Here is a brief history of the process we, the Boise Fire Department, followed to implement the 48-96 work schedule:
Members of the Boise Fire Department have been working towards a shift schedule change for many years. We currently work one on two (XOOXOOXOOXOO). We considered the 3-4 (XOXOXOOOO) schedule as an alternative but it never made it to a vote of the membership. In September of 2003 again, a proposal was being made again to change to the 3-4 work schedule. We took the time to interview several firefighters who were against 3-4 and while researching their concerns, we came across the Roseville Local 1592 report on the internet. We rushed to gather as much data as we could regarding this schedule and went off to the union meeting. Arriving at the union meeting we were met with several factions. One group was in favor of 3-4, another did not want any change at all. We also had people that were pretty much indifferent and just wanted to see what we had to see about the 3-4 schedule. When we presented the 48-96 schedule for the first time, things got a little hectic. Some people against the 3-4 wanted 48-96, some in favor of 3-4 were mad because we brought 48-96 to the meeting. Most did not know what to think about the 48-96 and in the end the membership decided it was best to wait until everyone had a chance to review the new proposal. No motion was ever made but we did manage to get about 20 copies of the Roseville report into circulation.
We gave the membership several months to digest the report. We were preparing for city council and mayoral elections and got distracted for several months. During this time, an endeavor was undertaken at our A.R.F.F. (airport) fire station. Through shift trading, they ran a test run of 48-96 for several weeks. When it was over, the B.F.D. got it's first bit of momentum. The A.R.F.F. firefighters said that the schedule worked great for them and they told other stations in the city to try it themselves. While the trial periods were going on, I had just become the father of my first child. He was born on January 1st, 2004. I decided to take my shot at posting pictures of him on the web. In the process of developing his extremely simple web page, I looked at all I had spent in photocopies for 48-96 and came up with the idea for this web site. I locked myself in the furnace room of the station and began work on this site. When I released the site to the department in June of 2004 it was an immediate success. We were able to share so much information at once and the discussion group became a lively place to visit. More and more Boise firefighters had their own trial periods and again more momentum was gained in favor of a change. We then spent the next several weeks compiling a list of all the Boise firefighters in favor of 48-96. Using this list as a guide to gain support, we went to the union meeting in July of 2004 with our first carefully constructed union motion.
The motion carried 44 for 15 against. Created from the fabric of the Motion, was the Memorandum of Understanding or M.O.U.
The MOU was voted on by the full membership in I believe November of 2004 and it passed by about 64% of the full membership's vote. After the M.O.U was approved, it was handed over to the union leadership to be implemented. Due to several factors, the M.O.U was never signed by the chief and we never went to the trial period we had fought for.
Throughout the later parts of 2004 we continued to ask questions about our M.O.U and continued our use of "in house" trial periods. More and more firefighters came to support 48-96. In October 2005 as we prepared for negotiations each firefighter was asked to submit their priorities for the upcoming negotiations. The following letter was sent to the membership.
After the negotiation surveys were collected, it was seen again that the 48-96 work schedule was something that was important to the membership. As a result, our fire chief and our union president traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico where they met with officials to see first hand how the schedule works. Here are the results of their November 2005 trip.
That is about where we stand today. We are going to try to move towards 48-96 by using an M.O.U. that can easily be added to the contract at the time of negations. We have been told that the chief may ask for Albuquerque's sick leave policy or may ask for us to have regularly scheduled training on Sunday, but we will have to see how it all works out. As you can see, it has been a long slow process but one that is making progress. we will let you know how it goes.
After the above MOA was signed the work schedule was pretty much a done deal. There were some challenges to the by various individuals but strong showings by union membership at city council meetings stopped these attacks. We are currently working the 48-96 and it seeps to be well received by the department and out newly hired firefighters who ask why we ever worked a 24-48.
After reaching 50,000 hits, this web site was redesigned in 1/2009. In 2012 have achieved 50,000 aditional hits the website was redesigned again with new software making updating much easier. The Boise Fire Department has remained on the 48-96 work schedule and I see no reason why that would change. We have had enough new people come on the line that the 24-48 is becoming somewhat forgotten.