Thursday, February 25, 2016

Floor Moving on Work Capacity Test

The Work Capacity Test has been in its current form as a Letter of Agreement (supplement to the body of our Contract) since at least the 2013-2015 Contract and is a LOA in our 2015-2019 Contact.  There were no additions or subtractions to the wording during the last Contract negotiation period.  However due to an opinion of the Department of Justice an interpretation of the LOA has changed in Section 5. Medical Certification (b).

The language reads: A medical certification from a licensed physician attesting to the employee’s ability to safely perform arduous, moderate or light level fire duties with restrictions may be substituted for passing the equivalent level of the WCT.  Such medical certification cannot be substituted when an employee has failed any WCT in that calendar year. (underline added)

The Department of Justice is now recognizing that the “with restrictions” portion of the language does restrict the fire duties one could perform and puts the Department into the position of determining if that restriction can be “reasonably accommodated” under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Depending on the restriction placed by the licensed physician there is a possibility that the fire fighters duties could not be accommodated.

The change is previously the “with restrictions” wording of the medical certification was largely ignored and that with a medical certification it was assumed that one could fully perform at their designated fitness level.  This is no longer the case.  The only way to be fully qualified for your fire position, without restrictions, is to take and pass the WCT at the appropriate fitness level.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Forestry Leadership Nominations Close February 26th

Forestry Local 629 leadership nominations for our president, vice president, secretary and treasurer positions will close Friday, February 26th at 5:00pm.  Nominations should be sent to Mike Bray, SEIU 503 Statewide Forestry Coordinator.

Our Forestry Local has 3 delegates to General Council and the automatic delegates are the president, vice president and secretary.  Our treasurer serves as an alternate delegate.

The nomination form can be found at the SEIU 503 website:

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.