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Firefighters say if they don't get something in exchange for required Covid-19 shots they will take to the streets - but promise not to stand outside the mayor's house screaming about Hitler

The head of the Boston firefighters union is telling members tonight that the union will give the bargaining table one last try but if the city refuses to yield on mandatory vaccinations - or offer the union something decent in return - "we are prepared to take our fight to the street."

Still, even though veteran bare-knuckle brawler Edzo Kelly, the former local leader who now heads the International Association of Fire Fighters, is working the phones lobbying city, state and federal elected officials to convince them to put pressure on the Wu administration, current Local 718 President John Soares says this will be a kinder, gentler mass protest - no standing outside the mayor's house yelling on bullhorns about Hitler or taunting her kids that they'll grow up without a mother, not like that group headed by that police sergeant. And definitely no spitting on the mayor's spouse this time.

Local 718 does not endorse any behavior that rises to the level of violence or personal disrespect to Mayor Wu’s family or neighbors. Our protests will be exclusively organized by Boston Firefighters Local 718 and attended by Local 718 members and their families. The actions of any outside organizations or associations that may also have an issue with Mayor Wu should not be aligned with our labor dispute. We, as a union, need to be cognizant of this, considering the emotional response this mandate has generated.

A Suffolk Superior Court judge last week denied a request from Local 718 and two police unions, although not the one that represents patrol officers, to block the city from requiring employees to show proof of vaccination and to drop an earlier agreement to let anti-vax employees show weekly Covid-19 test results. Judge Jeffrey Locke ruled that public-health concerns outweigh collective-bargaining rights, in this case in the way the city decided to require the shots without first bargaining over the issue.

Still, City Hall told the unions on Friday it would delay any enforcement from this past Saturday to Jan. 24 to allow for bargaining-table negotiations.

Local 718 has a member meeting scheduled for Jan. 20, at which Soares says he hopes to be able to update firefighters on the status of those negotiations and whether the union will need to put more pressure on the city through respectful public protests. In his e-mail to members, Soares said respect is called for among members as well:

I am asking our members to be respectful to each other at this week’s union meeting. I understand the passion that this issue has generated and the severity of the consequences for not being vaccinated, but we must not allow this issue to fracture our solidarity.

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Comments

This is just exhausting now.

I cannot.. CANNOT believe 2 years later, a year after the vaccine and people are still fighting this. And honestly I think they are looking pay day. This isn't about vaccines at all. Its about squeezing more $ out of the city. I bet if we polled leaders, they are vaccinated.

I hope all of these fuckers lose their job. Fuck around and Find out is what they are about to do.

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Public sector unions have been negotiating with municipalities and the state over this and most settled things months ago.

Most of what needed to be negotiated was the details surrounding how to file for exemptions, what documentation was needed, what the expulsion process would be, etc. That stuff was left blank when the mandates were announced.

They want to reinvent the wheel rather than copy homework, because they are special? I don't get it.

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That the firefighters union already settled things with the city after negotiations months ago. The city then decided to change the results of those negotiations a month ago.

There’s a lot of ignorance going on with this issue. Please try to to add to the ignorance.

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But note that they aren't exactly being effective about getting that message out - the message that people are getting is that police and fire unions are now exceptionalists when it comes to solidarity.

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you’re wrong, Waquiot. New thread, same insistence that these unions are negotiating in good faith and everyone else is confused.

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Explain to me how Swirly’s claim that this was negotiated with all the other unions “months ago” is right when the change was announced a month ago. Am I missing something, where one month is a longer period of time than several months.

As for negotiating in good faith, I do believe that you are speaking out of pure ignorance when you bring that up. Even the judge handling this case has cast doubt on whether the city was bargaining properly at the start, and given that the city is noting the good faith moves of the unions late last week, you might want to study up on basic labor law.

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You do realize that these heroes worked non stop from day 1 of this pandemic right? Keep talking shit while you sit home living in fear. They will continue to protect you even if you act like a complete dbag!

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But it's hard to help other people when you're unnecessarily taking up a bed in the ICU

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Its about the rights of employees. The government continues to change the rules at will. This is why unions came to be. Government and management doing g whatever they want whenever they want. And yes it is about money. The drug companies, hospitals are all making mo ey hand over fist. But your ok with that. I've had covid. My family has all had covid. Noone e hospitalized. I've been vaccinated as has most of my family. But the government has no place mandating what we do with our bodies.

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...regulating against the spread of disease.

Part of the cost of participating in public life is cooperating with the needs of public health. If those costs seem too high, you are always free to withdraw from any contact with the public.

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Childhood diseases that maim and kill. Do you believe that children who are not vaccinated against these diseases, and therefore run a higher risk of contracting and spreading these diseases, have a right to do that?

What about gov't regulations concerning what hospitals can do with our bodies? Do you believe that gov't regulations concerning health care should not exist? That hospitals and doctors should be able to do whatever they want?

Do you believe forced sterilization of human beings, without their direct consent, is okay? In the 20th century hospitals would perform forced sterilizations if family members could convince a doctor that a given family member was incapable of controlling her sexual behavior. Do you believe that gov't has no business in telling doctors and hospitals that they may not perform sterilizations without the patient's direct permission?

What about food? Shall gov't no longer set standards concerning foods that go into our bodies? This is a way that gov'ts control what goes into our bodies. Or should food safety be left to laissez-faire policies? Shall meat suppliers be given the "freedom" raise cows, chickens and pigs in ways that leave them open to infection by parasites that are then distributed to humans? It is not industry that assures that meats do not contain parasites. It is respecting gov't regulations that keeps parasites out of food. But then even with gov't regulations meat suppliers will still try to get around the rules. Remember the outbreaks of mad cow disease?

On a daily basis the vast majority of people eat food that at some point a gov't agency - or several - have given the go ahead to sell. Do you believe that state and Federal gov'ts should stay out of the business of setting standards concerning food sold in stores? If you believe that gov'ts should regulate food quality then you are agreeing with the idea that gov'ts have a responsibility and duty to regulate what foods are available to go into our bodies. While that is not gov't telling you or I what I must eat, it is still gov't controlling what food I can buy. The net effect is controlling what foods are available.

Frankly I like the idea that meat suppliers have to treat their meats so that parasites do not wind up in the packages containing pork products. In the weighing of tape work versus gov't regulation I will choose gov't regulation everyday.

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The decision in that case states very clearly that one of government's primary roles is to oversee the public good. They then went on to declare that public health is a key element of the public good and therefore government is well within its powers to require vaccinations that will protect both public health and the public good.

As the old saw goes, your rights end where my nose begins. Even a rudimentary understanding of how this virus spreads should make it clear that in this case that the expression is very literal.

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Bro you literally have to pass a physical fitness test to be a firefighter or a cop, to prove you keep your body up to certain standards of strength and endurance. You have to pass a drug screen proving you aren't putting illicit substances into your body. The government has 100% rights to require things from these guys' bodies.

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So basically what you are saying is the vaccine works since none of your family was hospitalized, correct?

We are 2 years into this b/c of this thinking. It's a public heath crisis and fire and police are civil servants who make their living with our tax $. I am 100% for unions but using Covid as a bargaining chip is just nasty. I expect it from the police union but not the firefighter union.

We have all had to be vaxed in our lives to go to school, vacations, etc. Why the upset now?

Why do these folks who have been vaccinated their whole lives all of a sudden care what they put in their bodies? From of the pics I've seen it doesn't appear many of that crowd are the picture of health.

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You do realize that these men and women have been exposed since this started 2 years ago. Non-stop, no working from home, not walking into controlled environments like office buildings and businesses. This fear of “taking up hospital beds” is so far beyond true yet people like you eat it up. Live your life, make your own choices, let them make their own

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This fear of “taking up hospital beds” is so far beyond true yet people like you eat it up.

It is? Ha. Show your work.

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I don’t know about you, but I hate it when these heroes leave themselves vulnerable to a largely preventable disease. The worst case scenario — that happens hundreds of times a year now — is that their families are left to fight with their employer over death benefits. It doesn’t have to come to this, yet here’s a union and a small group of agitators fighting for their right to get sick and die.

Here’s an example:

https://journalnow.com/news/local/widow-says-officer-died-of-covid-19-co...

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also get six-figure salaries and cadillac health insurance to go with their luxe pensions. Let’s not pretend they’re a bunch of St Francises.

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I'd rather not get mouth-to-mouth from an unvaccinated asshole.

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Vaccinated or unvaccinated? Honestly, what's the difference? Everybody is spreading it.

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A greatly lowered likelihood of hospitalization or death.

Nothing much.

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What the difference if he's getting mouth to mouth by someone COVID positive who's vaxxed vs not vaxxed? He's still going to get it. The question wasn't how serious it would be for him, lol.

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I hear Omicron is minty fresh with mild tobacco notes. Delta is like licking a well-used tire.

There ARE still OG variants in the wild that the vaccinated aren't passing around. It's really only Omicron that appears to be infecting any of the vaccinated. That's a huge difference given the difference in damage each variant appears to have as well.

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Vaccinated people can still spread variants like Delta, and carry the same viral load as the unvaccinated. They're just not as contagious as long as the unvaccinated.

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It's not false. It's still being discovered.

"In studies conducted before the emergence of the Delta variant, data from multiple studies in different countries suggested that people vaccinated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines who develop COVID-19 generally have a lower viral load than unvaccinated people.(157, 165-169) This observation may indicate reduced transmissibility, as viral load has been identified as a key driver of transmission.(170) Studies from multiple countries found significantly reduced likelihood of transmission to household contacts from people infected with SARS-CoV-2 who were previously vaccinated for COVID-19.(171-176) For the Delta variant, early data indicate vaccinated and unvaccinated persons infected with Delta have similar levels of viral RNA and culturable virus detected, indicating that some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be able to transmit the virus to others.(163, 164, 177-180) However, other studies have shown a more rapid decline in viral RNA and culturable virus in fully vaccinated people (96, 177, 180-182). One study observed that Delta infection in fully vaccinated persons was associated with significantly less transmission to contacts than persons who were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.(181)

Together, these studies suggest that vaccinated people who become infected with Delta have potential to be less infectious than infected unvaccinated people."

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/fully-v...

Yes, Delta was a bad example. It was the first variant that showed real "breakthrough" potential. But getting it still doesn't happen easily if you're vaccinated. A lot of the studies claiming otherwise are retrospective household studies...where the vaccinated person basically bathed in coronavirus in their house amid other occupants who were infected. And of the few studies in this set that I've looked at, they all seem to be written by people who go on to tout their study among the anti-vaxxers (imagine that...a study that says vaccines 'don't do anything' is popular with antivaxxers...and the authors are capitalizing on it).

Your motives may vary...but I'll take the vaccinated resuscitation, if you please.

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A hero is someone that does something heroic. Period. Having a job with opportunities to do something heroic is not the definition of a hero. Some random person who just happens to be passing by an incident can become a hero even if the odds are a bit lower due to lack of opportunity. In the realm of working during the pandemic the cops and firemen are no different from the supermarket employees and probably well below staff in hospitals when it comes to risk of Covid.

So why do you give all of them the blanket award of "hero" now? Is it because "they put their lives on the line"? Because I never hear anyone talking about commercial fishermen being heroes yet they are way up on the list of industrial fatalities and have a rate 16 times that of firemen and cops.

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I am usually pro union, but this type of bullshit is what makes so many people despise them.

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Why would anyone stand with them? They’re just making people that are on the fence regarding unions fall to the side of it’s time for them to go with bullshit like this.

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Children act like this.

Overpaid, spoiled little children.

This is what happens when everyone gets a trophy(flag) and people TRULY believe that what they do for a living is somehow the only thing keeping society from splintering into a post-apocolyptic hellhole.

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Okay boomer, let it rest.

I saw a lot fewer participation trophies being handed to my gen-z/millennial kids than I have seen participation medals handed to members of older generations for finishing 5K runs and charity rides.

If you want someone to blame for how police and fire unions negotiate as if they are god's special workers who cannot be questioned or denied - or else - look up Ron DeLord and his steaming piles of intimidation bullshit. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/10/us/police-unions.html

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Thanks for linking a paywalled article. Three times, no less!

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...and get over it.

I envy your life if you've actually got the energy to count up how many times someone references an occasionally paywalled site. There are more important battles to fight.

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robo didn't need to count the references. Swirly did it herself.

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While scanning 20 comments isn’t that hard. She also did the counting for me if I didn’t want to take the time

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"Hey, the donuts at the new donut place are pretty good"
"Thanks a bundle for recommending a place that makes me pay for the donuts"

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Except I can’t see it without paying NYT.

Your donut analogy is poor, at best. You can do better.

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And to be honest I'm not even sure what yours is.

Do you?

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Make me not die? And without paying me extra!

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It's hilarious when supposedly pro-union people get angry when unions do union things.

BFD negotiated a 19% pay raise for drug tests after the Tai Ho fire. Wtf do you expect them to do here?

Unions are "pRo WoRkEr", so remember that when your nearest Starbucks unionizes and wants a raise to brew additional pot of coffee every hour.

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every action in this universe is discrete and should be judged as such? is it possible that while unions in general are a net good for workers’ rights, some union leaders may make poor or questionable decisions?

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They forgot to specify that they're pro-unions but only the unions that they agree with

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it comes down to what really constitutes a "change in working conditions" and what is part of something larger, like the general welfare.

Tai Ho and the aftermath wasn't simply about more pay for drug tests, there was a pretty damning NIOSH report(1) about flawed scene management that created unsafe conditions for firefighters, something a strong union would definitely seek to have corrected. But even if it was, mandatory drug testing at work is a change in conditions if 0% of the workforce was subjecting itself to voluntary random drug tests. Not sure why anyone would do such a thing.

On the other hand, the change here is a vaccination that 75% of the total population of the Commonwealth has done voluntarily (2). The share of the adult population fully vaccinated is surely a higher percentage, and based on the statements given to the court from the 3 unions that took legal action together, their membership was between 75-85% vaccinated (3).

So is it really a change in working conditions for potentially 85% of the membership that have already freely and willingly done the one thing they are being "forced" to do here? How many of the unvaccinated members will get vaccinated if they get "something" for it? Is it a non-zero number?

If it's going to be zero, then it's absolutely not a change in working conditions comparable to the drug tests; there may be merits to other arguments about decreased staffing due to ignorant members making medically and ethically poor decisions regarding vaccination, but that's not the argument that got them increased pay in exchange for drug testing.

Oh, and there is a difference in supporting the right of workers to organize and supporting every single action a union of workers chooses to do.

Refs
(1): https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200732.html
(2): https://www.mass.gov/doc/daily-covid-19-vaccine-report-january-14-2022/d...
(3): https://www.wbur.org/news/2022/01/11/boston-police-fire-vaccine-mandate-...

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Voting closed 39

Time to clean the house. There are many hardworking residents without political pull that would be thrilled to be offered the opportunity to be a member of the Boston Fire Department. It’s a new day in Boston. Don’t back down to these entitled people.

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You need political pull to get a job as a firefighter or cop in Boston? And here I was thinking that the civil service exam which is now given out every year, gave everyone person who would want to get these jobs a fair chance. No one takes the exams and then everyone wants to complain about the ones who get hired

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Wonder why the CDC is so effed up?

Because Trump's war on facts drove out a lot of highly experienced senior technical personnel well before the pandemic. That's why. No amount of new hires can make up for that loss.

Do you want the fire department to be similarly constructed?

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Then you need to go to school. You just don’t say “jeez I’d like to be a Boston Firefighter”.

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You have to pass two (one being a bare minimum physical aptitude) tests, go through a very rigorous hiring process, pass a drug test, complete a residency and background check, make sure you have zero outstanding tickets, complete a psych exam, then you can attend the fire academy which is 5 months of fire and EMT training. Oh nice your training is done you then again have to pass both a fire and an EMT test respectively, but yea the politicians hire people and anyone off the street can pass all these requirements

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When are conservative politicians going to demand the termination of radical firefighters who use incendiary slogans straight from the Saul Alinsky and ANTIFA training guides?

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Hate to post this a third time, but here we go: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/10/us/police-unions.html

Of course these tactics are more Crime Family meets Third Reich, but I think you will find it suitable for self gratification.

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This is our reward for paying solid six figure salaries + lavish benefits to these "heroes" who have very little to do on an average day; they spend their idle time manufacturing crisis (Covid is a crisis, the vaccine mandate a solution) from which they can extort more money from the tax paying suckers. Sadly, I am too busy/lazy to go beyond online ranting and organize a protest against these folks, but if someone starts one, I will show up.

Link below is bit dated but still relevant. Since that article was written 8 years ago, BFD expenditure (mostly salaries) has gone from $185 million in 2013 to $271 million in 2021, increasing at about 3 times the inflation rate.

https://www3.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/09/07/plenty-firefighters-but-wh...

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we never suddenly need a lot of firefighters all of a sudden... /s

Look, if you have an issue with the salaries increasing at some rate, why aren't you holding those are elected to oversee the finances of the city and those who are elected to oversee the management of the city accountable?

Who doesn't to be paid more? I can't fault anyone for wanting to be paid more, but in this country, very few are entirely unaccountable to someone else, at least when it comes to what you get paid. Even the tops of most of our largest companies don't control their own pay, someone else is always signing off on an increase.

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The average age of death for firefighters was around 55 years of age about 30 or 40 years ago. Many died of heart disease accelerated by chronic smoke exposure. That life expectancy has increased markedly due to better equipment and unions working to get their members better equipment.

So, while this instance is over the top, firefighters have a much more dangerous job than police officers in an acute sense, and are also faced with toxic exposures on the regular, and need to be able to address protection through bargaining.

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Hmm, arguably the most likely reason for the increase in the life expectancy of firefighters is the fact that they no longer spend most of their time putting out fires.

https://firefighterinsider.com/why-do-firefighters-go-to-medical-calls/

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Soares writes:

“However, I want to be clear on how we will demonstrate and convey our message. Local 718 does not endorse any behavior that rises to the level of violence or personal disrespect to Mayor Wu’s family or neighbors. Our protests will be exclusively organized by Boston Firefighters Local 718 and attended by Local 718 members and their families. The actions of any outside organizations or associations that may also have an issue with Mayor Wu should not be aligned with our labor dispute.”

By what mechanism will 718 enforce these rules? If not, can we fairly infer that these instructions are bad-faith attempts to distance union leadership from the misbehavior they (and we) anticipate from their most vitriolic members?

In a previous thread, there was a discussion about whether the unions (there, I think, the BPPA) were asking for money or else what other things of value they sought in exchange for the minimal burden of vaccination. Nothing in the statement here clarified this. What’s their ask?

What percentage of union membership supports their leadership in their quest to be compensated in exchange for a vaccine requirement? Bearing in mind, of course, that having your coworkers vaccinated is a significant safety concern. If fewer than a majority, why aren’t we hearing rumbling about replacing the union leadership?

The union leadership is shaming their members with this hyperventilating nonsense.

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Of the FF's who have children in school how many support any teacher who does not want to be inoculated? Will they refuse to enter the home of anyone who is not inoculated?

FF gets sick due to conditions of a home. Homeowner pays. Mass law allows a municipality to charge a homeowner the costs of sick pay and recovery if a firefighter falls sick in a person's house during a call. I know that because I stuck with a $20,000 plus bill when a firefighter had a heart attack in my house during an emergency. This in Boston.

What happens if:

A firefighter avoids receiving an inoculation;
A firefighter gets Covid due to responding to an emergency in the home of an owner who is not inoculated; or the homeowner is inoculated but due to the nature of the virus is dealing with mild infection;
The firefighter spends two weeks in ICU recovering from the infection because they had internal defense against the virus.

Does the homeowner then get charged for the ICU time, the time off and even long lasting effects because the firefighter chose to avoid getting an inoculation which could have made the infection vastly weaker? Does the homeowner get charged for the death of the firefighter if the firefighter dies from a Covid infection?

Could the homeowner countersue the firefighter on the basis that the FF chose to create fo themself a situation that directly leads to the becoming extremely sick?

This whole business of police and FFs wanting more money for something that protects them - and the people they serve - stinks to high heaven. Greed is the motivation here.

Knowing that our public servants worship greed to the point of putting their lives unnecessarily at risk raises the question of whether these are people we want "protecting" us. They already chose professions that have a higher risk of harm or death than say, a lawyer who only does commercial law. They are compensated in may ways, including salaries, detail pay, lots of overtime, the possession of power on the street. The vaccines actually protect them.

Claiming that the vaccines are part of working conditions they did not agree is the kind of greed and self-centeredness, and FU to service that I would expect from one D. Trump. Not from people who swore oaths to defend and protect.

Perhaps it is time to resume the kinds of punishments meted out to oath breakers.

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I got stabbed in the face with a needle by a homeowner once (the needle snapped thankfully). Was told I couldn’t get anything. I guess if I tripped over something maybe I could have gotten something?

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the struggle first responders were having with authority meant they were in a process of deciding in their heart of hearts that it's never worth it to follow corrupt authority. But we know most of them..."vote"...Trump, if by "vote" we mean whatever crazy process by which Trump becomes the vengeful stinger they've always wanted in their--let's be honest--rather slow-to-take-up frontal lobe.

if only. big if though. instead we get a labor struggle while they try to improve their work conditions and benefits in the interregnum between democracy and the strong-man autocracy no, we can't have nice things.

there was a fire in my building not too long ago which they, the FD, attacked, confined, and put out before there was any damage let alone casualties. In the fray, while I was waiting outside for them to finish their job, I saw a large young white firefighter attempt to, like a son, get the attention and seeming approval of his much older African American boss. The boss observed the younger man without acknowledgement. There must be a point to that moment, though I am not entirely sure what it is. I will say though that it does seem to me to be a question of what kind of leadership they want.

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we must not allow this issue to fracture our solidarity.

where's their solidarity with other working people, who comprise the majority of the public they are supposed to serve, and whom the vaccine mandate is also intended to protect?

there's a reason why, in pro-union circles, police and fire unions are not welcome.. they forgot the real meaning of solidarity a long, long time ago.

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