Below are some updates from the last few weeks. Reach out to an Executive Board member if you have any questions.
Nick of Time – Community Engagement Help Needed
On February 7th at Tahoma High School from 9:00AM to 3:00PM, the Nick of Time Foundation will be providing free EKG screening and CPR/AED training to local youth in Maple Valley. Nick was a local youth who had sudden cardiac arrest and the foundation was created in his memory. During the mostly volunteer event, firefighters are asked to help take BPs and assist with modified CPR and AED instruction. The FD has committed to having an on-duty crew assist at the event, which is expecting 500 students.
We need a minimum 20 off-duty firefighters and more if possible. This event in our response area is a great way to show support for the community and their families. Click the link or scan the code to commit helping.
Union Work Replacements
We have added several work replacements for your Executive Board to attend training events. Please visit Signup Genius if you can help cover a shift or two. Compensation is currently $50 an hour paid by the union.
Paramedic Training Opportunity
As discussed at January’s membership meeting, Chief Carson and President Rojecki have pulled our participation that would have allowed members the ability to transfer employment to Medic One, and return to PSF if desired in the future. Significant hurdles and circumstances beyond our control exist with the members of Local 2595 and questions that cannot be answered right now created many more questions. Steve Perry, President of Local 2595 and Keven discussed at length and any movement in the future on a pilot employment opportunity will be brought forward by our Locals.
Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML)
We continue to meet with Admin on making changes to the definition of sick leave and brainstorm solutions with their concerns. No new update.
Standard Short Term Disability Insurance
As we have reported many times, our members struggle to access benefits they feel are being denied. The issue was discussed at our Executive Board Retreat and a small group has been identified to research options for short-term disability. We spend a significant amount of money collectively for the benefits and we must look at other options that make financial sense for our members. No timeline is set for reporting back to the Executive Board, and if we find solutions with PFML the issue may resolve itself.
We recently had a pregnant firefighter denied an accommodation that potentially may not be in line with law or provisions in our collective bargaining agreement. We continue to research the issue and to protect grievance rights for that member, a requested 30-day extension was granted to allow further investigation on why the denial took place. Our FD pregnancy policy is model language, but denial of the specific accommodation request is not directly referenced in policy, more so by practice, which may not be legal with recent changes in Federal Law. More information will be shared in the future as we progress.
Take Aways from Survey Sent to Members
We received 76 survey responses, and the comingled data can be downloaded. Question 6 was not as clear and should have been corrected before it was sent. For most of the written responses on challenges facing our members, most touched on the following: culture, engagement/participation, communication, growth, retirements, collective bargaining, sick leave cash out, and mental health as challenges facing our membership. Constructive concerns regarding FD Administration and the Executive Board will be discussed internally. The insight from your words is helpful.
Desiring to have the survey as objective as possible, we did not collect names who reported on Question 9 their interest in a leadership role of the local. Please discuss your interest with any of the Executive Board members so that we know of opportunities that arise in the future.
Executive Board Retreat
The retreat was held at Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac on 1/7 and 1/8. Numerous items were discussed and several of those will be brought back at future membership meetings. The draft minutes can be downloaded. If anyone has any questions, please discuss with an Executive Board member.
Union Scholarships for High School Seniors
The WSCFF and IAFF 7th District Benevolent Funds are both offering scholarships for high school seniors looking to go further in their education. Click the links for WSCFF Scholarship information and the IAFF 7th District application. An additional opportunity for union families is Union Plus scholarship that is due 1/31.