Rights

Know Your Rights: The Right to Representation

If you are ever called into an interview meeting with a member of Human Resources or Fire Rescue Administration so they can investigate a situation which might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights. These rights are summarized below:

  • You have the right to have a Union representative present.
  • If you want a Union representative there, you must ask for him or her.
  • If you do not know why Fire Rescue Administration wants to meet with you, ask him/her if it is a meeting that could result in a discipline.
  • If your Fire Rescue Administration refuses to allow you to bring a Union representative, repeat your request in front of a witness. Do not refuse to attend the meeting, but do not answer any questions either. Take notes. Once the meeting is over call your Union representative at once.
  • You have the right to speak privately with your Union representative before the meeting and during the meeting.
  • Your Union representative has the right to play an active role in the meeting. She or he is not just witness.

These rights are called “Weingarten Rights” based on a 1975 Supreme Court decision (NLRB vs. J. Weingarten). As with all rights, if we do not use them we lose them.

This statement could save your job:

“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated I respectfully request that my Union representative be present at the meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to respond to any questions or statements.”

In the case of Garrity v. New Jersey, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that public employees could not be forced, under clear threat of discipline, to violate the principles of compulsory self-incrimination.

This decision established what have come to be called “Garrity Rights” for public employees.

The Garrity rule is similar to Miranda rights for public employees. However, the burden is on the employee to assert their Garrity rights. These rights can and should be asserted whenever an employee believes they are being investigated for possible criminal conduct.

You should say:

“If you are investigating me for violations of work rules, which are the result of allegations of criminal conduct, I wish to assert my Garrity rights before making any statements or answering any questions.”

Once an employee has asserted their Garrity rights, management must:

  • Give a direct order to answer the question;
  • Make the question specific, directly and narrowly related to the employee’s duty or fitness for duty;
  • Advise the employee that the answers will not and cannot be used against him/her in a criminal proceeding, nor the fruits of those proceedings; and
  • Allow union representation if the employee also asserts their Weingarten Rights.

Officers Job Descriptions

Job Description of President

Scope of Position:

Local President. It shall be the duty of the President to preside at all meetings of the Local and at meetings of the Executive Board. He shall be the executive head of the Local. He shall establish and be a member ex-officio of all committees. He shall appoint such committees as may be provided for in the Constitution and By-Laws and such special committees as may be authorized by the Local. He shall enforce strict observance of the Constitution and By-Laws of the International as this document relates to the Local, and the Constitution and By-Laws of the Local. He shall have general supervision of the activities of the other officers and chairmen of committees. The President, by virtue of his election, shall be a delegate of this local to the conventions of the State and International.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Responsible for general oversight of the duties of the Vice-Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer.
  2. Responsible for delegating duties to the Vice-Presidents, which determines the job description of the position for the given presidential term.
  3. Responsible for monitoring all public safety, firefighter safety and labor relations issues that affect the community and the membership of the local.
  4. Responsible for developing agendas of the general business, labor management and executive board meetings.
  5. Responsible for presiding over the general business and executive board meetings, and attending labor management meetings.
  6. Responsible for coordinating or delegating of all political action activity on behalf of Local 2294.
  7. Responsible for developing the executive budget for presentation to the Executive Board.
  8. Responsible for contract negotiations and the appointment and supervision of the negotiation team.
  9. Acts as the spokesperson for the local to the media and is responsible for developing all press releases.
  10. Responsible for monitoring the weekly agenda of the County Commission for any activity that may affect Local 2294.
  11. Responsible for attending any County Commission, administrative or public meeting that has a potential affect locally.
  12. Responsible for drafting letters on behalf of Local 2294 to County Administrators and Commissioners.
  13. Responsible for general oversight of all union sponsored insurance programs.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge and proficiency with the following software: Microsoft®Word, Microsoft®Excel and Microsoft®
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Knowledge of the following texts: Atwood’s Rules of Order, Constitution and By-Laws of Local 2294, Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Manual of Common Procedures, Local 2294 & HCBOCC Collective Bargaining Agreement, and current Insurance Product Plans.
  • Knowledge and/or background in labor law and negotiation strategy.
  • Knowledge and/or background in fire service contract language.
  • Knowledge and/or background in parliamentarian procedure.

Further descriptions of duties and responsibilities can be found in the Local’s Constitutions and By-laws.

Job Description of Vice-President

Scope of Position:

The Vice-President shall assist the President in such a manner as the President may determine. In the absence of the President, he shall preside at meetings of the Local and of the Executive Board. If the office of President becomes vacant, the Vice President shall be acting President until the office of President is filled by election by the Executive Board.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Attends and participates in business, executive board and committee meetings as needed.
  2. Acts as a liaison between members and management for resolution conflicts such as grievances, QA’s, fact-findings, pre-disciplinary hearings and terminations.
  3. Responsible for communicating legal matters and utilizing the local’s attorney when necessary.
  4. Attends and participates in negotiations, as a team member and/or support staff, to assist with the ongoing process in such capacities as negotiator, researcher, and/or document preparer.
  5. Contributes to the preparation and administration of the local’s annual budget throughthe elimination or creation of a line item or budget category.
  6. Expected to be available at the Union Hall for an allotted amount of time each month to be available to perform such functions as needed.
  7. Performs other functions and duties as required and/or assigned.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge and proficiency with the following software: Microsoft®Word, Microsoft®Excel, Microsoft®
  • Knowledge of the following texts: Atwood’s Rules of Order, Constitution and By-Laws of Local 2294, Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Manual of Common Procedures, and Local 2294 & HCBOCC Collective Bargaining Agreements.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in labor law and/or negotiations.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in fire service contract language.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in parliamentarian procedure.

Further descriptions of duties and responsibilities can be found in the Local’s Constitutions and By-laws.

Job Description of Secretary

Scope of Position:

Local Secretary. The Secretary shall have custody of all documents, records, books and papers belonging to the local, except as may be otherwise provided by this Constitution and By-Laws. He shall keep an accurate record of the meetings of the local and of the Executive Board, of which he shall be the Secretary. He shall attest all official documents with his signature and the seal of the Local. He shall conduct the correspondence of the Local promptly. He shall maintain the official list of members in good standing, which shall be kept accurately and on a current basis. The Secretary shall discharge on behalf of the Local such duties as may be imposed upon him by applicable law including the execution and filing of any reports to Federal or State authorities, and he shall cause to be maintained by the Local such records as the law requires to be kept in support of reports filed by it. The Secretary shall maintain a written record of current policies.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Responsible for recording and maintaining an accurate record of business meetings, executive board meetings and roster sign in sheets of such meetings.
  2. Responsible for maintaining accurate membership database records. Coordinating and updating current information with departmental personnel, county payroll and human resources.
  3. Responsible for communicating current records, current membership roster (additions, deletions, LODD, retirees, etc.) with IAFF.
  4. Acts as standing parliamentarian for all meetings attended.
  5. Ensures proper notice and documentation reaches membership in a timely fashion regarding meetings, special votes, bylaw amendments, contract ratifications or for any other purpose needed via fax, departmental mail or via email server.
  6. Responsible for maintaining a current edition of the constitution and by-laws of the local and ensures that they are being followed. Encouraged to offer interpretations and guidance as to how they are being utilized in the scope of local business and if there are areas that may need to be addressed.
  7. Responsible for keeping a current edition of the constitution and by-laws of the international and ensures that they are being followed.
  8. Attends and participates in business, executive board and committee meetings as needed.
  9. Responsible for maintaining and attesting to accuracy of documentation associated with the Local as it may pertain to Public Employee Relations Commission, the Florida Professional Firefighters, the Department of Labor, the Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service.
  10. Acts as a liaison between members and management for minor resolutions in employee disputes.
  11. Attends and participates in negotiations, as a team member and/or support staff, to assist with the ongoing process in such capacities as negotiator, recording secretary, and/or document preparer.
  12. Maintains documentation of committee reports and motions presented at business and/or executive board meetings.
  13. Maintains website and phone app with current information, email server mail list, and integrity of secure areas within website.
  14. Establishes, maintains and updates a policy and procedure manual for the local’s day to day operations.
  15. Establishes, maintains and provides new recruit packages and assists in signing up new members as needed.
  16. Audits the membership union dues roster against the county deduction worksheet.
  17. Contributes to the preparation and administration of the local’s annual budget throughthe elimination or creation of a line item or budget category.
  18. Performs other functions and duties as required and/or assigned.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge and proficiency with the following software: Microsoft®Word, Microsoft®Excel, Microsoft®Access, Macromedia®Flash, Macromedia®Dreamweaver, and Quicken®
  • Knowledge of the following texts: Atwood’s Rules of Order, Constitution and By-Laws of Local 2294, Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Manual of Common Procedures, Local 2294 & HCBOCC Collective Bargaining Agreement, and current Insurance Product Plans.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in labor law and/or negotiations.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in fire service contract language.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in parliamentarian procedure.

Further descriptions of duties and responsibilities can be found in the Local’s Constitutions and By-laws.

Job Description of Treasurer

Scope of Position:

Local Treasurer. The function of the local union Treasurer is to keep an accurate and appropriate record of all financial transactions of the local union. It is also their responsibility to keep the membership and IAFF informed regarding local union matters and the financial recordkeeping and well being of the local, in accordance with local constitution and by-laws. Financial recordkeeping and custody of all documents, records, books which includes the maintaining of all receipts such as income from dues, investments, and interest on bank accounts, except as may be otherwise provided by this Constitution and By-Laws. The Treasurer shall discharge on behalf of the Local such duties as may be imposed upon him by applicable law including the execution and filing of any reports to Federal or State authorities, and he shall cause to be maintained by the Local such records as the law requires to be kept in support of reports filed by it.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Responsible for serving as the Local’s custodian of assets.
  2. Responsible for receiving, keeping and disbursing monies of the Local and account for all transactions.
  3. Responsible for presenting to the Executive Board any expense or expenditure that the Treasurer deems discretionary.
  4. Responsible for maintaining and keeping a current record of members with their dues payments, assessments and all financial transactions promptly and accurately entered.
  5. Responsible for using GAAP, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the common set of accounting principles, standards and procedures as it relates to the Local’s financials.
  6. Responsible for providing receipts and vouchers upon the audit of the Local’s books. Forward the annual audit of the Local to the International General Secretary-Treasurer, if warranted.
  7. Responsible for making disbursements only by order, bank account transfer or bank draft, signed by the President, Secretary or respective designees and with no less than two different signatures.
  8. Responsible for keeping current the Local’s payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, federal taxes and per-caps to the International and the FPF.
  9. Responsible for applying and maintaining an adequate accounting informational system.
  10. Responsible for setting the chart of accounts and provide the framework used to classify transactions.
  11. Responsible for preparing reports that will inform stakeholders of the financial condition and operations of the Local.
  12. Responsible for assisting in the development of all external financial statements.
  13. Responsible for providing for appropriate budgetary controls that ensure compliance with the budget.
  14. Responsible for providing the President and the Executive Board with a monthly report outlining actual expenses versus line item expenses.
  15. Attends the meetings of the general membership and Executive Board and reports the Locals financial statements.
  16. May serve as the Local’s insurance and benefits administrator, unless otherwise provided for through the establishment of an independent position.
  17. May Exercise budgetary authority within the operations budget, provided the line item is not dedicated to a standing or special committee. Spending from a committee line shall require approval of the committee chairman.
  18. May the Local’s Certified Public Accountant for consultation, generation of reports, filing of taxes, and other needs within the limits of the budget with the approval of the Executive Board.
  19. May hire an information technology consultant to assist with establishment and maintenance of the Local’s accounting information system within the limits of the budget with the approval of the Executive Board.
  20. May negotiate insurance contracts and enter into agreements on behalf of the Local with the approval of the Executive Board.
  21. May act in the stead of the President, Vice President or the Secretary to execute any orders, bank account transfer, or bank draft.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge and proficiency with the following software: Microsoft®Word, Microsoft®Excel, Microsoft®Access, and Quicken®
  • Knowledge and proficiency in GAAP, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
  • Knowledge of the following texts: Atwood’s Rules of Order, Constitution and By-Laws of Local 2294, Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Manual of Common Procedures, Local 2294 & HCBOCC Collective Bargaining Agreement, and current Insurance Product Plans.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in labor law and/or negotiations.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in fire service contract language.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in parliamentarian procedure.

Executive Board Member

Scope of Position:

Executive Board Member. The function of the Executive Board is the governing body of the local when called into session by the union President between local union meetings. The Executive Board is a standing committee and as such functions as any other standing committee

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Attend the meetings of the general membership and Executive Board, within parameters set forth in the Local’s policies.
  2. Attend general business meetings of the Local, within parameters set forth in the Local’s policies.
  3. Responsible for visiting and contacting assigned stations on a monthly basis.
  4. Serves as Trustees of the Executive Committee of the Hillsborough Fire Action Committee.
  5. Serves as the Local’s representatives on HCFR established committees.
  6. Deny reimbursement to, or require reimbursement from, any representative of the Local who has made a discretionary expense or expenditure, within parameters set forth in the Local’s policies.
  7. May approve budget amendments up to $5,000 per line item.
  8. May approve, by a majority vote of its sitting members, requests for interim bargaining.
  9. May review, and by a majority vote of it’s sitting members, approve or demand bargaining on proposed HCFR policies, or amendments to existing HCFR policies, that may affect the terms and conditions of employment of the Local’s members.
  10. May act in the name of the Local during intervals between meetings as outlined in the statement of authority.
  11. Responsible for developing the proposed budget for the Local.
  12. Responsible for making the final determination on the disposition of all Step 4 grievances.
  13. Responsible for providing for an external audit or review of the Treasurer’s books.
  14. May call for a special meeting of the board by a majority phone vote or electronic means of the board’s sitting members or the chairman of the Executive Board.
  15. Responsible for approving or denying financial hardships.
  16. Responsible for making a recommendation regarding re-affiliation of former members.
  17. Responsible for approving the general business meeting schedule and alternative dates for union meetings.
  18. Responsible for receiving and accepting or rejecting resignations of elected representatives.
  19. Responsible for filling vacancies created by the departure of Executive Officers, Executive Board Representatives and Trustees.
  20. Responsible for filling delegate seats for conventions.
  21. Responsible for deciding what level of audit or review the Local shall contract for review of the Treasurer’s books.
  22. Responsible for approving or denying the sale, barter or donation of capital equipment or personal property.
  23. May recommend the permanent removal from office of an Executive Officer for the remainder of their term.
  24. Responsible for determining the lead negotiator for the Local.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of the following texts: Atwood’s Rules of Order, Constitution and By-Laws of Local 2294, Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Manual of Common Procedures, and Local 2294 & HCBOCC Collective Bargaining Agreements.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in labor law and/or negotiations.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in fire service contract language.
  • Some knowledge and/or background in parliamentarian procedure.