Labor Troubles Looming in Fire District 1

March 9, 2016

Everett, Everett Fire

Fire District 1 serves people living in unincorporated Snohomish County south of the Everett City Limits. You’ll often see their rigs in Everett providing mutual aid. There are also many areas in south Everett that are served by both FD1 and the Everett Fire Department depending on which side of the road you are on. While this does not directly affect the Everett Fire Department due to the substantial area of what would be considered south Everett covered by District 1 we’re passing this along.

Fire District 1 Fire District 1 Today Fire District 1 issued the following press release regarding labor issues between the district and members of IAFF 1828 which is the union representing District 1 firefighters.

Snohomish County Fire District 1 has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the state Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) against International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1828, the union representing the district’s firefighters.

Fire District 1 alleges that the union has violated its statutory bargaining obligations.  The unlawful conduct consists of the union’s refusal to execute the written agreement developed by the chief negotiators of the union and the fire district and approved by the Fire Commissioners, according to the complaint.  That agreement would yield a new labor contract for 2015-17.

The complaint asks PERC for a two-part remedy.  First, the union would be ordered to cease violating its bargaining obligations.  Second, the union would be ordered to execute the agreement reached by the chief negotiators.

Bargaining for a new contract has a long history, starting in May 2014 and continuing for 19 months.  There were 23 bargaining sessions, including 18 mediations sessions under the auspices of PERC.  In January 2016, the union membership voted down a total contract settlement.  After that, representatives of the two sides in early February created the agreement that is the subject of the complaint.

Fire District 1 Commissioners are disappointed and believe that the public interest is best served by pursuing the complaint.  At the core of the dispute is the availability and quality of emergency services to our community in the form of extra coverage during times of higher emergency calls.

Editor’s Note: MyEverettNews.com has reached out via email to get comment from Local 1828. We’ll update this story with that information when it is received.




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About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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7 Responses to “Labor Troubles Looming in Fire District 1”

  1. Ron Pooler Sr. Says:

    Having been a homeowner in this South Everett community since 1972, a volunteer firefighter with Fire District #11 prior to it’s merging into Fire District #1,a retired professional firefighter who has much first hand firefighter contract negotiation exposure, I can tell you that firefighters consider their own safety and the needs of their communities first and foremost when negotiating working conditions and wages. They are not greedy by any means, but desire a decent wage commensurate to risky and dangerous service they provide so that you and your families are less at risk from tragic circumstances. They are highly trained and must be 100% ready to meet adversity at all times. Our communities have always supported that level of professional dedication and always will, because these public servants deserve it. There will always be labor/management disputes because the two entities have distinct differences in how this public service should be provided. The Public Employment Relations Commission will intervene and sort it all out in an equitable fashion to be binding upon both parties, we can all rest assured of that. In the mien time we will all continue to be provided the services and protection we have all become accustomed to. Thank You Fire Protection District #1 for all you provide this community and thanks to each firefighter for your undaunted and dedicated service.

    • Donkey Hotay Says:

      Mr. Pooler,

      Greed takes many forms: an overcapacity of equipment, for instance. Within any organization, even otherwise conscientious persons who aren’t directly responsible for the cost of a thing are susceptible to asking for more than necessary. With public service unions, there isn’t a sufficiently balanced force to counteract the possible ways even an honorable union could go astray.

      Firefighting in the United States is performed admirably; I don’t think anyone would question that. However, it is also a profession that attracts many, many applicants, as you would know from your service as a volunteer. There is no shortage of qualified labor to perform firefighting service so it seems sensible that the remuneration should reflect this fact and should not continue to grow while willing and capable labor exists to replace firefighters who may find current conditions too paltry. As there isn’t a rash of firefighters leaving paid service, I suspect conditions are more than adequate.

  2. Terri Lackor Says:

    Give them what they ask for. Public safety is a necessity. Police and fire departments are what do that for us. There s not one tax payer that would say they re asking to much in the event of an emergency that helped them or a loved one. Stop this waste of time and give them what the ask for.

    • Donkey Hotay Says:

      Why? They aren’t infallible. They aren’t immune to greed. Bourne’s quote sums up the issue nicely: public service unions are a force that cannot be restrained and will eventually bankrupt whatever entity is paying them. Given enough time, they would beggar every municipality simply because they can and there isn’t enough incentive to stop them, thanks to an unreasoning public.

      By the way Bourne, I appreciate the irony of using a FDR quote to illustrate the issue. Nicely done =D.

      • Anon Says:

        Have you had a look at the non-union management salary of public service employees?

  3. Bourne Says:

    “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.”– FDR August 16, 1937

  4. Justlen Says:

    Crap, I better lay off the smoking in bed for awhile.