|Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our contract surveys have been returned to the Union. I would like to thank the membership for your quick responses. Number one on the survey was a cost of living increase. This should come as no surprise with San Francisco having the highest cost of housing in the country. Young firefighters who are attempting to buy a home cant, reflecting the fact that an adequate cost of living increase should be first and foremost in our contract negotiations. Coming in second in the survey was a health and dental pick up. Also high on the list were the ongoing problems with assignments and transfers, staffing and the EMS reconfiguration. During negotiations we will strive to improve the working conditions of the brave men and women of this Local. We anticipate long and arduous negotiations with the Fire Department and the City.
The matter of the Captains Test and the re-test was discussed at a recent Town Hall meeting.
|The Chief was kind enough to have the meeting for those candidates who took the test. It was unfortunate that due to the legal concerns not all the questions could be answered by the Chief. At times I felt that the Chief was as frustrated as the candidates. However, later in the meeting the Chief began to speak in a condescending manner to the men and women in that room. The fact is that the candidates in that room are the mid-management of the Fire Department. They have as much or more experience than the Command staff in fighting fires and responding to medical emergencies. And I may be going out on a limb here, but they have done a Herculean job of holding this Department together.
Later in the meeting, the two deputies spoke. I have not been this embarrassed for the Fire Department in many years. The responses given by the deputies were condescending and ill-informed at best. Again, I must point out that the room was filled with experienced men and women from mid-management. They should be treated with respect, not like kids at a day care center. On top of all of this, the Human Resources Division for the Fire Department made the following statement that the HR Department was rushed for this test. I guess twelve years wasnt enough time to prepare a test for less than 110 candidates. You decide on the competency of this administration.
On a more somber note, the cancer surveys have been returned to the Local from both active and retired members. Out of 1,406 returned and completed forms, 238 individuals have been diagnosed with cancer. That is a spike in any type of occupation, and that 238 is just the beginning. There are also clusters in certain firehouses, with prostate cancer being the most prevalent. One of our first steps was having Vice President Joe Moriarty and Karen Heald meet with the Head of Workers Compensation to ensure that the City follow the law of the State of California and authorize disability benefits to each and every one of our members who are suffering from cancer. We will update you as our fight continues.
Parade season begins in March. This years Chinese New Years Parade is scheduled for March 3. We will be out in full strength to celebrate Chinese New Year and at the same time getting the word out to the half million citizens watching the parade of O.J. Leonardos sons fight with Leukemia and his need for a bone marrow donor of Asian descent.
Coming up shortly thereafter is the St. Patricks Day Parade on Saturday, March 17. We will meet at 2nd and Market that day at 11:15 a.m. sharp, full dress uniform. Look for a Bulletin at your firehouses during the next few weeks about this event.
Keep the Faith. I want to thank all of you for the fine job you do at fires and medical emergencies.
God Bless and stay safe.