Hot topics and bargaining were on the Forestry Local 629's agenda for it's Spring statewide meeting held April 11th in Salem. The meeting opened with a President's message recognizing the past two wildfire seasons and looking into what may be another challenging one. Safety was emphasized and the importance of returning home.
There was a round table discussion of what should be presented at Seasonal Firefighter orientations, and what has not worked in the past. A flyer will be prepared by our staff orgainizer, Mike Bray to highlight parts of our Contact that a firefighter would need to know about like boot reimbursements, working on the 4th of July, rest and recovery, adjusting work schedules, and the end of the season. Included also will be who to contact for more information. It was emphasized that there should be an effort to resolve problems at the lowest possible level, solutions developed there have the potential of meeting all parties needs and are certainly the most timely.
Current bargaining proposals were reviewed, receiving additional input from more than your bargaining delegates. The rest and recovery proposal was the most discussed, noting that it always seems to be in flux and that there were no set guidelines. Instances where firefighters had worked 14 days straight and then reassigned to another fire were cited. There is also concern about the Work Capacity Test and "senior care issues".
Hot topics from the field included the smoking policy and its application, informing members where they can go for help, rest and recovery after a fire assignment and that there is no incident management business handbook.
the SEIU 503 Committee to Protect Injured Workers has been inactive for awhile and our Local will seek its re-activation or see if there are other Union committees that can advocate for the workers injured on the job. Jim Neuman will prepare a draft letter.
The next meetings will be conference calls on May 13th and June 17th both at 7:00 pm to discuss bargaining issues. All members are encouraged to call in and the number will be available from Mike Bray or Dave Wells. The next Statewide is tentatively set for October 10th in Sisters or another Central Oregon location.