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.