Ron: Loved your intro ! Yes jumping in the ocean or a swimming pool and rescuing someone from drowning is rewarding in of itself. As many lifeguards for life can attest its something we love to do ever summer. Yes , we need more lifeguards. Unfortunately the meat and potatoes in this story is missing some facts. I take issue with a couple of points: "That ancient history lingered. But it has no bearing on the rank-in-file lifeguards and their union and never did." That is false. Read some ancient history on the Office of Collective Bargaining website that still pertains today: https://decisia.lexum.com/nycocb/bcb/en/item/314139/index.doq=DC37%2C+Local+461%2C+Local+508
There is a stranglehold on the lifeguard union coming from the Chief's locals and their President Peter Stein. Stein's controls the lifeguard local. He even puts supervisors in the lifeguard local which is against the local's constitution. Meanwhile the rank and file Lifeguards who work very hard on NYC beaches and pools pay union dues each summer are not permitted to run and vote in their Local 461 elections. 32 years ago Stein and Company locked the union hall when the lifeguards were arriving to run and vote. The next year those that attempted to run for union office were all failed on the swim test . Fast forward to 2020 lifeguards tired of no opportunity for advancement and having no say in their working condition brought the Local 461 President up on charges through AFSCME for not having meetings. Never mind that this individual put there by Stein was also paid a Chief lifeguard salary half the year making him ineligible to be the President of Local 461! He was removed and the lifeguards were hopeful only to discover that the locals constitution has February elections even though paperwork showed that they had elections in June and put "placeholders" in position. Lifeguards since the 1970s have paid dues but have never been invited to participate in their union!! Some racket. So your statement : No solution of any kind should ever be tried or even proposed without the full consent and endorsement of the lifeguards union. Who is the lifeguard union? 30 to 40 full time lifeguards will decide what's good for the 900 to 1200 lifeguards seasonal lifeguards. Perhaps Henry Garrido is now piping up so he can keep our dues flowing. He refused to help the honest lifeguards trying to get involved in their local. Lifeguards voices need to be heard . We've been held down for so long but we are strong swimmers and will always pop up. Oh and yes there is a national shortage of lifeguards ,however, in NYC there is another attempt at pushing lifeguards out of the job who were attempting to participate in their union. Lots of failures on the test this season as it was last season. Lots of us still waiting for swim appointments to test. COVID-19 gave the union run lifeguard school an opportunity for appointment only testing. No call . No test. No lifeguarding.
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