Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forestry Statewide Meets at Bargaining Kick-Off

The Forestry Local held its Winter meeting in conjunction with our Bargaining Kick-Off on Sunday, January 25th at the DoubleTree Lloyd Center.  On the agenda were our regular business items and deciding who would present our coalition bargaining proposals at our first bargaining session on Tuesday, February 3rd.

For the presidents message I reminded everyone that during bargaining we will be representing Forestry employees  and outcomes should seek to solve problems and leave our members with hope.

Decisions made at our meeting include:

Our treasurer position is currently vacant and elections to select a new one will be made at our next Statewide meeting.

Purchasing aluminum water bottles was approved as a promotional item.  Distribution is anticipated in March or April.

A cell phone paid for by the Local will be acquired for Brandon's use.

To aid communication within the Local, the preparation of a listserv is being investigated to distribute e-mails.  If you are interested in getting on the list contact any of your Local's officers or your Organizer.

The Local's leadership will continue to build our membership, recruit Stewards and develop Contract Action Teams (CATS) to support contract negotiations.

Next Statewide meeting will be April 11 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in Salem at a location to be determined.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Forestry Statewide Meeting, Sunday January 25th

The Forestry Local will be holding it's next Statewide Meeting on Sunday, January 25th from 8 to 10 am at the Double Tree near Portland's Lloyd Center.  We will be meeting in the Mt Hood room and are providing a call in option.  For the call in number contact me at (503) 801-8468 or our SEIU 503 organizer Mike Bray at (503) 408-4090.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

An Agency of Choice, Firefighting Positions Open

First a thank you for the additional day of leave granted many employees of the Department of Forestry in recongintion of the last two very extended forest fire seasons. This action along with many others continue Forestry's recognition as being an "Agency of Choice" for the public services provided and commitment to the working guidelines for all employees.

The Oregon Department of Forestry has 46 different employment opportunities for seasonal, full time work within the forest firefighting program at differnent locations throughout Oregon.  This is your opportunity to see what it is like to work for an Agency of Choice and be part of an exceptional firefighting team.  More information is available at

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Forestry Local Statewide Meeting, Sunday January 25th

The next Forestry Local statewide meeting will be Sunday morning from 8:00 to 10:00 am January 25th in Portland.  Our meeting will be held just before the SEIU Bargaining Kickoff held the same day.  Agenda items will likley include bargaining concepts developed to date.

For more information contact any of your Local officers or Mike Bray our staff SEIU 503 orgainizer.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Little Better Holiday, A Good Time to Rest and Repair

What a year, almost 12 months of firefighting, substantial work towards a new Forest Management Plan, and decisions on the Elliott State Forest.  Our work never really offered any of us a break, and it was noticed. I heard that Legislator's were very supportive of the Department's work that you accomplished, a real recognition of a job well done.

If you can, take some time to reflect on, rest and repair those missed days with the ones you care for and cherish.  These are The Holidays, live and share the spirit.

For your Forestry Local, it is a time of rest too, but in a bargaining year that rest is always short lived.  Here are some dates where decisions will be made about your work environment, and as always your Forestry Local Leadership would like your input to help make the best decisions possible:

Labor/ Management, Tuesday, January 6th Salem

ODOT Coalition Bargaining Workshop, Friday, January 23rd Portland

Forestry Local Statewide Meeting, Sunday, January 25th 8-10am Portland

SEIU 503 Bargaining Kick-off, Sunday, January 25th 10 am - 4pm Portland

ODOT Coalition Bargaining, First bargaining session, Tuesday, February 3rd, 5 pm dinner, 6pm bargaining Salem

If you have questions about how to participate please contact any of your local officers.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Forestry is Part of the ODOT Bargining Coalition, Meeting November 15

Forestry Local 629 is part of the larger ODOT Coalition when it comes to contract negotiations and bargaining with the State of Oregon.  On November 15, 2014 the Coalition will meet in Salem at the Red Lion located at 3301 Market Street NE from 10:00 A to 2:00 P.  The purpose of the meeting will be to review Bargaining Surveys for contract proposals and identify supporters for proposals developed at our Statewide Meeting in The Dalles.

Contract proposals generally are not made public until they are handed across the negotiating table.  If you would like to keep updated on the proposals please let me know.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Forestry Statewide Meeting, The Dalles

The Forestry Local held its Statewide meeting on October 25th in The Dalles.  It was a full meeting covering a variety of topics, following is a summary of the decisions and next steps.

Legislative Proposals: Concept proposed to allow employees who receive seasonal Police and Fire retirement benefits  to be permitted to contribute year round into their P & F account.  Plan is to get on a PERS Board Meeting agenda and make the initial proposal there.

Bargaining: This was the scoping phase of the bargaining proposal process where ideas were brought forward for further consideration.  Kent Stanford from Washington Public Forestry Employees joined us by phone to share their concepts.  From the discussion there is common ground in Oregon and Washington.  Our proposals will be re-evaluated on November 15th at the Salem Red Lion from 10 am to 3 pm when we meet with others from the coalition.

 Bargaining and SEIU 503, The Big Picture: "In it Together" will be one of the tenants of our contract campaign. We have legitimate reasons to get a fair contract.  Did you know that about 12% of our bargaining unit makes less than $15/ hour and 31% is topped out.  There will be more emphasis on the jobs you do and how your work touches Oregonians everyday.

Change in By-Laws, How Stewards Are Chosen and How They Can Be Removed: Our By-Laws, last revised in 2012, did not have much about Stewards which these changes should correct.  The proposal was discussed, changed, adopted and is presented here:

Section 4. Union Stewards.  Union Stewards shall attend steward meetings;
handle grievances through the steps within the agency; work closely with the
Union Organizer in the handling and investigation of grievances; serve as a main
communication channel between Union leaders and staff; is a primary provider
of direct services to the Local members.

Stewards will be chosen from the work unit they seek to represent as defined
by the collective bargaining agreement between SEIU 503 and the State of
Oregon.  The nominee must be a union member and the work unit have an
un-filled Steward position available. An announcement of the Steward election
shall be posted for at least 10 calendar days, in a public place like the Union
Bulletin Board specifying the candidates name and date and time of the
election.  At the time of the election, prior to voting, there will be a call for other
candidates and the voting will be by secret ballot.

The newly selected Steward shall inform the Forestry Local President and SEIU
503 Statewide Forestry Organizer of their selection and meet training
requirements as set forth in SEIU 503 by-laws within one calendar year.

Stewards may only be removed from their position by the Local's elected
leadership following this process.  Five members who are represented by
Steward may petition the Local's leadership to remove their Steward.  Local
leadership will consider the petitioner's request using the following criteria:
Stewards activity in the Local; if training requirements were met and if there
was continued training; and the testimony of the petitioners and Steward.
Steward removal requires an affirmative vote to remove by at least three
members of the Local's Statewide Officers.

Sitting Stewards are encouraged to re-establish their position on a season by
season basis.

Representation When a Steward is Not Available:  The primary source for employee representation in the workplace is the Steward.  When a Steward is not available the person seeking representation should contact the next closest (adjacent) District and failing that the SEIU 503 Member Resource Center.  If a Steward cannot be identified the Vice President should be contacted.

Budget:  Our Locals budget was approved.  Highlights include funding of four Statewide meetings, training opportunities and Elliot State Forest hats.

Next Meetings:

ODOT Coalition Bargaining, Saturday, November 15, 2014, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm,
Salem Red Lion.

Forestry Labor/ Management, first week in January 2015, Salem ODF

Forestry Statewide in conjunction with Stewards Conference, February 2015