Union 101: What to expect and how to participate
- When was our Local formed and what does it do for me?
Local 2545 was chartered (formed) back in 1976 in an effort to band together firefighters focusing on protection of our wages, hours and working conditions. From the time of charter, we have grown to over 100 members.
- Do I have to pay dues to Local 2545 as a condition of employment?
Firefighters working for the City of Kirkland are not required to pay dues to Local 2545 as a condition of employment. You will still receive representation from the Bargaining Group (2545) that is recognized by the City, as well as receive protections outlined in our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). So, why pay dues? Your dues help pay for a multitude of things such as political action and bargaining needs. These are the necessary components allowing us to negotiate fair compensation, time off, and medical plans, to name a few. In addition, these funds pay for annual barbecues and get togethers, retirement gifts, and monies allotted to special programs/needs such as KFFBA, Pipes and Drums, and members experiencing difficult times. Please reach out to any E-board member to learn more.
- What is an Executive Board and what do they do?
Your Executive Board (E-board) is comprised of all your Local 2545 union leaders. Currently, the E-board is formed with a President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer and four Trustees.
- President – Elected every two years and is the Certified Bargaining Agent for the City of Kirkland. This means he/she is the representative who works with the employer to navigate all the needs/bargaining for Local 2545.
- Vice President (VP) – Elected every two years (opposite years as president) and serves as the Political Action representative. The VP seeks out and researches political candidates supporting union values. In addition to these duties, the VP serves in the President’s role in their absence.
- Secretary/Treasurer – This individual is the heart and glue of Local 2545. This position is elected on the same years as the President, and stands for two years. Coming early in 2022, the E-board is hoping to separate these combined positions, through By-law changes that the membership will vote on, prior to changes being made. The desire is to reduce the workload of any one position serving on the E-board. This position currently is responsible for all bookkeeping, membership documentation as well as the financial responsibilities of the Local.
- Trustees – Local 2545 currently has four Trustee positions. These individuals are responsible for helping guide the decisions of the E-board, participating in standing committees required in our By-laws, as well as being an information source for the general membership. The positions each run two years, with two elected on years with the President, and two elected on years with the VP.
- When and where are Union meetings held?
- General Membership Meetings – Held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:30pm, usually running 1-2 hours. Meetings are open to all members and members are encouraged to attend and ask questions. Currently, all meetings are being conducted over Zoom due to COIVD restrictions. Zoom invites are being texted and emailed (personal email) 24 hours in advance. A Zoom link will soon be added to the union webpage calendar, creating easier access for our members.
- Executive Board Meetings – E-board meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month from 6:30pm until the start of the General meeting at 7:30pm. Currently, these meetings are being held over Zoom due to COVID restrictions. Any active member is allowed to attend, however questions and or comments are not allowed. The purpose of these sessions is for the Executive Board to conduct necessary Local business.
- Special Meetings – Special meetings can be called by the E-board and must follow the current rules outlined within our By-laws. These meetings rarely occur.
- Our meetings follow a formal set of rules I don’t understand. How do I participate?
The By-laws for Local 2545 state we shall use Attwoods Rules of Order for parliamentary process. This is a structured, formal process for meetings with large groups that allows for participants to hear what is going on an also have a voice in the proceedings. If you do not understand how these rules work and when you can speak up, you are right in line with 80%+ of the membership. Your E-board asks that everyone participate and stay involved in our Local. If you have a question or wish to make a motion (a proposal by a member that the assembly votes/takes action on), please ask at any time throughout the meeting. If your timing is off, meaning it is “out of order”, we will let you know how and when to jump back in. Chances are that your question, comment or motion is being thought about by other members around you. We will learn these processes together in a friendly, welcoming and laid-back atmosphere.