Brothers & Sisters,
Working Conditions Issues Taken to the Fire Chief
As many of you know, the latest management debacle was the cancellation of our Operator 1B Class just two days before the class started. Spots were filled, time was burnt, instructors were set to teach and everyone’s schedule was cleared of family obligations to either teach or attend this important practical engineer skills class until the rug was pulled out from under us.
Members were backed out of spots in cases where members were allowed to withdrawal their benefit time posting—multiple spots for each of the 5 days of class. This of course caused a chain reaction of backouts and refilling of spots. Members lost money and time. Perhaps those in charge have forgotten what it is like to work for a living and balance work and life schedules. They have shown a complete lack of respect for our members.
This incident further solidifies our belief that there is a disconnect between administrative managers and the members and even a disconnect between the managers and the Fire Chief. It is simply unconscionable that the Department would cancel the class knowing full well we are coming out of a recall heavy period. We are working solution to reschedule the class and correct the time and money lost.
We have taken this matter to the Fire Chief as well as a number of other items including: Thermal Imagers, Engine Exhaust Evacuation System Disrepair, Entry Level Testing Standards, Return to Work Issues, Behavioral Health Issues, Organized PT with Sports and Technology Deficits.
Our members work hard for our communities every day and they deserve to have up-to-date technology, competent operations leadership, and the proper tools and equipment to serve our residents efficiently. Some of the top-level administrative managers in our Department are set in pre-1960 mentality with regard to technology and are averse to simple policies that can create efficiencies within our workforce. This is not acceptable and we will not allow them to disregard important working condition items.
We have the eyes and the ears of the Board of Supervisors and the public we serve and we will use those relationships to help motivate the Department to address these issues to the satisfaction of not only the Chief and his Staff, but also Union and the members we represent. Partnership can be achieved but only when both sides are respectful of each other’s’ position and needs.
Our recent meetings with the Department have been strained to say the least, and we will continue to address these issues with a strength and solidarity to get it done for our members. We will be holding the Fire Chief, the Chief Deputies of Operations and Business Operations accountable. We will achieve results using all the tools at our disposal including: negotiations, administrative filings with Civil Service and the Employee Relations Commission, legal challenge and of course political action and legislative advocacy. Enough is enough. Stay tuned for updates as the work begins.
Local 1014 continues to court a Board of Supervisors (BOS) vote to approve the Tentative Agreement along with other County Unions. As soon as this BOS ratification vote takes place we can begin retro calculations and checks. Also we continue to try and conclude our fringe benefits negotiation as we meet again on 2/20/19. There will be additional salary from the fringe side as well. Stay tuned as we get it done and get the numbers.
Local 1014 Executive Board Members continued to meet with 603/604 Bargaining Unit members including Dispatchers and Forestry personnel. We met with our Forestry members and discussed their growing needs over the next two years. Our Forestry personnel are responsible for managing our natural resources, brush clearance, and GIS mapping during wildland fires among other responsibilities. As our environment and community needs change, our Forestry personnel must have the resources to meet those changes.
We also toured the Dispatch Center to see firsthand the difficult and stressful work our Dispatchers do for our residents. They handle an incredible amount of pressure each day as they help our families through life and death situations and ensure they receive the assistance they need. Our service to the community begins with them and we need to ensure they have the tools they need to continue to provide world-class service to our communities.
On Wednesday, Local 1014 President Dave Gillotte, Chair of the California State Task Force on Behavioral Health in the Fire Service, was in Sacramento working with members of the Task Force to move important legislation forward this legislative session that will allow our Peer Support Teams to establish a confidential Peer Support and Crisis Referral Services pilot program for California’s Firefighters and First Responders who have suffered a post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) and are seeking support.
Getting our members and members across the state the help and support they need for behavioral health and PTSI is a priority for Local 1014. As we push for greater protections for our members at the state level, we continue to focus on making our LACoFD Peer Program more robust. Take care of each other and please utilize the resources in your stations and www.healingourown.org.