Professional Fire Fighters of Rockford, IAFF 413
Fight back against Rauner's Right to Work/Empowerment Zones:
The documents at the bottom of the page will arm us to fight the Governor's "Right to Work" or "Empowerment Zones" or whatever he wants to call it to make it sound good for the people. By now, we all know the story with Right to Work and how it will affect us as firefighters.
We cannot ignore this. We have to talk to our elected officials, locally and in Springfield, to let them know this is not good for the people or the State. Please don't assume others are doing it. That isn't going to work this time. We ALL need to educate ourselves and call those who will determine if this gets passed or not.
Local 413 is a sizeable force but only if we all take part in the effort along with the AFFI and other Locals to get this Governor's plan blocked.
Here is a list of our Local and downstate elected officials (click on name for their website):
State Rep. Cabello State Rep. Sosnowski State Rep. Wallace
Brothers and Sisters,
Actions speak louder than words. Our actions over the past year have to be put into words. The job that we do while on duty sometimes makes the news, sometimes not. Our benefits are usually put into bad words and attacked. But what is rarely put into words is how much we truly do for this community, for our community. We are doing more work (calls are up over 5% thru Nov.) with less people, fires are becoming more dangerous, medical calls are becoming more dangerous and yet we still found time to donate our time and raise money adding up to over $90,000. Here are a few of the things Local 413 members have dedicated themselves to this year:
FILL THE BOOT: $28,000
Fill the Boot money goes to MDA.
Golf Playday: $16,000
The money raised goes towards Community Foundation of Northern Illinois scholarships in the name of Fallen Rockford Firefighters: Lieutenant Kelli Ingardona, FF TerranceFreeman, FF Dispatcher Phyllis Howard, FF Tyler Kinison and other local charities (NWTF’s, Jake’s Program, GiGi’s Playhouse, BenInspire, Adopt a Family, Special Olympics and Carrie Lynn Foundation).
UNITED WAY: $23,275
Local 413 members were the largest contributors among City of Rockford employees.
BRA'S FOR BREAST CANCER: $8,300
Donation went to Pink Heals Rockford branch.
ADOPT A FAMILY: $9,000
Local 413 bought and delivered presents to 12 needy Rockford families this Christmas.
LOCAL 413 CHARITY HOCKEY GAMES: $4,700
GOLDIE FLOBERG THANKSGIVING WEEK: $650
For over 40 years we have bought, prepared and served Thanksgiving dinner to the residents of Goldie Floberg. This year we prepared meals for 66 people at 11 different houses.
WIGS FOR WOMAN WITH BREAST CANCER: $500
WE CARE PROGRAM: $500
This program provides Christmas presents and a meal to disabled Veterans in our community.
What a tremendous job you have all done. Every member of Local 413 should be proud of what we have come together to achieve. While on duty it is our job to help those in need. On our off days you chose to help because you care.
Be safe, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Years,
Sisters and Brothers,
Wednesday Governor Quinn approved HB5485 and signed it into law. This bill had overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate and passed with a veto-proof majority.
While our State lawmakers see the wisdom of this bill and understand its importance, the same cannot be said of our local leaders. Their public comments about this bill could best be described as misguided and at worst deceitful. They consistently massage the facts and distort the truth.
I was recently in a local business wearing a Rockford Firefighter shirt. The proprietor asked if I was a fireman and proceeded to tell me that Mayor Morrissey was in her shop the previous week. She added, “He doesn’t care much for you guys”. This is not an isolated incident. Many of you have shared similar experiences with me. The Mayor routinely disrespects the men and women who serve this community. His comments do you a disservice and reveal the true nature of his character and the quality of his leadership.
Unfortunately, he is not alone. Alderman Hervey travelled to Springfield last spring to lobby against HB5485. There she testified before the House Committee on Public Safety. While her intent was to prevent this bill’s passage, her testimony actually helped pass the bill. During closing comments the Committee Chairperson, Representative Rita Mayfield, chastised Alderman Hervey and made the following comments:
“… the City of Rockford was very disingenuous in their comments.”
“… they blame the fire fighters for not providing a safe environment for their community. I think that directly reflects upon that administration. How can you blame the fire fighters because you have an unsafe city?”
“They are not operating at bare minimum levels as they would like for you to believe.”
“I think they’re very disingenuous in some of the comments that they made. The fact that you couldn’t plow the streets and you said it was the fire fighter’s fault. The fact that you had to turn off streetlights and it’s the fire fighter’s fault. The fact that you’re drawing a salary. Is that the fire fighter’s fault? I think there’s some real issues here. I really don’t understand how you could be so opposed to what we’re presenting here.”
“We’ve gone through so many different courts. You had the Appellate Court. You had the Circuit Court. The Attorney General ‘s Office wrote an amicus brief on this. It’s been before the Labor Board. Every single time they say that manning should be a condition. We’re talking about fire fighter’s lives.”
“If you put two men on a truck or three men on a truck, and we’re not even talking about minimum manning, I want you to consider that… you put too many of their lives on the line. You’re saying they should not have a say… when they are risking their lives for you every single day. I think that is wrong.”
Mayor Morrissey has also made many false claims about this bill. He’s described a doomsday scenario where the passage of this bill would create crippling tax increases. The truth of the matter is that this bill would have no effect on the City of Rockford. On February 2, 2013, the Illinois Labor Relations Board issued a declaratory ruling (Case No. S-DR-13-005). It concluded that company strength was a mandatory subject of bargaining for the City of Rockford and IAFF Local 413. In layman’s terms they stated that our Local and the City have mutually agreed to bargain over manning since 1979. Because our agreement predates the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act of 1986, we were grandfathered in and exempt from subsequent statutes.
Sadly he’s even accused the lawmakers who supported this bill of maleficence. He alleges that they were unduly influenced by our political power. He believes that we have the financial wherewithal to corrupt the two-thirds of the State Senate that supported HB5485. This assertion is laughable. If you believe this you must also believe that Mayor Morrissey is the only elected official in the State who is capable of accepting campaign contributions but still able to maintain his honor and integrity.
Another one of the Mayor’s canned responses is that arbitrators are biased “outsiders” when in fact they are required to be impartial and independent. He claims there will be a rash of arbitrator rulings imposing unsustainable and unjustifiable staffing increases. He says this despite the fact that there has not been a single case in the entre history of the State of Illinois where an arbitrator has issued an award that increased staffing levels. Ironically, during our last contract negotiations The City was able to convince an arbitrator to issue an award that reduced our staffing levels.
The results of that decision have gone largely unnoticed by the general public and the media but have had serious consequences. We are now responding to a greater number of calls with fewer personnel. Fire fighter injuries and exposures have increased by over 20%. Fire trucks are frequently left unattended in the streets while crewmembers are forced to accompany ambulances to the hospital in order to assist with patient care. Ambulances are out of service and unable to respond to medical emergencies because crewmembers are needed on other apparatus.
Despite the fact that we are now exposed to greater workloads and more dangerous working conditions, you have maintained your level of professionalism and dedication. Whether exposing yourself to physical harm for hours on end while responding to a warehouse fire in below zero weather or dealing with the mental and emotional scars of having to pronounce the deaths in a quadruple homicide, you bravely serve this community and deserve its honor and respect. While it is true that Rockford has more than its fair share of problems, it is unfair and asinine to blame those problems on the men and women of the Rockford Fire Department. You deserve better. Thank you for all that you do.
President, IAFF Local 413