I sincerely appreciate the work of those mentioned in Mr. Angels post. It really shouldn’t be a big deal as to who takes/gets the credit but I think we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the work of Prawit Hess more than 10 years ago on the boot issue and the continuing efforts of the FWFSA through their direct communication with the WO, USDA and members of Congress.
That’s why I think it important for those in grades 3-9 to join both groups, the Union (NFFE) and the FWFSA. They have worked well together on issues for many years. I also know that getting help from these organizations costs money. None of this work can be free.
However you’ve got the both of best worlds, the Union who has certain Rights & Responsibilities under the law and the FWFSA which works exclusively on behalf of federal wildland firefighters. In fact time and again, FWFSA President Casey Judd and NFFE’s former president of its Forest Service Council Mark Davis often played "good cop, bad cop" with a number of entities in Washington DC. People like Mark and former Regional VP Dan Duefrene laid the foundation for the Union to take a more proactive approach on firefighter issues despite having to represent countless other occupations.
All of these people, including AB here at TheySaid, as well as Vicki & Burk Minor at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation all work hand in hand for this community in different but critical ways. Last season was taxing on everyone. This season appears to be potentially historic in a bad way. So while I know it costs money, a busy season means OT and enough money to support the FWFSA, NFFE and the Foundation.
Ron, there are many out there who say they can’t get the union to come into their forests. What can they do if they have a personnel issue yet there is no Union presence on their Forest? What do they need to do to try and organize with NFFE on their Forest?
Another concern often repeated is that most NFFE Union stewards responsible for representing wildland firefighters are not firefighters themselves and thus aren’t familiar with the unique issues facing firefighters. Is there a way maybe both Union stewards and Line Officers can attend a work shop…for the stewards to learn about the issues facing the firefighters and the Line Officers who make fire policy & decisions and control the budgets to learn something…anything about FIRE.
Thank you and prayers to all of you for this to be a safe season.