Box 1, Folder 15, Document 29

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10 Cher Atlanta Journal and CONSTITUTION


Se RS EE Ee ee,


A number — evidently a large
number — of disgruntled Atlan-
ta firemen have defected from
their old union to join a new

“independent” union that is ex-
hibiting militancy and is seck-
ing grealer wage gains for

The new union is now pressur-
ing city officials to recognize it
as negotiating agent for firemen
with -an apparent threat that
firemen will take extraordinary

SUNDAY, MAY 22, 1966

action on their own if officials .

do not.

The union is Atlanta Firefight-
ers Union, Inc., independent. Its
attorney and business represent-
ative, Robert L. Mitchell, voiced
this apparent threat in a May
16 Jetter addressed to Alder-
man W. T. Knight, chairman of
the city’s Board of Firemasters.

MR. MITCHELL stated that
“if negotiations are not com-
menced immediately, then the
members of this union will have
no choive but to promulgate
their own working rules, which
will be placed into effect im-

In the same letter, Mr. Mitch-
ell gave Mr. Knight what was
the first information any respon-
sible city official had received
regarding the nature of the wage
and hour demands the new union
is making.

“Upon behalf of the Atlanta
firemen,” wrote Mr, Mitchell,
“we are willing to agree at this
—time fo a 5é-hour week coupled
“with a a $100 per month wage in-
“erease for cach firemen on a

“one-year basis.”

“The dé@trand-for a 56-hour
work week is not new. It was
the major demand made at the
start of 1965 by firemen when
they were represented by their
old union, Local 134, Internation-
al Association of Firefighters,

But brand-new is the new
union's demand for a $100 per
month wage increase. And new,
and extraordinary, is the union
representative's giveaway that
his organization is contemplat-
ing a one-year union-city con-

é City annals do not re-

aris 2 such a

THE PRESIDENT of the new
union, Capt. J. T. Martin, com-
plained Tuesday, while leading
a group of firemen who picket-
ed City Hall, that Mayor Allen
and other city officials had giv-
en the union the “old run-
around” when it had sought ree-

City officials contend this {s

not the case. However, they do|

it clear that circum:

ss are meking it difficult |
hem te decide whether to
enize the new union. The
remen's union is Ving to

pos sion 2s s poke seman

Staff Photo—Charle

Placards Ask for Immediate Action Concerning Pay and Working Hours

charter to officials of AFL-CIO.

The new union was formed,
according to Capt. Martin, on
April 19. This, judging by Mr.
Mclver’s newsletter, must have
followed a Local 184 meeting
at which members expressed
their disenchantment and indi-
cated their plans to defect from
the local.

There have been persistent,
but strictly unconfirmed, ru-
-mors that Capt. Martin’s new
union is oriented to the Team-
sters Union. Hearsay has it that
the Teamsters Union did send
in organizers to lure firemen
into a Teamsters’ affiliate but
did not succeed in that. But fire-
men may have had help from
Teamsters organizers in form-':
ing their “independent” union.
That, again, is rumor.

The disgruntlement of city
firemen came to a head this
year as they had for a number
of years firemen at budget-mak-
ing time had pressured the al-
dermanic finance committee to
shorten the fire Hepa. Snent
work week. The fina

, S ie in ' Ly 5

men subsequently mounted an
aggressive campaign to per-
suade aldermen to change their
minds. They appeared at City
Hall in great numbers when the
finance committee accorded
them a special hearing’ But-they#
were told, finally, on March 21,
that the committee's position’
still was the same — there just
| wasn’t money enough available. |

They did get a solemn pledge |
from the full Board of Alder-:
men and Mayor Allen that their,
_request for a shorter work week |

THROUGH LOCAL 134, fire-}?

The city’s present position has
been laid down by Mayor Al-
len’s administrative assistant,
Ear] Landers. This position, quite
candidly, is that city leaders do
not share firemen's evident
strong belief that they have been
badly treated at the city budget
table. This, interestingly, is a
position taken by Local 134 Pres-
ident Mclver in his April news-

MR. LANDERS (as did Mr.
Mclver) details improved wage
and other benefits which have
accrued to firemen in the six-
year period between in 1960
and this year.

In_these_ six years, firemen

have _ received fit. increment
pay increases, These increment
increases did not come in one
a year, however. In 1960, they,
together with city policemen,
were granted a_two-increment
increase, while other city em-
ployes got one. In_1 _1962_they got
a second two-increment increase
along‘ with all other _city

employes. In 1965 and _again_in
1966, they benefitted from one-

increment general increases.
_The impact of the six recent.
increment increases for pri-

vates in the fire department].
was that their monthly pay
rose from $403 in 1960 to $497 in
1966,-or 23.3 per_cent. In the
same six years, firemen’s 25-
year service pensions increased
from $150 a month to $227.50, or
61.6 per cent. Their 35-year ser-
vice pensions rose from $200 a
month to $295.80 _a_ month, or
47.9 per. cent. Their line-of-duty
disability pensions Tose

$150 a month to $323.05 am

or 115 per cent. And

benefits on disability

rose from $112.50 a

$242.28 a month,. o

cent again.


propriations from $3,7ba
1960 to $5,247,678 in 1966
aggregate of $1,581,734. 4
says, is the equivalent
than one mill of taxation
on the 1965 tax digest.
cates the city feels it is
ingful to local taxpayers
the six-year $1,581,734 ine
in outlays for firemen
jes and pensions was
without a tax increase.

a RFOUD of fremer

ed City Hall, that Mayor Allen
and other city officials had giv-
en the union the “old run-
around” when it had sought rec-

City officials contend this {is
not'the case. However, they do
make it clear that circum-
stances are making it difficult
for them to decide whether to
recognize the new union. The
old firemen’s union is vying to
keep its position as spokesman
for firemen.

“This resolves itself into a
contest between two groups who
claim they are representing the
members of the fire depart-
ment,” says Mayor Allen.

If the claims of its president
are to be accepted, the new
union has laid hold of a_ siz-
able majority of the men in the
fire department. Capt. Martin
said Tuesday that 550 of 718
“eligible men” in the depart-
ment are members of his un-
ion. (Officially, thére are 726

On the other hand, the presi-
dent of the old AFL-CIO fire-
men's union has said in a news-
letter published recently that
“there will always be a Local
134, International Association of
Firefighters,” and that the old
union is still very much in busi-

disputed reports — reports ap-
parently circulated by members
of the new competing union —

that Local 134 has turned in its

suade aldern change their
minds. They appeared at City
Hall in great numbers when the
finance committee accorded
them a special hearing. But they
were told, finally, on March 21,
that the committee’s position
still was the same — there just
wasn't money enough available.

They did get a solemn pledge
from the full Board of Alder-
men and Mayor Allen that,their
request for a shorter work week
will reccive first priority, above
all other budget requests, when
the city budget for 1967 is he-
ing fixed this fall and winter.

_WHAT FIREMEN demanded,
back in January and_again_in
March _ was-a-reduction_of_their
work week from 60 hours to 56)
hours_and_time-and-a-half over-
time pay for-any_work they per-
formed beyond the 40 hours that
most other city employes work.
This would have cost the city
$1.1 million, according to City
Comptroller Charles L. Davis.
The finance committee's, and
the city administration’s, posi-
tion at the time was that the
1966 budget was the tightest in
years. This was in large part
the case, finance officials insist-
ed, because the budget included
-a_one-step pay raise for all city
‘|personnel — firemen included..
The firemen’s demands, said
city officials, could only be met
by raising the city’s ad valorem
tax rate. This latter the city
administration was unwilling to


newspaper advertisements
have run, and in leaflets
have distributed about

vn, the firemen members of
ew union have expressed
bitterness not only with
f0-hour work week but
existing pay scales, no
natter how improved since 1960.
“If you were working 50 hours
one week and 70 hours the next
for $1.55 per hour, you would
do one of two things: Demand



‘hiv pay
'o $497 in

“. In

sar ser-
in $200 a


“se from
a month,

: wido

OMS per |g


* boosted | the

“A, or
: This,
‘of m

on, based
‘He indi- lf
'$ mean- |

+ inte

"S salar- |

i reali

better working conditions or re-
ign,”’ reads one leaflet.
fhe $1.55 per hour figure is
cited as a minimum, and else-
where, $1.91 per hour is cited
as the maximum. The leaflet.
includes a statement by the fire-
men’s union that 125 firemen
did quit the fire department last
“because they couldn't

id e enough ‘moonlighting’ to
Supplement their poor salary as
firemen to support their fami-

their breakaway from their
| union, their picketing, their

fforts to enlist news media in
heir fight, their vigorously-
waged telephone campaigns
against City Hall — the firemen.
leave littke doubt about the
depth of their disgruntlement,
or about their willingness to go
to extreme means to obtain sat-
isfaction of their demands,
Their anger may well bode
troublesome days ahead for of-
ficials at City Hall and for the
general public in Atlanta.

Nonetheless, Mr. Landers —

and here he speaks with full
authority from Mayor Allen —
sets out to put the firemen’s
complaints in perspective.

1 — Low wages prevail
roughout the city government,
_that firemen, in this regard,
re not in a unique position. As
already indicated, firemen ac-
out | tually fared better — six incre-
ses iment increases to five — than
e bulk of city employes did
ap- he 1960-66 period. The city is
in \@eutely aware that it must im-
an |prove city salaries generally or
he jit Will not be in a position to
ore |egmpete with private enter-
se for able employes. To this
d, it has retained the Public
inistration Service, a Chi-

management consultants
, to do a study of its salary
iedules. This will be com-
xd by this fall and will be

as the basis for probable





hat |l@ae
ase | f4


n other cities,
a, in the Southeast, or the
s a whole. The mini-
ual salary of an Atlan-
an is the highest of any
orgia cities — Atlant.
Colu s, Savannah, Albany,
\ugusta and Macon. It is $4,641.
The average for the six Geor-
gia cities, with Atlanta’s fig-
‘ured in, is $4,163. The 60-hour
| work week prevailing in Atlanta
stands alone among the six cit-
ies. In all the others, a 72-hour
work week prevails.

THE ATLANTA minimum also
exceeds the average for 17 ma-

etner in

jor Southeastern cities (New
Orleans, Atlanta, Birmingham,
Louisville, Memphis, Miami,
Nashville, Norfolk, Little Rock,
Mobile, Montgomery and Rich-
mond). The average for these
cities is $4,316. Among these
cities, four pay a slightly higher
minimum than Atlanta, as fol-
lows: Birmingham, $4,
716 (the highest); Miami, $4,-
680; Nashville, $4,680, and Nor-
folk, $4,680. Seven of the 17
cities have a 56-hour work week
for firemen; four, including At-
lanta, have a 60-hour work week;
the remainder have either 72-
or 78-hour work weeks. In 13
of the 17 cities, firemen work a
26-hours-on, 24-hours-off basis.

Atlanta compares less well with
what major cities in its popu-
lation class are doing. The cities,
besides Atlanta, are Buffalo,
Pittsburgh, Seattle, Columbus,
Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas
City, Memphis, Minneapolis and
Phoenix, The Atlanta minimum
wage is the lowest. Seattle’s is

the highest, $6,420. ‘The average ||

for the 11 cities, Atlanta in-
cluded, is $5,410. A 60-or-better
work week prevails only in
Minneapolis (60), Memphis (72),
Indianapolis (63), Denver (68),
Buffalo, with a 40-hour week,
is lowest, Seattle next, with a
48-hour week. Pittsburgh has a
52-hour week, the rest, a 56-
hour week.

3 — Some general clarifica-
tion is needed of conditions that
prevail in the Atlanta fire de-
partment. When one says fire-
men work a 60-hour week, it
does not mean they work seven
days a week. Actually, firemen
work five days a week, then
take two off.

Those on the day shift work
10 hours a shift; those on the
night shift, 14 hours. Firemen
who have the day shift one

week will work the longer night ||

shift the following week. The
five-days-on, two - days - off
regime means, moreover, that
firemen get 104 days off during
the course of a year. And on top
of that, they get 20 days of va-
cation time and time off for sev-
en holidays. In terms of the fact
that they are off duty 131 of the
365 days in a year, they may
be inaccurate in the way they
have figured their hourly wages.
For example, the $1.91 maxi-
Wlrly wage cited in their!

ght more accurately |

9 be $2.17. Firemen, in|

re furnished free uni-

at their fire stations,

have quarters where they may
sleep when there are no fire
calls, and kitchens where on-
duty-hour meals are cooked.

4 — It is untrue, as the new
union has claimed, that 125 fire-
men resigned from the depart-
ment last year to accept better
jobs elsewhere, Actually, 58 fire-
men quit the department, and
even so, eight of these were re- |
employed subsequently. |

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