PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE - REX PRITCHARD
Sisters & Brothers...
Well, it has been a very productive few months since our last issue of The Kitchen Table. We have come to an agreement with the City on a new 3-year contract that is fair to both the city and Local 372 members. I want to take this moment to thank the negotiations team for all the hard work they have put in, to help make this deal come together: Kevin Scott, Nick Krause, Al Saurez, Paul Rodriquez and our attorney Mike McGill.
Your Local 372 negotiations team put in an incredible amount of work in just preparing for negotiations: Combing through all of our comparison cities Memorandum of Understandings (MOU), pulling data to update our survey, reviewing city budgets, Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR), and numerous other city documents locally and regionally. I can tell you first hand; this negotiations team was relentless in working to bring forward a fair deal to the membership. They never wavered in ensuring that the deal we brought forward to the membership was the best that we could get for the membership. However, we realize we can’t fix everything we want in a single contract and will work to address items in the future that didn’t get fixed in our latest round of contract negotiations.
I have been asked several times “when do you start negotiating our next contract?” This is a fair question and often people are shocked by the answer. We begin negotiating our next contract right now! It takes a lot of work to keep our survey data up-to-date as things change over the years with our comparison cities. We continually work to make more persuasive arguments on items in the contract that we failed to get changed so we can be successful in the next contract. We work to ensure that the elected officials and city staff who approve our contracts, clearly understand the issues that need addressing in achieving a fair contract. So please know we are working now on our next contract. If you have ideas or issues you would like to see addressed please let us know.
We also did very well in the 2020 budget that was adopted in early September. We have restored Engine 17, a much-needed resource that was lost years ago. We secured funding for the building of a new station 9, which was one of our oldest fire stations. The city-funded a full-time Captain position to head up the department’s recruitment program for our future recruit classes along with so much more. None of these accomplishments would be possible without the hard work put in by the Local 372 board of directors along with a great working relationship with Fire Chief Espino and his crew.
The accomplishments we make as a Local are the results of a lot of hard work but not just from the board of directors. We all are a part of nearly a 400-member team working 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to make a positive difference in the lives of the communities we serve to protect. The membership of Local 372, whether you realize it or not, every day are representing Long Beach Firefighters, Local 372 in everything you do. We know you are doing an amazing job because every year we see polling done in the community and BY FAR Long Beach Firefighters continue to be the most liked people/organization in the city. Again, this is because every day you continue to go out on calls, volunteer for union community events, and volunteer for various union activities that create a positive image for us in the community. I can’t think of any other team I would rather be a part of, and appreciate everything we do as a team to move our profession forward.
Rex Pritchard, President
Long Beach Firefighters, Local 372