To promote the health, safety, and welfare of the Federal Firefighters within the International Association
of Fire Fighters (IAFF).
Memo to Army Secretary on Reductions https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D8526741_65153062_8825484
HR 1363 Federal Fire Fighter Trade Time has been introduced in the House.
S-29 the Fair Retire Act https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/29?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22S29%22%5D%7D&r=1
District Update January 2017
Legislative Outlook. As we have all seen the 115th Congress is in session and there are already some disturbing legislative measures impacting federal employees. First, information is already rolling around
that some Congressional members will make attempts to end official time for
union representatives in the federal sector.
There is also information that some members of Congress will support
ending pay roll dues deductions through the federal pay system. Legislation is also being discussed that will
impact retirement by increasing employee contributions. Obviously, we and the other unions
representing federal employees will fight these types of measures, but the
reality is that if the issues gain momentum and support on the Hill they may
become a reality, especially recognizing the current political makeup of the
House and Senate. The last thing anyone
wants is having to defend what we have when we should be utilizing our resources
to make advancements. Although the IAFF will strive to reintroduce previous
legislation from the 114th Congress the fact remains that much
effort will have to be devoted to maintaining current benefits and the prospect
of enhancing federal fire retirement or passing worker protection packages such
as presumptive illness measures is bleak at best. The IAFF Legislative Conference is scheduled
for March 5-8, 2017 in Washington D.C. at the Hyatt Regency.
of our arbitration decisions have been posted on the website www.iaff16.org There are also some examples of
post hearing briefs.
Negotiations. Is your contract
not. Most of the agreements
(collective bargaining agreements) have provisions for a rollover (usually in
the Duration Article). This
means that once the original contract period expires the agreement begins an
annual rollover. In such
cases the contract automatically rolls over (continues) unless either party
proposes to renegotiate the agreement. Most
agreements also have specific parameters for when either party can propose to
renegotiate the agreement. These
parameters are usually also contained in the "duration" portion of the
agreement. Usually there
are specific time frames for opening the agreement and proposing to open the
agreement outside of theses time frames violates the agreement. If the employer is telling the union
that the agreement is no longer valid or is outdated carefully review the
parameters of the agreement. Most
likely you will find that the employers allegations are unfounded.
Is your contract outdated? Again, probably not. The Civil Service Act and 5 USC
Chapter 71 set the parameters for bargaining in the federal sector. Federal bargaining parameters are limited in scope when compared to other sectors. Such items as pay and benefits are for
the most part not negotiable. Therefore
many of the items negotiated in federal sector agreements are procedural and
policy matters or matters regarding appropriate arrangements when the employer
is exercising one of their management rights under the Statute, and union
representational rights provided for by the Statute. One of the best signs of an effective working
contract in the federal sector is an agreement that has been in place many
years and worked well for both parties. Federal policies and
procedures rarely change but on occasion there is a need to update some items
in an agreement to ensure they reflect current laws. However, renegotiating an agreement
simply because it was executed many years ago is not necessary. Agreements should be carefully
evaluated to determine if a need exists to renegotiate.
of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in the federal sector can be
impacted by the political environment.
How? Elections determine which
party will be making appointments to federal agencies that have oversight over
negotiation impasses and negotiability appeals processes that can be necessary
to resolve bargaining issues. The
Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and Federal Service Impasses Panel
(FSIP) are both lead by political appointees.
When these agencies are led by people that have ideologies that are not
unbiased or are more supportive of managements rights we often see our ability
to bargain hampered. I suggest Locals
seriously consider their needs and the possible outcome if they are planning to
renegotiate their CBA in the near future.
You may want to consider delaying any CBA renegotiations unless there is
a dire need until we have time to evaluate the bargaining environment that will
be created over the next year.
Some of our Arbitration Decisions https://app.sugarsync.com/iris/wf/D8526741_65153062_8701289
Arbitration post hearing Brief examples
Preparing a brief can be complicated here are some examples.
The 16th District provides Twitter updates. Any opinions are my own.
Affiliate Leadership Training Summit (ALTS) January 24-27, 2017
Legislative Conference March 5-8, 2017, Washington, DC
District 16 & Federal Fire Fighter
Joint Council Training May 9 & 10, 2017, Atlanta
Service Representative Greg Russell has accepted a postion at the IAFF in the Govermental Affairs Department. Congratulations Greg!
to the Members of the IAFF (March 2016)
I think everyone within the IAFF leadership from the Local level up realizes that there are politics involved in the IAFF at every
level. Any democratic organization
endures the necessity of politics. That
said, we all also have an obligation to our elected offices that require a
balance and the adherence to the principles of our office. A person fails their obligation when they
pursue political goals in lieu of their obligation.
Although there are some that would choose to criticize
the IAFF Executive Board, in the many years I have been fortunate enough to be
a member of the Board I have watched the IAFF continue to grow and become a
respected Union in an environment where other Union's suffer. Trade Union membership in the U.S. continues
to decrease while the IAFF's membership grows.
The IAFF supports Locals though various programs that have also expanded
over the years such as our Guardian Program and at our last Convention the
members adopted the Justice Program to provide wage income for local leaders
that are disciplined or fired for union activities.
That said, as I mentioned politics always come into
play. Whether for personal or
professional reasons anyone in an elected office is vulnerable to allegations
of impropriety or simple character assassination by those seeking gain or
retribution. All one has to do is view
the current environment surrounding the current Presidential nominations to see
an example of this happening. This is often accomplished by twisting the facts
and mischaracterizing the truth and weaving a tale that leaves the reader or
listener with one possible conclusion, that of the story teller. This then
becomes the "elephant in the room" that in our case the story teller suggests
is an "obvious truth" the Board cannot see or chooses to ignore.
Although some have questioned the Executive
Board's resolve, it is important to point
out that such opinions are from a minority that are motivated by political gain
or the simple dislike of certain Officers.
More appropriate forums are available such as addressing the Board and
the Members directly at Convention, addressing the Board at the open Board
meetings held several times a year or utilizing the provisions of our By-Laws,
or through many other venues. But some
prefer not to step up and would rather create discourse by hiding behind a
keyboard and spewing character assassinations and publicly undermining the good
name of the IAFF.
I cannot speak for the entire Board, but I see nothing
wrong with constructive criticism. I
believe it is actually a necessity and beneficial when offered or presented in
the right manner. Aristotle said that
there is only one way to avoid criticism, "do nothing, say nothing and be
nothing". For IAFF members or Officers
however to publicly undermine the good name of the IAFF or disregard their duty
to the IAFF or their Oath as a whole is in fact an attack on all the Members
and the organization as a whole.
Article XV of
the IAFF's By-Laws covers misconduct and penalties. Section C. of the Article provides that the
following is misconduct:
"Libeling or slandering
or causing to be libeled or slandered any officer or member of the Association
or of any local union or other subordinate body thereof, except in the form of
charges of misconduct properly filed against an officer or member as provided
by this Constitution and By-Laws."
Section J. Provides that it is misconduct for:
"Engaging in conduct
detrimental to the best interests of the Association or its subordinate unions
which places or tends to place them in disrepute with other labor
organizations, employers, or the public."
The IAFF Officer's Oath of Office is as follows:
"I pledge my honor to
perform the duties of my office in compliance with the Constitution and By-Laws
of the International Association of Fire Fighters and this local union. All
properties and records of this union will be turned over to my successor in
office at the close of my official term. I will dutifully abide by and promote
the positions taken by the majority. I will dedicate my talents and energies to
represent the mandates and directives of this union. I will use my good office
to promote unity and harmony - all of which I solemnly promise and swear to
keep to the best of my ability."
Clearly the Oath of Office and the By-Laws provisions
regarding misconduct are there for a reason and any failure on our part as
either a Board Member or a Local Affiliate Leader to adhere to these will cause
individuals or the organization to falter and become a victim of political and
personal discourse. We have now
I realize that some of the 300,000 IAFF Members may know
very little about me as I represent one of the smaller Districts dealing with
Federal issues. But allow me to say
this. As an eight-year Veteran of
Military Service, nearly 20 years as a Federal Fire Fighter and 13 years on the
IAFF Board I place a lot of value in an Oath of Office. I believe when one takes an oath they should strive
with every effort adhere to it. I
believe when a person surreptitiously contributes or promotes the destruction
of the organization or its leaders they walk in a minefield that can lead to
the destruction of their own character and their own good name. This too we have seen. Being an elected IAFF
Executive Board member is not a trivial matter.
I am sure some have seen a recent video that a former
Board Member has posted after resigning from his position. Upon his resignation the individual admitted
in writing that he violated the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws. The resignation was not forced as portrayed. The facts were presented, discussion held and
yes suggestions were made to the Board Member.
But it was several days later before the resignation actually
occurred. The Board did not corner
anyone or threaten to take away any benefits or retirement eligibility. Once
again we see the weaving of a tale that leaves the reader or listener with one
possible conclusion, that of the story teller.
Most already know this but just for clarity, contrary
to what some purport the Executive Board is not suffering from Ostrich
syndrome. Many of us choose not to
engage in public blogs containing twisted facts and untruths weaved into a
single plausible outcome. Injecting
ourselves into such rhetoric would be ludicrous and only benefit those weaving
their tale. I know that I, and I
believe other members of the Board do support open discussion and debate and I
believe members should present any concerns that they have about the
organization and its leaders to the Board and the Membership directly though
the proper venues. The IAFF has proper
processes for the Officers and Members to address concerns. These should be preferred by all rather than
the "biased court" of the internet and the "trickery" of distorting some facts
in order to provoke and cause discord.
James B. Johnson
IAFF 16th District