Winston-Salem Local 682 History

Winston-Salem – Bits and Pieces of History

  Winston-Salem Local No. 682

IAFF Charter Installation, March 11, 1941

IAFF President: Fred W. Baer

IAFF Secretary/Treasurer: Geo. J. Richardson

Local 668 Temporary President: Unknown

Local 668 Temporary Secretary/ Treasurer: Unknown

Organized by: K.J. Smith, Vice President, NC AFL, Raleigh District

Winston-Salem Joins With Firefighters Union

The North Carolina FederationistApril-May 1941

By:  K. J. Smith, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of Labor Raleigh District

         On March 11, a charter was installed for the Winston-Salem Fire Department, bringing the total of organized departments in this state to six.  We are proud of these boys, and are indeed glad to welcome them into our ranks.  Brother Hugh Kilgore, from Atlanta, Ga., was there for the installation along with Brother A. E. Brown of Durham, Brother J. J. Thomas and several firemen from Charlotte, Brother Brown from High Point, myself and several others.  This was a grand occasion, the spirit displayed at this meeting would swell the pride in any fireman’s heart.  The State Council of Firefighters stand ready to assist these boys at any time, and I am confident that labor in Winston-Salem, along with the State Federation feel likewise.

         The addition of this new local brings more power, influence, and prestige to our association.  May other departments in North Carolina see fit to join with us and make our burden lighter; to help carry our program forward.  Our problems are all basically the same, why not all catch the same train and make the going easier.

Firemen Give Profit From Show to Charity

The Hose & NozzleSeptember – October 1972

The city firemen’s association has given the profits from its country music show, staged in March, to the Salvation Army and Amos Cottage, a home for handicapped children, the union president said.

            Robert E. Moricle, president of the 139-member union, said the funds came from the now-defunct firemen’s association account.  The association became the Fire Fighter’s Association, a union, shortly before the concert.

            Moricle said the accounts have been kept separate because of criticism that the proceeds from the concert would be used to fatten the treasury of the union.

            In an interview however, he emphasized that the entire profits from the concert went to the two community organizations and not into the union coffers.

            The union sent a $1,000 check to Amos Cottage and a $500 check to the Salvation Army, he said.  The rest of the total receipts of the concert, which Moricle said was about $14,000 went to pay the concert’s expenses.

Union Submits Goals to Management; Study Planned

The Hose & NozzleMarch – April 1973

A union local representing a majority of the city’s firemen has sent a list of “goals” to city officials.

The union says the firemen have become “the forgotten public servant.”

Robert E. Moricle, president of Local 2114 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO, sent a letter to fire Chief Paul Crim which said in part, “We believe that in the past couple of years we have given the city more than our share of services, such as operating with reduced manpower.”

The firemen listed four goals:  Firemen should receive the same salary as police patrolmen.  Retirement with full pay should be allowed after 30 years of service or at age 55, whichever comes first.  The city should pay for an expanded hospital and life insurance program.  Unlimited sick leave should be available for injuries sustained while at work, and firemen should be paid for accumulated sick leave upon retirement.

Moricle said the met with Crim and Deputy Chief A. B. Bulllard.  Crim has passed the letter on to City Manager Orville W. Powell, who will send it to the Board of Aldermen.

Powell called the requests “timely” and said the city has already received six proposals from personnel consulting firms bidding to conduct a classification and pay plan study.  The study would compare jobs and ranks of all city employees.

The study will be finished by May 1, so city officials can incorporate the information into the next budget, he said.

Firemen Attack City’s Proposal

The Hose & NozzleMarch – April 1976

            A plan by fire and public safety officials to revamp the city’s firefighting operations has come under attack by some firemen.

            The city officials who devised the plan say that it will make better use of manpower.  But the president of the Fire Fighter’s Association says that efficiency will be reduced.

            The proposal, when completed will shift 10 men from the city’s four stations in the central city to those public safety-operated fire stations in outlying areas.

            According to City Manager Orville W. Powell, the plan is a result of a city government hiring freeze and an attempt to make better use of manpower.  No one will be laid off, Powell said.

            Public safety director Norman E. Ponrenke said that the new plan won’t have the 28-day training period now required of public safety officers.  Instead, they will have to undergo only a five-day intensive training session.

            The 10 men taken from the four stations will be put on the street as public safety officers and will work in the parts of the city covered by public safety officers and will work in the parts of the city covered by public safety officers.

            Of the 11 stations in the city, four are considered totally independent of public safety assistance.  The other seven 12-men stations, in case of fire calls, will be aided by the 10 public safety officers.

But Robert Moricle, president of the Fire Fighter’s Association, said the plan will make the central stations less efficient.  The 10 men taken from the four central stations will be less efficient because they will not receive help from any public safety officers, he said.

Firefighters Attack City’s Plan to Revamp Operations

The Hose & NozzleMay – June 1976

            A plan by fire and public safety officials to revamp the city’s firefighting operations has come under attack by some firemen.

            The effort of Winston-Salem firemen to stir public opinion against cuts in the manning of fire stations has not brought many calls to members of the Board of Alderman.

            Several aldermen were interviewed after the firemen’s week of radio advertisements and other efforts, and none reported any large number of calls about the issue.

Officers Role

The role of the public safety officers, who double as policemen and firemen and meet fire trucks at the scene of the fire when called, is at the heart of the dispute between City Hall and the firemen.

            The fire department’s plan, as presented by Fire Chief Paul Crim, would assign men to the new station, No. 12, created a 12-man tactical squad, and set up an eight-man backup group of firemen.  To do all this, the department would dip into the ranks that now man the city’s 11 fire stations.

            On the three shifts that firemen work, the force would be cut from four to three at seven stations that are part of the public safety officer program.  At the other four, the plan would reduce the number by one at three stations, and by three at station No. 1.

            This would give the fire department enough men for the new station and the two new groups.  The eight-man group would be a replacement pool to be assigned where needed.  The 12-man tactical squad would be stationed downtown and respond to fires throughout the city, along with the company whose area the fire is in.


            Norman E. Pomrenke, the Assistant City Manager (public safety), told the committee that Winston-Salem has more men in its fire companies than comparable cities in the state.

            Durham, he said, which counts entirely on the public safety officers for fire protection, and has only one man in a station to drive the truck to a fire.  In comparison, Winston-Salem has four men.

            Bob Moricle, president of the local International Association of Firefighters, told the committee that having three men at the station would not be enough.

            He said the firemen want four men kept on each shift at the seven public safety stations, and five men at the other four.

            “In 1972, we had over 200 men,” Moricle said.  “We now have 170.  We’re going steadily downhill.”

            Moricle and other firemen maintained that having three men per shift assigned to a station, housing one pumper, would mean that if someone was sick or on vacation only two would be there.  In addition, they said, public safety officers cannot be counted on to arrive at a fire before the fire truck does.

            (Figures made available by Pomrenke show that the public safety officers arrive before the fire trucks in 39.4 percent of the cases and at the same time in 17.9 percent.  In the other 42.6 percent, the fire truck arrives before the public safety car.)

            City officials argue that three men on a truck is sufficient and that the important issue for the public is not the number of men at the station but the number of men arriving at the scene of a fire.  That number would not be reduced under their plan.

Union Spokesman Challenges Test

The Hose & NozzleJuly – August 1976

By:  Winston Cavin

            Robert Moricle, spokesman for a number of Winston-Salem firemen, came up with an unexpected weapon in his fight against the city’s cost-cutting plan to reduce the number of firemen on duty at fire stations.

            Moricle, President of Local 2114  of the International Association of Fire Fighters, spoke to the Finance Committee of the Board of Aldermen during one of its budget sessions.

            The buttress his claim that firefighting efficiency would be reduced, he told the aldermen about a surprise test run made by the fire department when a one-story frame house was deliberately burned.

            The test was set up to simulate a fire response under the proposed plan.

            “The fire was extinguished,” Moricle said, “but we would not have been able to make a rescue because the second (backup) unit took eight minutes longer to get there than the first unit.”

            He said the men arriving first were only able to fight the fire from outside, and didn’t have adequate backup support to go inside and rescue “victims.”

            A truck with two men aboard provided first response, but a public safety officer, dispatched separately, arrived ahead of the truck.

            Moricle said the public safety officer took a minute and 45 seconds to put on his firefighting gear, and said the PSO would have to arrive at a fire scene ahead of the truck to be “caught up” with the arriving firemen, ready to fight the fire.  He said the PSO arrives ahead of the truck only 40 percent of the time under the department’s current operations.

            The backup unit which arrived eight minutes later was similar to the proposed Tactical Squad’s second-response arrival.

            The point, according to Moricle, is that firefighting manpower is at a “bare minimum” now.  Reductions, he said, would endanger lives and property.