Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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So even though the contract already defines the bargaining unit as "All Full-time employees of the fire department, including firefighters..." and we are full-time employees who are firefighters, we have to go through the union to get it clarified? This is a messed up situation, because our job title is what causes the confusion. "Part-time" is only in our job title. It is not our job status. We are legally full-time employees. We were declared such by the Federal Department of Labor, who ordered the department to give us benefits since we are indeed full-time employees. We work the exact same schedule as the union firefighters. Our job descriptions are identical. The only difference is that we are not paid according to the contract. I thought that even if someone is not a part of the union the negotiated the contract, they can still be considered part of the bargaining, and must be represented by the union? The union is a joke as far as unions go. They have no desire to help us get equal pay, despite the fact we do the same job, because then they might have to take a pay-cut to even things out. So if they are the only ones who can rememdy this injustice, then we are screwed.
Is it likely that we would be able to negotiate for wages and benefits equal to the "full time FFs"?
I honestly believe they could afford to pay us all what the "Full time" guys make now. They would have to cut other budgets, but they spend so much on such unnecessary stuff that I think it would be possible. Anyway, thank you very much for your advice. It has been very helpful!