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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Membership, Training, Elections and Fairness

For our Union fairness is an important concept both in bargaining and treatment in the workplace. But opening and closing of recruitments, selection of the individual, assignment of work duties and location of that work are generally within the Management's Rights part of the Contract.  Management gets to make these decisions without Union input or oversight, but it still doesn't feel good when the perceived fair process of competitive interviews is sidestepped.  That brings me to membership, training and elections.

Fairness like justice isn’t always just given it has to be maintained, and sometimes fought for (Veteran’s Day comes to mind) and one of the best ways to do that is to join our Union.  There is currently a membership drive going on and many of you may be receiving a call, or perhaps a home visit asking that you move from Fairshare to Member.  Consider it, there is both a personal and group value to becoming a member, it helps in bargaining and to your work, respect beyond being a professional.

For those who want to go further, SEIU 503 offers Contract Enforcement Training.  These trainings are open to all members and cover the contract environment, creative problem solving and the grievance process.  Two sessions in November are planned, 13-14 in Salem and 20-21 in Portland.  Other sessions are also scheduled around the State and mileage and lodging are paid for those who need to travel.  Contact your Organizer or visit the SEIU 503 website to register.

One of the benefits of membership is the opportunity to run for our Local’s leadership positions and select your representatives by voting.  As a leader of of our Forestry Local you not only will work with the top leadership of the Department but also be one of the very few Union leaders who represent forestry employees.  The election timeline for the next two year term (2016-18) is; nominations open on February 1, 2016; nominations close on February 26, 2016; ballots will be mailed out March 29, 2016; and must be received by April 22, 2016. Our Union and benefits it brings is only as good as those joining, learning and leading it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Change, that's our world"

State Forester Doug Decker spoke at the State Forests Conference/ meeting and opened with what was one of the meetings themes "change, that's our world".  Other words of the day were, jestingly, "golden opportunity" and "prior approval".  But there was a lot of truth in all of those catch phrases as the baby boomers retire and a State Forest Management plan is developed.

One cominality for the Oregon Dept. of Forestry and our Union is leadership and leadership development.

Leadership to navigate changes, leaders to fill promotional opportunities and those to lead in the workplace.  There is a "golden opportunity" for leaders and those who want to become one.

The Department has more leadership development programs than most, seek them out, and if accepted study hard.  Our Union also has leadership positons avialable, and the front line is the workplace Steward.  In October 2014, the Forestry Local clarifed the steps to becoming a Steward and those steps can be found here in our Local's ammended by-laws:
Being a Steward will help develop your leadership skills setting and running worksite meetings, solving problems and when necessary representing your co-workers.  There is also training available like the Contract Enforcement classes listed on the SEIU 503 website:

Forestry Local leadership elections will also be in early 2016, "change, that's our world".

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.