Woonsocket firefighters down to three platoons, up to 56-hour week

Woonsocket firefighters down to three platoons, up to 56-hour week

WOONSOCKET - Woonsocket's firefighters began working an extra 14 hours a week beginning this past Sunday, by order of the Budget Commission. There was no increase in pay.

The commission approved the enactment after Local 732 IAFF - the union representing the city's firefighters - rejected its previous proposal. The firefighters' contract expired on June 30.

While both parties were still working to reach a deal midweek, union president Daryl Paux said that talks had led to "nothing concrete." The commission was expected to take up the latest proposal presented by union leadership at its meeting on Wednesday, July 23. If an agreement were to be approved by the commission, it would go back before the entire union membership for a vote.

"They switched us over to a three-platoon, 56-hour work week," said Paux. "They have more manpower per shift, but they're making the guys work extra hours with no pay increase." City firefighters previously worked in a four-platoon system.

The change also affects how the firefighters' work week is completed, creating shifts of 24 hours on, followed by 48 hours off. A similar decision in 2012 to mandate 24-hour shifts for firefighters in North Kingstown is the subject of ongoing legal battles.

The firefighters union is the last holdout in an ongoing effort by the commission to put Woonsocket on track for fiscal solvency within the next five years - a mission achieved in part by making changes to the contract benefits provided to the city's retirees and union employees.


Does anybody care that your husbands, wives, and children who are dedicated firefighters are putting their lives in tremendous harms way by the irresponsible actions of the Budget Commission. Does anybody care that they could give a rats butt about their safety. What will it take a loss of life to wake people up. To my fellow firefighters stay united and pray to God that nothing happens to you.

....that an elderly person that i know can no longer afford homeowners insurance because of taxes? No,they don't!

You wouldn't work extra hours for free so why should they?

Have you even tried to see the other persons point of view? I dislike raising taxes too, but when it is my family needing to be saved I would prefer the firemen be well rested and able bodied (and compensated appropriately). Some things are not worth arguing about, like fire, police, other safety workers and teachers salaries and schedules. Put yourself in their shoes and walk a mile then you'll have leverage to talk. As for the elderly person who cant afford homeowners insurance, when these firemen retire (by then their pension will be worth shit) then they too will be in the same boat.

When is Enough Enough? Give me Give me. Cry me a river.

Yea, well you're not there yet. Get back to me when you are.

taking into consideration the financial staus of the city .
and, that the firefighters are paid while sleeping on duty .
this seems fair .

You are now experiencing the pendulum swinging the other way. Public unions have been driving municipalities, the state and federal government to raise taxes on everyone else for so long that public sentiment can no longer remain quiet and take it on the chin. When some public union employees with one job earn twice the median household income and then cry for fully paid health insurance on top of comfy pensions when they retire the rest of us say enough is enough. I pray the Fed actually shuts down for a few months WITHOUT paying employees to see what the results are. That would begin with Congress whose shutting down, by some estimates, would solve the nations financial mess in short order.

Try being in the military. ' Nuff said.

I'm sure the firefighter's will not go without pay for the extra hours. Have they or police ever done that?? I'm sure they will make it up in "overtime"....

For decades unions have run roughshod over hapless government types who were either too cowed or just didn't care enough to stand up to the thugs. Well, the tactic is now coming back to haunt them and they don't like it? Too bad guys, you did this (or should I say your union did) to yourselves and now you whine and complain.

Public sector unions have taken huge chunks of the taxpayer largesse and many contribute little, if anything to the public good. When double and triple dipping occurs - it is accepted with a wink and a nod - that is ok - that is how the game is played. Sorry, the well is dry and people are FINALLY starting to revolt and say enough is enough.

I have been a volunteer in a small township FD in Michigan and can speak from experience. Being a firefighter/emt is not easy nor stress free however, just because a job is difficult you cannot hold taxpayers hostage and squeeze them for all they are worth and expect them to keep putting out the cash.

At one time, Providence firefighters were the highest paid in the country - why? Are fires in Providence hotter, harder to put out?? No, the past administrations just paid them off for convenience. Then they worked for a time with no contract - how did that work out?

Pay a decent wage and fair benefits and NOTHING MORE period! Work rules for all union staff have added so much to the tax burden while doing nothing for public safety or good but, they keep getting away with it.

Stand up to the thuggery and be a leader or step down and let somebody with some spine do the job. I am so tired of namby-pamby pols who "rule by poll" and the CIC is the worst of them all.

Once again the Fire/Police must listen to how they are the bane of all the taxpayers (even though they themselves are taxpayers as well). Well, I for one can sleep easy at night knowing that when I call 911 because my house is on fire or I'm having a heart attack that help will be on the way. Having a volunteer FD in a city like Woonsocket just wouldn't work. Sheer call volume is just to high. I wouldnt want some volunteer EMT who is cutting his lawn to have to drive like a maniac to the station just to hop the ambulance and then respond. Thats if any volunteers even are available to respond.
Past negotiations have brought pay and benefits in line with other departments in this state/country. If current negotiations can't bring things inline, then the problem is deeper than the Unions.
So agmckay, would you be angry if suddenly the private company (I assume) you work for makes you work 8 extra hours a week and your pay is the same? I guess you would just work the extra hours and not complain, right?

"So agmckay, would you be angry if suddenly the private company (I assume) you work for makes you work 8 extra hours a week and your pay is the same?"

Well Todd, the horrible truth is that it likely happened to agmckay, did happen to me a lot of other people.

The problem is that it happened 20+ years ago in the private sector and not in the public sector. People have amnesia especially when something tough happens but not to them.

We did not like it but had to deal with it to keep our employers afloat so we could continue to have jobs.

Sorry you asked?

If you can't walk the walk, then don't talk the talk. First off, volunteering for a small township FD is nothing compared to working in the densely populated towns of Rhode Island. Secondly, I guarantee many of you would be too scared to run into a blazing fire to save someone at 3:00 in the morning (myself included). Lastly, I doubt what any of you do for 40 hours a week is of any true importance to this world (myself included). Firefighters are heroes and when duty calls, they show up. It's hysterical that any of you try to compare your "private sector" jobs to that of being a "public sector" firefighter. If any group of people in this world deserve well-paying jobs with picture-perfect benefits, it's firefighters, police officers, and the military.

FYI: I work in the private sector and would rather see my tax money going into the pockets of firefighters, police officers, and the military, than into the wallets of crooked politicians.