Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mayor Luke tries to burn firefighters...

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in an election year ploy to look tough on organized labor, has steered himself into direct conflict with the City of Pittsburgh Firefighters Union. AKA IAFF Local 1. In a Post Gazette article; the Mayor states that he will fight to get state law changed in relation to the discipline of firefighters.

This is after a tribunal board cleared a firefighter of wrong doing, due to the fact that the City of Pittsburgh did not adhere to the union contract.

The Huddler to Mayor Ravenstahl... Are you CRAZY? OR just plain STUPID?
State law is there to protect workers rights. The contract is there to protect workers rights. Now because the Mayor lost in his attempt to terminate the firefighter, the Mayor wants to change the rules? Follow the contract Mr. Mayor and you will not have this problem !!!!!!!!!!!!

The Huddler supports all of the Firefighters in this regard, and is willing to BET ALL OF THE MARBLES, that at the end of the day... The Mayor will lose, and Joey King and Firefighters across the state will prevail.

(second Post Gazette article)


Schultz said...

So you are basically okay with having a crack smoker/dealer serve the public as a firefighter? Why? If this guy was a policeman would you be okay with him not being terminated due to some union restrictions? Makes no sense to me. State laws should protect workers up to a point but come on, if they break the law and it involves illegal possession of drugs they've crossed the line and should be terminated. End of story.


Schultz. Nothing like kicking a man when he is down? Where did you read this guy was a crack dealer?

This man had NO RECORD what so ever. Plead guitly to a non felony charge. Completed the terms of his probation. AND was subject to stringent drug screening. The test was flawed. (because of this he got his job back) We may never know wether he was under the influence or not.

The City messed up. When the employer messes up they have to be held accountable. Hopefully this Firefighter gets help if he needs it and cleans his act up. (if indeed he is still having issues)

There are differences when it comes to misdemeanors and felonies.

And these RULES do not pertain to police officers. WE are talking about firefighters. (APPLES-ORANGES)

So I guess you are saying if a prosecutor messes up, and one person escapes a criminal charge we should throw out the entire judicial system because one person beat the system?


The truth is that police officers, firefighters, and other public servants have very stressful jobs. Just like that of other professions. Sometimes a few individuals abuse alcohol or drugs. They DESERVE a second chance. Just like anyone, teacher, doctor, nurse... To rehabilitate themselves.

I guess you are flawlees Schultz. MUST BE NICE?

Matt H said...

John Connors is a friend of mine but he was wrong on this. He did plead guilty to possession of a small amount of cocaine.

The idea of a trial board of fellow firefighters doesn't sound too fair to me when it comes to trying to discipline a firefighter.


The Huddler has this to say. First - It's not cool that this guy has to have his name tossed around like this.

The concept of a tribunal is based on the same ideals of our legal system. Each defendant is entitled to a jury of thier "peers".

And the Huddler's point is that maybe this FF did "GET OFF" and should have been terminated, BUT do you throw out the entire system over a single case ?

IF this were you or anyone else working in the private sector, this information would BE PRIVATE. You, and your family would not have to read about it in the PG! Recovering from drug and alcohol problems is hard enough!

EVERY person, wether union or non deserves a second chance in certain cases. In the case of this FF - he was guaranteed a second chance by his union contract. The City messed a drug test up, so MAYBE one could say he gets a third chance?

There are FF's who lose thier jobs via these trial boards. Do you hear them screaming it's not fair?

A personal favorite of the Huddlers:

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time —
To let the punishment fit the crime —
The punishment fit the crime;

-The Mikado

Lady Elaine said...


Why so defensive?

He had no record until he got caught with coke. Let me guess ... he's NEVER done it before, and he will NEVER do it again. PROMISE. Hugs and Kisses forever.

Do you not get that doing alcohol and drugs are a real problem, especially in jobs like police enforcement and firefighting?

A drug and alcohol program--most workplaces offer that for offenses for their employees. We hold emergency personnel to a higher standard when they are operating equipment that can potentially kill themselves or others.

90% of people continue to use after these rehabilitation facilities and and it often takes several more times of being caught before they are fully able to live with their addiction and not touch it.

Is this something we really think a tribunal council is able to judge a buddy of theirs fairly?

If the contract is opened and rewritten, it must be done so in a way that offers rehabilitation, and a shift to a job that does not a risk to the safety of the public until that person can prove he or she is not a danger to him or herself.

EdHeath said...

First let me say that I agree the Mayor seems to be behaving like a jerk. That said, it seems like the facts as reported do somewhat support the mayor’s position. Let me repeat a couple of the points I read in the PG story.

First, apparently this State law applies only to Pittsburgh. So maybe we should be able to request that it be changed.

Second, apparently the second drug test was flawed because of a contract related technicality, not because the test was not medically correct: “Josh Bloom, an attorney for the firefighters union, said the city failed to get a medical provider's recommendation required in the union contract before extending drug testing beyond one year.” So the firefighter tested positive for drugs, but the test was invalidated because the administration did not follow through on the paperwork.

Finally, Mike Huss made this vague statement: “Mr. Huss said he's been "disappointed with the decisions" of trial boards when serious discipline is sought.” If the administration actually provides some numbers, then maybe we should look at this issue.

Matt H said...

"Second, apparently the second drug test was flawed because of a contract related technicality, not because the test was not medically correct:"

That's correct.


Dizzy- I mean “Lady Elaine” ….

Whenever the “museum goes round” stops… Do us all a favor and throw yourself under it !

Lady Elaine when is the last time you ran into a burning structure to save a life? OR search for a life in an abandoned building that most citizens have written off? When is the last time you saw a child die?

Some of you do not realize that the acceptable behavior in most fire departments was to look the other way in cases of alcohol abuse until very recently. Historically one substance leads to another.

L.E. - You are right. In the “land of make believe” anyone that stands up for a civil servant or firefighter in this case” MUST BE a DRUG crazed public employee. That is like saying that all crazy women with red noses, who live alone in fictional museums are crazy alcoholic lesbians ? ( in the Huddler’s best Seinfeld voice – not that there is anything wrong with that…)

Lady Elaine et al: Is the Huddler to ASSUME you have advanced training in substance abuse to make these statements?

Hoagie… With friends like you, who needs enemies? Does this FF know what a troll you are? I hope all Pittsburgh FF’s know how you have treated their brother firefighter in his time of need…..

To everyone out there in the burghosphere.. Here is a hypothetical… You are driving home from a dinner with your significant other or friends, you shared a bottle of wine. The police pull you over, conduct a test. Arrest you and prosecute you for DUI…. The test comes back INCONCLUSIVE OR WAS ADMINISTERED ILLLEGALLY…. Should you be convicted?

The Huddler is NOT a WHITE KNIGHT of drug users or alcoholics. However the Huddler will DEFEND those accused until they are proven guilty in a fair and equitable manner.

There is an old saying, we defend the un-defendable because it is not our right to decide who is guilty and who is not. Let the Judge or Jury decide. In this case, it is a trial board.

Matt H said...

"Hoagie… With friends like you, who needs enemies? Does this FF know what a troll you are? I hope all Pittsburgh FF’s know how you have treated their brother firefighter in his time of need….."

All I stated was facts buddy.

I haven't done anything wrong to Connors. You just automatically take the employees side when someone is brought up on charges or placed in the spotlight. It seems that you just can't face the facts that some public employees do behave badly.

This tribunal system needs to be junked ASAP. It's not a fair system.


Hoagie: We can agree to disagree.

However I promise you the firefighters feel differently on this issue.

NONE of them want drunks or druggies working with them. However at the end of the day, they are NOT going to give up the trial board without a fight!

?!?!?!?!? said...

I heard that firefighters get paid overtime while they sleep at the station. Any truth to that?


Firefighters work 24 hour shifts. Therefore wether it is thier regular shift or an overtime shift - ALL firefighters have a rest period during thier tour- Unless emergency calls prevent that.

On an icy night or during a busy fire - the latter is not unusual.

Lady Elaine said...

HUD--I thought we were in love . . .

I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree.

For what it is worth,HUD, I will respect your argument if you would apply it consistently. All too often, employees will want the letter of the law enforced when it is to their benefit.

I bet, though, that if the situation is ever reversed, and it is the city that wanted to enforce a technicality in its favor, the union would be the first to howl and insist that the letter of the law doesn't need to be enforced that strictly.

The truth stinks. The firefighter is an addict and the city AND the UNION (note my caps, HUD), gave him a second chance. What's next, a third, fourth, fifth while he may put people's lives in danger?

Hooray for the firefighters who don't look the other way, but not with this guy--it was a drug test that was needed.

Of course it is a high-pressure job. That is why it is all the more reason to make sure they don't do drugs and they get fired after they have been given opportunities to rehabilitate if they fail after being given these opportunities.

Why not have one firefighter, one city-person (management), and a neutral third party agreed to by both?


I am sure the FF's will be WILLING to give away thier right to trial boards....

As soon as a neutral ARBITRATOR tells them they have to.

I hope the Huddler is able to cope with all of this pressure of our relationship going south L.E. - I wouldn't want to have to start smoking crack? And to think that the Huddler thought we were BFFS?

Oh well, it's better to have loved and lost than never loved at all ??

LMFAO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lady Elaine said...

You're such a tease, Hud. *wink*

Anonymous said...

I hope the Firefighters serve Luke his ass.

This is the stupidest political stunt ever. Real smart, YZ.