Sunday, October 11, 2015

Forestry Statewide - Minutes from October 10, 2015 Meeting

The Forestry Local had its fall meeting in Prineville on October 10, 2015, starting about 0900 and finishing about 1330.

From 0900 to 1000 members were invited to call in for a "virtual town hall", and were invited to stay on the line for the remainder of  the meeting.

President's Message: Dave Wells encouraged the leadership to continue developing member involvement and also notified that he will not be running for President of the Local in 2016.

Local Business: The financial status of the Local, required leadership disclosure statements and special General Council vote increasing the Retiree Local's annual dues were discussed.

Contract Updates: Recent changes to the SEIU 503/ DAS contract were discussed.  These changes included an increase in the boot reimbursement, temporary employees employed as FICCs will be paid for their rest and lunch breaks and letters of intent to clarify the rest and rotation period and compensation for tree fallers.  The contract will be available on-line in November and in print form in early 2016.  Joint DAS/ SEIU 503 contract information sessions are scheduled in October and SEIU 503 contract enforcement trainings are being held in November in Salem and at other times around Oregon.  More information is here:

Membership:  SEIU 503 will be holding a membership drive in October and November.  The effort will include worksite and possible home visits and phone calls.  There are many ways to join, using the paper form and the new online form which is available here:  Membership means more and that is most often seen in our contracts and workplace respect.  If you are not a member and unsure of how to join contact any of your elected leadership or Mike Bray our Local's SEIU 503 organizer.

Revenue Reform:  Mike Bray presented SEIU 503's proposal to raise revenue for Oregon programs.  A signature gathering program is beginning and will be concluded July 2016.

Local Elections: Current Local officers were appointed as the nominating committee and charged with finding candidates for President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and General Council alternates.  The election is likely to be in January 2016 to meet officer installation prior to General Council in August 3-6, 2016.

Labor/ Management: L/M agenda items were fielded in preparation of agenda development Monday, October 12th.  The next meeting is October 15th.  Agenda items identified included developing definitions for rest and rotation and rest and recovery, how the new holiday following Thanksgiving will be accounted and the tree faller committee.

Local Logo Items:  The Local will purchase pens and key fobs for distribution to increase our Local's visibility in the workplace and community.

Next Meeting: Our next statewide meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 9th in Salem.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Forestry Local Statewide Meeting, October 10th

The Forestry Local of SEIU 503 is holding it's Summer/ Fall Statewide meeting on October 10th from 9:00am to 2:00pm at the Stafford Inn, Prineville.  For those unable to attend in person there will be a call in number available for the 9:00am to 10:00am portion of the meeting.  Contact Dave Wells or Mike Bray, SEIU Staff Organizer for the phone number.

The agenda is still being developed but will include a financial report, updates on current re-class requests, and review of the fire season.  Please contact any of your elected leadership or Mike Bray to add an agenda item.

Mileage and lodging (for those traveling more than 75 miles) will be available according to SEIU 503's Administrative Policy and Procedures.  Contact SEIU if you need lodging.

Forestry Local 629 Member Meeting (call-in hour from 9AM-10AM) Stafford Inn 1773 NE 3rd St Prineville, OR
WhenSat, October 10, 9am – 2pm
WhereStafford Inn, 1773 NE 3rd St, Prineville, OR 97754, United States (map)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SEIU 503 Exective Board Recogintion and Thank You to ODF Firefighters

SEIU 503's Executive Board prepared this thank you for all of ODF's firefighters and supporting staff recognizing their extraordinary contributions during this unparalleled fire season.  I know the thoughts are from the heart and recognition sincere, please accept their congratulations recognizing the hard work and long hours you have given to make Oregon the special place that it is.

Dave Wells

August 28, 2015

Dave Wells, President
Oregon Dept of Forestry
Brandon Ferguson, 
Vice President
Oregon Dept of Forestry
James Neuman, Secretary
Oregon Dept of Forestry

Dear Dave, Brandon and James:

This has been one of the most – if not the most – dangerous fire seasons in recent memory due to the long periods of extreme heat and little or no moisture. It has created incredible risk for many Oregon Department of Forestry members who day-in and day-out must deal with extremely volatile conditions in our forests in controlling fires of all sizes and intensity to protect Oregonians lives, properties and our treasured forest lands. Other ODF members have stepped up to competently assume duties that are needed in support of those on fire protection/suppression duty.

We can’t begin to express the admiration and gratitude due our ODF members for your commitment to service in this dangerous but necessary mission, whether you work the long hours over long uninterrupted periods on the fire lines, or take on the unfamiliar but necessary tasks in support of those on the fire lines.

We are proud to have you as members of SEIU 503, OPEU, as you serve all Oregonians in such dedicated and selfless duty.

In unity,

SEIU Local 503, OPEU, Board of Directors Executive Committee

Rob Sisk            Heather Conroy          Rebecca Sandoval                           
President           Executive Director      Secretary-Treasurer                      

Mike Scott          Linda Burgin                          Rhonda Morgan
Vice-President     Immediate Past-President      Human Services Sector Director                     

Shaun Notdurft                                          Greg Ledbetter
Private Non-Profit Sector Director               Retiree Sublocal Director


Statewide Forestry Meeting, October 10th in Central Oregon

Please save October 10th for our next Statewide Forestry Local meeting to be held in Central Oregon.  Many think Fall is the best time to visit this part of the State, and hopefully a good agenda that will seal the deal and you will make plans to attend.

If you have agenda items that you would like to see discussed please forward them to any of the Locals officers or Mike Bray our SEIU 503 Staff Organizer.

Final details are being worked out but as with other meetings, mileage, and lodging for those traveling more than 75 miles to attend will be paid for from our Local's account.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Stay Sharp, Remembering the Words of Nancy Orr

Stay Sharp, said Nancy Orr, Oregon's State Fire Marshall, when she addressed Oregon's Incident Management Team at our annual meeting many years ago.  Stay Sharp.

I think she talked about looking crisp and having your engine clean, something that you could be proud of.  That is important, but it has come to mean more to me, and that is always doing the best job you can do.  It's the edge, not of risk, but that little slice of satisfaction of a job well done. Stay Sharp.

I can't help think about the recent wildfire fatalities in California and Washington, and know many of my fellow employees are somehow effected.  That silent prayer, a "Thank You Firefighter" on a cardboard box that means just a little bit more now.  With seven more weeks of fire ahead, how to push on and get up at O' dark thirty for the briefing and the assignment ahead.  For me it will be taking a moment to remember those who I care about and care about me, think about LCES and to Stay Sharp.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Security Package Delivered

Your Bargaining Delegates met July 18th and recommended approval of the Tentative Agreement reached between our Bargaining Team and the State of Oregon by membership vote.  Ballots will be available beginning July 22nd at face to face Ratification Meetings or by mail, and must be received by close of business August 17th to be counted.

Heather Conroy, SEIU 503 Executive Director described the role of members and overall bargaining concept as "we can organize, we can galvanize.........we won't take cuts" and of the agreement added "proud of the contract, worked hard to meet expectations".   The TA was recommended to the membership by an overwhelming "yes" vote.

Some of TA details are listed below, with a more complete list available at the Ratification Meetings or SEIU 503 website.

Four year agreement with an opening in 2017 to re-negotiate cost of living adjustments, insurance, differentials and selective salary increases.

Cost of living adjustments (salary increase) of 1.48% effective December 1, 2015 and 2.75% effective December 1, 2016.

Insurance options that are up to a 99% employer/ 1% employee split depending on the plan chosen.

The day after Thanksgiving was added as holiday, there is no effect on other holidays or the Governor's Leave day.

Employees can now cash out up to 300 hours of accrued vacation leave upon separation from State service.

Volunteer firefighters can now use accrued leave, other than sick leave, to respond to emergency situations.

Telecommuting requests will be responded to within 30 days, and if denied the reason will be specified in writing.

The "employee" PERS contribution currently made by the employer will become the employee's responsibility beginning November 1, 2016.  Salary rates will be increased by 6.95% at the same time as an offset. Contributions will be made "pre-tax".

Boot reimbursement will now be $230 bi-annually for permanent employees or $115 yearly for seasonal employees.

The State will explore whether it is possible to do pre-tax deductions for qualifying cycling costs.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Welcome New and Continuing Forestry Local 629 Members

I would like to welcome the many new members to Forestry Local 629.  Your membership does make a difference when it comes to bargaining and having a voice in the workplace or on the fireline.  An immediate benifit of membership is that you have the opportunity to vote wether to accept or reject the tentative agreement negotiated on our behalf by Union bargaining team.  Details about the agreement can be seen here:

Another benifit is being able to join in the conversation about how our Local is run. This Wednesday, July 15th there will be a conference call to share what is going on at the leadership level and listen to concerns from the membership.  One topic will be how to become a Steward with the Forestry Local.  The call is planned from 7:00 to 8:00 pm and a toll free conference call number can be obtained from Dave Wells, Local President or Mike Bray, SEIU 503 Staff Organizer.

I would like to hear from you, and be safe.