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Burning Question

Retaliation Over the Formation of a Union

Today’s burning question: I work part-time for a small fire department in a state that recognizes collective bargaining for firefighters. We are in the process of filing a petition with state labor relations board to become recognized by the township for collective bargaining purposes. We have enough members to form the union and we have all signed the union election petition. Rumor has it that the trustees have found out and plan to terminate our internet/WiFi access, stop letting us wash our cars at the station, put renovations of the fire station on hold, and even cancel the purchase of a new engine.

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Cellphone Searches and Stipends

Today’s burning question: My fire department gives firefighters a stipend of $125 dollars a year to cover the costs of various text messages they send us and any work related calls we make/receive. Does this give the department the right to search our personal phones?Answer: No, a simple stipend would not – in and of itself – authorize a fire department to “search” someone’s cellphone

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Medical Confidentiality and HIPAA Hysteria

Today’s burning question: I work for a fire department as a Firefighter – Paramedic. We have a quality assurance program in place for EMS. The department has EMTs doing quality assurance reviews on medical reports submitted by the Paramedics. In addition, ...

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Off Duty Supervision Challenged in Illinois

Today’s burning question: Can an officer be disciplined for not supervising a firefighter while both are off-duty? For example if some officers were out on the town with some firefighters, and the firefighters start to get a little rowdy, do ...

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First Amendment Double Standard in Missouri

Today’s burning question: Our rules prohibit us from being involved in political campaigning while on duty or in uniform. Do you think we could appear in a campaign ad for a candidate that our union supports provided we wear a ...

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Police Fire Wars in New Mexico

Today’s burning question: I responded to a motor vehicle roll-over accident. While attending to a patient I found drugs, cash and a drug pipe in his car. I collected the items and gave them to a police officer, who instead ...

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