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  • Are we able to return to being Local 727?
    Yes. As part of the merger agreement, an exit clause has been established that outlines the process and procedure for seceding from Local 2928 if West Palm Beach Firefighter/Paramedics determine it is in our best interest to do so. The exit clause stipulates that the WPB members can re-charter as Local 727 and will be provided seed money equal to the reserves that Local 727 brought into the merger. This is accomplished with a majority vote of West Palm Beach members only.
  • What is the benefit of merging unions?
    As Local 727 has grown we've continued to progress forward. Although our last contract was successful in getting us closer to competitive salaries, we are still far behind where we deserve to be. That being said, negotiations don't stop once the contract is signed. Beyond salaries, our needs have grown as quickly as our call volume and items like consistent station maintenance, an apparatus replacement schedule, and better health insurance must continually to be brought before the City in order to see the change we want. Merging unions provides WPB Firefighter/Paramedics two primary benefits: resources and politics. Summary Each executive board and each negotiation has faced similar issues, we simply are not any bigger of a priority to the City then any other city employee. The problems and issues we are dealing with as a union are not new and not isolated to West Palm Beach. Like popular trends and fashion, Local 727 has a cyclical history. Joining forces and becoming part of a larger organization gives us resources and political influence that will afford us an opportunity and a hope of breaking the cycle. Merging with Local 2928 makes our voice stronger and our reach further. Resources: Local 2928 is a multi-million dollar operation (annual budget of $2.5M+) that has been undeniably one of the most successful unions in Florida, if not the Southeast United States. Becoming part of the 2928 family give us the ability to have access to this larger organizational structure. Local 2928 employs 48 full-time and part-time employees. This includes both firefighter and civilian personnel filling positions such as Administrative Assistants, Research Coordinator, Communications Director, Membership Coordinators, District Vice Presidents, and many other beneficial resources that WPB Firefighter/Paramedics would have access too. These positions provide more efficient handling of the grievance process, stronger datasets during negations, and better handling of good & welfare items. Additionally, any WPB members of Local 2928 would be able to hold any of 22 of the current 48 paid positions in the organization. Politics: Unions are only as strong as their political influence. Local 727 has built and maintained a large amount of local political influence that has served us well over the years. However, that influence is limited by the size of our organization. Local 2928 has resources such as a dedicated lobbyist and legislative attorney that extend their reach beyond the local levels. With a total Legislative Resource budget of $325,000+, political influence is gained at levels we could never obtain. Given that many of our goals are already aligned with Local 2928, it only makes sense to join forces and build a political machine that unmatched.
  • What is the downside of merging unions?
    Representation: Although Local 2928 has been willing to include the allocation of resources for additional representation of WPB members in the merger agreement, there is no guarantee that we will receive the same or better level of representation currently provided. Autonomy: Although cities represented by Local 2928 have autonomy, WPB Firefighter/Paramedics would no longer have full control over all decisions. Currently, Local 727's Executive Board answers only to the membership and the will of the membership dictates the direction of the union. Merging with a larger organization removes the ability of the WPB members to maintain granular control over the direction of the union. Decisions are made in light of the greater good and may not always be the decision that WPB members agree with.
  • Will West Palm Beach Firefighter/Paramedics be under represented by Local 2928?
    UNKNOWN West Palm Beach will be represented by a WPB member voted by WPB members. There is no way to know for sure whether Local 2928 will provide the West Palm Beach Firefighter/Paramedics with a level of representation that is better, worse, or equal to the representation our members currently receive. That being said, the Executive Board of Local 727 asked Local 2928 to address this concern of under-representation. They responded with the following: If a union merger is successful, the West Palm Beach members of Local 2928 will be allocated up to three (3) salaried positions within the Local 2928 organization to represent West Palm Beach Firefighter/Paramedic. These positions will be elected and filled by WPB members. Additionally, three (3) shift representatives may be appointed and be eligible for stipends and mileage reimbursement.
  • What does Local 2928 stand to benefit from a union merger?
    The preamble of the International Association of Fire Fighters states the following: "Strength through united action, guided by intelligence is the hallmark of trade union organization. Believing such unity essential for the mutual protection and advancement of the interests and general welfare of fire fighters...we have formed this International Association..." Unity of all fire fighters within Palm Beach County is Local 2928's vision and the primary reason for entertaining a union merger with Local 727. The goals of our organization are closely aligned and, although their voice is already large, West Palm Beach Firefighter/Paramedic adds a new level of volume. Financially, we bring approximately $60,000 in reserves and $300,000 in annual revenue, but unity of our memberships is the true benefit. The IAFF, Local 2928, and Local 727 are aligned in the goal of one day achieving a regional fire district in an effort to be unencumbered by the politics of any municipality. Merging unions increases the chances of merging departments.
  • Does Local 2928 represent any other cities?
    Yes. Local 2928 represents Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue, Rivera Beach Fire Rescue, Village of Tequesta Fire, North Palm Beach Fire, Town of Palm Beach Fire and Greenacres Fire Rescue. All of which have enjoyed successful contract negotiations and increased benefits.
  • How will contract negotiations be handled?
    A negotiation team comprised of WPB members, Local 2928 executive board member, research coordinator, special projects coordinator and labor attorney will be formed as outlined in the contract, Direction for contract negotiations will still be provided by the negotiation team and will still require ratification by West Palm Beach Firefighter/Paramedics only.
  • How would a grievance work?
    The DVP representing WPB Members (an elected West Palm Beach Firefighter) would file a step one grievance. If the grievance was settled at step one, then office Local 2928 staff would record it accordingly. All information is saved in the employee's file and grievance database. If the grievance was denied at step one then a Principal Officer, typically one of the two Executive Vice Presidents will assist the DVP. If the grievance continues to step 3 then the same procedure as a step 2 is followed. Grievances that are denied at all steps are sent to the attorney for review. The attorney will return the file and the Local will decide if we should proceed to arbitration.
  • I thought we were merging departments...what happened?
    Merging with Local 2928 does not guarantee that we will consolidate fire departments, but it does provide more resources to make it possible. The ultimate goal of the IAFF and Local 2928 is to form a regional fire district that West Palm Beach (and other municipalities) can be a part of. About 2 years ago your Executive Board reached out to gather information regarding the fire district and presented this information to the membership. One method to streamline our participation in a future fire district is to consolidate departments prior to the formation of the district. In order to accomplish consolidation, a significant amount of financial resources need to be committed to the politics of West Palm Beach; resources that Local 727 does not have.
  • How many executive board member will transition to Local 2928?
    If a union merger is successful, the West Palm Beach members of Local 2928 will be allocated up to three (3) salaried positions within the Local 2928 organization to represent West Palm Beach Firefighter/Paramedic. These positions will be one District Vice President and two additional positions to be determined by the Temporary Transition Team. They will be elected and filled by WPB members. No current Executive Board member of 727 will fill the DVP position without being elected. Additionally, three (3) shift representatives may be appointed and be eligible for stipends and mileage reimbursement.
  • What will our union dues be?
    Local 2928 dues are 1.35% of base salary (does not include incentives or medic). Local 2928 has a dues structure that is based on percentage instead of a fixed dollar amount. Local 727's current dues are $47.50 per pay period x 24 pay periods. Switching to a percentage-based dues structure will result in an increase of approximately $465 annually for a topped-out Captain and a decrease of approximately $370 annually for step 1 firefighters. Local 727 Executive Board has negotiated a phased-in approach to this dues structure change. The increase in dues would not be experienced until the third year after completing the merger of the unions.
  • We are Local 727 and they are Local 2928 but aren't we all part of IAFF? How does merging effect that?
    Both Local 727 and Local 2928 are local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF). As a member of either local chapter you are a member of the IAFF. We are all members of the same organization even though we currently operate under two different local numbers. Merging unions is simply consolidating local chapters. If members of Local 727 vote to merge with Local 2928, we will continue to be members of IAFF, only without the redundancy of multiple locals.
  • What happens to the FOF Benevolent association?
    The Fraternal Order of Firefighters will stay as is and the union store assets (vending machine, shirts, stickers, etc) will transfer to the FOF. The FOF is an independent organization that will continue to provide good and welfare benefits to West Palm Beach Firefighters that chose to be member of the organization.
  • What is Local 2928 Relief and Recovery group for disasters?.
    Off duty/retirees volunteer to make temporary repairs to homes of Firefighters that are working and unable to get home. Local 2928 has a warehouse with plywood, tarps, wood, tools, generators, enclosed trailers, dispatch center, living quarters, satellite phones, satellite internet, and much more. There are two members that oversee the operations and equipment maintenance.
  • "Merging unions will result in losing the 727 designation forever"
    FALSE The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) has confirmed that, if a union merger is successful, local number 727 will remained shelved and reserved for West Palm Beach Firefighter/Paramedics. If WPB Firefighter/Paramedics chose to secede from Palm Beach County's union (Local 2928) in the future, they will be reassigned 727 as their local designation.
  • "Merging unions does not guarantee department consolidation."
    TRUE Current negotiations with Local 2928 are only related to the merging of unions, meaning Firefighter/Paramedics working for West Palm Beach Fire Department will continued to be employed by the City of West Palm Beach. However, a union merger increases the possibility of a department consolidation in the future. Local 2928 has successfully merged 7 agencies since its inception.
  • "Delray Beach FR was part of 2928 and seceded because they were under represented."
    TRUE (partially) Delray Beach Fire Rescue was a part of Palm Beach County Firefighter/Paramedic Local 2928 several years ago while it was under the direction of the previous Executive Board. The reason for merging unions was to consolidate departments, however, consolidation failed an initial attempt due to the lack of political support. The District Vice President representing Delray Beach Firefighters felt that the current Executive Board of Local 2928 at the time was not providing the level of support he expected and therefore moved to secede. Delray Beach members were able to reestablish an individual local under the previously assigned IAFF Local 1842 designation. The DVP that moved to secede is now their Union President and has successfully rebuilt a good working relationship with Local 2928 since the current Executive Board has been in place.
  • "The only reason Jayson French and Ryan Stacey want to merge unions is because they don't want to be on shift."
    FALSE If the membership decides that merging unions is in their best interest, both Jayson French and Ryan Stacey will remain on shift. French does not wish to pursue a President or DVP position. Any member of our union will be eligible to apply for elected and appointed positions within the Local 2928's organization, but merging unions does not guarantee anyone a position. A Temporary Transition Team will be formed to aid with the process of merging unions. Both Jayson French and Ryan Stacey will serve on this team, however, the Transition Team will only stay in place for a maximum of 1 year and can be dissolved sooner if the team is deemed unnecessary.
  • "Local 2928 will have no reason to negotiate as aggressively and for as long as our previous contract negotiations"
    FALSE This rumor is false for two reason: The bigger picture Like any other member of the IAFF, Local 2928 wants to see their brothers and sisters from other departments do well. Just as we anxiously await the results of the negotiations from Boynton Beach, they cheer surrounding departments on with the hopes that the bar will continue to be raised. Local 2928 desires and needs all surrounding departments to continue to progress forward. Their contracts become harder to justify if ours continue to fall behind. Local 2928 doesn't negotiate without us The misconception that being a part of Local 2928 means we have no involvement in negotiations is simply incorrect. A negotiation team will still be present and provide direction. Face-to-face negotiations may be conducted but a non-WPB member or, more likely the union attorney, but WPB members will be just as involved as they have been in the past. Additionally, non-WPB have the ability to be more aggressive or confrontational in their approach without the fear of retaliation and Local 2928 has the necessary financial resources to endure a negotiation that involves arbitration if necessary.
  • "This union merger has been done behind our back and is already a done deal"
    FALSE. The opportunity for a union merger was first presented in March of this year and has been the topic of discussion at multiple union meetings and station visits. Conversations with Local 2928 have been productive but this is by no means a "done deal". The members of both Local 727 and 2928 hold to power to make the decision to merge. Nothing can be done without a majority vote from both memberships. We ask each member to thoughtfully review all presented information and ask questions so that you can cast an informed vote. An informative letter was sent to all members in April. (see attached below) A poll was conducted in October of 2020. (see attached below)
  • What happens to our pension?
    The most likely scenario would be that all active participants would be able to choose to keep a West Palm Beach pension or move to the Florida pension system. If the discussion to consolidate departments or join a fire district is entertained by the Mayor and Commissioners, our pension would be legally protected based on Chapter 175 of the State Statute. This discussion would include negotiations on how the pension would be handled.
  • Do I lose my station assignment?
    No. Your initial bid would be determined by a snapshot of the rosters taken on the day consolidation is finalized. This would be your permanent assignment until you chose to bid out. West Palm Beach Firefighters are not guaranteed station assignments. There is no contractual protection for any assignment at any rank. If a department consolidation was to take place West Palm Beach Firefighters of all ranks would have contractually protected bids. If you are a floater you would receive an increase in pay.
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