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Austin Firefighters Association
 

Brother and Sister Firefighters,


First off, thank you for all the support at the rally last week held for our endorsed candidates. Again, you answered the call and showed up in force!

Click here for a trove of pictures from the rally (All pictures taken by my Daughter photographer Amanda) 

Click here for news story of event

Many great pictures and videos of AFA election efforts and more at the AFA Facebook Page. Please visit page and Like It!

Also, If you know family or friends that would like a job, only for tomorrow, and help our election efforts see below:

The Laborers International Union of North America has asked me to solicit brother and sister firefighters and their family members to support AFA endorsed candidates by block walking and talking to voters on Monday. If you are interested, please contact Jeremy Hendricks at jeremy@swldc.org. They are paying $15/hour for block walkers. 

I will try to post the elections results Tuesday evening as the come in. Please follow AFA on Twitter @afa975 for the faster results. 

The work for this election started well over a year ago when AFA decided to back the 10-1 movement. On Tuesday we will finally realize the outcome of all these efforts. I feel like I am a child and Christmas is just around the corner! I hope our efforts pay off and the AFA membership will finally have a council we can respect and a Council that will provide the membership the relief that they surely deserve. 


Bob Nicks

President, Austin Firefighters Association.

 


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AFA response to today's Statesman Editorial hit piece:

11/15/14

Citizens of Austin,

This editorial is so full of misrepresentations, poor journalistic research and boldfaced lies I hardly know where to begin.

I would be more than happy to meet with any individual or group that genuinely wants to experience a fuller understanding of this important issue. The Austin Firefighters Association has been very successful when meeting with diverse groups and in virtually every case they side with the firefighters when the true facts are presented.

78 of the 81 prospective 10-1 Council candidates attended the firefighters' educational sessions on the consent decree/ hiring issues; all but a couple ended up siding with the firefighters after the truth was presented.

The "extremely high costs in overtime" claim leveled by the Statesman editorial staff in today's editorial can easily be debunked. AFD total payroll costs decrease when overtime is paid instead of hiring additional firefighters to cover required staffing (please have the Statesman's own Politifacts group check that fact).  

If you really want to know the truth on this issue, please contact me at president@iafflocal975.org to set up a time and location for your group to meet and discuss. The firefighters are on the right side of the issue and we have nothing to hide, unlike the city staff which rely on the Statesman Editorial Board to do their dirty work. Utterly shameful.

In the not too distant past I confronted a member of the Statesman Editorial Staff about the factually inaccurate statements they made in their editorial concerning the AFD consent decree. I was told by one of these esteemed editorial staffers, "It is not our job to be factually correct, it is our job to persuade public opinion."

If the Statesman is not worried about little inconveniences like the truth, their performance is outstanding.  

 

Bob Nicks
President, Austin Firefighters Association
IAFF Local 975

PS, No time to post the editorial, heading to work. 

 

 


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10/15/2014

Brother and Sister Firefighters,

Now that the CDC says second nurse diagnosed with Ebola. Now it is more important than ever that we protect ourselfs. 

http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2014/10/cdc-says-second-nurse-diagnosed-with-ebola-flew-from-cleveland-to-dallas-the-day-before-she-reported-symptonms.html/

http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2014/10/second-health-care-worker-tests-positive-for-ebola-in-dallas.html/

 

The spread of ebola among health care workers is increasing and the understanding as to why the disease has spread among apparently PPE-protected caregivers is still not clear but a partial cause may be the doffing of PPE.

 

  • Removing PPE, after any patient contact, is as critical as the use of proper PPE itself.
  • Be cautious what you touch with used gloves on any call.
  • Use vionex or any alcohol-based cleaner after you've properly removed your PPE.
  • Wash your hands as soon as possible thereafter.
  • On this semester's blackboard, within the powerpoint, their are several video links demonstrating proper PPE donning and doffing.
 
Bob Nicks
President, AUstin Firefighters Association 

 

 


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CBA Vote Results

9/26/2014

Brother and Sister Firefighters,

Thank you to all who voted. This vote had the largest member participation in the history of our organization, with 773 total votes casted. The results was that an overwhelming 93% of the membership voted "NO" to the contract and NO to the further erosion of our professional standards.

[Click here to view the vote results]

The firefighter's principles remain intact, they are non-negotiable and not for sale. Firefighters will not sell their principles for any amount of money and that is what's called INTEGRITY. Our integrity, courage, and belief in our principles are the values that real leaders are made of. The safety of the citizens and firefighters of Austin is NOT for sale, no matter how much pressure the city applies to make us capitulate. 

These principles should be rewarded, not punished. They should be exalted, not stripped away by extorting firefighters family's by eliminating a much deserved pay raise that all other city employees received. We the firefighters, need the support of the citizens, as we are not getting any from city management. The City Manager and Fire Chief are killing the very spirit that they claim to instill in all city employees...honor, duty, family and sacrifice.  

We cannot hold out forever. Over time, if our bosses do not care, if the current council does not care, then we will work hard to seat a new council that will not let our department be destroyed, one that will protect it and support it so great things can continue to happen.

Now we must truly commit to a single cause! We need your help by block-walking and assisting with the campaign. Please go to www.local975.org to sign up and block walk to help seat a new 10-1 city council where fair-minded courageous leaders will stop this nonsense. Join me in becoming part of the difference!

 

Bob Nicks

President, Austin Firefighters Association

 

 


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9-22-2014

Brother and Sister Firefighters,

Before the CBA vote reminder some important new information for you to consider before the vote. 

 

The city, in their reply to federal court last week, makes the following argument to the AFA motion to reconsider AFA intervenor status:

 

"1 The Court should also reject this argument because the AFA’s membership is currently voting on whether to accept a proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement made by the City in the most recent negotiations. Obviously, if the AFA’s membership accepts the City’s contract proposal, Movants cannot then complain about whether that proposal includes hiring provisions."

 

The City is essentially stating that a "yes" vote for the contract would eliminate AFA's ability to intervene. 

 

As is stated in my email below, To me, the choice is completely clear. We cannot allow The City and the DOJ to collude and conspire to implement a 4-8 year consent decree without even demonstrating that a federal law was broken. Further, we should not lock into a 3 year contract that offers so very little to firefighters, extracts so much for management, and rolls back decades of progress. Once this precedence is set there will be no going back. If these Civil Service protections and Professional standards are given away now they will never be recaptured. There will be nothing left to offer the City in future labor negotiations to enhance our wages and/or conditions of employment. A more balanced contract can be negotiated next year under the new 10-1 council. The entire political balance of power is about to change in November, this is not the time to surrender."

The online CBA membership vote will occur September 23rd (starting at 8:00am) thru the September 25th (ending at 5:00pm). Online discussion board and all CBA educational materials can be found at www.local975.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/18/2014


Brother and Sister Firefighters,


In response to the earlier ruling to deny AFA intervener status, the AFA filed a motion to reconsider and motion to stay proceedings in federal court. This motion is the necessary first step in filing an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans.  Despite this first ruling not going in our favor, principally, not much has changed. The consent decree is still a huge Federal overreach that is harmful to the membership and the citizenry and either side was going to appeal this first ruling anyway. Our desire to stop this nonsense and get our day in court is worth fighting for, is still achievable and continues on. The final chapter of this debacle has not yet been written.

The true character of men and women is determined by how they respond in the face of adversity. Some would say that "losses should be cut" and that we should sell out our Civil Service protections and Professional Standards for a few pennies. That is certainly not the history of this membership. To the contrary, this membership has a storied history of standing firm on the principles in which it believes. In 2008, this membership overwhelmingly rejected a labor contract that attempted to erode our civil service rights and cede all power to City Management. Once again, our mettle is being tested in an endeavor to break our will. We stand on the shoulders of giants. The firefighters that walked before us made enormous sacrifices to obtain Civil Service rights, build our pension system and better our conditions of employment. Do we allow the erosion of our civil service rights, irreparably damage our future bargaining position and allow the stripping of longstanding contract provisions that were fought so hard for? Or, do we once again hold strong and wait for a better political environment with the new 10-1 council. Do we surrender now or do we live to fight another day?

To me, the choice is completely clear. We cannot allow The City and the DOJ to collude and conspire to implement a 4-8 year consent decree without even demonstrating that a federal law was broken. Further, we should not lock into a 3 year contract that offers so very little to firefighters, extracts so much for management, and rolls back decades of progress.  Once this precedence is set there will be no going back. If these Civil Service protections and Professional standards are given away now they will never be recaptured. There will be nothing left to offer the City in future labor negotiations to enhance our wages and/or conditions of employment. A more balanced contract can be negotiated next year under the new 10-1 council. The entire political balance of power is about to change in November, this is not the time to surrender.

The far majority of prospective council candidates in all districts are good on our firefighter issues. Here is a quote from the district 6 candidate, Jay Wiley, which AFA endorsed just yesterday:

"I'm humbled by the work Austin's firefighters do every day," said Wiley. "Fire and rescue is at the center of city government's core responsibilities and we need a new City Council that understands that. "I'll work to make sure we don't continue to erode the hiring and training standards that have made the Austin Fire Department one of the best in the nation." 

A strategy of capitulation and appeasement is contradictory to the history of this membership. Our efforts should not be wasted by the worry of defeat. Instead, our energy must continue to work toward seating courageous leaders and changing our future by building a better Austin. 

These are the definitive steps that will be taken:

  • We will file an appeal with the 5th circuit court to challenge the hiring consent decree
  • We will put boots on the ground in our battleground council districts to seat a favorable council. This is where YOU can make the difference, we need your help block-walking!
  • We will negotiate next year for a better contract that protects our professional standards, does not unduly erode your civil service protections and provides the benefits you deserve under a friendlier political environment.



Bob Nicks

President Austin Firefighters Association

  

 


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9-16-14

Reminder - Tomorrow is last day of membership information sessions. One will be held at 9:30am and the second at 1:00pm.

Also at 1:00pm, AFA Hall, we will be announcing 4 more city council AFA endorements. We will be announcing endirsements for districts 3, 5, 6 and 10. If you have the time please come down and meet your new candidates. 

 


 

 

9-14-14

Your bargaining team worked into the night to complete the 2014 proposed CBA membership educational materials. Please click here to access. You will need to login to your AFA account to view.


If you have problems logging in please click on the grey circle with a question mark inside (next to the "apply" button) near the upper left side of the local975 web site home page. 

 

See below for upcoming membership CBA meeting dates and online vote dates.

 

 


 

 

9-13-14

Your AFA bargaining Team worked all Friday and will be working most of Sunday to finish preparing the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) educational materials for membership review. These materials will include:

 

  • Final version of the CBA with pay scales
  • Summary video of the most important articles
  • Complete objective analysis on all CBA articles detailing deviations from the 2009 CBA and civil service law
  • AFA Bargaining team opinion letter
  • "member only" online discussion board

 

 

In addition, the AFA bargaining team will host 4 membership information sessions at AFA Hall September  16th and 17th.

 

  • September 16, 9:30am - 11:30am & 1:00pm - 3:00pm
  • September 17, 9:30am - 11:30am & 1:00pm - 3:00pm
 
The online CBA membership vote will occur September 23rd (starting at 8:00am) thru the September 25th (ending at 5:00pm). 
 
 
All members, please make plans to vote! It is very easy to do. Please get with your VP's for help obtaining your login if you have not accessed your AFA account lately. We can also help you with login access if you attend one of the membership information sessions.

 

 

9-4-14


Brother and Sister Firefighters,


Your AFA bargaining team is disappointed in the outcome of the negotiations. We have serious reservations about the absolute erosion of our professional standards in terms of management's insistence on the striking of hiring and training standards. Hiring and training standards have been in our labor agreement for about 15 and 10 years respectively. These standards are the reason we are one of the best fire departments in the nation.

Your AFA bargaining team has been working for months to bring the membership a fair contract.  However, the management bargaining team halted the negotiation process by imposing their "final and best offer".  Your AFA bargaining team contemplated very seriously on whether or not to bring this contract to the membership for a vote. Based on the recent membership survey results and the AFA's commitment to abide by the will of the membership, we have agreed to forward the management team's "final and best offer" to the membership for review and vote.

As soon as the management team assembles their "final and best" offer we will forward it to the membership.  A complete and objective analysis of the contract will follow. We anticipate that an online vote on the contact will go to the membership on September 23rd thru 25th. This will be a topic of discussion at our next membership meeting on September 9th at 1300, please plan on attending.


Signed,


Your AFA Bargaining Team


 

 


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Firefighters issue four Council endorsements
The Austin Firefighters Association began announcing its endorsements for City Council Tuesday, beginning with two of its own, Council Member Mike Martinez, who is running for mayor, and District 2 candidate Delia Garza. The group also chose Council Member Chris Riley for District 9 over fellow incumbent Kathie Tovo and Ora Houston, the apparent front-runner for District 1.

AFA President Bob Nicks said his union is looking at all the candidates very carefully because so much is at stake. "We're really committed to seating a good Council," he said. "This new Council will set the pace for the next 10 years. We are looking at it (the new Council) as the salvation of the firefighters."

Firefighters have been in a tough spot since the Justice Department filed suit against the city alleging discrimination in hiring of new firefighters. The association agrees with the city that the 2012 hiring process was flawed. However, union officials contend the 2013 effort was a vast improvement, and produced its most diverse potential class of Austin firefighters in at least a decade. The Justice Department apparently did not agree.

Council voted 5-2 in mid-May to settle that lawsuit, with Martinez and Riley objecting strongly. They wanted to ask the Justice Department to look at 2012 and 2013 separately, but they were on the losing end of that vote.

Nicks said about 100 firefighters showed up Tuesday morning to cheer the endorsements and immediately go block walking in Districts 1, 2 and 9, showing they are strongly committed to the candidates they endorsed.

Nicks said firefighters have budgeted $200,000 for Council campaigns. However, he did not say they actually had that much money, and in past years the firefighters' expenditures have not come near that amount.

There has been a rumor floating around Austin political circles for some time that trial attorney Steve Mostyn would be supporting Martinez through an independent expenditure. The rumor also had Mostyn giving money to the firefighters. However, although he said he had heard the same rumor, Nicks said he had not heard from Mostyn.

Nicks said the firefighters would be willing to accept money from outside sources, but only if those people agreed with the firefighters' endorsements and goals.

Martinez was president of the firefighters union when he was elected to Council eight years ago. His campaign released the following statement: "It is such an honor to receive the endorsement of the Austin Firefighters Association. As mayor, I will fight to represent middle class families and all of the hardworking men and women of Austin."

Garza, who was an Austin firefighter from 2001 to 2007 before going to law school, was the first female chair of the firefighters political action committee. "That was my introduction to city politics," Garza said.

"I've been very honored and humbled at all of the endorsements, but this one is very special to me because of my work as a firefighter," she continued. "I have an intimate knowledge of the struggles (of Austin Firefighters) ... Above all, they want to know their city administration supports them."

Houston said, "It was a very humbling experience since I wasn't a firefighter." When asked why she thought she got the endorsement, Houston said, "I have a heart for working people, and I think they were able to discern that. My son is a law enforcement person up in the D.C. area."

Nicks called Riley "a true champion on public safety and labor issues, and a courageous leader that has proven that he will stand up and make the hard decisions. The firefighters believe that once Chris Riley is seated among the other great 10-1 candidates, he will be even more effective and provide the necessary leadership to ensure that the new Council will act with one voice for the betterment of the Austin community."

The Riley campaign released the following statement: "I am honored to have the support of the Austin Firefighters Association. Firefighters risk their lives to keep Austinites safe every day, and they deserve to have a City Council that stands with them."

Nicks said the firefighters would be making more endorsements in a couple of weeks, but might not decide on their final choices until October.

- See more at: http://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2014/09/firefighters-issue-four-council-endorsements/#sthash.cZJfxxuI.dpuf

 


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Firefighters issue four Council endorsements
The Austin Firefighters Association began announcing its endorsements for City Council Tuesday, beginning with two of its own, Council Member Mike Martinez, who is running for mayor, and District 2 candidate Delia Garza. The group also chose Council Member Chris Riley for District 9 over fellow incumbent Kathie Tovo and Ora Houston, the apparent front-runner for District 1.

AFA President Bob Nicks said his union is looking at all the candidates very carefully because so much is at stake. "We're really committed to seating a good Council," he said. "This new Council will set the pace for the next 10 years. We are looking at it (the new Council) as the salvation of the firefighters."

Firefighters have been in a tough spot since the Justice Department filed suit against the city alleging discrimination in hiring of new firefighters. The association agrees with the city that the 2012 hiring process was flawed. However, union officials contend the 2013 effort was a vast improvement, and produced its most diverse potential class of Austin firefighters in at least a decade. The Justice Department apparently did not agree.

Council voted 5-2 in mid-May to settle that lawsuit, with Martinez and Riley objecting strongly. They wanted to ask the Justice Department to look at 2012 and 2013 separately, but they were on the losing end of that vote.

Nicks said about 100 firefighters showed up Tuesday morning to cheer the endorsements and immediately go block walking in Districts 1, 2 and 9, showing they are strongly committed to the candidates they endorsed.

Nicks said firefighters have budgeted $200,000 for Council campaigns. However, he did not say they actually had that much money, and in past years the firefighters' expenditures have not come near that amount.

There has been a rumor floating around Austin political circles for some time that trial attorney Steve Mostyn would be supporting Martinez through an independent expenditure. The rumor also had Mostyn giving money to the firefighters. However, although he said he had heard the same rumor, Nicks said he had not heard from Mostyn.

Nicks said the firefighters would be willing to accept money from outside sources, but only if those people agreed with the firefighters' endorsements and goals.

Martinez was president of the firefighters union when he was elected to Council eight years ago. His campaign released the following statement: "It is such an honor to receive the endorsement of the Austin Firefighters Association. As mayor, I will fight to represent middle class families and all of the hardworking men and women of Austin."

Garza, who was an Austin firefighter from 2001 to 2007 before going to law school, was the first female chair of the firefighters political action committee. "That was my introduction to city politics," Garza said.

"I've been very honored and humbled at all of the endorsements, but this one is very special to me because of my work as a firefighter," she continued. "I have an intimate knowledge of the struggles (of Austin Firefighters) ... Above all, they want to know their city administration supports them."

Houston said, "It was a very humbling experience since I wasn't a firefighter." When asked why she thought she got the endorsement, Houston said, "I have a heart for working people, and I think they were able to discern that. My son is a law enforcement person up in the D.C. area."

Nicks called Riley "a true champion on public safety and labor issues, and a courageous leader that has proven that he will stand up and make the hard decisions. The firefighters believe that once Chris Riley is seated among the other great 10-1 candidates, he will be even more effective and provide the necessary leadership to ensure that the new Council will act with one voice for the betterment of the Austin community."

The Riley campaign released the following statement: "I am honored to have the support of the Austin Firefighters Association. Firefighters risk their lives to keep Austinites safe every day, and they deserve to have a City Council that stands with them."

Nicks said the firefighters would be making more endorsements in a couple of weeks, but might not decide on their final choices until October.

- See more at: http://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2014/09/firefighters-issue-four-council-endorsements/#sthash.cZJfxxuI.dpuf

 


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9-2-14

Brother and Sister Firefighters,

 

AFA had a very successful city council candidate endorsement event today at city hall. Over 75 firefighters showed up to help us kick off the event and around 25 firefighter block-walkers headed out into districts 1, 2 and 9 to carry the message of our endorsed candidates. 

 

First and foremost, the event would not have been possible if not for the hard work of the entire AFA Eboard and PAC Board. They are all working very hard to ensure we seat a council that will be favorable to Austin Firefighter issues.

 

Many thanks to the 75 plus firefighters who showed today to support the AFA and the fine candidates that we endorsed today. Your support is very appreciated and nessisary to the sucess of the AFA organization. Thank you!

 

If the firefighters stay unified and continue to work together in force nothing will be able to stop us in seating a great council and putting an end to this nonsense coming from city hall.

 

 

 

 

Bob Nicks

President, Austin Firefighters Associaiton

Speaking Truth to Power Since 2008

 

 


 

 

8-31-14 Update

In this update you will find info on:

  • the AFA endorsement event Tuesday,
  • the consent decree letter you receive in the mail
  • and bargaining


Fellow Firefighters,


Between the upcoming DOJ ruling, the city council elections, bargaining and other issues, there will be so much going on for the rest of the year. Therefore, my updates will be short and more frequent. So nothing is missed by you we will "add" the most recent update to the top of the past updates. This way it will be easy for you to go back and get caught up if you miss an update.

 

Save the Date:

Tuesday September 2nd - B Shift Getting Off - Day after Labor Day - 1:00pm at City Hall - Park Free at City Hall with AFD ID

 

I have a favor to ask; help us take back council! Plan on attending the big AFA endorsement event. This worries me a little...so far we have had only 15 firefighters commit to attending...if you have not committed already, please respond to this email and let us know if you can make it.

 

At the Tuesday event AFA will be endorsing the following races:

Former Austin Firefighter Mike Martinez for Major - http://www.mike4mayor.com/

Ota Houston for district 1 (Northeast Austin) - http://www.oraatx.com/

Former Austin Firefighter Delia Garza for district 2 (Southeast Austin) - http://www.deliagarza.com/

Chris Riley for district 9 (Central Austin)  - http://www.chrisforaustin.com/

 

AFA forum videos of city council candidates

Completed AFA city council questionnaires

 

 

Details for AFA Endorsement Press Conference:


  • Wear station t shirts - we will have on hand Local 975 shirts for the "literature drops". Please show up early to get your Local 975 shirt!
  • Need at least 60 firefighters to attend the AFA endorsement press conference at City Hall at 1:00pm (please be there early 15 minutes if possible). We will be endorsing the Mayor and District 1, 2 and 9 races. Other endorsements coming later.
  • Free parking at City Hall Parking garage with AFD ID
  • Please talk this up among your crew, plan a meet up and plan on attending
  • After the endorsement press conference, need at least 30 firefighters to stay and participate in "literature drops" in districts 1,2 and 9. These will NOT require knock on doors, only delivery of door hangers. A great way to put in your 3 hours of block-walking!
  • AFA will be hiring a photographer to attend the endorsement press conference AND to document, along with are chosen candidates, the literate drops in each of the 3 districts.


Kerr/Ott/Consent Decree Update:  

Many of you have already received a certified letter from AFD concerning the consent decree. This letter is to inform you of an upcoming "fairness hearing". It is very common for a Judge to hold a fairness hearing in order to ensure that any person, group or entity that feels that they may be affected by the proposed consent decree (whether positively or negatively) may address the court with their concerns and/or comments. The Judge will consider all input and then decide what, if anything, should be done to protect the legitimate interests of all parties.

AFA has worked very hard on our motion to intervene in order to protect the interests of all AFA members. If Judge Yeakel has not ruled on AFA's legal standing to intervene by the date of the fairness hearing AFA will be prepared to present our case in front to Judge Yeakel at the fairness hearing.

What do I need to do with this letter? AFA feels that we have protected your interests so we are not recommending that you NEED to respond. However, if after reading through the materials in the letter you would like to respond then you can. It would not be appropriate for AFA to discourage your right to respond. If you have any questions please respond to this email and I will try to get back to you soon.


Bargaining Update:

Your AFA Bargaining Team will be meeting with the city team to bargain again Wednesday September 3rd. This will likely be one of the last, if not the last time we meet before we get a contract or the city goes to impasse. Although the city feels they have offered the firefighters many "gains" your bargaining team feels otherwise. It seems unlikely that the city will be willing to make up for the 1.5% the firefighters are due from last year. The city also is adamant about stripping cadet training standards out of the contract, yet they are only offering a 1% general wage increase for year one. Click here to see membership survey results on cadet training standards question.

Also, even though the city (in public session and court filings)and DOJ (in meetings and in court fillings) are both on record that the consent decree would NOT harm AFA's ability to discuss our involvement in firefighter hiring at the bargaining table...again the city refuses to discuss hiring. It is almost like they cannot be trusted.


The AFA will NOT go to impasse. We will stay at the table for as long as it takes to get a good contract to bring back to the membership, I hope management feels the same way. As you recall, last year the city forced contract impasse. In asking for the 1.5 % back and cadet training standards we are NOT asking for much. If the city really wants a contract then simply agree to our very reasonable proposals. If they are testing the will of the membership by offering little and asking too much in return then team Kerr/Ott will, again, be disappointed. Our professionalism and safety are NOT for sale! Better to roll the dice with a new and improved Council than to capitulate at this point. The membership  will stay strong and in the end prevail.



 

 

 


 

 

8/28/2014

SAVE THE DATE - EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR OUR PATH TO VICTORY THAT MANY FIREFIGHTERS ATTEND THE AFA 1ST ROUND OF CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS

SEPTEMBER 2RD - 1:00PM - CITY HALL - THE DAY AFTER LABOR (NEXT TUESDAY) - B-SHIFT GETTING OFF - SEE DETAILS BELOW

Please respond to this email and let me know if you can attend this event 

president@iafflocal975.org 

 

 

When your AFA asked 300 firefighters to show up at city hall on May 15th for the consent decree vote the Brother and Sister firefighters of AFA responded in force. Now I have another favor to ask...the 1st round of AFA City Council endorsements requires another show of force and I need your help. This first AFA endorsement event is very important to your AFA organization not only for our candidates but also for branding AFA as the strong political force that necessity has forced us to become. 

 

A recent poll shows that the Austin Firefighters Association has a 82% favorability rating with likely voters. This is higher than any other group in town which endorses candidates thus making the AFA endorsement perhaps the most sought after and respected endorsement in Austin!  

We have weathered the media storm onslaught of the consent decree and the Chief Kerr censure and have come out very positive in the eyes of the public we serve. This makes AFA well positioned to seat a council that not only will be great for the community at large but also a council that will be favorable to our issues. However...there is much work ahead and we need the support of the entire membership to make this happen.

 

Details for AFA Endorement Press Conference: 

 

  • Need at least 60 firefighters to attend the AFA endorsement press conference at City Hall at 1:00pm (please be there early 15 minutes if possible). We will be endorsing the Mayor and District 1, 2  and 9 races. Other endorsements coming later. 
  • Free parking at City Hall Parking garage with AFD ID
  • Please talk this up among your crew, plan a meet up and plan on attending
  • After the endorsement press conference, need at least 30 firefighters to stay and participate in "literature drops" in districts 1,2 and 9. These will NOT require knock on doors, only delivery of door hangers. A great way to put in your 3 hours of block-walking! 
  • AFA will be hiring a photographer to attend the endorsement press conference AND to document, along with are chosen candidates, the literate drops in each of the 3 districts.
  • We will let you know very soon what the attire will be for the event. 
 
Please respond to the email if you can make the event and thank you for all your support!

 

 

Bob Nicks

President, Austin Firefighters Association

 

 

 


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8-25-14


Brother and Sister Firefighters,


The AFA has many important activities that are ongoing that will affect the future of your workplace . Before we get into what needs improvement lets always remember to count our blessings; what a great job we have and remember the great folks we work with and for each and every day and the great people we serve. As long as we can maintain a positive perspective we will stay unified and strong. We will be able to stand strong for what is right and we will prevail.


Our Priorities Remain Steadfast:

1.       Pension Protection (always number one)

2.       Elect a new city council favorable to firefighters and firefighter issues under the new 10-1 district plan. (the one item where AFA has the most ability to truly positively change our future)

3.       Obtain legal standing for the consent decree and prevail in federal court

4.       Aggressively address other issues, like auto aid lawsuit, civilization of the AFD workforce, fighting EEOC charge against AFA and protecting all intrusions against our civil service protections.

5.       Contract Negotiations (no doubt important and we are doing all we can to bring you the best contract possible but much of this outcome is in the hands of current city and fire department leadership.)



City Council Elections


Save the date! September 2rd AFA City Council Endorsements. City Hall, outside free speech area at 1:00pm (B Shift getting off at noon). We need firefighters in attendance! We will be endorsing the Mayor and three District races at this event. This event will show to the Austin community the strong influence that the firefighters have in shaping local politics so it is absolutely essential we have many firefighters show up for this event. I will be sending out more "save the date" info soon.

Prevailing on the consent decree issue is very important, however, seating a new council with courageous leaders who our aligned with Austin Firefighters issues is even more important! If we do not get legal standing but seat a favorable council we still win! We will have changed the battlefield by seating a better council.

AFA has worked very hard to  educate the 80 prospective candidates through numerous one-on-one meetings (most lasting over 2 hours each), two very well attended educational briefings, rallying prospective council members to attend the May 15th consent decree vote at city hall, have them fill out detailed AFA questionnaires (see link below to view the questionnaires) , and three all day video recorded candidate forums where the candidates went on record on our issues (the last of which was conducted last Saturday, see link below).

Bottom line, we have some great, great folks that will be elected as new council members that are committed to helping the firefighters, they are committed to changing upper city management, they are committed to stop the consent decree debacle, they are committed to stopping auto aid in its current form and they are committed helping us stop the erosion of your civil services rights by way of civilization and other infringements.   

AFA forum videos of city council candidates

Completed AFA city council questionnaires


DOJ Update

We are still waiting to see if US District Judge Lee Yeakel will be granting AFA legal standing and thus intervener status for the Kerr/Ott/DOJ consent decree. Judge Yeakel may rule on our legal standing soon or wait until after the scheduled fairness hearing, there is no way of knowing.

Judge Yeakel is the Judge that is ruling on the abortion clinic issue that needs to be decided by September 1st so he has a very busy docket.

The link below contains all of the fillings in District court on the AFD consent decree from AFA, COA and DOJ.

http://www.iafflocal975.org/index.cfm?Section=10&PageNum=287



Bargaining

Your bargaining team has been meeting with the city for the last two months trying to negotiate new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Progress up to this point has been encouraging, however, we are now getting down to the real horse trading. We are essentially down to working on the following articles:

  • Leave
  • Training Standards
  • Wages
  • Promotions


All bargaining videos through the end of last week and TA'd articles are posted on the AFA web site, members only section.  Click here to see 2004 bargaining videos and TA's articles.


Bob Nicks

President, Austin Firefighters Association

Speaking truth to power since 2008

 

 


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Brother and Sister Firefighters,


Your bargaining team has been meeting with the city for the last two months trying to negotiate new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Progress up to this point has been encouraging, however, we are now getting down to the real horse trading. We are essentially down to working on the following articles:

  • Leave
  • Training Standards
  • Wages
  • Promotions


All bargaining videos through the end of last week and TA'd articles are posted on the AFA web site, members only section.  Click here to see 2004 bargaining videos and TA's articles.

Within 1-7 days we should know whether we will be able to bring a contract to the membership for an online membership vote. The city going to impasse again is also a real possibility so we have some very important questions to ask the membership in the survey below.

Please take this  very short (two question) survey before Tuesday (before the 26th): https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/25DN3BN


Bob Nicks

President, Austin Firefighters Association

Speaking truth to power since 2008

 

 

 


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2014 IAFF Convention Report

2014 IAFF Convention Report

The IAFF convention biannual convention concluded on Friday of last week. This is the required report of the activities of the local 975 delegates to the convention.

 

A Brief History

The IAFF Convention is in essence an extremely large union meeting in which the direction of the IAFF over the next 2 years is determined. Each affiliated local and state organization has delegates to the convention based on the number of members during the previous year. The Local 975 was listed at 1034 members for this year's convention.

Delegate Elections were held in May with President Nicks, Secretary Treasurer Denzer, VP Pope and VP Buck elected with VP Walters listed as an alternate. Each of these 4 delegates carried the following votes:

President Nicks 260

Secretary Treasurer Denzer 258

VP Pope 258

VP Buck 258

 

The first thing done prior to the convention is the District 11 caucus meeting which was on May 29th and 30th. The "Caucus" is a group of all locals from our district, which covers Texas, Oklahoma, and the Panama Canal. Each proposed resolution is reviewed, discussed, and debated and the group tries to come to on a consensus as to support or not support each proposed resolution. Many are pretty simple while others are complex. For example, Resolution 22 "the Union Activities Justice Fund" (Our original resolution) was priced at a point in which many felt was too high (22 cents for each of us per month for 3 years). The Caucus determined we would wait until the committees hashed out any changes to the resolution and price prior to choosing to support it. President Nicks and Secretary Treasurer Denzer attended the District 11 caucus and agreed to stand with the caucus on most all of the issues.

 

Convention highlights

 

Saturday, July 12th and Sunday, July 13th

    Secretary Treasurer Denzer arrived on Saturday to allow for him to represent local 975 in the IAFF committee meetings early Sunday morning. He also met with the Dayton, Ohio President later in the morning to discuss how online voting works.

  The rest of our delegates arrived Sunday afternoon. The reception party by the Cincinnati Local 48 was that evening. Your delegates were able to connect with the San Antonio delegates as well as others to discuss the upcoming resolutions.

 

Monday, July 14th

   All delegates attended the opening ceremonies. IAFF business session began in the afternoon.

Resolution 1 was heard first. This resolution was related to cost of business increases due to inflation. Your delegates supported this increase of 18 cents per active member and 9 cents per retired member the first year and a further adjustment based on the 2014/2015 CPI not to exceed 3.5%. This resolution created some great controversy on the floor and took a better part of the afternoon. It passed overwhelmingly.

  President Nicks rose to a Point of Personal Privilege and spoke to the entire convention to praise GST Miller for updating the credentialing process as well as the website.

  Monday evening was spent networking and working on our resolutions.

 

Tuesday, July 15th became a historic day.

 Resolution 7 was debated with good points being delivered from both sides. The resolution provides pay raises to the IAFF VPs for the change in work scope and workload over the past 10 years. Most VPs are now full time employees and are providing full service to the locals. While we did not fully support the amount of the raises, the IAFF has been providing us with incredible service over the past year. They have provided us with a VERY large grant a couple weeks ago and continued legal and PR support on our Consent Decree battle. The Districts in the NE staunchly opposed the resolution and did a great job of using the parliamentary procedure process to ensure that each of you were represented. For the first time in 20 years, a roll call vote was called. This meant each local had to send a representative delegate to a microphone to cast our delegate votes one by one. The doors were "Tiled" which basically means they shut them and no one could come or go, including bringing food onto the floor.  After a couple hours of every local casting a roll call vote, the resolution passed 97,354 for to 95,210 against. This resolution will cost each of us .09 per member per month starting this year and an additional .09 per member per month beginning Oct 1, 2015.

 Resolution 19 was also heard and debated. This resolution will provide $3.5 Million dollars to upgrade the Fallen Firefighters memorial in Colorado. It passed overwhelmingly. This will be an increase of $.21 per month for each member and will sunset (stop) in 5 years.

 

Wednesday, July 15th

Resolution 22 was our resolution to create a fund to provide financial relief to IAFF union members who are fired for providing union activities.

  President Nicks created the original Resolution that was first heard at the 2012 IAFF convention. At the 2012 convention, the Resolution Committee priced the resolution at $.54, basically killing it. Many on the floor spoke to the fact that this is a great resolution that needed more research and work.

  Over the last couple years, President Nicks has worked hard on the "Union Activities Justice Fund" resolution with IAFF VP Kelly Fox and about 40 other locals from the Northwest and Alaska.

  The 2014 Resolution Committee created a substitute resolution that priced it down to $.06. The resolution will create a program that will provide 60% of the monthly salary of the member, up to $2500 per month for 4 months. This will allow time for the member to arbitrate their suspension. If arbitration is upheld, the member will have to pay the money back from his back pay awarded. The Guardian program, that provides IAFF legal support, will be the qualifier/filter. The While the payout was not exactly what we wanted, all involved it is the beginning of a great program.

  Debate on the floor was very exciting with a couple of attempts to amend the resolution back to a longer and/or higher payout. At one point, the Resolution was called a "Legacy IAFF Program" by an IAFF VP.

  The Resolution passed with only a couple hands rising in opposition.

Many congratulations were given to President Nicks.

 

Resolution 27, The Censure of Chief Rhoda May Kerr, was also heard and voted on. The Resolution Committee ensured that LMI and other labor/management talks had happened prior to the Censure. They also confirmed with legal that each point stated was based on fact.

   President Nicks addressed the floor and asked for a unanimous passing of the resolution. It passed unanimously.

  In the afternoon, President Nicks and Secretary Treasurer Denzer attended a special meeting with IAFF staffers and VP Jim Johnson and VP Sandy McGhee to discuss Wildland Firefighting issues both at the local and national level.

 

Wednesday evening President Nicks, Secretary Treasurer Denzer, and VP Pope met with the Portland, Oregon Firefighters to discuss Online Voting.

VP Buck represented AFA at the IAFF Financial Group meeting introduced by President Schaitberger.  Presentations were made on the various financial products that the IAFF has including a 457 plan.

 

Thursday, July 16

Morning business included a vote on the location of the 2018 IAFF convention which will be held in Seattle, Washington.

 After closing ceremonies, President Nicks and Secretary Treasurer Denzer attended the Wildland Taskforce Meeting. President Schaitberger addressed the committee and indicated he feels it is time to have a larger influence in this arena. The local 975 was asked to attend the next Taskforce meeting at the Alts conference in Anaheim, California later this year.

 

Financial report

  We had 6 resolutions that impacted our Dues rate increases and they are as follows.

                                $ per Active Member        $ per Retiree

Resolution 1                      .18                                  .09

Resolution 9                      .09                                  .09

Resolution 19                    ,21                                  .21                    (Sunset 5 years)

Resolution 22                    .06                                  .06                    (Sunset 3 years)

Resolution 35                    .03                                  .03

IAFF increase/month      $0.57                          $0.48

 

Active Member increase from $12.48 per month to $13.05                             

 

Report from Secretary Treasurer R Denzer

 

 


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Open link and scroll down to see DOJ consent decree, AFA council breifing doc and AFA proposed hiring solution.

 

05/08/2014 - More Info RE: 5/15 Consent Decree Vote

 


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Posted 5-6-2014

 

Brother and Sister Firefighters,

I have recieved many emails requesting a link to the consent decree. The AFA legal team is working on a summary to send to the membership upon it's completion.

Until the summary is avialable, a full copy of the consent decree can be found at:  AFD Consent Decree


A more detailed membership update will be released later today.


Bob Nicks

President, AUstin Firefighters Association 

 

 

 

 


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Brother and Sister Firefighters,

 

Just a quick note to direct you to some recent national and local news stories on the DOJ consent decree debacle.

 

Here is a link to the "news room" of the new AFA web site designed to get our message out to the media and public. At this link the lastest 3 articles I have not sent out to the membership yet and our very favorable.

http://www.austinsafetyfirst.org/news/

 

Also, please do not forget about the upcoming vote on the auto aid lawsuit. I would recommend that, if time allows, watch the videos at the station as a group and discuss. The vote will be the 3rd week in Febuary.

 

AFA Members - Please click on the link below to view the AFA auto aid educational materials. The auto aid issue will be debated at the next membership meeting on 2/11/2014 and then the motion will go to on-line vote 2/18/2014 - 2/20/2014. Please take the time to review and discuss this very important issue with other AFA members. If you have any questions please contact your VP.

 

http://www.iafflocal975.org/index.cfm?Section=10&PageNum=275

 

 

 

 


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2014 Schlitterbahn Discount for AFA members

For year round fun at Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, use the link below to access our Partner Discounts. Discounts are available for admission, season passes, accommodations and more. To view the park-specific offers, visit Partner Link listed below and select the park of your choice. For ticket and season pass discounts, follow the steps below.

• Select the Item Type you wish to purchase.
• Enter your Quantities and Follow the Prompts.
• Enter your Promotional Code and Apply Promotion as requested one time only.
• Visually Confirm that your Rate has changed.
• Remember, if your Promotional Code is not entered before check out,
you will be charged full price.

2014 Salute to Police Officers and Fire Fighters 

Dates:  September 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21

BIGGER DISCOUNT: SAVE UP TO 30% OFF ADMISSION

Partner Link: http://www.schlitterbahn.com/pffpartners

Your 2014 promotional code:  256400004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Brother and Sister Firefighters,

The content of the Department of Justice and EEOC letters suggests further proof that the city is purposely not defending the cadet hiring process to manipulate the Department of Justice. DOJ Letter

 

The city appears to be doing exact as the city’s chief negotiator from past negotiations told us they would do; wait for somebody to file a claim and then provide a weak defense so the DOJ would place the cadet hiring process under a consent decree. By the city not providing the necessary information to defend the claim of discrimination the Department of Justice is reaching the only conclusion they can; the city is guilty of racial discrimination. Not because they really are guilty and not from of contractual constrains but because the city is “pretending” they are guilty by not properly defending the process. This tactic by the city manager’s office will end up costing the citizens of Austin many millions of dollars as well as harm the fire department by lowering the quality and moral of the incoming classes.

Of course, the Austin Firefighters Association (AFA) cannot know this for certain because the city has withheld any and all information from AFA that would let us substantiate of our claims. What we do know is that the city spends close to 1.4 million dollars a year to recruit and hire fire cadets. The hiring vendors that the city contracted with are qualified professionals, preformed a robust local job analysis and validation study, and did everything in their power to reduce adverse impact and lower their legal liability. In other words the city spent a large sum of money to insure they have the means to defend a title VII claim of discrimination and then it appears that the city is purposely not defending it. The Austin Firefighters Association looks forward to working with the Department of Justice on this matter. Eventually the truth will come out.    

Your AFA Eboard has anticipated all that has unfolded and are prepared to respond. Your Eboard will be meeting Monday to discuss both the letter to stop certain workplace benefits after the CBA expires as well as the recent DOJ/EEOC actions.

 

More information will be sent to the membership after the Monday Eboard meeting. I would imagine there will be several membership educational videos and online votes in the near future in order for the membership to help set our direction.   

 

Bob Nicks

President, Austin Firefighters Association


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Click on grey question mark and follow simple instructions to get your forgotten username and password sent to you within 3 minutes (times many vary).


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