10th District Vice President
The following IAFF Convention report highlights some of the various activities which have occurred in the 10th District during the time I have served as the district vice president, from September 2016 thru April 2018. In accordance with the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws, this report has been submitted to General President Harold Schaitberger, General Secretary-Treasurer Edward Kelly and the IAFF Executive Board. This report is written explicitly for the IAFF trustees, officers, delegates, members and guests in attendance at the 54th Convention. As we gather in celebration of the 100th anniversary recognizing the affiliation between the IAFF and American Federation of Labor, it is with great pleasure to welcome you to Convention, on behalf of the delegates representing the 10th District.
While representing the 10th District I attended all the IAFF Executive Board meetings, IAFF Committee meetings assigned to me, legislative conferences, Redmond/EMS Health and Safety Symposiums, Fallen Firefighter Memorials, human relations conferences, affiliate leadership training symposiums, cancer summits, as well as completing all additional assignments given to me by General President Harold Schaitberger since the last convention as required.
I was appointed by the General President to proudly serve on the IAFF Financial Corporation’s Board of Directors, on the IAFF Foundation as a Trustee and the following IAFF committees: Human Relations, Government and Political Affairs, Communications, Organizing and Field Services, Emergency Medical Services, Occupational Health and Safety, as well as certain Ad-Hoc Committee(s) as needed. For the 2018 Convention committees I was appointed to Chair the Human Relations Committee, along with being on the Ad-Hoc Resolution Committee.
In my duties since being elected in August of 2016, I represented the IAFF 10th District in several capacities including negotiations, grievance hearings, hospital visits for injured/burn members, extensive research, advising local leaders, mentoring newly-elected union officers, organizing IAFF disaster relief operations during catastrophic incidents for our members, visiting fire stations, attending local general membership/executive board meetings, representation, arbitrations, legal proceedings, IAFF Guardian hearings for terminated union presidents, testifying at city council meetings, visit the legislature in the State Legislative house, speaking at Fallen Firefighter Memorials, MDA Fill-the-Boot events, pension meetings, preparing 10th District Newsletter(s), work on several political campaigns, political action events, AFL-CIO meetings, staffing cut proposals, NFPA 1710 meetings, legislative hearings, swearing in of newly elected union officers, attend funerals, organizing new IAFF affiliates, organizing IAFF affiliates into their State Associations, NCPERS, grant writing assistance, Public Safety Officer Benefit (PSOB) advice/guidance, just to name a few.
I have attended meetings and/or state conventions in all our states. I attended every district meeting for the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) and attended the CPF Convention in May 2018. I attended all the conventions for the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona (PFFA) and the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association (NMPFFA) in addition to hearings and meetings with the Hawaii Fire Fighter Association (HFFA).
It is an absolute honor to have been elected by acclamation to succeed James Ferguson and represent the approximately 47,000 fire fighters in the 10th District. I wanted to thank my predecessor, our 10th District IAFF Vice President Emeritus James Ferguson. Brother Fergie, we continue to wish you well in retirement and thank you for your service, friendship and commitment to the IAFF and the labor movement over the years.
Below are very brief reports on significant events in the following areas (for more detailed information please go back and read the minutes from the past executive board meetings):
Arizona is the only right to work state in the 10th District, and the accomplishments that our union leaders continue to attain in an anti-worker and anti-union environment is amazing. DVP Lima recently attended the IAFF Southern Federation of Professional Fire Fighters with Phoenix Local 493 President Beuerlein to expand the district’s knowledge and networking with other non-collective bargaining states. Our District Field Service Representative DFSR Representing Arizona is Tony Butch.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona (PFFA) are registering victories thanks to the joint efforts of all our locals and our state organization. In 2016 the PFFA began with their first ever PFFA Legislative Conference. This conference has proven to be a huge success with a fire fighter day at the state capitol. By bringing all our local leaders together, the PFFA began pushing a very bold legislative agenda. This push yielded unprecedented results, including but not limited to: the passing of the first-ever fire fighter cardiac presumption bill and the expansion of Arizona’s fire fighter cancer presumption. To date the PFFA has also passed 30 local meet and confer bargaining agreements for their fire departments. We successfully defeated an anti-fire fighter mayoral candidate in Prescott.
The inaugural 10th District PEP Event was held in Phoenix and it was the largest PEP event (at the time) ever in the IAFF. The camaraderie, solidarity and quality education of the 10th District came together in the State of Arizona. The PFFA also hosted a very successful IAFF state PEP event in Flagstaff.
Lastly, elections are around the corner, and while we have many candidates to support, the whole state will be helping to elect an active Local 493 fire fighter, Brother Daniel Valenzuela, to become the first IAFF big city mayor in Phoenix. Clearly our group is up to the challenge of getting one of our own IAFF members to become mayor of the 5th largest city in the U.S. (Report submitted by Bryan Jeffries)
There are many new key political changes that happened and are continuing in California. Senator Kamala Harris continues to be a warrior for the IAFF and working-class America. Senator Dianne Feinstein is being challenged this cycle, and the IAFF will continue to support her with FIREPAC because she has unequivocally been there for us. Governor Jerry Brown will be leaving office because of term limits this coming fall. Fire fighters throughout California have chosen to endorse Gavin Newsome, the former mayor of San Francisco and current lieutenant governor. There seems to be a consensus amongst fire fighters for Newsome. The CPF supports Newsome along with several other IAFF Locals that are not in the CPF.
Orange County Fire Authority IAFF Local 3631 recently affiliated back into the State Association of the California Professional Firefighters after being out for 10 years. This was achieved thanks to vigilant efforts by the IAFF 10th District team that always encourages state affiliation and the leadership of President Hunter. The CPF continues to stick to its basic principles: pushing legislation, running state politics and organizing.
A very rare and successful IAFF strike sanction was set up at the Burbank Airport and executed beautifully by the IAFF. The IAFF worked tirelessly for Local I-61 (Burbank Airport Professional Firefighters) and their 18 private sector fire fighters. The IAFF networking efforts contributed to a greedy for-profit company with a blatant disregard for Firefighter staffing and safety deciding to cave in just days before the airport was going to be closed. Federal mediation led by Brian Rice, the 10th District field service representative (DFSR) helped secure a great economic package and restore staffing. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO came through to grant strike sanction approval, and the General President ensured that the district and Local I-61 had everything we needed to be successful.
We successfully fought off the termination of a South Pasadena union president who was wrongfully terminated for protected union activity. The Public Employee Relations Board ruled that our brother should be reinstated immediately and his termination reversed. The city must cease and desist from retaliation for protected union activity, expunge all personnel and city documents relating to the termination, issue back pay into 2016 including 7 percent interest and post the reward at all city locations. The IAFF legal team did a phenomenal job, and every union leader in the district can rest assured that the IAFF Guardian team will be there fighting for them and their families.
The IAFF 10th District was on scene at three major disasters in Oroville Dam, the Santa Rosa/Napa/Sonoma Fires and the fires in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties setting up IAFF disaster relief efforts for our members who lost their homes and needed other vital equipment such as generators or chainsaws. The 10th District helped set up IAFF behavioral health peer support during these incidents along with Local 55 in Oakland after the devastating Ghost Ship fire which killed 36 people and at the Mandalay Bay massacre where over a dozen 10th District IAFF members were shot.
Brian Rice has done a tremendous job as the IAFF DFSR in California, bringing his years of service and experience to locals in need.
The California Professional Firefighters is under new leadership as the CPF Convention delegates elected 10th District IAFF DFSR Brian Rice to lead the CPF as their president. Mike Lopez was also elected as the secretary-treasurer for a new change in the CPF principal officer leadership. I would be remiss not to thank Brother Lou Paulson and Lew Stone for their years of service, and wish them and their families the best in the future.
Since the last IAFF convention the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association (HFFA) IAFF Local 1463 has had no shortage of business, both positive and negative. On a positive note, we held our first ever IAFF state PEP event in Honolulu in 2017. It was a great success with city, county, state and federal fire fighters incorporating all islands participating. We also had strong participation from mainland fire fighters who made the trip. A big “Mahalo” to the IAFF and specifically Frank Lima, our 10th district DVP, for helping us make this happen. We are looking forward to putting on more state PEP events in the future.
As much as we strive to build positive labor-management relations with all our fire chiefs, chief officers and politicians statewide, we continue to have major issues with the fire chief from the Honolulu Fire Department, Manuel P. Neves. Many, if not all of you know what it’s like to deal with a leader who not only forgot where he came from but practices a toxic style of leadership that negatively affects fire operations, our fire fighters and the public. Under his leadership we have experienced firefighter deaths, injuries and increased liabilities like no other. You know you are in for trouble when a fire chief’s mantra after a fire fighter injury or death occurs is the excuse, “This is a dangerous job” instead of, “We don’t know why this happened; it shouldn’t have happened; and we are going to do everything we can to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” We continue to do our union business and protect our brothers and sisters every which way we can, especially against failed leadership.
Last year we experienced the largest high-rise fire in Hawaii’s history, the Marco Polo fire. The estimated damages and renovation costs are expected to exceed $100 million and harm many industries. More than 125 fire fighters from the Honolulu Fire Department responded to this incident. Because of failed executive leadership, we had the potential to lose a couple of fire crews while battling this blaze. Thankfully God was on our side. Thanks to the leadership displayed by our fire captains and battalion chiefs we were able to bring everyone safely home. This incident will continue to impact the state and the fire service for years to come, and we will work towards increasing the safety and protections for our members every step of the way.
DVP Lima and I went to Kauai in the remote North Shore, only accessible via helicopter after a 100-year rain storm which rained over 28 inches in less than 24 hours. The 10th District and the HFFA was in Kauai County assisting our IAFF members whose homes were damaged or lost during the floods. IAFF disaster relief was set up and given to members in need.
Keep Safe! (Submitted by Robert Lee, President IAFF Local 1463 and HFFA)
New Mexico represents 20 IAFF locals, and unprecedented political action has benefited our members throughout the state Mexico at every level of government. From local city council races all the way up to the federal delegation with partnerships like U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is running a strong race for governor and has proved to be a tremendous ally for our members since political career began as a county commissioner in 2010.
Many locals have suffered under draconian mayors throughout the state in recent years, but with the help of ‘Team 10th District’ and the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association (NMPFFA) our coveted “Gold & Black” prevailed in statewide races during the last election cycle. We won four mayoral races and elections across all branches of municipal and county government. The resounding victory occurred in Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, where Mayor Tim Keller won. Locals from across the 10th District invested over $30,000 in the race, and Los Angeles City Local 112 brought their 1968 PAC Fire Engine all the way to New Mexico on a flatbed helping to ensure victory! We’ve proven in New Mexico that there are no small locals in the IAFF!
One of the three district service field representatives (DFSR) in the 10th District is from New Mexico. DFSR Diego Arencón concurrently serves as president of IAFF Local 244 and president of the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association. Last year DFSR Arencon and DVP Lima helped to organize both Santa Fe City and Santa Fe County Fire locals into the state organization of the NMPFFA.
A big breakthrough was the first ever New Mexico IAFF state PEP event held in conjunction with the NMPFFA Convention. General President Schaitberger along with DVP Lima were in attendance when NMPFFA announced their endorsements for governor and mayor of Albuquerque. Many legislative achievements were recorded in Santa Fe with the passage of a PTSD bill in the legislature, and it was the first of its kind nationally to arrive on a governor’s desk. Unfortunately, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed it, and fortunately she will leave office this year because of term limits. New Mexico paved the way for Vermont to become the first state to have its governor sign the PTSD bill into law. Great job, Vermont. NMPFFA also hosted a very successful FIREOPS 101 as well as IAFF peer support training. DFSR Arencon attended the labor management initiative in Denver with the Albuquerque fire chief, and it was a successful conference. (Submitted by Diego Arencon)
Territory of Guam
We organized the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighters (ARFF) at the Guam Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world as IAFF Local 5118. We are still working on getting them recognized as a bargaining unit with the Guam Department of Administration and their first contract. They recently held elections, and they have a motivated board that is going to do great work.
I remain humbled to serve in Team 10th District where solidarity, quality education, networking and increased services for our affiliate locals is the norm. Thank you to all who are fulfilling the calling of serving on the frontline. A special thanks to those union leaders serving their second calling, which is fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves and sticking to the IAFF’s mission of protecting fire fighters and their families in need.