Where it Doesn’t Belong

February 24, 2009 at 3:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I don’t know about the rest of the just-approved firefighters contract, but the minimum staffing level provision stinks. I suspect the firefighters will say the provision ensures public safety. But employment contracts aren’t about protecting public safety, they’re about getting the best deal for the person signing the contract. That’s true in the private sector, in government, and with union and non-union jobs.

The staffing level at Lincoln’s fire stations should be governed by federal and state regulations, and accepted standards from relevant national and international organizations. Maybe Lincoln’s firefighter staffing levels are currently improper. Police Chief Tom Casady comments all the time on how Lincoln’s police staffing levels are very low relative to our peers; perhaps firefighter levels are low as well. If so, the firefighters should bring the fact to light.

The minimum staffing provision wasn’t exactly sneaked into the contract so it’s not as though the union is getting away with something underhanded. I’m not angry with the union. I am disappointed that the City is letting employees dictate this sort of thing. I don’t want firefighters telling the City how many firefighters should be on the job; I don’t want teachers controlling teacher numbers; and so on.

I suspect some of you disagree. Have at it!

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