Friday Update 10-22-21
Updated On: Dec 07, 2021

FRIDAY UPDATE

Sisters and Brothers, 

CONTINUED EFFORTS TO PROMOTE AND HIRE NEW FIREFIGHTERS - STAFFING REMAINS A PRIORITY 

Congratulations to Local 1014 members who have recently competed the Captains Exam, those currently in process for the next Engineers Exam, and Captains who placed on the Battalion Chiefs exam.  Your hard work and willingness to step up to each new level of responsibility on the job is critical to the structure of our organization as we grow and see many of our members reach retirement age and leave service.  An amazing career for those who serve and we tip our caps to our members who are moving to the world of LACERA and likely the Museum to help preserve our heritage!  
 
We also would like to congratulate the graduating Class 163 and we look forward to Class 164 graduating on November 3rd.  Thank you to the Training Services section and all our members in the recruit training cadre who help train our new generations! We continue our commitment to working with the Department to make regular and recurring promotional, paramedic and recruit class programming a priority to ensure adequate staffing levels and reduced forced hiring and recalls.  The Department will continue to evolve and grow with each year of retirements and new recruits coming in to our family.  Take the time to mentor and help those who are new to the job, or their new positions as we all join together to serve the citizens of LA County.  We will continue to press on the Department in 2022 as we move to consistent and regular promotional testing and hiring.  Once again congratulations to all who have chosen to compete and earn the only badge with a bear, the most sought after badge in the world. COUNTY! - LOCAL 1014 STRONG. 
 


COVID VACCINE MANDATE UPDATE 


Local 1014 and the Coalition of County Unions (CCU) moves forward with Impasse as we continue to negotiate with the County of Los Angeles on the impacts and effects of the COVID Vaccine Mandate by the Board of Supervisors with the support of the communities we serve.  Vaccine mandates for COVID have been hitting in every city and county in the state with elected officials supporting the move.  We are embroiled in a negotiation to deal with the impacts of our mandates and at Impasse.

We will be meeting this next week with a state appointed mediator to bridge the gaps and find common ground between the Unions and the County.  As of now the County has implemented a vaccine mandate with no alternatives and a disciplinary path of corrective action that could result in discharge at the end of a lengthy compliance procedure and appeals through civil service.  The Unions have proposed alternative paths and are now seeking formal mediation to use data and alternative methods to achieve employee vaccination and safety precautions including testing and natural antibody immunity levels to meet appropriate safety for the public and our members.  

Some Unions have high levels of vaccinated memberships and others have low rates of vaccination.  The County Fire Department hovers near 70% vaccination with both shots. Some Unions are at the 50% mark while others are above 90% in their memberships.  There are also state orders for workers in acute care facilities like convalescent homes and critical care units and these mandates must be complied with by the cities and counties without variance.  The Unions represent some of these employees also and their compliance timelines are accelerated compared to other members.  

We support members getting the vaccine and for those with medical or religious exemptions, to eventually file and receive those exemptions with accommodations. No member who has true medical and or religious reasons for not taking the vaccine will be denied those lawful exemptions and we have been working tirelessly on the language of the exemption procedures and the interpretation of the laws pertaining to medical privacy and religious privacy within those compliance procedures.  

We have also been providing to the County information and data to support natural immunity as a potential path to achieve “vaccine status” under the mandate.  We have over 30% of our members who have tested positive for COVID and we believe the science on this front should be embraced especially if the CDC embraces. We continue to pursue this avenue of negotiation.  We also have submitted data that supports our use of safety gear which different than others with masks, goggles, gowns and distancing, limiting patient contact and cleaning along with our ring testing and periodic testing that could all be effectively used by those who are not vaccinated as alternatives.  These items will be the center of the talks with the mediator.  

We also had our first meeting with the County and Fulgent to discuss security concerns with our members data, and testing material.  The Unions pressed hard on the company and on the County to demand changes to the consent forms, policies and further definition of how our testing and vaccine status data will occur.  We are not done with this discussion to the side of the mediation, but we had very good progress in the first round resulting in the demanded changes to online and written materials for the process.  While we may not be able to pick the data and testing company, we can bargain over the parameters of the policies and contract language between the company and the County.  
 
Here is a list of questions and answers that were addressed on our meeting with Fulgent and the County.  

1. What tests is Fulgent using in performing the testing function in the County’s implemented COVID-19 vaccination/testing policies? More specifically, is Fulgent using diagnostic or antibody tests, and within each category, what types of tests?
 
Fulgent is conducting diagnostic RT-PCR testing for COVID-19, targeting viral RNA using CDC-recommended probes.
 
2. Do the tests Fulgent is using test for anything other than COVID-19? If so, what other conditions do the tests identify?
 
The test is also able to identify the presence of influenza A and B; however, LA County administrators have declined this option. It is important to note that any testing beyond this scope would be impossible, as no DNA is extracted from COVID-19 RT-PCR samples, so there is no human genetic analysis performed.
 
3. What medical information, including medical and medication history, does Fulgent gather as part of the testing process?
 

No medical history or medication data is collected during LAC-Fulgent data transfer or subsequent participant registration. Individuals that submit test samples will participate in a brief on-site health screening that includes yes or no questions pertaining to recent hospitalization, pregnancy, and whether a participant is currently symptomatic. Participants may decline to answer any of these questions, and responses are not shared with LA County program administrators.
 
4. What information from each test does Fulgent retain, and where? If any medical information is gathered by Fulgent as part of the testing process, how does Fulgent store the information?
 
LA County provides Fulgent with participant name, assigned department, employee or contractor ID number, and DOB (in some cases). During registration, the LAC-Fulgent system will verify that the data entered by the registrant matches County provisions. Once verified, a participant will advance to provide vaccination data (manufacturer and date of administration for each dose received).
 
Based on the vaccination information provided, a non-fully vaccinated participant is subsequently asked to provide their home address, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender as these demographics are required for laboratories issuing reports to health authorities per the California Code of Regulations (the latter four fields also have a "Prefer Not to State" option, and there are no consequences for selecting that answer). LA County has also requested that Fulgent attempt to collect insurance information from participants submitting a sample for testing, though there is no penalty for declining to do so. None of these inputs are shared with LA County.
 
Apart from the above, the only additional information that Fulgent retains is the final diagnostic result of any tests submitted. All information is digitally stored within the LAC-Fulgent SOC2 Type 2-certified and HIPAA-compliant web portal. For individuals submitting test samples, records are also securely maintained in the Fulgent laboratory information management system (accessible only by Fulgent personnel with appropriate HIPAA clearance).
 
5. To what purposes other than registering compliance with the County’s testing regimen does Fulgent put the information gathered as part of the testing process? In particular, does Fulgent use the information, whether anonymized or not, for its own purposes?
 
Fulgent will never use information collected for COVID-19 testing for its own purposes. All information collected is required for either (A) identity verification during the registration process, or (B) reporting to local and state health authorities for the purposes of tracking and trending the impact of COVID-19 on different communities.
 
6. How long will Fulgent retain information gathered as part of the testing process, and will it notify employees when information relevant to the employee is deleted?
 
All LAC employee and contractor information will be removed from the LAC-Fulgent portal upon termination of the existing services contract. For individuals who have submitted COVID-19 tests, test results and associated protected health information will remain in our laboratory information system for a period of three years as mandated by CLIA and California state guidelines. The test samples themselves are disposed of by incineration after 48 hours. Fulgent does not currently send notice of data removal.
Additionally, click here and review the portion of LA County’s Master Agreement with Fulgent Therapeutics that pertains to an individual’s private information.
 
One thing to note is that Fulgent, like any other lab, is required to report test results to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. For example, if you’ve visited locations like CVS, Walgreens or RiteAid to get a COVID test, your results are reported to the County health department. Please click here to review the County’s contract with Fulgent that relates to its reporting requirements (Laboratories Conducting Sars-COV-2 Testing).



We will continue to update the membership in this ever evolving journey we are all on together.  We also remind all members to lean into each other during this time as we navigate both a path to keep our members and the public we serve safe, and also a path that protects our members ability to navigate appropriately the conditions of mandate.  

 
VIRGINIA FIREFIGHTERS ACHIEVE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS!  -- DRAPER INITIATIVE SEEKS TO DESTROY CALIFORNIA FIREFIGHTER COLLECTIVE BARGAINING UNION RIGHTS 
 
Click here to read the Washington Post article
Los Angeles County Fire Fighters Local 1014 and Fairfax County Virginia Firefighters Local 2068 have been allies and have much in common especially in the USAR world where we are the only International Teams in the United States and we are both large Counties as agencies.  The Fairfax County VA Firefighters Union Local 2068, led by our friend President Ron Kuley secured a 9-1 Board of Supervisors vote in an ordinance granting collective bargaining rights to their members.  This is an amazing victory for Virginia Firefighters in Fairfax County and hopefully will lead the way for other non-collective bargaining agencies to follow suit.  Collective Bargaining had been banned in the state of Virginia since 1977 after the state Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional.  Legislation that the VPFF put forward became effective in May of 2021 allowing local governments to create such ordinances recognizing their employees’ labor unions and allowing collective bargaining for their workers and members.  

This right to bargain is one we have enjoyed for many years in California and sometimes we take it for granted.  There are always people out there who would like to destroy Unions and our right to collectively bargain and this year we will see that attack launch again.  The language specifically says “No public employee shall have the right to form, join, or participate in the activities of a public employee labor organization for the purpose of representing said employees on matters of employer-employee relations.”  Venture Capitalist Tim Draper seeks to abolish Unions with public employee pensions and health care as the primary target for his efforts.  

Unions in California including Local 1014, the CPF and IAFF will be on the battlefield early to protect our members rights and our benefits we fought so hard to establish and maintain.  We have also helped with all funding and management of those benefits in our constant participation in LACERA and the management of our budgets and revenue sources.  This attack is once again a reminder of the need for our vigilance and hard work to protect all that we have achieved.    

OPEN ENROLLMENT IS HERE!

The Local 1014 Health Plan is among the most comprehensive plans available to Firefighters anywhere in the nation and is tailored to meet our Firefighters’ needs. It is also the #1 choice for our members and their families.

We are committed to ensuring our members have benefits they need to start a family. That is why this year, we will be expanding our benefits to include enhanced fertility benefits including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). We now provide a $10,000 lifetime benefit for diagnosis, $25,000 lifetime benefit for treatment and a $25,000 lifetime benefit for drug therapy.

Enroll now at www.mylacountybenefits.com. For more information about The Local 1014 Health Plan, please call member services at 800-660-1014 or email medicalplan@local1014.org.

ENROLL NOW!

In Solidarity, 

President Dave Gillotte and the Local 1014 Executive Board 

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