Sisters & Brothers,
Today Class 156 graduated and joined our ranks as Local 1014 members! This class represents not only the future of our Department but also the dedication, collaboration, and ingenuity of our labor-management partnership to get this done in a COVID-19 world. In an unprecedented time, both the Department and the Union came together to meet the challenge and get the state firefighter curriculum and training needs of the Los Angeles County Fire Department into a format that would allow us to train our newest members and also be compliant with social distancing and isolation needs.
The thought of just one positive recruit and the impact of exposure to all recruits was daunting. However, we were committed to getting our newest members trained and out into the field to help fill the vacancies. Not only did we meet the challenge head-on, we succeeded in crafting a never before sequestered “boot camp” style drill tower. The bread and butter basics of hose lays, ladders, SCBA’s, search & rescue, ropes, and knots actually received more training days vs. rating days than the standard tower. The remainder of the curriculum that fulfills the State Firefighter 1 will be taught in the field with follow-ups and additional ratings completed while the firefighters are in their first and second spots and on probation.
Class 156 was a combination of Firefighters and Paramedics who already had Firefighter 1 training and veterans from V Band off our new list. We started with 56 and lost 6 graduating a total of 50 new members of Local 1014.
We are very proud of this accomplishment. Other departments from throughout California and the nation are calling to get our program as a model for their drill towers. This is a critical component of continuing to hire and fill our vacancies, reducing recalls and preparing for the now rapidly approaching brush season that will put a strain on our already taxed system.
We would like to thank Assistant Chief Dennis Breshears, Battalion Chief Jim Sullivan, and the Training Captain Cadre who all came together with Local 1014 to craft this training model and work through the challenges to get it done. They are to be commended for their sacrifice and effort as they were also sequestered 6 days a week to make it happen. Congratulations to the newest members of Local 1014 and may you be safe and richly rewarded as you travel on your Los Angeles County Firefighter journey.
Lifting the Overtime CAP
Thank you to all the workers who step up to work the spots and fill our needs both in the field and in special assignments to carry out the mission of the Department in serving the citizens of Los Angeles County.
The past few months have put an even greater strain on our membership in meeting the demands of the COVID-19 environment. We have worked with the Fire Chief to remove the Overtime CAP and allow our workers to work as we begin to prepare for the brush season that will further tax our resources.
Local 1014 continues to oppose any OT CAP for total hours worked and we will continue to make our concerns known and attempt to bargain for a permanent cessation of any such CAP. OT will be broadened by simply hiring and filling the ranks in a consistent and fair manner that will not result in vacancies in any rank that impact the workforce with very high recall numbers as we have seen in the past few years.
Ratification of 603-604 Tentative Agreement
Today, it is our pleasure to announce that the Tentative Agreement for 603/604 Bargaining Units has been ratified with overwhelming support. Our brothers and sisters in bargaining units 603/604 serving in Dispatch, Health HazMat, Forestry, and Fire Prevention serve vital roles in our fire-based EMS and multi-mission work. This contract reflects that value. Thank you also to our Local 1014 bargaining team who worked tirelessly for our members and their families.
THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT IS RATIFIED WITH 99.2% IN FAVOR OF RATIFICATION.
We thank the membership for your voice. Next, the Tentative Agreement will be sent to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for a ratification vote. We will keep you updated as the process continues. Thank you for your vote and your voice. Stay tuned for updates as we begin that process with the County once more.
The Heroes Act - Coronavirus Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Act
Today, The Heroes Act, the federal COVID-19 aid package is going to be voted on in Congress. Local 1014 has been lobbying along with our affiliates in the IAFF, our Board of Supervisors, and CEO partners to ensure that local revenue loss monies are included for Los Angeles County.
The federal HEROES Act would provide a lifeline of funds to state and local governments that are struggling under the burden of pandemic-induced shortfalls. The bill focuses specifically on the important areas of supporting essential work, replacement of revenues due to lost economic activity, and reimbursing governments for COVID-19 spending.
For California, that would translate into nearly $22 billion in 2020 and nearly $26 billion in 2021 of assistance to support critical services, including the purchase of personal protective and decontamination equipment, replacement of revenues due to lost economic activity, and hazard pay for firefighters and other essential workers. This bill is critical for our County’s fiscal health and will help offset the estimated $2 billion sales tax shortfall this year.
At the federal level, we also worked to remove the restrictions on SAFER Act monies to allow them to be used to retain personnel in these fiscally challenging times.
Additionally, Governor Gavin Newsom has fully-funded CAL-Fire budget inclusive of mutual aid funds that will be used for Municipal Mutual Aid Departments such as Los Angeles County Fire. This is very important to allow us to pre-deploy and staff not only our engines responding to the fires, but also those backfilling in the stations. We want to thank the Governor for and early and open commitment to the Firefighters as we deal with the financial impact of COVID-19 response.
We will continue to work tight the Governor and the State Legislature as we navigate the budget shortfalls heading into the next fiscal year.