Firefighters’ unions want the ability to negotiate the number of crew members each piece of equipment carries. A bill in the Illinois General Assembly would give them that, and mayors and fire chiefs don’t like it. “If there’s a local problem with manning,” said Taylorville mayor Greg Brotherton, “we’re going to hear it first. We don’t need some bill put out there saying, regardless of your ability to fund, here’s how it’s gonna be.”
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Pat Devaney, president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, says fire chiefs and elected leaders should not be scared of collective bargaining this condition. “Arbitrators only have the ability to hear and consider if the parties can’t reach agreement at the table mandatory subjects of bargaining,” Devaney told senators. “The term itself sounds so onerous. It sounds like every collective bargaining agreement is going to have to have a manning provision.”
The Glenview fire chief, Wayne Globerger, says firefighting is safer than ever, and putting more men and women on a fire truck than there already are is not going to improve things.
H.B. 5485 has passed the Senate Executive Committee.