Q: How do our union officers get paid for their services?
A: This local does not provide a salary or hourly pay the union officer’s work. Each does it on their time and often at their own expense. They do get reimbursed for Executive Board approved expenses they incur while working union issues. Typically, this is parking, Metro cards, or taxi services.
Q: How much time is involved in carrying out the duties of an Local officer?
A: The President is pretty much a 12 or 14 hour a day job. He is available to handle issues on most days from 0700 to 1900. This may involve participating in telephone conversations, writing letters, responding to e-mails, researching various union related issues or attending meetings.
The Secretary/Treasures shares a similar number of hours. In our local the Secretary is involved in 75% of the issues handled by the President. He is responsible for all membership related issues – union cards, rosters, address database to name a few. Plus he maintains the financial well being of the local. This includes paying our bills, filing the various required IAFF and Dept. of Labor reports.
The Battalion Vice-President works the hours necessary to properly service their respective battalions. They spend the time necessary to address the concerns of the membership within the areas they were elected to represent. So the number of hours really depends upon the amount of service the membership requests or needs. Often these VP spend between 10 & 20 hours each week addressing issues of concern.
Q: How do I get a union sticker?
A: Union stickers can be obtained free of charge by our members. A simple phone call to the union office [ (410) 293-5669 ] will result in the sticker being mailed to you.
Q: How do I get union license plates for my vehicles?
A: Just call the union office and the required Maryland MVA form and a set of instructions will be sent to you. Follow the instructions and send the MVA form to the union office and we will have MVA mail you the IAFF license plates. This is limited to bon-a-fide IAFF members only.
Q: I have seen articles that our local is endorsing a political candidate. Who decides the candidates this local endorses?
A: Political affairs is very important to the work of this local. After all, Capitol Hill is our town hall. Candidates only receive endorsement by this local after they have been thoroughly investigated with regards to their position on issues affecting fire fighters. Often times the candidate will meet with the President or other officers which may include the entire executive board. Following that meeting a consensus is taken on whether this candidate deserves our endorsement. Remember, we are only looking at the issues and positions that are directly related to fire fighters and federal employees. We make effort to look into the candidates position on other issues.
Q: How much money does this local spend on or give to political candidates?
A: Nothing, not one cent of your union dues is ever spent on or given to a candidate. In basic terms, that is illegal and violates Department of Labor rules that apply to unions. The only money this local spends on candidates is money that is voluntarily provided to the local by donors specifically for assisting political campaigns.
Q: I heard this local provided a candidate with several thousand dollars. Is that true?
A: This local never gives union funds to candidates. Instead, we work with the IAFF FirePac, a federal political action committee, to have the candidate sent FirePAC funds on our behalf. Understand that campaign laws are very complex so sometimes our requests are reduced or denied because of the limitations directed by campaign laws.
Q: Does the products in the Online Store originate from a Union Shop?
A: We do not use a union shop as our vendor or supplier for all of the products carried in the online store. Instead, our primary vendor for clothing related products is a NOT FOR PROFIT charitable organization that trains mentally & physically handicapped persons in occupational and life situations. The training center is a reputable organization that has a long and distinquished history. We are proud to assist them in their mission of supporting those less fortunate by providing the training center with our limited amount of business.
As much as possible, we do try to use vendors or products that originate from America. This is often difficult when you speak of clothing items as much of the textile industry is no longer in the United States. However, with that said, we do try to stock American made products when able.
Q: How much money does our online store make and where do the profits go?
A: Our online store carries various items that we think would be of interest to the membership. The prices of the items in the store are essentially set at or near our costs. For the most part we make very little in the way of profits after all of our expenses are included. Any profits, no matter how small, are returned directly into the treasury of this local.
Q: How do I get something put on the website?
A: Items of interest such as birth announcements, notices of deaths, members receiving awards or recognition should be provided to the Battalion Vice-President. He will in turn in forward it to the regional union office for posting. All submissions are subject to editing and the final approval for postings is the President.
Q: How is a location of local meetings decided?
A: Primarily this comes down to finding a location that is available at no charge. Normally, we look for other community or fraternal organizations that will allow us to use their space. Outside that, we will consider a commercial facility such as a restaurant. We prefer to use locations with private meeting rooms. We try to rotate the quarterly meetings around the region.
Q. How come the local does not post the amount of union money in our bank accounts on our website.
A. While it is not a secret, it is in our best interest not to post this kind of business sensitive information. Posting such information could give our opponents information that may be to their advantage. After all, wouldn’t you like to know what is in the coffers of the other side if you were to make a legal challenge against them?