Friday, March 28, 2014

Forestry Local Statewide Meeting - April 26

The next Forestry Local Statewide meeting will be Saturday, April 26, 2014 starting at 10:00 am in Salem at SEIU 503 Headquarters located at 1730 Commercial Street.  The full agenda is currently being developed and if you have ideas please contact any of your statewide officers or our new coordinator, Ross Grami (  A call-in option will be available.

Ideas currently on the agenda include:
  • installation and swearing in of your new officers
  • discussion of agenda items for our next Labor/ Management meeting June 5th
  • steward recruitment and assignments
  • leadership development
  • reports from your officers
  • purchase of promotional items for the Local (Elliott State Forest hats?)
  • District/ Area concerns
The plan is to conclude about 2:00 pm and select our next meeting location and date (perhaps a co-located meeting with ODOT).

Lunch will be provided, lodging and mileage according to SEIU 503 Administrative Policies.

I hope you can make time to help manage our Local by either calling in or attending in person.  The call-in number will be available from Ross Grami at or myself at (503) 801-8468.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Forestry Leadership Elected for 2014-2016

Forestry Local 629's leadership has been elected for 2014-2016, thank you to all who voted.  Your elected leaders are part of bargaining team, represent the Forestry Local at SEIU 503's General Council, and are members of the Dept. of Forestry's Statewide Labor/ Management Committee.

President: David Wells
Vice President: Brandon Ferguson
Secretary: Jim Neuman
Treasurer: Tim Seitz

Friday, March 7, 2014

Forestry Local Ballot Deadline - March 14, 2014

For Forestry Local 629's leadership election, ballots must be received by March 14, 2014.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Towards a Politically and Socially Sustainable Forest, Part Two

The Northwest Oregon State Forest Management plan is currently in a revision process and there are a number of ways to contribute to the process.  One is attend one of the Alternative Forest Management Plan meetings scheduled for Astoria, Forest Grove and Tillamook.  Another is to become part of ODF's online community and to join this group click here:   Join ODF Online Community

Please consider taking an active part in the development of the new plan and help shape the future of these forests that have benefited from a long history of care.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Towards a Politically and Socially Sustainable Forest

How will the Big 3 (Astoria, Forest Grove, Tillamook) and the Little 3 (North Cascades, Philomath, West Oregon) State Forests be managed?  This was question posed to a group of eight forest stakeholders representing diverse interests by Governor Kitzhaber. Their task, in four meetings, to find commonality in a forest management approach that would be financially viable for the Oregon Department of Forestry and be politically and socially sustainable. Governor Kitzhaber placed in the groups hands the ability to shape forest management in our Oregon and he had great optimism that options could be found where common ground existed.

I attended the last two of these meetings with the goal of keeping the group talking and having as much advance notice as possible to forest management changes that our Local’s membership would be asked to implement.

The main thing I have to report is the support the represented stakeholders have in your work with the Department of Forestry.  But the current Forest Management Plan's application of Structure Based Management was faulted for its not providing enough conservation benefit and timber harvest value.  Ed Kamholz, citizen representative, noted however that the “FMP had been relatively trouble free (from litigation) for the past 13½ years”.  That optimistic clear path as a way to increase both conservation and timber harvest, which many in the audience had hoped for, was not provided for the Board of Forestry to follow.  What was clear though, when it comes to the management of Oregon’s State Forests everyone had their game face on.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Local Election Timeline and Other Decisions and Dates in 2014 (to date)

Here is what I have for our Forestry Leadership election timeline and other decisions needed and dates that have been set so far in 2014.

January 13: Nominations to elect the Forestry Local 629 Leadership positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer open.

January 23 1800-1930: Forestry conference call primarily to discuss and decide our position on the unification of SEIU Local 503 and SEIU Local 49.  The conference call number is available from our SEIU Staff Organizer, Timothy Welp at (503) 408-4090 x 434 or Local President David Wells at (503) 801-8468.

January 28 at 1700: Nominations for Forestry Leadership positions close

January 30: Labor/ Management meeting in Salem

February 1 (tentative): General Council meeting in Portland to decide if the unification of SEIU Locals 503 and 49 should be referred to a general membership vote. Automatic Forestry Delegates are the President, Vice-President, Secretary, the alternate delegate is the Treasurer.

February 7: Forestry Leadership candidate statements due

February 21: Forestry Leadership election ballots mailed

March 5: Last date to request a replacement ballot for the Forestry Leadership election

March 14:  Forestry Leadership election ballots due

March 21: Forestry Leadership results reported

April 26: Statewide Forestry Meeting in Coos Bay

August 14-16 General Council, policy setting and budget approval of our Union for the next two years

Monday, November 25, 2013

November Statewide Meeting – Notes and Observations

On Saturday, November 23, 2013 the Forestry Local held a statewide meeting in Portland.  The agenda was full and in the spirit of the season it looked a bit like the Christmas wish list of a 6 year old.  But unlike a wish list we were able to get it all and were completed by 3:00 pm.

Doug Decker, our State Forester started the meeting with a sincere thank-you for everyone, and their families, for the firefighting work this past season, Oregon’s worst since 1951.  Referring to the firefighting work Decker said “when we can demonstrate value we are recognized” which is coming in helpful now that ODF is asking the Legislature to help pay the accrued bills. Decker also talked about the Elliot State Forest and the recent layoffs, lawsuit and management changes and asked for support for the current employees.

Agenda Items:

Jesse Backman was recognized for his years as President and contributions towards Police and Fire Retirement.  A recognition gift from the Local will be presented on December 12th.

Protection personnel receiving up to 3 additional checks August – October:  About 80 employees primarily in Protection received 3 additional checks due to a mis-interpretation of a Letter of Agreement meant for employees hired in 2009 that had been passed over for a step increase.  The overpayments need to be re-paid but an agreement was reached to minimize the burden on the employee.  More information is available from Human Resources, Payroll or your President.

Fire Season Wrap-up:  Primary issues were around Rest and Rotation periods and lunches. These items will be brought up at Labor/ Management.

New Contract:  Printed copies will be available from your Organizer in early December.

Bully Boss Training:  New contract language provides more accountability, but if necessary, a worksite campaign is still needed for successful resolution.

Anti-Worker Family Ballot Measure: Presentation on a potential ballot measure that would target the ability of Public Sector Unions to function and provide representation for employees.  Contributing to CAPE encouraged.

Election Timeline Established:  Elections for Forestry Local 629 leadership positions will be held in 2014.  The elections committee will be established in early January; Nominations will open on January 13, 2014; Nominations will close on January 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm; Candidate statements are due February 7, 2014; Ballots will be mailed February 21, 2014, with replacement ballot requests by March 5, 2014; Ballots due back by March 14, 2014; Official election results due by March 21, 2014.

Requests and approvals:

Union cell phones for the President and Treasurer were approved.

The Treasurer’s tour of District offices in Central and Eastern Oregon was approved.

The President’s travel to Alternate Forest Management Plan meetings was approved.

For Astoria’s forest management staff a “pizza meeting” with 5 more possible was approved to see if there is an opportunity to build equity in timber sale contract administration.

Next meeting:

The next meeting will be held in Coos Bay on April 26, 2014.