Sunday, February 7, 2016

Remembering Bob Novick

It was with sadness that I read of the passing of Bob Novick on Wednesday, February 3rd in “The Oregonian”.  Bob Novick was the third, in my memory, SEIU 503 (at that time Oregon Public Employees Union) statewide Forestry Local organizer and one of the more influential. It might have been that we were in one of those leadership transitioning periods or there was a great sense of hope of what lay ahead.  Whatever it was Bob was there as a guide, like he had some idea of what was around the next corner.

Bob was a fully rounded Organizer, his wings had not been clipped and he soared.  Then an Organizer was expected to bargain contracts, represent someone at at discipinary hearings (when a Steward was not available), organize new members and share information about greater Union operations.  Bob performed all of those jobs in that simpler time when friends were those you knew from meetings and actions.  At meetings he was always surrounded by others and involved in livley discussion.  He gave me the idea of what an activist is.

Steve Novick, Portland City Commissioner noted that his father instilled “good-quality left-wing politics”,  to that I would add, something that his father, my organizer, said following a march “the action is always at the front” and that is where Bob could usually be found.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Forestry Local Leadership, Nomimations Now Open

Nominations for the Forestry Local leadership positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer opened February 1st.  Nominations will close at 5:00 pm on February 26th.

Nominations can be submitted to Mike Bray, SEIU Forestry Local Organizer.

These leadership positions is how our membership traditionally selects our representation on the Statewide Labor/ Management committee.  In the recent past representation has been heavily weighted towards the State Forests program and it is hoped with this new election a diversity of the Department's Programs and geographic locations will be represented. Over the years membership has come from the Administration,  Protection, State Forests and Private Forest Programs.

The President, Vice President and Secretary serve as the automatic delegates to General Council, the supreme governing body of our Union.  Our Local representation is based on membership numbers and based on that we have three delegates.  The Treasurer is an alternate delegate.

Please consider nominating yourself or a co-worker for one of our Local's Leadership positions.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Forest Firefighting Positions Available

Oregon Department of Forestry has posted 47 announcements for Seasonal Full Time wildland firefighting positions.  The position titles are:

  • Wildland Fire Dispatcher
  • Forest Officer
  • Wildland Fire Suppression Specialist
  • Wildland Fire Suppression Specialist Entry
  • Forest Lookout
More information is available here:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Confront or Overlook The State of our Local

Forestry Local - President’s Message
January 9, 2016

The good of our Local is that we were able to negotiate a pretty good contract, have contact mechanisms in place like a listserv, a top 100 forestry blog and that we are financially strong.

The bad, we are on leadership and representation life support.  Even though we pay dues we are currently organized as a volunteer organization.  Leadership is composed of volunteers and our representation function is also made up of volunteers, Stewards.

  • Volunteer organizations work when some of those volunteers are willing to do just a little bit more.

  • Confront or overlook
Stewards are the primary mechanism where representation is provided to our fellow employees in need.  We are gasping.  There are no Stewards in half of the State, Central and Eastern Oregon.  There are no Stewards in another ¼ of the State, the South Coast and Cascades.  In the ¼ of the State with Stewards there are not enough, with vacancies in Astoria, Forest Grove and Salem.  On Tuesday a new Steward was selected at South Fork, Will Bennett.  Brandon thank you for organizing this, I happily brought pizza and pushed until there was a selection.

Our organizers, make it pretty clear that they are not here to provide representation.  Their supervisors make it pretty clear to them that they are not to provide representation services. They are not trained to provide representation services.  They are like the Red Cross and bring the volunteer Steward and the person in need together and organize training like the Red Cross first aid classes, only ours is called “contract enforcement”.

I will go a lot of places and bring pizza when a Steward will be elected, I’m not so willing to travel to represent someone, and will leave that to others or our MRC.  It is the way we are currently organized.  Maybe it should be changed, if there are not enough volunteers willing to do a little bit more, but I think the current system of handling problems locally with locals is still better than other alternatives, look at the Bundy in Malheur.  Confront or overlook, let’s do something about finding more Stewards.

We are in a leadership selection phase in our Local, the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer positions are open.

Nominations open: February 1, 2016
Nominations close: at 5 pm February 26, 2016
Candidate statements are due: by 5 pm March 11, 2016
Ballots mailed: March 29, 2016
Ballots returned: by 5 pm April 22, 2016

We are on life support now.  Our Treasurer took another job, our Secretary and Vice President will not be returning and myself, wondering what is next.

Leaders are needed to step up and fill our Local’s Leadership shortage.  The same is true in our State and in our Country.  To often leaders are selected from those who did not show up, or showed up late.  I don’t think that is the way it should be done.  I would like to overlook, but on this, I am more likely to confront.  The world is run by those who care enough to show up.

Think about it, you know the election timeline now. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Forestry Statewide on for January 9th

Our next Statewide Local meeting is on track for Saturday, January 9th at SEIU 503 Headquarters in Salem from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.. A call-in time from 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. is available for those who cannot make it in person.  The phone number is available from your Leadership or Mike Bray our SEIU 503 staff organizer.  Please register at the following link so enough food can be ordered for our lunch:

Items on the agenda include our leadership election timeline, state of our Local and agenda items for upcoming Labor/ Management meetings.

The following is a note from Google that access to this Blog will change after January 11th:

We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google Account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog. With a Google Account, they’ll get blogs added to their Reading List, making it easier for them to see the latest posts and activity of the blogs they follow.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Forestry Statewide Winter Meeting, January 9, 2016

Our next Statewide Meeting will be January 9, 2016 starting at 10:00 am at SEIU 503 Headquarters in Salem.

The agenda is still being developed, and interest is currently being sought from the membership. Please forward your ideas to any of your Forestry Leadership or our SEIU 503 Statewide coordinator, Mike Bray.

Awareness items are our Forestry elections for President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer and a key ring with our new Forestry Local logo is now available.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Thank You From SEIU 503's Board of Directors

This is the season of thanks and I was reminded again of the hard and appreciated work you did this spring, summer and fall suppressing wildfires in Oregon.  Before I could speak, at the Board meeting on November 14, a thanks and enthusiastic agreement was offered recognizing ODF's firefighting and support staff during wildfire season 2015.  They knew as Oregonians what the conditions were and how their communities and homes were in harms way when the temperatures went up and winds blew.  That is why at the Board meeting with many items on the agenda, there was a hearty thank you that I wanted to pass along.

A Happy and Safe Thanksgiving to all, and I hope the new negotiated holiday, the day after Thanksgiving, will bring a little more joy into your life.