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Every election year brings on the same hurdle for the firefighters union The mayoral candidates approach the union and ask for their support throughout the election This is a major decision the union union representatives has to make The representatives of the union have to approach the membership with their recommendation for whom to support so that the candidate will have full support from the union Hopefully the candidate chosen by the representatives of the union wins the election If the candidate chosen does not win the election the elected candidate not supported by the union understandably he has little or no respect for the union at that time In the 1993 election year the union had to make a major decision on whom to support for mayoral position the one we chose was defeated Because he did not win there was a struggle between union and management This did not come about because the union was looking to control the new administration but the town wanted benefits given back which were negotiated with the mayor that we were supporting The unions main goal during this time frame was to get the new administration to have some kind of respect for us when we went down to the town hall to resolve issues that arose For the first few years the only way the town would see it our way was when the arbitrators decision was in our favor This was quite often Since 1993 I have been either on the executive board or vice president of the union and received experience in grievances arbitration and negotiations The town is forever taking us to arbitration and seldom winning We have a contract that protects us Our contract was negotiated collectively by the union and management When a new administration controls the finances of the town their first goal is usually to attack the benefits in our contract The administration now
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