Your Local 1014 Executive Board has come together nicely and while there will be no shortage of work, these past two or three weeks have been extremely taxing on us all. The membership feels the tension and can clearly see the smoke in the air as we do battle day after day with the Department right now on so many issues. We are also dealing with negotiations for both salary and fringe benefits, the Auditor Controller and Fire Chiefs investigation, and a media circus regarding exams and alleged nepotism, EMS Issues, and of course LA-RICS and the cell towers, and more. Well, here is a little update on things as we head into the week of April 20th....
LA-RICS / CELL ANTENNA ISSUE:
Victory in hearing our Voice! While we are not quite done yet, it can be said we WON! Local 1014 did what most said couldn't be done: we battled great odds and a multi-billion dollar adversary to have not only our voice heard, but the voices heard of so many concerned citizens. While we remain supportive of a National Interoperability Radio and Data System, we could not stand idly by and let health and safety concerns be overridden by a quest to simply leverage our fire stations as the cheapest way to go, regardless of the risk. The citizens in the neighborhoods also awoke literally to property value decreases of 21% and other such issues involving the communities.
We made our voice heard strongly in a campaign to lobby the City Council Members of our great cities, the Citizens we protect and serve, and the County Board of Supervisors. We allied with our communities and the leaders listened and heard our concerns and joined with us to do the right thing. Construction was halted on all fire station sites and the federal grant was suspended for LA-RICS until they put together a revised plan for cell sites that DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY FIRE STATION OR FIRE FACILITIES THAT HOUSE OUR PERSONNEL. Similarly we worked with UFLAC Local 112 to garner the support of their elected officials to support our issues and the same will now apply in LA City.
We are not quite done with all of this yet and we will be heading to Washington DC this weekend, at the same time the Board of Supervisors, Fire Chief, and Sheriff. We will speak to our Congressional Members, Senate Representatives and officials from the grant offices to ensure our interests are protected in any revised plan that is approved. We will also be there to lobby in support of continued federal grant monies, but to assure that the system moves forward incorporates health and safety, as well as citizen concerns, in the plan. IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger will also be with us on the issue and our work could very likely help protect firefighters in fire stations throughout the nation.
We will keep you updated as we move to finish this fight, and for now THANK YOU to all of you who stepped up and helped with this fight. You attended rallies, sent letters, signed petitionsmade phone calls and sent e-mails to put pressure on the elected officials to do the right thing. THANK YOU to all of our citizens who were there with us when it counted, and THANK YOU to the elected City Officials and all 5 of the County Board of Supervisors and their staff who worked tirelessly in support of our path to address our concerns. It is unfortunate that the Department and the LA-RICS Board did not address these issues early on and continues to try and move in a direction without true stakeholder interest collaboration with the firefighters and the citizens, but that is changing rapidly for them now. GREAT WORK LOCAL 1014! More to come; stay tuned.
REGIONAL GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING - SANTA CLARITA
On Tuesday, April 14, Local 1014 was on the road to Santa Clarita to host the first regional meeting of 2015. The Santa Clarita Elks Lodge #2379 graciously donated their facility for our monthly General Membership Meeting, and went above and beyond to provide us with a "Made to Order" top notch lunch! Although the bar was closed, our brothers and sisters were wound up with plenty of coffee and world famous Randy's Donuts prior to the meeting!
We were pleased to host several guest speakers from the region, including Supervisor Michael Antonovich's Chief of Staff Katherine Barger, and Santa Clarita City Council Members Dante Acosta and Laurene Weste. These strong supporters of Local 1014 all spoke about their respective offices and they were all key allies in the fight against the LA-RICS LTE cell tower health and safety issue for our membership. Assistant Chief Hisel held a question and answer session from the floor and will report all of the items discussed to Deputy Chief Tripp. We want to thank the 60+ members that showed up and had plenty of good questions for the Board, generating some great conversation, dispelled rumors, and provided direction to specific concerns. The Executive Board provided updates on the status of LA-RICS, current testing process, negotiations, LA Times articles, Auditor Controller investigation, Fire Chief, pension attack, budget, discipline, Board of Supervisors, and other operational issues affecting our members.
Thank you to all who participated and we look forward to bringing the membership more regional meetings in the near future.
The 1014 negotiations team continues to meet with the County to bargain over our wages, hours, and working conditions. Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 20.
We have agreed to meet every Monday unless one side requests more time. Last week, the County asked for an extra week to review our initial proposals. At our next meeting, it is anticipated that we will dive more into our proposal and possibly get a counter proposal from the County. As a reminder we will continue to update our 2105 Contract negotiations update page at local1014.org
While 1014 continues to negotiate a successor contract for our 601/602 bargaining units, the Coalition of County Unions (CCU) - where we negotiate for common fringe benefits like Choices, Horizons, and paid leave - had our first bargaining session on Wednesday, April 15. In this initial session, we agreed to Ground Rules and reviewed the Coalition's initial proposals submitted to the County. The County representatives asked certain questions and we agree to meet again on Wednesday. April 29.
The CCU includes the following labor organizations:
- AFSCME Local 685
- AFSCME Council 36
- CAPE (County Engineers)
- CIR/SEIU (Interns and Residents
- IUOE Local 501 (Operating Engineers)
- LA County Building & Construction Trades Council
- LA County Firefighters, Local 1014
- LA County Lifeguards (LACOLA)
- UAPD/AFSCME (Physicians & Dentist)
AUDITOR-CONTROLLER INVESTIGATION UPDATE:
As you all know the Auditor-Controller has conducted investigations of some of our members based on information delivered to a newspaper reportedly by a member of this Department. The Fire Chief ordered this investigation to be done. Members were interviewed individually with all their employee rights allowed by law under Firefighters Bill of Rights (FBOR). After a few rounds of interviews the Auditor Controller issued a report. Based on this report the Fire Chief has begun to issue discipline.
A report based on the next round of interviews will be issued in the near future. Based on that report, the Fire Chief may again issue some levels of discipline.
These investigations will potentially continue. 1014 has demanded that those people who oversaw or had any management responsibility for the exam process not be immune from the investigation.
Our members have asked for, and received, representation from 1014 before, during and after these interviews. The law is very clear when discipline is issued and we are making sure that those laws are upheld. Every member has rights and we are protecting those rights.
This process will be long and ongoing. Our members will need 1014 support to protect their careers. We disagree completely in the actions the Fire Chief has taken. This process is far from over.
We ask that you respect these members that are going through this process. Don't contact them, or their crews, and try and get information from them.
PENSIONS WILL BE UNDER ATTACK AGAIN IN 2016
Three "has-been" anti-pension crusaders - termed-out San Jose Mayor
Chuck Reed; failed mayoral and congressional candidate/talk show host Carl DeMaio; and the head of the Ventura Taxpayer Association, Dave Grau, who lost an anti-pension initiative there - are planning to place a measure on the 2016 ballot to change the California Constitution and remove public employees from the protection of the contract clause.
This would effectively make it possible to take away future pension benefits for active employees firefighters!
To learn how to talk about pensions and get the facts, please visit a great website called Let's Talk Pensions run by Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of more than 1.6 million Californians representing public employees and retirees. And be sure to follow Let's Talk Pensions on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
Have a great week, and stay safe as we tackle high temps, wind, and fire weather again. It is no secret that we are in strained times with the Department leadership and there will likely be some very adverse and highly volatile issues and actions ahead of us. These times will test our resolve, strength, and commitment to what is right and what it takes to ensure that right is what is done. We will lead, and the membership will fight, and we will win. We have a long-standing history of being problem solvers and warriors to ensure OUR FIRE DEPARTMENT AND OUR PROFESSION is in good stead on all levels. If that means stepping into the management end of things on how we run the Department, then so be it.
We thank you in advance for your resolve and commitment to not only handle our Union work on so many levels, but also to help this Department find level ground and move back toward being a world class Fire Department with Professional Fire Fighters and Fire Personnel - A FRANCHISE ORGANIZATION that stands the test of time through the pride and dedication of our personnel. We all do great work daily and it shows in our partnership with our citizens. Stay the course and do great work and get ready for more fight as we put this place back on track.
Your Local 1014 Executive Board