Letter From The President
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We’re voting on contract the week of July 5-8.

Your negotiating team of Moriarty, Kelly, O’Connor and I met with City officials, the SFFD and Mayor Newsom for 4 months over the intricate and major issues affecting our working conditions as Firefighters and Paramedics. Factors including our perennial opponents, the City’s financial crisis, and certain City bureaucrats left some to think that by raiding our budget they could inflate their own budgets. Yet your Union stood strong through education and negotiations, and has brought to the Membership what we feel is fair – both to the City, Citizens and to the members of Local 798. Your Executive Board urges a “yes” vote.

The recently released Grand Jury Report can be used as a blueprint for change; in fact we could use some aspects of it for the better. But to be clear, it was evident that much of the information was gained from the 10 or so malcontents in our Department. Most of these people have desk jobs or have not been in the field in years. These types of people have no grasp of what being a firefighter/paramedic is about. The SFFD has changed dramatically in the last decade, both becoming better trained and more efficient. We have members trained in hazardous materials, surf rescue, heavy rescue, emergency medicine, and “WMD-Homeland Security” just to name a few. Our members are highly trained and dedicated to the citizens of San Francisco, protecting life and property.

All in all, over the last few months Local 798 has stood strong against this Report and other criticisms. I have yet to speak with a firefighter/paramedic in the field whose views were represented in this sensationalized Grand Jury report. In fact, some SFFD employees interviewed by the Grand Jury have run for Union office over and over and had yet to gain the confidence of the Membership (they have lost time and time again). Some might have, or will be, planning lawsuits against the City. We have weathered political storms before, and we will stand strong through this one together.

Let me make this statement as strong as possible: This is a new era in the San Francisco Fire Department. We have a new Chief, Joanne Hayes-White, who is bringing progressive and innovative plans to the SFFD. Let’s all stand back a little and give her a chance to implement these changes.

Congratulations to Station 6 Soft-ball champs. Much of America has viewed that lovely Station while on vacation in the Castro, and now cards and letters are pouring in from all 50 states congratulating them on their recent come from behind victory. Rich “Bases Loaded” Brown launched a single to win the game over their bitter rivals, Station 3 (from the Tenderloin). Congratulations to both houses and the entire Softball League run by Pat Gardner and Mark Castagnola.

Stay safe,
John Hanley


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