Friday, January 13, 2017

47 Seasonal Fire Suppression Jobs Available

The Oregon Department of Forestry is accepting applications for 47 different Seasonal, full time positions in the Protection from fire program.  These positions are located throughout Oregon and include the  classifications of Forest Officer, Wildland Fire Dispatcher, Wildland Fire Suppression Specialist, Wildland Fire Suppression Specialist Entry and Forest Lookout.

These are Union represented positions with benefits.

Please pay attention to this note from the Human Resource Department: All current employment opportunities can be found at  Please pay special attention to the Application Instructions in the announcement to ensure your application materials are submitted correctly.  Thank you.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Tree Falling Committee Commences Work

The Tree Falling Committee, as established during ODOT Coalition bargaining in 2015 will soon commence its work.  During bargaining a differential for tree falling work was proposed, but lack of time to really understand the work involved and different aspects of chainsaw use lead to a letter of intent to discuss it further.  Now the committee, with management and employee representatives from Departments (ODOT, OPRD, ODF) who need skilled chain saw operators will meet to understand the nature, frequency and specific training needed.  

Cassie Bostrom of the Santiam Unit, North Cascades District will be the Oregon Department of Forestry employee representative on the committee.  She brings past experience working for OPRD hanging from ropes clearing trees from the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway and now falls danger trees in campgrounds and clears trees from roadways blocking tree planting crews for ODF.  If you have comments about the Committee’s work they can be forwarded to Cassie directly or through your President.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Barganing Ahead in 2017

After the Holidays it will be time to get back to work as bargaining for our wages and benefits will resume in 2017.  In 2015 we bargained a four year contract that holds many of our Contact Articles in place until bargaining begins for the 2019 Contract. For instance this time around we will not be negotiating our boot allowance or conditions of the work capacity test.  What was negotiated was a 2017 Contract re-opener on wages, benefits and one non economic issue.  Timeline to have all this completed is June 30th.

More (optimistically) in wages, more in benefits or what balance between the two is what your Bargaining Team will need to know. Watch for a bargaining survey or if you want to get more involved come to the Bargaining Conference on January 28th at Clackamas Community College (link below). This is the start of negotiations at the bargaining table, actions for a fair settlement and your ultimate decision and vote on the agreement.

Other dates: Forestry Local Statewide meeting in Eugene on February 4th.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Be Thankful for Rest and Recovery

Department policy on Incident Management Rest and Rest and Recovery was released to employees in December.  For Seasonal and other employees who may not have seen the Department e-mail here are the changes recognizing the need to mitigate the fatigue associated with incident response.  The Policy discussion began at the bargaining table in 2015 but that venue did not allow enough time to really develop the Department buy in and work through the complexity of what looks to be a fair solution to rest after long days (and nights) working on an incident.

Some Definitions:
Standard Assignment (new): 14 consecutive days working 12 hours per day while assigned to and at an incident.  Travel time to and from the home unit shall not count toward the standard assignment.

Incident Management Rest (new): A 24-hour rest period when the agency relieves the department employee of all duties, and the incident they were assigned to on day 14 pays them eight hours of straight time.

Rest and Recovery: A 24-hour rest period when the agency relieves the department employee of all duties, and the incident they were assigned to on day 21 pays them eight hours of straight time.

Application and Procedures (for actual wording see Standard Assignment Procedure document):

Incident Management Rest is a new rest period associated with the Standard Assignment.  When an employee completes a Standard Assignment they shall receive a 24 hour rest period and be paid for eight hours of straight time.  The purpose is to mitigate fatigue and insure incident readiness. A question from the past has been what about a regularly scheduled day off, which has been answered that the rest period will still occur and the employee will be paid the eight hours of straight time.

Rest and Recovery is in addition to Incident Management Rest and is in our Contact as Article 60.3C.  Employees who are away from their work station for 21 consecutive days including travel time when they return to their station shall receive 24 hours off and eight hours of pay at straight time.

Within the Procedure document there is an exception process and additional time entry information.  The actual document should be consulted before actual application.  Coming in the holiday season the Department’s completion and sharing of the new rest period is something to be thankful for even though that gratification may be delayed until we get back into Fire Season.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

“Who Else Needs to Know”

I recently received a phone call about a worksite issue, that I was unaware of and filed a grievance that hopefully will result in a fair and just outcome.  The employees had requested a resolution but were unsuccessful.  That afternoon it occurred to me that employees are like planes up in the sky going from place to place. No one will ever know if they hit turbulence unless they radio and tell someone.  Others can learn from what goes on up there, or in the workplace.

“Who Else Needs to Know” was one of the lessons learned at an IMT meeting many years ago. As a Team we embraced the concept which made us a very effective and efficient fire fighting force.  Bits of information known by one Section can only help if shared.

If there is a worksite issue, someone needs to know.  Part of that is seeking a resolution that will allow you and Department to succeed.  The other is seeing if it isolated or happening other places.  If there is a contract violation share it, starting with your Steward. If you don't have a Steward contact our Member Resource Center and after that your elected Local’s leadership.  Many worksite issues can be solved when good listening and communication skills are applied but if there is a problem that talking needs to start.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Local Logo Caps Available in December

Caps with our Local’s Logo will be available beginning in early December.  Distribution channels have not been set but they should be available from your leadership and from our SEIU 503 Statewide organizer, Mike Bray.  They are “unstructured” in a putty color and look very cool.

If you don’t pick one up, a supply will be reserved for our Statewide Local Meeting in Eugene on February 4th and you can get one there.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Getting to Know Our New State Forester, Peter Daugherty

Following Peter’s self introduction at our last Labor/ Management meeting it left me with little doubt why the Private Forests Program has never built into a Union stronghold, they had a leader who values integrity, equity and has strong listening skills.

These are the skills I work to develop in our Stewards.

On the job as State Forester for about a month, Peter, showed that he has a sense of humour and vision forward for the Department.  He described himself as a “straightforward communicator” and that “you will know my position and why”.  That may sound harsh, but beneath that is an openness to listen to everyone to shape policy, provided it complies with statute.  This is how we work in the Public Sector, where Peter has spent his entire career.

Strategic in nature he is thinking about the Department’s needs five years from now. What will Oregon’s diversity look like and how will the Department reflect that. What services will be expected and how to provide them without overwhelming staff.  What training is needed to prepare employees.  He shared his support for the Protection from Fire Program and his view of the future looked like it was taken out of the line building section of the Fireline Handbook. You don’t build the line where the fire is, you put it where it is going to be.

A month on the job is not very long but Peter said he plans to get out and visit the Districts and will be our guest at our next Statewide Forestry meeting in Eugene on February 4, 2017.

SAVE THE DATE: Forestry Local Statewide meeting February 4, 2017 in Eugene.