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Firefighters sue over overtime, extra trips

Original post made on Jul 21, 2010

Surprised is how Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District said he felt upon learning that firefighters had filed a lawsuit against the district in federal court.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 11:33 PM

Comments (9)

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 21, 2010 at 8:13 am

While I usually have respect for our fire fighters, this seems like a case of trying to squeeze out just a few more dollars to add to their already high pay checks. It sounds as if Mr. Wurdinger has a personal ax to grind with management. I'll bet there is another side to this story; I'll bet the union was given an answer they didn't agree with and the solution was to file a law suit.

Maybe he (and others) needs an attitude adjustment and be appreciative for a decent job given the times and that many other fire departments having to make concessions.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

This is simply another example of a superb group of public employees who suffer from incredibly bad union leadership - the MPFPD union, the Palo Alto firefighters' union and the Menlo Park unions.

This horrible leadership is taking their unions down the road to ruin and is destroying the trust and respect which their members have earned.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I agree with Peter,

I don't think the members of the union could possibly have picked a worst time for this very bad argument. It shows a complete disconnect from what is taking place in the real world.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Peter: What is a "home station"? The assigned work location or their residence? Seems to me that "personal protective and Medical kits" would be an item they would take with them when not on duty.

Me thinks they are bitting they hand that feeds the.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Steve asks:"Seems to me that "personal protective and Medical kits" would be an item they would take with them when not on duty."

Precisely correct. How many people show up for work and expect their employer to give them paid time to go get their required uniform. The firefighters can and should keep their equipment with them.


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Posted by James
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jul 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Given the tenor of today's financial conditions, this seems petty. Having some knowledge of the fire industry, the above analysis is accurate. Personal safety equipment can be taken home or stored in one's car.

The only winners in this situation will be the attorneys. All this does is diminish the respect the community would have for firefighters. They should be grateful for their jobs and remember they are public servants.

Kudos to the folks who have held the line during our economic situation.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

I suspect there might be a hidden agenda here that goes beyond getting paid to go pick up equipment. A couple of things stated in the original article probably could use some additional investigating.

• Why would the IAFF offer to litigate this issue pro bono?
• What is the impact (and was it precedent setting) for the
Fire District to switch from salary to hourly pay last September?

My suspicion is that buried in the hourly/salary issue is the reason for the IAFF's level of interest, and should be the issue we taxpayers would benefit most from knowing more about.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Some employees recently sued their employer because they had employer-provided cell phones and Blackberrys and they sometimes responded to messages during their off hours. They asserted that they should be paid for those hours when they were "available" to their employers.

The court found for the employees. While these employees were trying to figure out how much their off time would be worth (full time pay, half time pay, etc.), the employers decided on an even simpler solution - that they would no longer provide them with paid cell phones or Blackberrys.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Some employees recently sued their employer because they had employer-provided cell phones and Blackberrys and they sometimes responded to messages during their off hours. They asserted that they should be paid for those hours when they were "available" to their employers.

The court found for the employees. While these employees were trying to figure out how much their off time would be worth (full time pay, half time pay, etc.), the employers decided on an even simpler solution - that they would no longer provide them with paid cell phones or Blackberrys.


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