As we end another dynamic week of our members saving lives out in the field and altering their own lives at home to meet the challenges of COVID-19.
This week’s update will be brief, here are a few items to keep you up to speed on what your Union has been doing for you and your families at all levels to ensure we get through this crisis.
Per our update last week, we are working on getting the benefits of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act implemented for our members. When this legislation was first enacted, it did not apply to public safety personnel. Now through our hard work and collaboration with the CEO, we have reached an agreement where our members will now be included in the benefit. We are in contact with management regarding the hours and administrative issues and hope to have this implemented soon. As a reminder, please see the guideline below regarding time off, proper coding and exposure reporting.
- Sick Time - Members who take sick off duty or found at morning screenings.
- Ordered Absence - ZI for those to have been exposed and are symptomatic - full pay, no benefit time used.
- Confirmed COVID-19 Test Positive - Converted to Injury Claim and “I” process.
- Please Follow COVID-19 reporting policies to track and also set up for reimbursement for the County and Fire in the future. File a workers’ compensation case where appropriate.
Note: if you find yourself out of benefit time and have the need to self-quarantine please call the Union for help with those special circumstances and we will address those issues individually as well as with priority.
The Department has been proactive in securing any and all available PPE for our members. We did receive some from the national stockpile that had faulty bands. Please review EA-183 which addresses this issue. The Warehouse, Procurement, and the EMS section have been busy ensuring our Department has the supplies they need including contract purchases for PPE.
Many of our members have asked if the information gets back to the stations from the hospitals for suspected COVID-19 positive patients to confirm to the crew that they had a positive patient. The answer is yes, this is happening. If a hospital receives a Person Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID and test show positive, then health programs section contacts crews to inform them of the potential exposure. Crews need to be diligent and document all potential or suspected exposure to PUI utilizing the Department's COVID exposure form.
Please be sure to use Department COVID resources. They are located on the main intranet page for LACoFD in the highlighted box, which is in the center and is labeled COVID Resources. This link contains all COVID-19 related info including EAs, Exposure Reports and the COVID Dashboard which tracks suspected COVID cases through our EMS Dispatch System.
We continue to diligently work on legislative issues at all levels of government to ensure our members have the protections and benefits they need to not only endure during this crisis but remain healthy. Your Union Executive Board regularly meets with the Fire Chief, the Board of Supervisors and the CEO to partner on state and federal issues that impact funds and support for LA County as a whole and our LA County Fire Department.
To end this week, President Gillotte along with Labor Leaders from the State had a conference call with Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss critical legislative action that will help our members in the field provide care. This included the suggestion by Chief Osby and Local 1014 to temporarily allow alternative destination transport in California. The federal government recently allowed the use of Medicare to pay for ambulance transport to alternative destinations rather than the emergency rooms, we cannot yet do that in California. Local 1014 submitted a recommendation to temporarily implement a similar ordinance in California so we are not taking COVID-19 patients to the Emergency Room. This would be another tool, similar to telemedicine, to stop the flow of people into crowded emergency rooms. The Governor assured us he is making progress on this front and will update us as it becomes a reality.
Additionally, we also discussed on the call, the lack of local funding in the federal stimulus packages. This has the potential to significantly impact our staffing as this crisis progresses. It is essential that we partner with our state partners to ensure that money comes to where it is needed most, the local level. The Governor assured us that he is in contact with Washington and has lobbied for a bottom-up approach to this issue in order to protect our local economies and our ability to provide service. We are working hand in hand with the CEO and the BOS on this important task that will affect our budget.
Once again, we see that our political action is the most important part of ensuring that our members have a voice at all levels of government.
AB 1945 - Dispatchers
Special Note for our Dispatchers - You may have seen or heard about AB-1945, a bill introduced to give Dispatchers “First Responder” status. The author of this bill and those pushing this effort have refused to talk with the CPF and Local 1014 about the bill. This bill as currently written does nothing more than giving a title to Dispatchers and furthermore leaves the negative impact of CalPERS amendments and other such language that would harm efforts to get our Dispatchers covered under PTSI Presumption and other needed coverage for our Dispatchers. The author has frankly taken the low road and the easy road to try and appease Dispatchers with a “Name Only Title” of First Responder. We have offered to help amend the bill and or craft language that would differentiate public dispatchers from private dispatcher systems and also move our Dispatchers along the path of the much-needed coverage by our Behavioral Health Bill. The author had refused amendments and in its current form would be DETRIMENTAL to public safety dispatchers. Local 1014 along with CPF oppose this bill and we will take this matter up ourselves and craft our own sponsored Dispatch legislation. The matter is before the Executive Board as the next legislative session starts. More next week on this effort.
1014 Health Plan
At the Union Hall, our Local 1014 staff continuing to adapt and make the migration to work at home with telework. We are committed to staying open for business processing claims and ensuring care for our members and their families continue during this time.
As a reminder, in order to keep our members and their families informed we have created a COVID-19 Family Resource Guide. Click here to download a copy.
Staffing and Training
On the staffing front, we have seen some positive movement starting to shift with days off and less recalls. Class 156 is up and running and we have two more towers in June and two in September. We would like to thank the Training Staff and TSS for their work to get this drill tower handled with the combined use of technology, old school grinder work, social distancing and cleaning in place. This is a new way, but a way that is working well and may influence a model for future training towers.
On the state level, the State Board of Fire Service and Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JAC) are working with Labor and management to ensure our method secures full dollars on training which is critical for securing our funding.
Peer Support Help and Resources
We recognize that this is a trying time for many of our members and their families as they often risk exposure in order to protect our communities. Please remember to use the resources available through the Union from IAFF, and CPF including the Peer Support Program, which includes active, retiree and family resources, and the Healing Our Own website if you need help.
As always, please get your information from reliable and confirmed sources: Local 1014, Department EA’s, IAFF and CPF as well as FireSync App which all have COVID-19 information links with the COVID-19 reporting link as well. Click here to view all Local 1014 COVID-19 Resources.
Stay safe, take care of each other. Remember that your conduct both on and off duty with regard to social distancing, cleaning and proper PPE makes a difference in not only your health but the health of those you work with and their families. Be responsible and let us all do our part.