This past Tuesday was a busy day for Local 1014 in partnership with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (BOS). Supervisor Kathryn Barger (District 5 representing the North Ops Region) and Supervisor Janice Hahn (District 4 representing Central Ops Region) co-authored a motion to address behavioral health, peer support resources, and working condition accountability for Department management.
The motion is a continuation of the 2018 work between Local 1014 and the BOS on peer support and behavioral health relating to firefighter suicide. The current motion is designed to enforce action to increase behavioral health tools, improve working conditions including staffing and help bridge the disconnect between the Department Administration and Operations.
The motion, which President Gillotte and the Local 1014 Executive Board helped craft, contains continued vigilance for suicide prevention and awareness, increased behavioral health peer support resources and best practices, and increases accountability. Additionally, the motion:
- Defines the Peer Support and Clinician Team
- Evaluates existing workers compensation treatment tools
- Works to secure workers compensation and health insurance coverage in a coordinated manner for behavioral health visits to 24 visits annually
- Develops a plan to offer Department-funded mental health visits to employees and their immediate families with vetted culturally competent clinicians
- Asks for the Department to work with LACERA to provide peer support and clinician support to retirees coordinated through the PEER support program.
- Directs Department to reduce staff recall due to vacancies and injury vacancies by at least 50% by March 1, 2022.
- Evaluate the Department’s Grievance process to provide timely and safe harbor for investigations, manager issues, other employee issues.
Your Union will be a driving force to help make changes and restore the connection between Admin and the Field. This is key in any and all actions going forward to improve working conditions and items affecting our work life.
Tuesday was a powerful day. In his testimony, President Gillotte called for a 30-day report back with ongoing reports instead of the 60 days as originally proposed. The co-authors took the friendly amendment and wrote it into the motion which passed unanimously and serves not only as a start but a mandate for the Fire Chief and his staff’s work.
“I am going to be working week after week after week to make sure this is followed through because, on my watch, I am not going to have something like this happen again...The credit goes to Dave Gillotte and Local 1014, they have been pushing this narrative quite hard… The Union actually was the first to move on hiring (a psychologist) because it was not moving quick enough.”
-Supervisor Kathryn Barger
“Our Fire Department employees have told us that they need support from peers, and they need mental health clinicians who understand what they are going through…thank you, so much, to Dave Gillotte and Local 1014 for all your help with this motion, thank you for being so strong during this tragic time and being there for all of your rank and file firefighters…”
-Supervisor Janice Hahn
“As a State Legislator, I served on the Labor Committee my entire 10 years there, this isn't the first time this issue has come forward, not only through 1014 who had legislation before the legislature, but correctional officers, law enforcement, and firefighters up and down the entire state who have really begun to come forward and acknowledge the trauma they experience in doing their day-to-day jobs and how we, as government, their employers, must acknowledge that and provide them with protection and safe options to confidentially seek help and service.”
-Supervisor Holly Mitchell