Friday Update 9-17-21
Updated On: Oct 12, 2021
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Sisters and Brothers, 
Today we will laid to rest one of our Union legends. Alfred Whitehead was responsible for so many protections and benefits that we enjoy today. Protections like Right to Know, 2 In 2 Out, Line of Duty Death Investigations, Cancer Presumption, and even Overtime Pay are all the result of Brother Whitehead’s many years of dedication to our fire service, our members and their families. 

Brother Whitehead joined Los Angeles County Firefighters Local 1014 in the mid-1950s and rose through the ranks to become Local 1014 president in 1970. In that position, Brother Whitehead proved instrumental in rescuing CPF — then known as Federated Fire Fighters of California — from bankruptcy and helping to chart the path that would make CPF a powerful and influential voice in the fire service. 

In 1982, Brother Whitehead was elected IAFF General Secretary and, six years later, became the first Californian to be elected IAFF General President. During his tenure in the union’s highest office, Whitehead made political action a top priority, working hard to establish allies at the local, state and federal levels. When he retired in 2000, IAFF honored his advocacy for the membership by rechristening its annual legislative conference as the Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference. 

President Gillotte, IAFF General President Ed Kelly, and CPF President Brian Rice spoke to bring Union and personal stories of Al’s loyalty to our membership and our members' families including his own.  Friends and legends of CPF Dan Terry and Brian Hatch also brought personal stories of life, union and family to help us all remember Al as a Firefighter, a Union Leader, and a wonderfully compassionate human.  
Brother Whitehead's fire service legacy continued through the generations: his son, Kenneth is a retired L.A. County Fire Captain and his grandson Daniel Wagner is an active L.A. County firefighter-specialist stationed at Fire Station 82. 

Thank you to all the LA County and Orange County Firefighters who joined us today at the ceremony to honor this incredible man for his contribution to our profession and the union movement.  Special thank you to LACOFD Chief Daryl Osby, OC Chief Brian Fennessy, the LACOFD Memorial Management Team, the LACOFD Pipes and Drums, the LACOFD Honor Guard, the Chaplains, and everyone who worked to make this day special for the Whitehead family. 
Click here to view the memorial service. 

This past Tuesday, we had an excellent and well-attended General Membership Meeting addressing the vaccine mandate in a productive and open forum. Thank you to the nearly 300 members who showed up to support our work and provide feedback from the field. In response to the motions that were introduced this past Tuesday, we will be postponing the webinar so we can address the issues brought up at the meeting as well as any new developments in that forum. Stay tuned for the new date and time next week. 

One thing that Brother Whitehead knew better than anyone was that we needed solidarity in order to get movement for our members. Today as we are facing an unprecedented issue as we continue to serve on the frontlines of a global pandemic. 

The vaccine mandate is a national issue. We have the opportunity to be leaders in this issue. While some of our neighboring unions have been divided by this issue, we are going to show the path to strength through unity. Whether you are vaccinated or not, we need to stand together to ensure that we do not lose any of the protections and rights we have fought so hard for since the days of Brother Whitehead. 

The divide that runs not just in LA County and in our state, but throughout the nation and Canada, is harmful to our solidarity and our power and strength as one.  Take time to understand each other and embrace different points of view, feelings, and emotions as well as the legal issues that define where we are working to land a fair policy.  Stand together, not apart, and be kind to each other as we navigate this incredibly difficult time.  

We are committed to moving forward with our opposition to this mandate in a manner that will not only accommodate our members' freedom of medical choice but set the precedent for the nation balancing safety for the public with individual choice for our members and their families. We know that we can do this, but we cannot do it alone.  We need our members to support the work of the Union now more than ever. We will get through this if we remember our history and the legacy of people like Brother Whitehead. Even if we don’t always agree with each other, we must stand in solidarity in order to continue to preserve our wages, benefits, and working conditions for future generations.  

In Solidarity, 

President Dave Gillotte and the Local 1014 Executive Board 

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