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Austin Firefighters Association
 

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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