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New union reps for Long Island MacArthur Airport firefighters

A Southwest Airline 737 plane landing at MacArthur

A Southwest Airline 737 plane landing at MacArthur Airport in Islip. (March 16, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The firefighters posted to Long Island MacArthur Airport are now represented by the International Association of Firefighters.

The Islip Town board unanimously approved the new union representation at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The new representation is a result of the airport’s 19 firefighters officially changing their titles from various other job duties, including security and mechanics. Previously, the employees were represented by United Public Service Employees Union, which represents the town’s blue- and white-collar workers.

“The membership wanted to be repped by a firefighters union,” said William Romaka, first district vice president of the IAFF. “They just wanted somebody to represent their firefighter interests.”

Because the IAFF is a new bargaining unit, the town will begin new contract negotiations with the firefighters union.

Last month, the town’s white-collar unit voted in favor of leaving City Union Local 237 of the Teamsters after more than 40 years, and follow the town’s blue-collar unit in joining UPSEU.

In a state Public Employment Relations Board election held Sept. 18, the unit voted 113-74 to join UPSEU. Once PERB certifies the vote total, the town board will then vote on approval of the change of representation.

“Workers were paying upwards of 75 percent more in dues than UPSEU blue-collar employees, while getting nothing in return in the way of representation,” UPSEU president Kevin Boyle Jr. said in the release.

The union has been negotiating new contracts for the blue- and white-collar units for the past few months.
 

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