Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Forestry Tentative Agreement Reached, June 24

A tentative agreement was reached between the State of Oregon and ODOT Coalition on June 24th about 5:00 am the morning. This conculded bargaining that began February 17th.

Contract improvemnents for Forestry employees included an increase in the boot reimbursement from $220 to $230 per biennium for permanent employees and $110 to $115 per year for seasonal employees.

Incident management rest and roatation policy will be developed with a Letter of Intent providing a framework and timeline.

Tree falling criteria and usage between agencies will be studied by a group of Management and Represented employees with a Letter of Intent.

Temporary employees working as Forest Inmate Crew Coordinators will be paid for their breaks and lunch when they cannot be relieved from thier duties.

Next steps include reaching a Tentative Agreement on the SEIU 503 and State of Oregon Master Agreement and a Bargaining Conference scheduled for Saturday, July 18th.

The Bargaining Conference will be Saturday, July 18th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City.  Registration is available at the SEIU 503 website.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Grilling and Negotiations at Forestry June 23rd

Please come and show your support for your bargaining team and pick up a grilled burger at the same time on June 23rd starting at 5:30 pm on ODF's Salem Campus.  SEIU 503 Staff and the bargining team will be the hosts in this prelude for the last scheduled meeting between representatives for the ODOT Coalition and the State of Oregon. On Tuesday June 9th the Union received a whopper package of proposals from the State that spoke to every item where at Tentative Agreement had not been reached.  On the 23rd it will your Unions's opportunity to either affirm or offer changes to the State's proposals.

Another way to participate is at the Forestry conference call on Wednesday, June 17th from 7-8 pm.  To get the call in number contact Mike Bray, SEIU Forestry Organizer or Dave Wells.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Packing for What's Ahead

Special weather statements and drought will be our companions as we head into this first weekend in June, and I want you to know that your Union is there also.  Like those "free" amenities in a motel in case you forgot something your Union has got you covered.  As a result of negotiations the Department will provide employees with a clean sleeping bag, tent and sleeping pad, just ask.  If you are required to work more than two hours past your shift and not able to leave the job site, a meal will be provided.  You also have Weingarten Rights, meaning that you have the right to request Union representation during an investigatory interview when you think that it may result in disciplinary action.

I have just finished packing my fire bag and as the Nomex shirts and pants went in so did thoughts for the safe return of the wildland firefighters who will be heading out to protect and suppress wildfires on Oregon's Forests.  As you pack your bags please take a moment to reflect on the importance of the wildland fire assignment and your own safe return.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

State Rejects All Forestry Local's Differential Proposals

Glenn West, the State's negotiation agent, cordially but firmly said no to the Forestry Local's differential proposals on Tuesday evening, May 12th.  The differential proposals had been in the State's hand since March 24th when they were presented to the State from Forestry Local bargaining delegates and we had been waiting for some reply.  A differential is additional pay for work performed or exposure to hazards beyond normal job duties.

The differentials that have been proposed by the Forestry Local include:

Recognizing the forestry employees who are duty stationed at correctional facilities with a 10% pay differential.
Acknowledging firefighters who also are EMT's with a 5% pay differential.
Providing a 5% pay differential to those forestry employees who are also professional engineers.
Assigning a 5% differential to Operations Section personnel working on Type 1 or 2 ICS Incidents.

The next ODOT Coalition bargaining meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26 beginning at 5:00pm in the Tillamook Room of ODF's Salem Campus.  All members are invited to attend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Agreement Reached on Temporary FICC Work Schedules

On Tuesday, April 28th a tentative agreement was reached on work schedules for temporary Forest Inmate Crew Coordinators.  It recognized that while supervising and directing the work of inmates there is not a time when you can take a break from your work.  If these rest periods cannot be taken then  the employee shall be allowed compensation at the rate of time and one half as provided in Article 32T-Overtime of the Contract.  This agreement now treats temporary employees the same as permanent employees with similar work schedules.

The next ODOT Coalition Bargining meeting will be May 12th in the Oregon Department of Forestry Salem Campus' Tillamook Room beginning at 5:00 pm.  Interested Forestry employees are invited to attend.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hot Topics and Bargaining at Forestry Statewide

Hot topics and bargaining were on the Forestry Local 629's agenda for it's  Spring statewide meeting  held April 11th in Salem.  The meeting opened with a President's message recognizing the past two wildfire seasons and looking into what may be another challenging one.  Safety was emphasized and the importance of returning home.

There was a round table discussion of what should be presented at Seasonal Firefighter orientations, and what has not worked in the past.  A flyer will be prepared by our staff orgainizer, Mike Bray to highlight parts of our Contact that a firefighter would need to know about like boot reimbursements, working on the 4th of July, rest and recovery, adjusting work schedules, and the end of the season.  Included also will be who to contact for more information.  It was emphasized that there should be an effort to resolve problems at the lowest possible level, solutions developed there have the potential of meeting all parties needs and are certainly the most timely.

Current bargaining proposals were reviewed, receiving additional input from more than your bargaining delegates.  The rest and recovery proposal was the most discussed, noting that it always seems to be in flux and that there were no set guidelines.  Instances where firefighters had worked 14 days straight and then reassigned to another fire were cited.  There is also concern about the Work Capacity Test and "senior care issues".

Hot topics from the field included the smoking policy and its application, informing members where they can go for help, rest and recovery after a fire assignment and that there is no incident management business handbook.

the SEIU 503 Committee to Protect Injured Workers has been inactive for awhile and our Local will seek its re-activation or see if there are other Union committees that can advocate for the workers injured on the job.  Jim Neuman will prepare a draft letter.

The next meetings will be conference calls on May 13th and June 17th both at 7:00 pm to discuss bargaining issues. All members are encouraged to call in and the number will be available from Mike Bray or Dave Wells.  The next Statewide is tentatively set for October 10th in Sisters  or another Central Oregon location.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

All Proposals Across the Table

At Tuesday, March 24th's bargaining meeting in ODF's Tillamook Room, State and Union representatives shared the last of our proposals.  This was the last day to do so and no other proposals will be accepted by either side.  Now bargaining begins about the merit of these proposals and interest in persuing thier inclusion in the Contract as an Article or Letter of Agreement.  The next scheduled bargaining meeting is Tuesday, March 31st starting at 5:00 pm in ODF's Tillamook Room located on the Salem Campus.

Forestry specific proposals were made in Article 26, Differential Pay.

Forestry Emergency Medical Training (EMT) Recognition. Employees assigned to firefighting duty who possess and EMT license, shall be paid a differential of five percent (5%) while performing fire line duties.

Forestry Correctional Facility/ Inmate Differential.  Forestry empoyees duty stationed at correctional facilities or assigned to direct the work of inmates shall be paid a ten (10%) differential above their base rate of pay for all hours worked during these assignments.

Fireline Operations Differential.  Employees assigned to Incident Command System Type 1 or Type 2 incidents working within the Operations Section shall be paid a differential for five percent (5%) above their base pay for all hours worked while assigned to the incident.

An employee who possesses and maintains a professional engineer license in civil engineering or forest engineering or a professional land surveyor's license as specified by the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineers and Land Surveyors (OSBEELS) which are directly related to their work assignments as described in their Job Description or as assigned shall recieve a differential of five percent (5%) above their base pay.  Employees whose work requirements do not require those professional licenses to perform thier work requirements are still eligible to be paid th five percent (5%) differential.  Employees in Section 3 Special Qualifications pay (h) and (i) are not eligible for this five (5%) pay increase.