New officers of Local/New Chief : LUSENET : MPFFU : One Thread

Ecorse Firefighters have a new executive board and our former president turned Chief. In November there was a recall of 4 of our politicians that was successful at the polls. The 4 council members were joisted and with them so was Chief Lafferty. Our union president stepped up to the plate and is now acting Chief. Along with that We voted in a new excutive Board. The new chief, Chief Lammers was as mentioned our president and in the brief time he has been chief, our members and himself have not seen eye to eye. We are on grievance # 8 and are in the mist of loosing benifits from our president turned Chief. All of the grievances are going to the second step and possible to arbitration. Anyone else have a member turned to the other side? We appreciate comments.

Sincerely, Ron French President Local 684 Ecorse Firefighters

-- Ron French (, January 05, 2001


Since 1988, our Local has had 8 different union members promoted out of our Union to become an Operations / Administrative / or Fire Chief. Has this caused problems for the Local, yes at times it has. That is why the IAFF By-laws did not allow one of these members leaving the Local to recieve a member withdrawal card (member in good standing) UNLESS they left the fire service. But I believe that langauge has changed to allow such a practice of seperation. Until the cities go outside to hire for these management positions, these Chiefs will continue to have certain knowledge about grievances, contract negotiation information and stradegies, and other internal Local operations. Many Locals have had their Union Presidents bargain their contract for them, and then end up on the other side of the table and argue against the Local in grievances for the same language they bargained for in the first place. Call the brothers and sisters in Warren and they'll tell you about it. Believe me, you're not alone. It's probably happened to all of us at one time or another. My only suggestion, is not to let one person on your Executive Board have to much authority without the other members input. The only way to eliminate, or at least limit it is go to the outside. I have written about one dozen articles for the MPFFU magazine. One of them was entitled, "Which hat are you wearing". Contact Brother Chesney and see if they'll re-publish it. Sounds like it might be time. Good Luck.

Mark R. Turo Clinton Twp Fire Fighters Executive Board Member - Local 1381

-- Mark R. Turo (, January 08, 2001.

Greetings and a Happy belated New Year to all. I am responding to this thread as it was just brought to my attention this morning. Therefore, I will attempt to point out my personal view and opinion as to a few of the facts in this situation and regret having to do so in this context.

Yes, I am the "President turned Chief" and as not to make any comparsion whatsoever between myself and the previous Chief, he too was a past President turned Chief and a very close friend of the current union President. Aside from that, I have always been one to stand up for what is right. I have walked informational picket lines with many of you and have even asked for your support on numerous occasions, most recently was when the previous Chief and City Administration laid off nine (9) of our full time firefighters while continuing to employ part-time reserve firefighters in the station. This occurred in January 1997. The previous Chief and current union President had the opportunity to eliminate the part-time program and chose not to. He also negotiated a contract that has a two tier wage scale in place for our younger firefighters. I have always fought against this and will continue to do so. Currently, a new hire in our department (full time) starts out at $22,737.46 per year and is also required to a co-pay for his insurance and dental benefits. This is wrong and if given the opportunity will work to change. I stand opposed to the part-time program and working towards its elimination with great hopes and expections.

I have served our union in every capacity over a period of thirteen or so years. Many of those years were very trying in Ecorse because previous elected officials have always seemed to take care of a select few. Then when they realized that they were in trouble with the budget, they come to the union's asking for some relief in the form of concessions. This has been the case my entire career.

We now have a group of elected people that want to make a change. They too are for what is right. Unfortunitly, they were left with a mess and such is the case with respect to the Chief's office.

The previious Chief left the office and department in total disaray. Departmental records are missing and those that are here are totally inaccurate. He too took care of a select few and one of those is an Executive Board officer that is now yelling the loudest. I guess he lost his connection with the Chief's office. This same individual recently filed a grievence (one of the six that have been filed)which goes back four years. His issue was already addressed with the previous Chief and was denied. Now he's back again! There was not accountability in the department and some guys were given overtime to do certain things in and around the department that were clearly their job or that of the Chief. Many were paid overtime for these extras while on duty. Nice I guess if you have a Chief that will allow it!

I am a union man and will continue to support many of the programs that I supported as union President. I do not intend to forget where I come from and will always support what is right. As I said when I was union President, is it a grievance or a gripe? In most cases, its a gripe! That is the situation here.

With respect to stepping up to the plate, it was truly a difficult decision for me to make at the time. However, I feel that I will be in a better position to push for positive changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, eliminate the part-time program, fair wages for our firefighters and make other necessary changes in our department. I would also like to see us move into Advanced Life Support as we are one of the few departments Downriver that are not. I am reminded of past union officials in communities like Trenton and Southgate where they now have a good working relationship between Union and Management. This is my goal there in Ecorse as well. However, there are some things that need to be repaired first as the previous Chief left us all a real mess.

One situation is that the Executive Board is upset about not being allowed to have 2-3 firefighters on a Super Kelly day at the same time. Yes, this is something the previous Chief allowed in exchange for some flexibility in moving part-time personnel around. I was opposed to this practice then and remain so now as many times it left only two full time firefighters on duty. Furthermore, given our current manpower situation and the fact that there is no contractual obligation to allow this practice, we cannot permit it to continue. I have asked for input from the Executive Board on this matter, but they want the same to continue. The CBA provides in part that full time firefighters shall be called in should an overtime situation occur. I intend to honor that provision of the contract.

As you can see, there is another side to this story. I want what is best for everybody and now have additional responsibilities that I did not have before, to ensure the safety an staffing of the department. I will not violate to contract and know it better that anyone else. Looking forward, I hope that the Executive Board will understand that I support many of their issues and that by working together, we will make advances that we may have never dreamed possible.

However, the Union President has taken the position that in order to better this relationship that I must "remove our (IAFF) insignia license plate from your vehicle. We are also requesting that you remove and refrain from using our logo on vehicles and or clothing that you may have". I guess we'll see how sincere they are in working together! I hope this is not an indication of their intentions.

In closing, I will miss the working relationship that I had established with many of my friends in the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union and the International. I would especially like to thank Paul, Terry and Dan for their help and support over the years. A special thank you to my friend Michelle Snider for her loyal help and assistance as well. To my many friends in and around the area, May God bless you always. Finally, I will continue to support many of the programs of this great and proud Union. If I may ever be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to ask.

Fraternally, Ron Lammers Past President, Ecorse Local 1990

-- Ron Lammers (, January 08, 2001.

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