2020: Year in Review
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Brothers & Sisters,
We have had an extraordinarily painful and challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our economy and our way of life.
While this has been a difficult year, it has also been a year that showed the strength of our membership, our union, and our solidarity. Despite overwhelming challenges, we have been able to accomplish so much for our members because we have stood in solidarity and unity with each other to protect our members and their families as they battle on the frontline of a global pandemic. The power of solidarity, political action, and legislative advocacy has never been more apparent than during these trying times.
As we close out the year, we would like to pause to recognize all we have overcome and all we have accomplished this year:
FIGHTING ON THE FRONTLINES OF COVID-19
As early as February, our members began seeing the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in our communities. Local 1014 immediately jumped into action together with the Department and our excellent EMS and Health Services staff to develop protocols to protect our members.
Local 1014 also ensured that our affected members had protocols in place for quarantining, testing, and time off. We helped ensure safe station protocols and secured PPE through our political action efforts. As we continued to face the unprecedented pandemic, we also were dealing with a severe staffing shortage. Together with our Management and Training Staff partners, we ensured that our Drill Towers continued in a COVID-compliant manner while ensuring that we trained recruits hard and prepared them for the tough job ahead.
Now as we close the year, we are thankful to our EMS and Health Services Staff for their hard work ensuring our members get vaccinated. In a record-breaking 3 days, our small EMS staff has vaccinated over 2,600 members. We are blessed to have the finest team in the nation taking care of our members.
WILDFIRES – MUTUAL AID
With record high temperatures in 2020, Local 1014 members were also asked to fight massive wildfire across the state and in our own jurisdiction with Lake 1, Lake 2, Ranch 1, Ranch 2, CZU August Lightning Complex, LNU Lightning Complex, North Complex, Cold Springs, SCU Lightning, and the Red Salmon Complex incidents all occurring simultaneously. Our members assisted our brothers and sisters statewide while continuing to deliver world-class service to our residents at home.
601/602 CONTRACT EXTENSION, PLAN C RETIREMENT, AND HEALTHCARE
Our contract expires tonight at midnight. We have successfully negotiated a contract extension for 30 days to continue the discussion on a few critical issues affecting Plan C members. You may have heard the Sheriffs and Lifeguards have accepted a one-year extension for 2021. Given the economic outlook and post-COVID predictions on sales tax and property tax revenue, it is a good decision for those members who have more impact from the general fund to secure the protections of an MOU. We also have those same protections, and the County offered us the same one-year extension. However, while we understand the environment, we want to have frank and grounded discussions with the new CEO on important items affecting Plan C members. We are making this our number one priority to negotiate longevity in rank or some equivalent for parity post-PEPRA ruling on Ventura.
We have also crafted a retiree medical trust similar to LACERA Board and Trust to allow both member and County contributions in a no-tax manner for earnings and disbursements for spousal and family medical contributions and expenses in retirement. We worked very hard with the Coalition of County Unions (CCU) to protect the level of benefits and defined benefit system, but there is a huge funding problem on retiree medical, and this is one area where impact to earnings and County General Fund can hurt the Fire District in retiree health costs. More on this in the next few weeks as we continue discussions.
48/96 TRIAL SHIFT SCHEDULE CHANGE
This year our members voted for a one-year trial. While COVID has delayed this item, as it has all things, this issue is alive and in discussions with Chief Osby as we try to earn his support. The talks have been detailed and specific with regard to operations issues, funding, staffing shortage, and more. We can assure you the vote stands, and no amount of retiree or active discourse changes that fact. We will continue to address this openly and strongly. The Fire Chief is analyzing and evaluating all in good faith to give us an answer on support. We have partners in this as well, including the CEO and Board of Supervisors.
Stay tuned. We understand this was and is a slightly divisive issue, but once and for all we are handling it. Don't believe the social media banter. We don’t play games with votes. We are confident that we will get support from the Department, and we are courting that, but we as a Labor Union are not asking for permission either. We are partners, Labor and Management, and this is one of those items where a partnership serves the item well. We will keep you updated as we continue to move forward on these issues.
This year, perhaps more than most, we are grateful for the Peer Support Program we have built. In October, LACOFD officially accepted the donation of two fully trained peer support dogs from the nation’s leading dog training foundations.
Dogs “Milo” and “Echo” were specially selected and completed hundreds of hours of intense specialized training to support firefighters with PTSI or high levels of anxiety in a variety of situations and settings. As our firefighters continue to face an unprecedented wildfire season and ever-increasing call loads with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our firefighters' mental and physical health has never been more critical.
603-604 CONTRACT RATIFICATION
At the beginning of the year, we secured an excellent successor contract for our brothers and sisters in bargaining units 603/604 serving in Dispatch, Health HazMat, Forestry, and Fire Prevention who serve vital roles in our fire-based EMS and multi-mission work. The contract was ratified with 99.2% approval.
POLITICAL ACTION & LEGISLATION
As we have said many times, political action is the most powerful tool we have to ensure that our members have the benefits, wages, and working conditions they need to remain safe and healthy as we serve the public.
This year, your Executive Board weighed in on every bill through our robust advocacy efforts to ensure that every State Senator, Assemblymember, and Governor embraced these bills and their passage into law. Thank you to the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) Legislative Team and all our brother and sister affiliates for the hard work. COVID-19 made things even more difficult to navigate with communication and meetings being done virtually, but we got it done. See list below of firefighter-sponsored legislation that has been signed into law this year below.
- SB 1159 (Hill) – Workers’ compensation: COVID-19: critical workers (Status: Signed by Governor)
- AB 1867 – Small employer family leave mediation: supplemental paid sick leave (Status: Signed by Governor)
- AB 685 (Reyes) – COVID-19: Imminent hazard to employees: exposure: notification: serious violations (Status: Signed by Governor)
- AB 1544 (Gipson) – Community Paramedicine or Triage to Alternate Destination Act (Status: Signed by Governor)
- SB 1044 (Allen) – Firefighting equipment and foam: PFAS chemicals (Status: Signed by Governor)
- AB 2967 (O’Donnell) – Public Employee’s Retirement System: contracting agencies: exclusion from membership (Status: Signed by Governor)
- AB 2068 (Petrie-Norris) – Voluntary tax contributions: California Firefighters Memorial Fund: California Police Officer Memorial Foundation Fund (Status: Signed by Governor)
To learn more about these bills and Local 1014's role in advocating for these critical pieces of legislation, click here.
GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITIES
In addition to providing emergency fire and EMS services, our members also helped our communities struggling with the pandemic.
Local 1014 was also proud to host our first-ever blood drive benefitting The American Red Cross. The Red Cross is experiencing a severe shortage of blood due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has not only limited donors but also available sites for blood drives. We are looking to host more drives in the future to help fill the critical need for blood in our communities.
Additionally, Local 1014 joined Supervisor Hilda Solis, the City of El Monte, and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to help distribute food to over 3,500 families in El Monte. As public servants, our job goes well beyond providing EMS and Fire services for our communities, we are also leaders who are called upon to help in times of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic left many of our communities in dire economic circumstances. Our members stepped up to help our communities in need.
This has truly been an extraordinary year. As we close out this year, we look with hope and optimism toward 2021 and a better year. On behalf of the Local 1014 Executive Board and the Local 1014 Staff, we wish you and your families a Safe, Healthy, and Happy New Year.