Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Forestry Statewide Meeting, January 27, 2013

Our next Forestry Local Statewide meeting will be held on January 27th in Eugene at the Valley River Inn in conjunction with the biennial Stewards Conference and DAS/ OUS Bargaining Conference.  Our meeting will run from 0800 to 0900 before the start of the Bargaining conference set to begin at 0930.  Breakfast will be provided.

The primary focus will be to solidify/  re-establish local leadership and build communication pathways prior to the start of bargaining.

Registration information for the Stewards and DAS/OUS Conferences are available at the SEIU 503 website.

ODOT Coalition Bargaining is tentatively set to begin the evening of Tuesday, February 5th in Salem.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bargaining Surveys Look for Better Ideas

What are your priorities for our next contract, wages, health insurance, or something else?  Well now through November 1, 2012 bargaining surveys are available on-line at the SEIU 503 website or through your organizer to get your thoughts down in writing.

Do you have an idea that should be addressed at the bargaining table?  Two years ago Central Oregon Firefighters thought that Agency firefighters who were laid off in good standing should be able to apply for Agency Internal job offerings.  Using that idea, contract language was developed, considered at the bargaining table, and eventually adopted.  Without that initial idea none of that would of happened.

What are your ideas?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Forestry Statewide Meeting - October 14th in Eugene

The next Forestry Local 629 Statewide meeting will be on Sunday, October 14th from 10am to 1pm at the Eugene SEIU Office.  The office is located in the basement (not as bad as it sounds) of the Oregon Community Credit Union.

The agenda includes:
  • What are your Bargaining ideas
  • What will it take to be successful in our 2013 contract
  • Report from our last Labor/ Management meeting
  • For Seasonal Employees, what would you like to see on ODF's website?
  • President's and Treasurer's reports
  • Promotional item purchase
An optional pro-worker candidate phone calling will run from 1pm to 2:30pm.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Crowd Sourcing Improvements

At our last Labor/ Management (L/M) meeting our Deputy State Forester (now acting State Forester) Paul Bell asked if our outreach for agenda items was good enough, are we hearing what is going on. I want to know that too.

We, the crowd, are a source of ideas to improve our service delivery and make changes or affirm processes that continually improve how we do business and operate in our workplaces. Labor/ Management meetings are one way to bring those ideas forward. Pretty much un-filtered they are heard by the Deputy State Forester and Human Resource Chief as they are presented by your elected union leadership. The recent publication “Out of State Dispatch” came in part because of an agenda item from one of our meetings. Now in one place you can know a little more about what to expect before you go out of state to help on an incident.

Rumor Control is another agenda item. What are you hearing that needs to be checked out? Our Committee may not have all of the “Myth Busters” tools but do a pretty good job of finding out the real or developing story behind a rumor.

Paul put a good question to us “are we doing enough” to find out what the issues and rumors are within the Department? That is our responsibility as your union leadership to seek out and be available to field these ideas and concerns. Look up Bryan, Doug, Tim or myself, we are all in different geographic areas and also as close as your phone or e-mail. I want to know.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Did My Part

About a year from now (May 2013) the State of Oregon will release its revenue forecast for the next two years. At that point whatever was talked about in bargaining will shift from the many issues to the big two: wages and PEBB health care. Bargaining success will depend, at least in part, on a budgets prepared that lower the health care cost shift to the employee and inclusion of step and cost of living increases.

As forest firefighters, Stewardship Foresters, managers of our State Forests, and support staff you do your part in keeping Oregon’s real green economy going. Firefighters you fight forest fires aggressively and provide for public and personal safety first. Stewardship Foresters you ensure that streams flow clean and clear and reforestation is successful following a timber harvest. Foresters you manage state forest lands for sustainable harvests providing a range of social, environmental, and economic benefits. Support staff you provide the infrastructure to keep everything working smoothly. All of this is important to Oregon’s economy, image and forestry leadership. In May 2013 when bargaining focuses on wages and health care, hold your head high knowing that “I did my part” for Oregon with the expectation that those preparing the budget will have done the same.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Forestry Local 629 Leadership - 2012 to 2014

Elections have been completed and these are your elected leaders for the Forestry Local:

President: David Wells
Vice President: Bryan Kohen
Secretary: Doug Firoved
Treasurer: Tim Seitz

Friday, April 20, 2012

Forestry Statewide Meeting, May 5, 2012

Our next Forestry Statewide Local meeting will be May 5, 2012 in conjunction with ODOT in Lincoln City. We will be meeting at the Surftides Beach Resort, 2945 NW Jetty Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. Lunch will be provided and mileage and lodging are available in accordance with SEIU Local 503, OPEU Administrative Policies and Procedures.


Forestry and ODOT Joint Meeting
  • Introductions ODOT and Forestry

  • Election Results and swearing in of new officers

  • ODOT Coalition Report from our industry rep

  • Report on recent Healthcare Summit held in Salem

  • Bargaining timeline and concepts

  • General Council preview and resolutions

  • Forestry Meeting

  • President's Message

  • Treasurer's Report

  • Training: Interview tips and Application hints

  • Firefighter school orientations - who will provide Union orientations?

  • Labor/ Management Topics (Tents and Field Gear committee report)

  • Constitution and By-lays discussion and vote to bring ours into SEIU compliance

  • Promotional item (t-shirt and sweatshirt) distribution.

  • Please plan on attending, for more information contact myself of Troy Barnard. Lodging arrangements can be made through K Ratcliff at 503-408-4090 or

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Growing Organic Leadership

    Leadership, sometimes it’s bestowed and sometimes grown into. For many members on Incident Management Teams it has grown organically from interest and need, and someone saying yes to be the first called to Oregon’s most complex emergencies.

    Food Service Leader, Division Supervisor, Situation Unit Leader, Safety Officer and more, all leadership positions making up the team from those who are wildlife biologists, office specialists, planners and foresters in their daily work. It is pretty special how this group has been able to grow to fill such a critical need.

    You may know some of these leaders or others who are ready to grow. Do you plan the summer picnic or winter potluck? Are you the chair of a professional organization or active at your church? When you see a need have you organized others to fill it? These are some of the seeds of organic leadership.

    Our Forestry Local is also looking for leaders, Stewards, to fill a need at District Offices. As a Steward you will get additional leadership training to improve your skills and be more prepared to help your co-workers. If this interests you contact me or any of the Local Officers for more information.

    Our next Forestry Local Statewide meeting is being held with the ODOT local on May 5th in Lincoln City.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Its Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and Many People Want Them

    There are opportunities out there now that the hard hiring freeze is over but the word is that you need to work for them. Meeting the minimum qualifications for a job and being an internal candidate may not be enough to get you an interview, there are just that many candidates seeking jobs with Oregon’s Department of Forestry.

    Current employees, to be successful in getting an interview, and that new job, you need to take the application, associated test questions and interview seriously. Look at your application has it been updated recently? Do your test question answers show how your work experience exceeds the minimum qualifications? When you come to the interview do you really sell yourself to the board as if they have never met you before? Our mangers have been overrun by applications and it is up to you to make yours stand out to move forward in the hiring process.

    New contract language was added this year that allows laid off seasonal employees to apply for internal promotional jobs. It was a pretty big deal to open that door but it is up to you to do all you can to get through it. At our next Statewide Forestry Meeting on May 5, 2012 (Surftides Motel, Lincoln City) we will provide training on how to write better test question answers and do your best at the interview. See you there.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Forestry Local Meeting, We Made Some Changes

    At our statewide meeting at the end of January we made some changes to our Local’s Constitution and By-laws. The Area Representative position was removed from our governing documents and elections will not be held to fill these positions. One of the Area Representative’s main job was to recruit Stewards in there Area and this duty was transferred to all of the Statewide Officers.

    Elections are now open for the Statewide Positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Information about these positions and election information is available from Troy at

    Doug Firoved reported that the Tent and Field Gear committee has been busy preparing tent, sleeping bag, pad and field pack recommendations for the Executive Committee’s review. Generally, here are the their thoughts to date: Tents would have a minimum of 42 square feet of floor space with a 3½ foot height, sleeping bags would be rated to 20, pads would be gray closed cell foam, and field packs would be large enough to hold 4 canteens and the next generation fire shelter.

    Doug Decker, our State Forester, spoke to the group about lean budgets and listening to our customers. Training, always important to us, is one of the casualties of our current budget situation. When money for training becomes available it will be provided using a list of priorities currently being developed by Clark Seely. Decker is concentrating on listening to the different “communities of interest” that have influence on Oregon’s forests. When meeting with these groups he is thinking of it as an opportunity to “stand a little closer together” and find the common ground that already exists and making an extra effort to listen when that common ground is not immediately apparent.

    Our next meeting will be a joint meeting with ODOT on May 5, 2012 in either Lincoln City or Newport.

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Forestry Local Elections Open February 1, 2012

    Nominations for the Local offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer open February 1, 2012. Your Local officers serve as your executive committee and represent the Local’s interests at Labor/ Management, SEIU 503’s General Council and contract bargaining.

    Nomination forms can be obtained from your SEIU 503 Field office or our Statewide Coordinator Troy Barnard at

    Nominations must be received by 5:00 pm on 2/22/2012 at the SEIU Portland Field Office and candidate statements are due 2/29/2012 at 5:00 pm at the same location.

    Ballots will be mailed out 3/7/2012 and are due back to the SEIU Salem Headquarters by 5:00 pm on 4/5/2012.

    Absentee or replacement ballots can be obtained from the SEIU Portland Field Office no later than 5:00 pm on 3/29/2012.

    New officers will be installed at the Local’s next statewide meeting tentatively planned for May 5, 2012.

    The Area Representative offices will not be filled this year as a result of change to our Constitution and By-Laws made at our January 28th 2012 meeting.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    State Forester Doug Decker to Speak at Statewide Forestry Local Meeting, January 28th

    Oregon State Forester Doug Decker will be the featured speaker at the next Statewide Forestry Local Meeting to be held January 28th in Portland. “It’s all about the people” will be the theme of the talk which should be very interesting considering these tight budgetary times.

    Other agenda items include a general report on Local operations and finances, updates from the tent and field gear committee and on the hiring freeze, and discussion and vote on a proposed change to the Local’s By-Lays to remove the “District Representative” position. Forestry Local T-shirts for members and ¼ zip sweat shirts for Stewards (past and present) and officers will be available at the meeting.

    The meeting will be held at the SEIU 503 Portland Field Office located at 6401 SE Foster Road in Portland on Saturday, January 28th. Light refreshments will be available at 8:30 am with the meeting beginning at 9:00 am. Lunch (provided) and adjournment are both planned for 12:00 pm. Please RSVP with Troy at 503-408-4090 who can also provide a conference call number for those unable to attend as well as lodging information. Mileage will be reimbursed at SEIU 503 rates.