local 1285 we pay membership dues.  Our leadership pays dues on our behalf to the IAFF. The IAFF in turn pays dues to and is a member of the AFL CIO.  The AFL CIO is a very large umbrella organization with many affiliated, sponsored and partnered organizations underneath it.  Richard Trumka is the President of the AFL CIO.  You might say he is Harold’s Schaitberger’s (General president of the IAFF) boss.  The AFL CIO takes the dues we pay and conducts its business with no real input from us.  Our only form of input is through our Local Leaders who elect our regional leaders, who elect our national leaders, who would then elect guys like Trumka.  Do you even know who is above your Local President?  With that in mind, do we really have any input on what the AFL CIO does with our money?  The obvious answer is no, and that is the crux of the matter. The problem is our national union leaders know this, and use our money for things that would blow your mind.   Here is an example;
   One of the “partner organizations” that the AFL CIO gives money to is the American Center for International Solidarity.  You can find their web site here . Rest easy though because the $600, 000 a year we give through the AFL CIO is only on top of the nearly 29 million dollars it receives a year through “federal awards”  ( that’s code for US TAX dollars).  Did I mention that Richard Trumka the president of the AFL CIO is also the Secretary Treasurer of this organization they commonly refer to as the Solidarity Center?   You can see the 2010 annual report for the Solidarity Center here to confirm this information.   While you are at it though check out the interesting work we are helping pay for in Egypt.  In the report on page 5 you can find a picture of Mr. Trumka standing with a couple fine citizens of Egypt that he so graciously gave the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Award.  Or should I say, we gave, since it is our money?  The fine gentleman on the right is Kamal Abu Eita President of RETA (Independent General Union of Real Estate Tax Authority Workers) and on his left is Kamal Abbas director of CTUWS (Center for Trade Union and Workers’ Services).   Some simple google searching will lead you to some videos of these fine gentlemen. 
 This one here is Kamal Abu Eita take the time to watch it, it’s a quick 32 seconds, and it reveals so much in those 32 seconds. Watch Video Here
    So He is obviously very proud of his education that he earned in college in 1976.   He also let us know that he could not get a job because he was a “security risk” from his involvement with the “student movements”, which he is also obviously very proud of.    
   You have to be saying to yourself, get to the point already, right?  Well this is it where comes full circle to the beginning of this post.  You have to ask yourself now, well what was the “student movement” in the early 1970’s in Egypt that he was a part of?   After the Six Days war, Israel remained in control of the captured territories in order to keep “defensible” borders and prevent another war.  The incoming president of Egypt, President Sadat had promised during his campaign to once again go to war with Israel and recapture the territories it lost during the Six Days War.  He failed to do so, and this is what most of the “student movements” in the early 1970’s Arab world were all about.  It is really no big deal; it just spawned little groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.  This of course would eventually evolve into the fight over the plight of the Palestinian people.   You say, so what. 1970’s Egypt was so long ago and so far away; it has nothing to do with me, and my union today.  Well check out this next video, that has both of our friends from Egypt in it. If you pause the video at the 44-second mark you will see on the wall behind our dutiful union organizer three little handmade placards of a flag. watch video here  That ,if you do not recognize it is the Palestinian Flag.  Now you may blow this off as just a shear coincidence that our “union friends” that we are standing in solidarity with just happen to have been born out of the anti-Israel,  anti- USA student movements of the 1970’s ,  and you may say to yourself that three little placards of a flag in a 2009 video does not prove they still feel the same way, they are just workers of the world uniting in a common struggle against imperialism.  You could also check out some current photos from this years protest, and not only see some pictures of our “union friends” in action during this protest but you can check out the in color poster taped to the wall of their meeting place. see pictures here  Don’t let it concern you though it is just a picture of the Honorable Martyr Sheik Yassin.  That doesn’t ring a bell for you, didn’t for me either, so I had to look him up, no big deal, just a leader of Hamas.  Oh it is just a poster you say, not conclusive enough for you.  You are right. My wife does have paintings of roses up in our house, but that does not mean I like roses, I get it, you are correct, not conclusive.  Well lets try something a little more current, no posters, no pictures, how about Kamal’s words. Now we have to go way back to, oh I don’t know, way back to March 7th of 2011 where once again our “union friend” was a feature interview on ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) which bye the way you can find all over the AFL CIO Blogs. see article here In this interview he said of the recent protest in Egypt,  “I had a feeling of indescribable joy at seeing my lifelong dream coming true.” “We had already started to battle and demonstrate for a revolution of this kind back in 1972, within a students’ committee. But its time had not yet come”.
    You say he was just reminiscing, well to that I say how about this quote from the same article,   “We have serious concerns about the Labour Minister. I had a sleepless night after learning from the television that the new government’s labour minister was a member of the ETUF leadership. There was no way we could accept it. The deputy prime minister then asked to meet Kamal Abbas of the CTUWS (***) who supports independent unions and offered him the post of labour minister. But we recommended Ahmed Hassan El Bouray, who has been an ILO expert.”

    So who is it that he was recommending as an expert and what is the ILO?  Well, he is an Egyptian Professor of Law and is a big time player in the United Nations, and has advised, written, chaired, and pretty much steered the UN’s middle east involvement with Labor organizations dating all the way back, according to his 5 pages of selected foot notes from his online personal resume, to , can you guess it?????  That’s right….  1970’s  Egypt, wow what a coincidence!  So what of the ILO?  This is the International Labor Organization from the United Nations. Here is a link to there latest report. Its Titled  “Working in the Occupied Arab Territories” You need not look any further than the title, if you understand the language. You see we in the west have a word for the “Occupied Arab Territories”,  we call it Israel. See the report here

   Just one more quick note, in the same 2010 report from the Solidarity Center you may want to check out the work we are doing in Pakistan with the PWF (Pakistan Workers’ Federation). Just ignore the part where they are organizing and protesting against the “United States illegal raids” into their sovereign territories, you know the ones they were hiding OBL in, and ignore the current headlines of the militant and violent protest against the USA they are currently part of in Pakistan, because hey, you know we are all just workers trying to get ahead.
    Remember this, they call Israel the Little Satan, and they call us the Big Satan. These people are not our friends.
    If standing with socialist and communist is not enough to get your attention, how about the Islamist.  Are we now going to stand bye silently while our labor organizations use our money and tax payer dollars to help organize the enemies of not just our country, but of our very way of life?
  Are we as members of Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1285 going to sit silently by while our Union stands in solidarity with the AFL CIO who continues to fund and organize the very people who danced in the street as 343 of our brothers were making the supreme sacrifice.  Is that what the IAFF has become?  Is this what we stand for?  Are we going to continue to support with our money the very people who openly state how they want to wipe Israel off the map?  Is this who we have become?
   Wouldn’t it be fitting that as the ten-year anniversary of 9-11 approaches we as firefighters kept our promise we gave after 3000 of our fellow countrymen were slaughtered, to never forget. Wouldn’t it be appropriate if we lead the way once again during dark times, and we made a sacrifice?  We as a local need to tell the IAFF, to publicly and loudly disband all ties with the AFL CIO, and if they will not, then we as a local should disband all association with the IAFF.  We do not need them, they need us.   Uniformed Firefighters of Southern Nevada sounds good to me.


Friday, May 13, 2011


    I can take a deep breath now and let out a huge sigh of relief.  I have been informally informed that I am no longer “dangerous”.  It appears that tactic has failed, and since I am still here, and still typing I guess they have to try a new tactic.

     I am going bald and at times fall behind on my haircut schedule. This may give me a “bozo the clown” hairstyle, but do not let that interfere with serious nature of the subjects that are discussed here.

    I am concerned about the future stability of my Country.  I am concerned about the future stability of my pension, my pay, and my health insurance. I do not consider discussions on these matters, laughable, funny or anywhere approaching the realm of a joke. 

    Now that it has been determined that I am no longer dangerous, I am trying to figure out which part of this is now “laughable”.  Is it laughable that certain Union Leaders are conducting our business in a dishonorable fashion?  Is that the funny part?  How about the demise and downfall of the US dollar, you know the little green backs we use to buy EVERYTHING we need to survive, is that the funny part?  Wait, I got it, it must be the part where our own members have to make motions, to FORCE our Union Leaders to give us access to the rules that govern our meetings, that must be the hilarious part.   Maybe it is the part where the AFL CIO and our union leaders are standing with the enemies of a free America, you know the socialist, communist, and anarchist.  The very people many of us joined the military to oppose.  It must be hilarious now that guys who have actually been in combat in the service of their country are now being told by their union leadership to stand with the very people trying to destroy our Country.  Excuse me for not thinking that’s funny. I must have lost my sense of humor over on the horn of Africa when I was serving my Country.  Wait a minute, no I didn’t because there are some things I think are funny.

     What I find laughable is my leadership’s inability to refute what I am saying in these posts.  Maybe if they did that, then we could all laugh together.  What I find laughable is the predictable and petty tactics used against me by my own leadership.
I find it laughable when my union leaders take the time to concern themselves with what stickers I have on my turnout locker.  I find it laughable when my union leaders say “brotherhood”. 
   You see, I used to be on the executive board of my union, I led our Union Honor Guard for 10 years, I stood shoulder to shoulder with these men for 14 years, I supported them, they supported me, until I had the audacity to disagree. Once I did that, we found out exactly how “cheaply” that “brotherhood” was disregarded.

    When this newest tactic runs it course, I will still be standing here, I will still be speaking, can we then talk openly and honestly about these things? 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Anatomy of Unanimous Consensus

    Unanimous is defined as being of one mind, agreeing, formed with or indicating unanimity, having the agreement and consent of ALL (emphasis added).  
    In order for a group as large as 500 people to come to a unanimous consensus, leadership is required. There are many different kinds of leadership, autocratic, democratic, or Laissez-Faire to name just a few.  There are many different types of leaders as well, some good, some not so good, most somewhere in between.  The following are two generic examples of leadership and the parameters for both examples.
-       The leader is a paid member of a board elected by its dues paying membership, to manage the affairs of the group.
-        All monies for the operation of this group come directly from the paying members. 
-       Each leader understands that consensus among large groups of people is sometimes hard to achieve, and requires finesse.
-       Each understands that this is the largest expenditure of this group’s money in its history.
-       Each understands the rules regarding the steps needed to spend the group’s money.
-       Both leaders will remain within the “rules”.
-       The membership in each example will be the same, and ranges from distracted, and uninvolved to active in the daily business of the group and at some level everywhere in between.
-       The goal or objective for the leader to gain approval from the membership for something the leader wants.  In these examples we will say the leader wants to purchase a used RV (recreational vehicle) for the leadership to use to travel with.  The leader in each example believes this purchase is necessary and will save the group money in the long run.

The following is example A:

    Since all your members are not really interested in this at the moment, you send out the absolute minimum requirements for notification.  Do not in anyway use any other form of mass communication at your disposal then follow the steps 1-7.
1.     Schedule the two-day vote with as little prior notification as allowed.
2.      Be prepared however, just in case word gets out to those who would not approve your measure.  You may need to call in more support if by chance you almost lose the first days vote.
3.      Ensure there is adequate “response” from supporters to overcome the resistance of the first days vote, on the second day.
4.     After you have achieved “approval” from your membership to purchase the RV, make sure the purchase is complete and irreversible prior to the next meeting.  This is an important step, because word is going to get out to those who were not initially concerned.  They may speak out against it now, even though they were not paying attention, they are still dues paying members and they may organize a motion to tie your hands at the next meeting.
5.     Now that you have completed the purchase you now have to set the path to approve the next chunk of money to refurbish it.  You may still have resistance to this so you must plan accordingly.
6.     Go on the offensive; use your leadership position to intimidate your membership.  You achieve this by attacking those who are speaking out against it, or anything else you are doing.  The membership must know that there is a price for speaking out. An easy way to do this is to start telling the people around them you think they are “dangerous”.   Make sure they know you are serious, you may even mention it to supervisors, so there will actually be questions from their superiors inquiring to their “mental stability”.
7.     Once step 6 is complete, Repeat steps 1 and 2 above.

   With the RV purchased, and the membership disenfranchised, you step out and claim “unanimous” victory. Do not however mention how many people actually voted, because that may draw attention to the fact it was not an undisputed vote.  

The following is example B:

  Since all your members are not really interested in this at the moment, you take the time to send out multiple meeting notifications using all forms of communication at your disposal, both informal and formal.   You set the meeting and vote at a time that allows you to follow these steps;
1.     Make a presentation with all the facts and figures.
2.     Travel to where your members gather routinely at pre-described times and locations, and present your case to them.
3.     Answer any questions your members may have.
4.     Schedule the vote, and poll the entire membership by secret ballot.
5.     Wait for the results and hope you had what it took to convince your members to make the purchase.
6.     If you did, make the purchase, and follow up with any other request in the future that’s needed to complete the task.
7.     If not, hold your head high, because you realized it’s not about what you want, but what the membership wants, and you conducted your business in an honorable fashion.

The preceding are fictional examples. Any resemblance to real persons or events is entirely coincidental.  They are intended to demonstrate that in life the leadership we choose to follow is up to us.  The questions is simple, do you want to live in a world where example A is the norm, or example B?


Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Firefighter, a Light Pole, and an Automobile.

This is a story. It is a story about a firefighter, a firefighter who has been both a follower and a leader.  It is a story about a man, a man who has both excelled and stumbled.  It is not a life story, but a story of a brief moment in time. 

   All good stories have characters, or players if you will, because not all elements are represented as people.  Sometimes in stories inanimate objects can play a large role.  As I am no screenwriter, bare with me while I just simply describe the players. 

   The first player, is an automobile, yes a car.  Don’t think of CARS the Disney movie, but just simply your run of the mill motor vehicle.  It’s a four door, just an average car with a firefighter sticker in the window.  The next player is a light pole. Now this is not just any light pole, but a light pole located in the exclusive enclave of Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nevada.  There were others players in and around this story, but for now these three, the firefighter, the automobile and the light pole are all that are really relevant.

   One spring evening or night to be more exact these three players were brought together in what could have been one catastrophic evening, if it were not for the actions of the firefighter that cool pre-summer night in glittering Las Vegas.  It could have been catastrophic not just for the obvious reasons that emerge when objects like automobiles and light poles collide in the dark of night.  It could have been catastrophic for the career of this firefighter.  I am getting a little ahead of myself, so lets back track a little. 

    This firefighter had worked long and hard to become who he was now.  He had overcome many obstacles throughout his life and career to stand there that night, as a firefighter. He had been taught and full well knew that by accepting the job that he was now in, he would never be just himself. That all actions he took would reflect not just upon him, but upon the fire service as well. The headlines would not read “ Joe Smith” hits light pole, they would read “Firefighter Hits Light Pole”.   Whether or not this is fair, has no bearing on this story, it is something firefighters just have to accept.  Unlike the multi-million dollar athlete that extols how he is not a role model, firefighters must just accept it, because we are in fact, role models.  

   Life has all kinds of lessons for us to learn. The difference in life being how we as individuals handle these lessons, how we learn from them and how we move forward in life from each “lesson” that is handed down to us. 

   Again, a little ahead of myself, so lets go back to that evening in the west side of town, and that slightly breezy and quite evening in Las Vegas, where the firefighter, the automobile and the light poles history intersected. 

  The firefighter was feeling pretty good, and had reason to. He had been successful, he had friends, a good life, and even at this stage, a good future.  His hands were on the wheel, he was in control, and the music was on and was playing a good tune for life’s background music.  In the blink of an eye, or even less,  things drastically changed.  He was no longer in control, and he new it was his fault; he had been doing something he should not have been doing.  He was doing something that he had flirted with several times, and was driving with a level of confidence he really had never earned. In times past he had just been lucky, as he was about learn that hard lesson.  Like most type A personalities he had determined that his past avoidance of the consequences for his actions had more to do with skill than luck.  Next,  what seemed like hours but in all reality was merely seconds, that false world would come crashing down around him.  In the end he would be standing there, seemingly alone, staring reality in the face, his next actions crucial, what to do next? 
  The squeal of the tires was loud and was accompanied by the immediate smell of melting rubber. The sound of the tires reverberated off the inside of the car, and what seemed like the inside of his head, it all became just another background noise like the music pumping from the stereo, as he gained the first glimpse of the light pole. The front end of car no longer leading the way, he struggled to regain control, steering hard against the skid, as he had been taught.  To no avail, he had really done it this time. It was obvious there was no escaping the inevitable.  For the first time in his life he felt completely helpless.  Nothing he could do was going to change what was about to happen.  As the car rapidly approached the solid and immoveable light pole, the sounds of screaming, squealing tires, and the smell of burning rubber, gave way instantly to the sound of crunching metal, breaking plastic and glass, and the smell gave way to that of dust, and the iron or metallic smell of blood.  In a strange twist, as the sounds and smells seemed to keep pace with reality, the visual aspects seemed to slow to such a speed that one could account for the tiniest of details.  As he watched the car cave in around him, as the windshield shattered and cracked, the dashboard crumpled up, and the passenger seat tilted up and towards him, the visual and the audio came crashing together in one loud and ear piercing collision of metal and earth. As the vehicle first tilted as to roll on its passenger side, the light pole itself, unmoved, settled the car back down on its four wheels, as he felt his seatbelt pull against his collarbones and hold him in his seat.  Then, silence, as the dust settled and reality sunk in.  His passenger turning to look silently at him, as if to say “really?” as blood began to roll down her face.

     Recent events in the firefighters life had made this evening more than just a collision between a car and light pole, but more of a collision with destiny.  He had been warned both professionally and personally that his behavior behind the wheel would eventually have an affect on his career. In his arrogance he ignored these warnings. He came from a lifestyle of fast cars, and grease under the fingernails. A life where his ability to control the horsepower under his foot was not just a sign of manhood, but determined his position in the “pecking order” of his peers. Although he had already distanced himself from his previous life, the behavior itself was another matter.   The life style of street racing and that of a professional firefighter were colliding and only one was to be the victor.  Already having been called on the carpet for behavior behind the wheel the firefighter could not only loose his recently earned money, but all future earnings, as now his career was on the line.  

   What is one expected to do at this point, everything is on the line.  Well in this story, the firefighter chooses to do the right thing.  He stood in the furnace of truth and accepted the consequences of his actions.  He paid the damages to those he owed, accepted his fault, and changed his life. 

    He used his recently acquired skills to help save the life of his passengers.  All of who still play a major role in his life. The most grievously injured, is now his wife of almost 14 years and mother of his two children.  One of the others, the best man at his wedding and still close personal friend. 

   He stood on that night and was transformed from one life to the next, and almost 17 years later is still standing, proud of whom he became, the lessons he learned, and the path he has traveled. 

   Is this story real? Does it matter?  Does it change the story line or the lessons learned?  Does this story extol a virtuous perspective?  No, I don’t think so. Is it so virtuous to have to be beat over the head to get the point?  If you walk away with this then you have missed the point.  We all have our shortcomings, our moments of success and our moments of failure; we are not the judges of each other. 
    When I am taught in John 8 not throw stones, why should I then throw stones?  The point is we are the same; we are all flawed in one-way or another. When I am attacked because of my personally flawed past, I guess that’s okay. I would prefer that we get past that and have discussions on the facts and the problems facing us.  As this story from my personal past, I hope demonstrates, we are the same. If you choose to attack me instead of what I am saying, it can go both ways. It achieves nothing, hurts feelings, and tries to force us to live to unachievable standards, so we can tear down each other, instead of working together for the common good. 

  I disagree with what my union is doing to “look out for my interest” at the national level. I believe they are being intellectually dishonest. I believe at the local level we have all been duped.  If speaking my mind to this and having a discussion about it, means I have to suffer the slings and arrow of outrageous fortune, then so be it.   Whether we are to survive or not survive is the question, and how we go about surviving is an even larger question. Forgive me please, for wanting to talk about it. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Can We Get Answers Instead of Propaganda?

   While my dollar buys less and less and the future prospects of actually being able to draw a pension become slimmer and slimmer, I appreciate it when my union leadership, both national and local, take the time to address the issues that face us today.  Oh wait a minute that has not happened yet.

    It must take a lot of time for our General President to make the rounds on the media circuit.  He does have to take the time to memorize his talking points, and to go on to a news channel that does nothing but reach the smallest audience possible.  I mean sure he could go on other channels that provide a larger audience to address our needs, but then again he may actually be asked questions.  Questions like, okay Mr. Schaitberger , how will the US Government loosing its AAA bond rating effect your membership?  You know little questions like that. How about explaining the difference between a “riskless” rate of return, and a “historical return on investments” and how that applies to your membership.  Maybe take the time to inform your members on what their “Beck” rights are.

   For months now we have been told about how we are under attack, how the greedy rich people want to destroy the middle class so they do not have to pay taxes. Okay, thanks for the heads up, but is that it, are you not going to go any further. How about some details?  How about presenting both sides so we can make an informed decision about what is best for our future, both in our professional and personal lives.

   I can understand why my local leadership can’t get around to answering any of these questions. They are real busy you know having special meetings to spend more of our money on a building we so desperately needed.  I guess the plan is, if the Stock Market collapses again and we all loose our retirement, we will always have this fantastic real estate investment we can sell and divide up the proceeds of to live off of.  Given the current state of affairs I can see why they have devoted so much attention this project. Without this new building we might have had to go on having meetings in the same old strip mall we have always used, oh the humanity!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Honor, Duty, Trust, Integrity, Is it real?

    Occasionally we must elevate our conversation.  Sometimes we have to lift our heads from our day-to-day lives and think about who we are and what we stand for.
Now I am not anyone’s judge, nor do I intend to be. I am a flawed man with my own shortcomings that I struggle with.  Nonetheless we must occasionally discuss the values and principals we profess to live by, or else we risk loosing them.

 Honor:      Good name or public esteem, a showing of usually merited respect, faithfulness to high moral standards.
Synonyms include; honesty, integrity, righteousness, and uprightness.
Antonyms include; baseness, dishonor, lowness, corruption, depravity, disgrace, sinfulness, wretchedness.

Duty:       obligatory tasks, conduct, service or functions that arise from one’s position. A moral or legal obligation. Something one must do because of prior agreement.
Synonyms include; burden, charge, commitment, incumbency.
Antonyms include; exemption, waiver and loophole.

Trust:      firm belief in the integrity, ability, effectiveness, or genuineness of someone or something. Responsibility for the safety and well-being of someone or something. The assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.  One in which confidence is placed.
Synonyms include; confidence, credence, faith.
Antonyms include; distrust, skepticism, suspicion, disenchantment.

Integrity:     firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility: an unimpaired condition. Conduct that conforms to an accepted standard of right and wrong, devotion to telling the truth,  faithfulness to high moral standards.
Synonyms include; character, decency, goodness, honesty, righteousness, uprightness, virtue, truthfulness.
Antonyms include; badness, evil, immorality, sin, wickedness, villainy, crookedness, deception, meanness, insidiousness, treacherousness, deceitfulness.

    Ask yourself, are we living to these principals that we set for ourselves, are we even trying to anymore? Do we live to these values if we manipulate a staffing system for our personal financial gain? Do we live to these standards when we are silent about the same?  Do we live to these standards when we accept manipulations and half-truths from our leaders?

    Many among us have accepted the praise and high respect we were given after September 11th that was earned from the blood and sacrifice of others.  Respect we really did nothing to earn.  Shortly after 9-11 at the dedication of Station 5, as the commander of our Honor Guard I gave a short speech acknowledging these very facts.  In that speech I thanked the public for their praise and support, and promised that from that day until my last day in the fire service I would do all that I could to earn what they had given us, because it had come at such a high price.  I guess that is part of what drives me. I promised never to forget.  When our actions no longer reflect our words we must take notice, we must look inward and reflect on what we are doing, where we are going, and how we conduct ourselves while doing it.

    We are heading into some even more trying times than the last few years have been. What kind of people will we be on the other side?  Will we be the kind of people who stand in the furnace, and account for our actions, or will we run and hide from the truth. Will we try to find loopholes and rationalize our conduct, or will we hold the line accept the consequences?

     In my life I have learned that loyalty is simply a choice, and one must not remain loyal to someone or something that has been corrupted, and refuses to accept it and work to change. I have learned that loyalty is a choice, and doing the right thing is a matter of character.

    Who will we be in two years?  The choice is ours.  Will we be the people who stood against our neighbors for our own selfish interest, or will we be the people who helped each other.  Will we choose to preserve our country for the benefit of all? Will we choose to side with those who want to destroy our economic system, so our leadership can maintain their influence and prestige, at the detriment of all.

   Honor, Duty, Trust and Integrity are not just words printed on our shirts, hats and fire trucks. They are words we are supposed to live by.  It may be difficult but I believe, no, I KNOW we are up to the challenge.  If we cannot get our leadership to understand this, then they must go. 
 The truth is we can stand up and do the right thing at the local level, we do not need the IAFF and we do not need the AFL CIO.  That is the truth they so desperately do not want you to see, WE DON’T NEED THEM, THEY NEED US.  With out us they are nothing.  With out us they have no power to accomplish anything.  If you look, you will see, they long ago stopped looking out for your interest, how much longer will you remain silent and support theirs. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Short and to the Point

  "Citizenship In A Republic"

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

-Theodore Roosevelt

Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

I think you get my meaning!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

“One Step Closer to the Edge, and its About to Break”

   No I am not talking about the Linkin Park song.  I am talking about your pension.
Standard & Poors (S&P) moved the credit rating of the USA to a negative outlook.  
This “is one warning shot at least to investors that should be loud and clear in
Washington.”  Said Bill Gross, a founder of one of worlds largest bond funds, that
dumped government holdings back in February.  According to an article in the WSJ
a downgrade in the credit rating usually follows about six months after the outlook

   The US Government loosing its AAA rating, which 2 years ago all the experts said
could “never” happen , would have devastating effects on our pension system.  This I
have explained in my previous articles.

  This is just one more example in a long list, of our union leadership looking out for
what is best for them and not looking out for our interest , like they are PAID to do.
As our country goes so will go our pension, they inextricably linked.  Try and explain
to me how supporting the progressive agenda to preserve “collective bargaining”  is
going to help us, when supporting that agenda will destroy our future financial
stability.  The way I see it they are more worried about preserving their power and
prestige for themselves, so they can continue to feel good rubbing elbows  with all the
“powerful” people in our state and national governments.  The way it is set up our
pensions are supposed to be guaranteed, if the stock market fails, then our
neighbors have to pay our pensions in the form of higher taxes.  There in sits the
crux of the matter. They can stand there and tell you people are trying to destroy
your collective bargaining rights, and therefore your pensions. One has nothing to
do with the other. They don’t care about the stock market, because they don’t care if
they raise your and your neighbors taxes, because its want they want in the first
place. They are hoping against all hope that you do not wake up and pay attention,
and recognize that you are being used.
    The response thus far to these critiques, to run articles like the one in the
Washington Post the other day explaining how nurses and firefighters feelings are
hurt, because the tax paying public see’s what they do not. An UNSUSTAINABLE
SYSTEM.  We are rapidly running out of other peoples money, the tax payers, your
neighbors,  see it. Our Union is pitting us against them. 
    As union members we must stand up, we must take back control of our unions
and place them back on a path of freedom and prosperity.  If you can not do this
because it is the right thing to do, then do the research and recognize how it directly
effects your future financial stability.  To sit by silently as the system collapses and
then to turn to your neighbor and say sorry you got hurt so bad, but pay me, because
I got mine, is not only unethical, it is blatantly immoral.