New Hampshire Professional Fire Fighters to Warm the Hearts of Children with New Winter Coats

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Concord – This winter, the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire (PFFNH) are putting children first, pledging to cover over 4,000 of New Hampshire’s less fortunate children with brand-new coats. This initiative will ensure that 10% of the 43,000 NH children living in poverty will have a quality, warm coat to call their own. The initiative is in partnership with Operation Warm, a national non-profit dedicated to providing new winter coats to children in need. The statewide effort is part of a growing nationwide movement sparked by the collaboration of Operation Warm and the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Fire Fighters have already begun fundraising in 19 of the 43 communities protected by the PFFNH. Each $34 donation provides another child with a brand-new coat. The goal is to reach 100 children in each community for a total of 4,300 happy, warm children. This is the first year the PFFNH is launching what will become an annual program they hope to grow each year.

“As Fire Fighters, this is what we do; we care about our communities both on and off the job. Some children in our communities need warm coats during the harsh winter months. We enter the homes of these children and witness firsthand the hardships faced by their families. Hopefully these coats will allow these kids an opportunity to focus on just being a kid,” said David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. Lang continued, “In an emergency Fire Fighters respond. We see this as a need for response and we are asking the community to help us by supporting this effort.”

The coats, made especially for this nation-wide program, are 100% American-made. The first known production to be brought back to the USA, this unique program is helping to rebuild an industry that has virtually died within the country.  As of now, the migration of coat manufacturing back to the USA has supported over 200 jobs.

Senate Republicans Blaming Public Employees for State’s Revenue Shortfalls

NH Retirement Coalition

CONCORD – Yesterday, New Hampshire Senate Republicans were quick to attack their fellow legislators and public employees after Standard & Poor announced New Hampshire’s bond rating was adjusted following a court ruling on the Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET).

In 2007, responsible and bipartisan retirement reforms were enacted. Instead of allowing these changes to work, in 2011 Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and his fellow Senate Republican colleagues added to the unfunded liability (UAAL) by slashing employer contributions. Due to Senate Republicans’ so-called pension reforms in 2011, they increased the UAAL by 11.5% – adding over $400 million to the state’s underfunded status, exacerbating the problem. These failed policies were a contributing factor to New Hampshire’s lowered bond rating.

Embracing real pension reform for newly hired employees and encouraging an open discussion with public employee groups would have been a responsible solution to our state’s financial concerns. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans refused to discuss retirement security for all public workers, and sentenced newly hired police officers and fire fighters to a future reliance on taxpayer-funded services.

 

For more information on the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition, please visit nhretirementfacts.com and follow us @NH_RSC

Senate Passes D’Allesandro Bill to Help Critically Injured First Responders

Bill Adds New Protections for Police, Firefighters, Other First Responders

N.H. Senator Lou D'Allesandro  Image from Canadian Consulate

N.H. Senator Lou D’Allesandro
Image from Canadian Consulate

Concord – Today the Senate passed SB 204, a bill that extends compensation benefits for critically injured first responders for conditions not currently covered by worker’s compensation.

“This is about Officer Doherty and all of the brave men and women like him who put their lives on the line for us every day in our communities,” said Senator D’Allesandro.  “I believe that our police, our firefighters, and all of our first responders deserve to know that these kinds of life-changing injuries will not be ignored, and that we will stand by them to help them if they are critically injured.”

The bill was introduced by Manchester Senator Lou D’Allesandro based on his experience advocating on behalf of Manchester Police Officer Daniel Doherty who was critically injured in the line of duty after being shot 6 times.  During his recovery, Officer Doherty discovered that wounds to limbs can be covered under worker’s compensation, but many internal injuries that can profoundly alter a person’s quality of life and ability to work are not covered.

Senator Andrew Hosmer, a member of the committee that worked on a bipartisan amendment to the bill, added: “This bill helps to close a hole in our worker’s compensation system.  It shouldn’t matter whether an injury is to a limb or an internal organ.  What matters is that when we ask our first responders to do dangerous work to protect our communities, they should know that if they are critically injured they will have the support and help they deserve.  I commend Senator D’Allesandro for leading this effort to take a big step in the right direction for our first responders.”

Rolling Stone Should Apologize For Putting Tsarnaev On Their Cover

UPDATED 7-18 at 5pm

After this post was originally posted around noon people came to me in every way they could. I got emails, twitter messages, and comments on my facebook accounts. They were all saying that I was wrong. I was judging the book by it’s cover since I openly admit that I refused to read the article. Someone even pointed out to me that judging a book by it’s cover is a covert form of bigotry. I am totally guilty of that.

The article is more about the bright and talented young man who did a 180 and rejected his way of life. Many people told me that the point of the article was to shock people and make them understand that this could (and has happened) to anybody.

I do have a better understanding of the article and its message I still feel that they should not have put his face on the cover of their magazine. They could have written the article (which is creating a lot of discussion) without using his face on the cover. The fact that he is on the cover makes him seem like a rock god not a killer.

While I no longer feel that Rolling Stone is trying to glamorize Tsarnaev (as I do in the original post), I do think that putting him on the cover was in very bad taste and I think an apology to the people would go a long way. This is Rolling Stone not a news magazine like TIME or NEWSWEEK. The cover of Rolling Stone is a reserved place for pop icons.

I invite you to join our conversation about this on our facebook page and tell us what you think.

I would also encourage you read Susan The Bruce’s blog called The Face Of Evil. It is a perfect counter-point to what I said below.

# # # # # # # #

(Below is the original post from earlier in the day)

After hearing about the Rolling Stone cover (click here to see it because I am not posting it), I told myself I was not going to talk about it. We all know that would never happen.

I am completely disgusted by the actions of Rolling Stone putting the Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of their flagship magazine. It is a completely tasteless action by the magazines editors. The International Association of Firefighter hit the nail right on the head with their statement.

“The cover picture and story by Rolling Stone canonizing one of the terrorists who murdered and maimed Americans is despicable. Journalism is one thing. This kind of blatant glorification of a murderer in the name of selling magazines is just wrong.”

“We fully support the statement and efforts of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and IAFF Boston Local 718, which represent the incredible men and women of the Boston Fire Department who responded to that massacre, in condemning Rolling Stone and its parent company for their irresponsible judgment and complete lack of compassion for all those affected by the bombings.”

This is just another slap in the face of the hard working public servants in the greater Boston area. To glamorize Tsarnaev only encourages more actions like the marathon bombing to gain fame.

After the bombing the ‘Boston Strong’ theme became a national phenomenon. It solidified a city, a state, and a nation with the notion that terrorist attacks will not bring us down. After Tsarnaev was captured in a boat in Watertown, people throughout the country offered their thanks and support to the police and fire departments in Boston.

This is why it is so appalling to the people who live around Boston that Rolling Stone would glamorize Tsarnaev in this way. When we see the face of Tsarnaev, we think of the horrific images of people bleeding in our city streets. We think of firefighters carrying injured people to hospitals. We think of the hard work and dedication of our public servants who shut down the city to capture Tsarnaev. The memory of all the good people who helped on that tragic day are good ones however, the thought of the person who caused all that needless suffering does not deserve to be remembered.

I stand with the The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts who are making a call for Rolling Stone to officially apologize for putting Tsarnaev on the cover of their magazine.

As firefighters who responded to the Boston Marathon Bombings we witnessed first hand the emotional and physical trauma that unfolded that day. The persons accused of this heinous crime are not victims. They have not been failed. They are cowards. They killed four people, including a child. They caused disabling permanent injury to hundreds, and changed the lives of countless families forever.

The decision by Rolling Stone Magazine to publish a empathetic
looking photo of the living suspected terrorist in an obvious attempt to gain sympathy for him, or worse, simply sell their magazine, is an insult to every one of the real victims from that day.

Your Executive Board has voted to boycott Wenner Media LLC to include their publications of Rolling Stone, US Weekly and Men’s Journal, until an appropriate apology is offered to the real victims of the Marathon Bombings.

This is the time when we should be helping the true victims heal from their emotional and physical injuries from that day. If the insensitive decision by Rolling Stone Magazine and Wenner Media has caused further pain to just one victim – then that is one too many.

Please join me in sharing this Boycott with your family and friends.

After September 11th we all became New Yorkers. After the Boston bombing we all became Boston Strong. Remember the heroes not the villains.

NH Firefighters (@PFFNH) Pushes For Expanded Gambling

Rep Kevin St James (Exeter Fire Fighter)

Rep Kevin St James (Exeter Fire Fighter)

The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Remind Lawmakers that Public Safety Should Not be a Gamble: Support the Passage of Senate Bill 152

CONCORD– Today, members of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire (PFFNH) held a press conference to state the many benefits of passing Senate Bill 152, which would bring a casino to New Hampshire. Along with President Dave Lang were members from Nashua, Berlin, Concord, and Exeter, who also spoke on behalf of the bill.

Rep Andrews (Concord Fire)

Rep Andrews (Concord Fire)

Both Representative Chris Andrews (Concord Fire Fighter) and Representative Kevin St. James (Exeter Fire Fighter) called upon their fellow freshman to do what they were elected to do: make difficult choices, lead, and pass SB 152.

“I know that some freshmen Representatives are concerned about making a decision that could potentially change the fabric of New Hampshire. But making tough decisions is what fire fighters do and exactly what we were elected to do. Therefore I urge them to support SB 152” stated Representative Andrews.

Jim Kirk President of Nashua Local #789

Jim Kirk President of Nashua Local #789

Also speaking was Jim Kirk of Nashua Local #789 who spoke of an increase in people not able to afford mental health preventative care.   “I see a side of New Hampshire in the middle of the night that most of you don’t ever see. I see a side of New Hampshire that desperately needs help. I see mental health issues, domestic abuse, and people in real need of care, night after night. I see that this state needs proper funding to help curb these problems,” stated Kirk.

Passage of Senate Bill 152 would not only provide jobs, but it would also help to effectively and efficiently fund our state budget. The proposed bill would create a revenue source that would help ease the downshifting of costs to our cities and towns. Public safety departments across the state are being forced to make cuts. Passing this bill will make increases to our level of proper funding, staffing, and equipment.

Berlin Local #1088 President Roland Berthiaume

Berlin Local #1088 President Roland Berthiaume

Roland Berthiaume, fire fighter from Berlin Local #1088 described how Berlin is facing layoffs – the on duty fire fighting force could be reduced by 25%.  “The North Country needs economic help.  It needs revenue. We cannot continue to put the safety of our citizens at risk. In emergencies, seconds count, and time is ticking in the North County,” said Berthiaume.

NHLN Exclusive: AFT-NH Takes Pittsfield ‘FREE SPEECH’ Case To The NH PELRB And WINS!

 Pittsfield Town Employees’ Statement on PELRB Decision 

Pittsfield, NH- In a statement released today, Richard Walter, President of the Pittsfield Town Employees, AFT-NH, AFT Local #6214 reacted to today’s decision by the NH Public Employee Labor Relations Board on Unfair Labor Practice Charges filed against the Town last spring.

Mr. Walter stated, “Our members stood together to stand up for important rights to be heard about their working conditions which affect public services.  We are extremely pleased with the decision of the PELRB. I am proud of the commitment to fairness and public service our members have shown throughout this long, grueling process. Our members care deeply about the services they provide to the residents of Pittsfield and the attempts to prohibit our speech was harmful to the public discourse which must occur in our communities as we determine the quality and level of services we provide.  We look forward to building a positive working relationship with the Board of Selectmen as we move forward and some positive changes have already occurred. ”

The charges alleged that the Board of Selectmen had violated RSA 273-A, the NH Public Employee Labor Relations Act and breached the collective bargaining agreement between the parties when it issued a directive denying overtime and details to full-time bargaining unit members in the first instance.

The charges also alleged an infringement of the employee’s rights to speak to the public about their conditions of employment.  Additional charges were made by the Union that the Selectmen had improperly changed the schedules of the police and ambulance departments. The Union prevailed on the charges regarding free speech of its’ members under the public employee labor relations act, overtime and details. Back pay provisions regarding detail and overtime have been awarded to make the employees whole for the denial of working these details and being denied overtime shifts. The Board ruled with the Town on the issue of the schedules; however, since the original charges were filed, the schedules have reverted to those in place prior to the filing of the charges.

In its’ decision, the NH PELRB upheld the rights of local union members to speak freely in public about matters relating to their terms and conditions of employment and stated that, “the Board committed an unfair labor practice when it issued a policy prohibiting employees from communicating with the public and media without prior approval from the Board of Selectmen.”  The Board of Selectmen had passed a gag order, only to later rescind it.  Union members provided testimony to the Labor Board that they felt intimidated by the actions of the Board of Selectmen.

“AFT-NH is committed to protecting the free speech of our members and we will vigorously defend their rights” stated Attorney Terri Donovan of AFT-NH, who represented the local Union.

She stated further, “The employees in Pittsfield negotiated a contract with a pay freeze and increased contribution to health insurance and the actions by the Board of Selectmen not to honor the provisions of the contract and long standing practices were egregious violations of good faith negotiations.”

Mr. Walter stated, “While I am very pleased with the result it is unfortunate that during the course of this litigation we have lost at least two long term and valuable employees from our bargaining unit. The Town invests in training employees and when you lose veteran employees, the Town loses valuable experience and knowledge for the citizens of Pittsfield.”

“AFT-NH is the State Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT has over one million members with nearly 4,000 members in New Hampshire. AFT-NH represents the Pittsfield Town Employees, AFT Local #6214.

Read the full NH PLRB decision here.

A Special Message From PFFNH and Upper Valley Firefighters

Upper Valley Firefighters

Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

Friends of Firefighters is a non-profit established in the days after 9-11-2001 to help our brother and sister firefighters in time of need.  They are located in an old firehouse in Brooklyn, NY and they themselves were affected by this storm as well.  The Hanover and Lebanon Fire Departments are establishing a donation drive in an effort to help out fellow firefighters of FDNY who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Many of these men and women were out helping others as their own homes burned or were washed away by the rising floodwaters.  Clean up efforts are underway and much help is still needed.

A small contingent of firefighters from Hanover and Lebanon will be heading down to Brooklyn, NY on Sunday 25 NOV 2012 to spend a few days volunteering.  We are also hoping to fill a moving truck full of donations to take with us.  I have included a list of items they have specified a need for.   Unfortunately, we will only be able to accept items from this list.  The items are as small as plastic utensils to as large as a boiler to help rebuild Friends of Firefighters business space.  Please look over the included list and consider donating to our help our effort.   The donations can be dropped off at either the Hanover or Lebanon Fire Depts from now until Saturday 24 NOV 2012.

Please feel free to contact us at either of the avenues listed below with any questions or visit their website at www.FriendsofFirefighters.org for more info about their organization.  Thank you for your consideration in donating items and we look forward to sharing how this effort made an impact in helping others’ lives.  Stay safe.

Sincerely,

Eric James                                               TroyLeatherman

Lebanon Fire Dept                                 Hanover Fire Dept

603.727.8552                                          802.683.7324


Taken from PFFNH Web/Facebook Page


Keene Celebrates Collective Bargaining On City Employee Appreciation Day

This past Friday, the dedicated public employees from Keene were honored.  After numerous battles with the state legislature over the collective bargaining rights, the town’s unions were honored in a special ceremony held by Mayor Kendall Lane.

You can watch the entire 10 minute prestention below or via this link

Mayor Kendall Lane presented the towns unions with this proclamation.

The Full Employee Appreciation Proclamation (PDF) can be downloaded here.

Keene Public Employee Unions are honored at City Employee Appreciation Day

In the video you can see that John MacLean, City Manager, reiterated that employees have made sacrifices and a variety of contributions. He feels that these sacrifices and contributions are made because “employees believe in this community, believe in the City as our employer, and believe we are treated fairly.” The City’s relationships with its employees and collective bargaining units “are unique and are to celebrated and appreciated.” Employees have made “big contributions to the Monadnock United Way and are involved with civic organizations, schoolchildren, and the community at large.

“Our employees also represent something important to our society––collective bargaining, which protects our society in many ways. Sometimes the negotiations process can be difficult but, at the end, we come together with an agreement that works, and the City of Keene has been well served through this system.”

Sherri Beckta, President of Keene City Employees, AFT-NH and her officers

Even though the town of Keene has seen some tough financial times, the employee unions helped the town move forward by taking serious concessions.

AFT-NH was especially honored at this event.  AFT-NH represents the Keene City Employees, Keene Police Officers’ Association and Keene Police Supervisors’ Association. During the last few years during these challenging economic circumstances, the three Unions along with other city unions have worked collaboratively with the City in an effort to save jobs. Concessions made by the Unions have been in an effort to help stabilize the budget and recognize economic realities, according to Attorney Terri Donovan, Director of Field Services and Collective Bargaining at AFT-NH. “It was hard work but done in an atmosphere of mutual respect.”

AFT-NH President Laura Hainey attended the ceremony and stated , “It is refreshing to see management work together with our local unions and to acknowledge how valuable collective bargaining can be to all parties involved. Collective bargaining has strengthened our middle class and is a voice for all workers.”

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Endorse Maggie Hassan for Governor

Praise Hassan for Her Work to Make Communities Better, Safer for All Residents

MANCHESTER – Praising her work to improve the safety of New Hampshire communities, the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire today endorsed Maggie Hassan for Governor.

“Fire fighters and paramedics protect the families and neighborhoods of this state,” said Dave Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. “We know how important it is to have a Governor who is actively working to make New Hampshire a safer place for all of us, and that is why we are supporting Maggie Hassan. Maggie has worked, and will continue to work, with the public safety community to pass laws that make our communities better and safer places.”

Hassan is also offering an Innovation Plan that will help middle-class families succeed, by focusing on freezing college tuition costs; ensuring access to job training; and providing tax credits and technical assistance that will help attract new businesses and jobs. She will veto an income or sales tax.

“Maggie understands the importance of a balanced budget and will continue to ensure fire fighters and paramedics have the necessary resources to successfully do our jobs,” Lang said.  “New Hampshire needs a leader who shares our values, and will look out for all people. That’s Maggie Hassan, and that’s why we are supporting her today.

Hassan said it was an honor to accept the endorsement of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.

“A governor’s first job is to ensure the safety of the people of New Hampshire, and I am proud to be a strong supporter of public safety.  As governor, I will work hard every day, with all of you, to protect our communities and keep our state moving forward,” Hassan said.

As a leader in the State Senate, Hassan worked with public safety officials on critical priorities, including creating a death benefit for first responders killed in the line of duty, directing the Department of Safety to develop a reverse 911 system so that first responders can reach citizens in an emergency, strengthening domestic violence laws, and working with Governor John Lynch to pass one of the toughest laws in the nation to protect children from sexual predators.

I Call Them Heroes Everyday, Not Just On SEPT 11th

Today marks the anniversary one of the most horrific moments in our nations history. Many other blogs have been asking “Do you remember where you were on September 11th?”. I am sure we all remember what we were doing.  Those images of the airplanes being flown into the World Trade Center are forever imprinted in our memory. My question to you is “What else do you remember about September 11th?”

I remember the look of fear in my wife’s eyes as we watched in horror at the events of September 11th.  I remember faces of the people at ground zero running for their lives in a cloud of smoke and falling debris as the buildings began to collapse around them.  I remember seeing the police and firefighters rushing into those same collapsing building to search for people lost in the smoke.

Over the next few days we as Americans went through a significant shift. We continued to mourn the loss of those who died, while we rallied behind those brave men and women of the FDNY and NYPD. They continued to search the rubble for missing people. We began to refer to these brave men and women as the Hero’s of 9/11. We vowed never to forget.

Now ten years later the image of those three firefighters raising the American Flag of the remains of the World Trade Center, is one of the most memorable images of September 11th.  But now something else has happened. Those same brave firefighters are still called Heroes on the days surrounding 9/11, and called “Union Thugs” the other 350 days a year. What has happened? What has changed in America that we went from buying FDNY shirts and hats, and donating money to the International Association of Firefighters to making them enemies of the country?  Why is government trying to demonize these brave heroic men and women.

So on this day, remember all of September 11th. Remember over 3000 men and women who died tragically. Remember those 600 first responders who also died as Heroes. The courageous men and women who put lives of others ahead of their own. Remember this when people refer to Firefighters and Police Officers as Union Thugs. They have and always be this countries HEROES. That is something we should never forget.