Saturday, December 24, 2016

Barganing Ahead in 2017

After the Holidays it will be time to get back to work as bargaining for our wages and benefits will resume in 2017.  In 2015 we bargained a four year contract that holds many of our Contact Articles in place until bargaining begins for the 2019 Contract. For instance this time around we will not be negotiating our boot allowance or conditions of the work capacity test.  What was negotiated was a 2017 Contract re-opener on wages, benefits and one non economic issue.  Timeline to have all this completed is June 30th.

More (optimistically) in wages, more in benefits or what balance between the two is what your Bargaining Team will need to know. Watch for a bargaining survey or if you want to get more involved come to the Bargaining Conference on January 28th at Clackamas Community College (link below). This is the start of negotiations at the bargaining table, actions for a fair settlement and your ultimate decision and vote on the agreement.

Other dates: Forestry Local Statewide meeting in Eugene on February 4th.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Be Thankful for Rest and Recovery

Department policy on Incident Management Rest and Rest and Recovery was released to employees in December.  For Seasonal and other employees who may not have seen the Department e-mail here are the changes recognizing the need to mitigate the fatigue associated with incident response.  The Policy discussion began at the bargaining table in 2015 but that venue did not allow enough time to really develop the Department buy in and work through the complexity of what looks to be a fair solution to rest after long days (and nights) working on an incident.

Some Definitions:
Standard Assignment (new): 14 consecutive days working 12 hours per day while assigned to and at an incident.  Travel time to and from the home unit shall not count toward the standard assignment.

Incident Management Rest (new): A 24-hour rest period when the agency relieves the department employee of all duties, and the incident they were assigned to on day 14 pays them eight hours of straight time.

Rest and Recovery: A 24-hour rest period when the agency relieves the department employee of all duties, and the incident they were assigned to on day 21 pays them eight hours of straight time.

Application and Procedures (for actual wording see Standard Assignment Procedure document):

Incident Management Rest is a new rest period associated with the Standard Assignment.  When an employee completes a Standard Assignment they shall receive a 24 hour rest period and be paid for eight hours of straight time.  The purpose is to mitigate fatigue and insure incident readiness. A question from the past has been what about a regularly scheduled day off, which has been answered that the rest period will still occur and the employee will be paid the eight hours of straight time.

Rest and Recovery is in addition to Incident Management Rest and is in our Contact as Article 60.3C.  Employees who are away from their work station for 21 consecutive days including travel time when they return to their station shall receive 24 hours off and eight hours of pay at straight time.

Within the Procedure document there is an exception process and additional time entry information.  The actual document should be consulted before actual application.  Coming in the holiday season the Department’s completion and sharing of the new rest period is something to be thankful for even though that gratification may be delayed until we get back into Fire Season.