This situation is what happens when passion, attitude, and financial reality meet.
Coming from a paid on call background, the situation you describe is the cultural norm for a volunteer firefighter!
- so I was forced to move closer to the city
- had to become a "active volunteer" which means attending a set percentage of calls
- I am also expected to attend 75% of the volley training nights
- I was to work A 45hr work week but now I am regularly at the hall 50-60hrs per week and on call 24/7 responding to calls in the middle of the night and then having to Pull through my 9 hr day afterwards
They have to live within the municipality they volunteer for, they often have to meet minimum fire call and training attendance requirements, they have to attend training in their off time, they have to work their "day" jobs, they have to attend calls in the middle of the night and get up and go to their day job the next day.
The ONLY difference is that instead of an engineer, a retail worker, a sales agent or a welder your "full time" job is also a firefighter.
For most their passion, attitude, and financial reality allow them to do the above and love it. There are places where "volunteers" get paid $1/hour (plus call outs) to standby in the hall on a regular shift. (We often are our own worst enemies.)
Unfortunately, although the municipality has "full time" firefighters you are essentially "day crew" and being managed through the volunteer/POC paradigm.
I am sure most any union may be able to adjust your "contract" and working conditions somewhat, but they will not be able (or likely have the desire) to appreciably change the fire service managerial paradigm or service delivery model at this juncture (union dues of two guys...).
Approach fire management with your financial concerns. Perhaps a scheduled "retained time" could be negotiated where you live in the hall for a set time (overnights) and get to live in the reduced rent area further away at others. Perhaps a relaxed call attendance (not training) requirement could be negotiated to allow for part time work.
Regardless, this is obviously not a traditional "full time" shift firefighter position leading to the sunshine list. My advice is look for opportunities to make it work while also looking for other full time employment opportunities elsewhere.