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  #1  
Old 01-07-2018, 12:33
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rhvfd10 rhvfd10 is offline
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Question Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

Hello, my department has been on the 48/96 for the past 12 years or so.

For a variety of reasons (long term injury, vacancies, significant uptick in sick leave usage, topped out annual/sick banks) our forced hiring has increased from around 5% of overtime shifts in 2012 to 25% of shifts over the last quarter of 2017. This has created a new and surprisingly vocal minority who are are advocating going away from the 48/96 to a Kelly, 24/48, or even a few advocating CalFire's schedule(!) because most employees are regularly working 72/96 hour shifts with corresponding issues on the home front. The forces are also a significant factor in remarkably low employee morale ATM.

We have a minimum staffing clause equal to our daily staffing (19 per day) in the contract. We do not have floaters but another vocal minority suggests abandoning three man staffing on our engines to accomplish this. We also have no sick or annual buyback except on separation (our chief hates the idea).

Has anyone else encountered this issue in the past? How did you overcome it?
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Old 01-07-2018, 13:42
Jacksdad Jacksdad is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

It has been mentioned by administrative staff that the 48/96 creates more crew continuity issues due to the 4-days in a row off. It has also been suggested that it creates more abuse of sick time. I don't know if there have been more forcebacks because of it. But it was one of the items in the "against" list during the trial period.
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Old 01-07-2018, 13:48
APG166 APG166 is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

Jack.. I was under the impression that 48s have been shown to cut sick time abuse?
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  #4  
Old 01-07-2018, 18:06
desertrunner desertrunner is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhvfd10 View Post
Hello, my department has been on the 48/96 for the past 12 years or so.

For a variety of reasons (long term injury, vacancies, significant uptick in sick leave usage, topped out annual/sick banks) our forced hiring has increased from around 5% of overtime shifts in 2012 to 25% of shifts over the last quarter of 2017. This has created a new and surprisingly vocal minority who are are advocating going away from the 48/96 to a Kelly, 24/48, or even a few advocating CalFire's schedule(!) because most employees are regularly working 72/96 hour shifts with corresponding issues on the home front. The forces are also a significant factor in remarkably low employee morale ATM.

We have a minimum staffing clause equal to our daily staffing (19 per day) in the contract. We do not have floaters but another vocal minority suggests abandoning three man staffing on our engines to accomplish this. We also have no sick or annual buyback except on separation (our chief hates the idea).

Has anyone else encountered this issue in the past? How did you overcome it?
What I got...

The OCFA in So Cal is having the same issue, guys going off after the 48 hour shifts and disappearing. They used to do the odd LACo schedule of XOXOOXOXOOOO and it took along time to get a 4 day, i dont care for it. Here is the link- https://www.fire.lacounty.gov/wp-con...-Calendar2.pdf

If you go to the 24/48, its not that great. It was designed for the super busy departments like Oakland who still use it. The first day off is meant for full recovery and the second day off is to actually do stuff. If you want a vacation, you have to burn time or shift trade or I guess you get a Kelly day. Right now, Oakland is looking to get away from this and go to a 48/96 as well.

Why do to a 72 hour work week? Thats what the Cal Fire schedule is. Two shifts of 3 days and a suitcase floater on the 7th day or in this case mando OT. Or are you looking at a 72-144 of 3 on and 6 off? Still in alignment with the 48/96. I would not pursue the 72 hour work week. As mentioned on this board prior, Cal-Fire is going to see some major changes soon, dont know if their schedule is going to be a part of it. Keep in mind, the whole purpose of Cal Fire contracts is to make a profit and internally run everything on the cheap and cut corners. The work schedule does not do anything to help the employee or productivity, only save money.

I dont like the idea of going down to a 2 person engine either, it will also effect your department's ISO rating

There is the Kelly/Detroit schedule of XOXOXOOOO and its kind of a drag. But if you like to wirk OT, you can plug in the middle or do a 48 on the end. Thats what I did alot.

There is the Kern County schedule that is really the 3/4 Kelly doubled- XXOOXXOOXXOOOOOOOO. But youre going to tun into the same deal with guys leaving off for their 8 days off. the Kern Co guys love it.

Your union could also sit down with the members and say- Hey, we are up on the sick leave usage and need to police ourselves and stop abusing it and dialing a 10 day. Sounds more of a personnel issue instead of a management issue. Unless management is refusing to hire new people for those vacancies that are creating the hassle and problems.

I would look at the 3/4 schedule, but I have a good idea once the 48/96 goes away, the guys will want it back again down the line, for sure. And then the chief will tell them to pound sand. Try to fix the issues internally, because by just moving the work day boxes around, you will have the same issues of sick leave, vacancies, mando, injury leave, etc.Tell the chief to start hiring instead of forcing people to work OT.
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Old 01-07-2018, 18:34
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BadKitty BadKitty is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

I work a 48 and, due to a bunch of people being out for training, I'll be doing 72/96 for the next three months. It doesn't bother me; but, I'm not married and have no kids, so.....

Here's what I'm looking at with regard to your situation:

1) If management hired for the vacancies, how much relief would that give the floor staff? Is it fair for the staff to have to make adjustments due to management not wanting to hire? Perhaps the union should look into this.

2) What is your holdover policy? Does the least senior guy always get hit for a mando regardless of how many times he's been held over that month? Or do you have a "spread the wealth" policy? For example, the least senior people get tagged for the mando X number of times before one of the senior guys in the top 30% have to get hit. If the least senior guys are always getting hit, I can see why it starts to suck after a while. A "spread the wealth" policy may not always be workable for a smaller department; so, YMMV.

3) Management needs to take a closer look at why people are calling out sick more often - a "significant uptick" as you called it. For me doing 48s, I don't call out sick unless I am LEGIT SICK. I'm not hitting myself for 48 hours of leave unless I truly believe I cannot safely function or the doctor orders me to stay home. If I want an extended "vacation", then I shift trade those two days. Are people calling out sick due to low morale? Or due to upset over some other policy (a passive-aggressive protest, if you will)? Or is it only people on one shift/station/battalion, who all conveniently report to one particular BC, that seem to be the ones calling out? (the BC is a "problem")


Bottom line -- changing the schedule doesn't fix management problems. Find out what started this first and go from there.
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Old 01-07-2018, 21:24
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rhvfd10 rhvfd10 is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

Thanks for the feedback!

Our current force practice is a bucket of total force hours + "emergency staffing" ie call back, special event staffing, and taking forcible shifts at less than 72 hours notice (sick calls, injury leave, and forceable annual that has not filled yet). These hours fall off after 90 days. One can only be forced into one's own rank unless a lack of qualified employees exists bumping actors up or medics down. This practice was agreed on by labor and management 6 months ago to attempt to improve the force situation. It has not worked and has become a "BF game" IMO.

Prior practice was a rotating list based on last date forced for each rank again unless lack of qualified employees were available.

There is an average of 1.8 forcible positions unfilled each day of 19 total (1 BC, 5 Capt, 4 Eng, 9 FF) for the last three months.

Reducing some or all of our 3 position engine companies to two captain and engineer only would save up to 3 potions per day. We could also float or eliminate our 24 hour T/S Captain.

The reasons why people are sick more often than the past is two faceted in my opinion:

#1 aging workforce. The bulk of our staff was hired 2000-2008. This has created both

a: increased sick/WC leave due to injuries and general aging

b: maxed out sick leave banks where one must "use it or lose it." It's hard to tell a maxed out senior employee to just give up 8 days of sick each year for free. Some legitimately schedule appointments and surgeries with the leave, some don't. Proving that is another matter...

#2: The vast majority of unfilled shifts are on our RA units which as a whole are quite steady with an average UHU of.29 last I checked. Frankly, no one wants to work the box. This has the result of screwing our FF ranks for forces of which 6 of 9 daily are assigned the RAs.

I think I agree with you guys that changing the schedule will not alleviate the larger issues of inadequate daily staffing and a lack of sick/annual buyback. Hopefully the next contract and next chief both due in 2.5 years can address the issues.

I do like Kern Co's schedule. It would explain why a Kern co guy commutes from my area in NV all the way down there.

I am heartened to hear the same issues effect others to varying degrees.

Last edited by rhvfd10; 01-07-2018 at 21:32.
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2018, 16:30
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FATHEAD FATHEAD is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

48/96 turns into a 96/48...... You rarely get a 4 day. Forced OTs. The Kern schedule looks good but like the other guy said Firefighters will go ghost when they leave.
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Old 01-10-2018, 17:36
pedalscraper pedalscraper is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

.......

Last edited by pedalscraper; 01-11-2018 at 07:07.
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2018, 19:12
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Tomdz Tomdz is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

I worked the Kern shift pattern of 48 and it was, for the most part, great! Very rarely did anyone get OT to cover for a sick or injured/on vacation firefighter.

But when things went South when:

The department chief sabotaged the shift pattern because he did not care for it. Never mind he was a 40 (usually less) hr guy. He often expressed his dislike of the 48/96 and was always trying to find ways to punish the rank and file for voting for it. Think passive-aggressive behavior here. After an all nighter 3rd alarm the chief comes in the next morning and says...You have to get on this right away. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can get some sleep. Do PLF, including shutting and opening the street valves on the North side. Don't forget to fill out the reports. Hell, chief, that will take 3 days just to do the reports! Oh, don't forget to wash and hang hose from last night's fire.

If we had a long night the first 24, we were supposed to take care of chores and training the second shift, at some point during the entire shift, and sack out the rest of the day. Chief, in turn would find ways and things for us to do that did not allow us to sleep. Think cheesy stuff like gather all the SCBA bottles, empty them out and then refill them.

If management does not maintain staffing then forced OT nullifies the bennies of the 48/96 which results in more sick time just so people can get rest. That in turn, makes the rank and file hate the 48.

Vacation/education backfill has to be managed way before they start. That means making the OT available well in advance so it is filled voluntarily (with many different people covering) instead of sticking one person with it as they are going off duty.

If you work a busy house running calls all day and night on a 48, fire prevention has to be covered by the bureau. Training is best done by going out of service. If you have to do all these things without sufficient downtime/sleep, in addition to routine station activities and running calls, yer gonna burn out.
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  #10  
Old 01-11-2018, 17:21
desertrunner desertrunner is offline
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Default Re: Forces and the 48/96 creating opposition

I almost went to work for Kern County FD and really wanted to try that schedule...well because I can go to Vegas on that 8 day. But you only get one of those a month and got to wait for it to cycle around. I still like the 48/96 better because I cold use a 4 day every week instead just an 8 day every month.

The other issue for me is, I dont remember if there is a policy in place for OT. Because on the 2-2-2-8, if you take two days of OT in the middle, youre stuck working six days straight. Is there a policy in place for the middle days so they dont work six says straight?
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