Stockton Firefighters have reached out to City officials with an offer to settle all outstanding contract and legal disputes. We’ve also reached out to the Council to quell fears over a recent arbitrator’s ruling that the City violated the Firefighters’s contract. The City’s liability is potentially over $4-5 million. Firefighters have made it clear that they’re willing to be reasonable in an interest to settle all issues.
Stockton Professional Firefighters, Local 456 has reached a Tentative Agreement with the City of Stockton. Despite firefighters taking more than a 15% cut in pay, the concessions were not able to protect dramatic service reductions and the layoff of 36 firefighters. Staffing levels are now returning to 1950’s levels. You can read the press release here.
Stockton Firefighters have always been willing to sacrifice to protect services. Starting in 2008, firefighters were the first employee group to offer concessions as the City’s fiscal situation began to worsen. Firefighters did the same in 2009. Last year, despite firefighters offering over $5 million in 2010 concessions, the city rejected the offer and imposed cuts instead. Services were cut, but still firefighters and the department contributed to the budget cuts.
This year, firefighters’ concessions make up more than 50% of the City’s stated $37 million budget deficit. The Fire Department makes up just over 25% of the General Fund budget. Last fall City leaders promised that Measure H wasn’t put on the ballot to reduce services–but that’s exactly what has transpired. A truck company is closed. An engine company and fire station are closed. Daily staffing will be down by more than 25%. You can read and view some news coverage of the tentative agreement here and here.
The agreement must be ratified by the members of Firefighters, Local 456 and approved by the City Council.
Who would have ever thought things in Stockton would get so bad it’s come to this. Stockton Firefighters effectively were reduced to begging for layoff notices so firefighters, who will likely be laid off, can seek employment elsewhere. You can read the letter here. In fact, we’ve requested layoff notices not once, but twice before that (Letter 1, Letter 2).
Several fire agencies in the state are actually hiring firefighters. However, they’re rightly choosing to hire off of the California Displaced Firefighter List. In order to get on the list, a firefighter must have received a formal layoff notice. Stockton Firefighters have agreed in negotiations to lift all staffing requirements, allowing the City of Stockton to fully determine staffing levels and to layoff firefighters if they choose to do so.
If the City fails to issue layoff notices by June 15, 2011 then it must wait until July 1, 2011 due to City layoff policies. This keeps Stockton Firefighters from getting on the Displaced Firefighter List while scarce firefighting jobs are being filled. All your Stockton Firefighters have asked the City Manager for is a little compassion in letting those firefighters who are most likely to lose their jobs, to be able to begin to find new employment to support their families.
Why has decency failed in Stockton? The City Manager is going too far. We’re hopeful that the City Council will intervene to assist firefighters and their families in moving on.
Concerned with the pace of negotiations in Stockton, Firefighters delivered this letter to the City Council urging swifter action and explaining their offer.
The San Joaquin Grand Jury released a half-baked report calling for a dramatic reduction in staffing in Stockton. You can find their “work” here. Please read our initial response to their report and also visit our fact page on the safety impacts of reducing staffing.
The internationally recognized “Care Enough to Wear Pink” campaign, led by founder Dave Graybill, will come to Stockton for two days to help raise funds and awareness for women battling cancer. Graybill, a former Olympic and professional baseball player turned fire fighter, along with fire fighters from several states and Canada, volunteer their time and travel across the country in pink fire trucks as part of the annual “Pink Heals Tour.”
With support from Stockton Firefighters, the Pink Heels Tour’s pink fire trucks will come to multiple locations in Stockton to promote cancer awareness and to raise funds for cancer research and causes. “We wear pink because pink stands for women,” said Graybill. We bring our pink fire trucks to cities so that they may hold fundraisers and generate proceeds that will stay in their communities to help pay bills, support research, and to provide general financial help for families that may be struggling. We are a non-profit organization, and the money raised in each community stays in that community and can continually be generated. We just show people how.”
Begun in 2008 with a single pink fire truck, the annual Pink Heals Tour has expanded to include two annual tours and features 4 trucks on tour with 20 pink firetrucks in five countries on three continents. If you would like more background on Pink Heals, you view this short video.
ADDITIONAL PINK FIRE TRUCK STOPS (All locations in Stockton)
Recent reports of litigation between top command staff in the Stockton Fire Department and the City of Stockton may leave the false impression that these disputes could impact the Department’s ability to respond to emergencies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Attached is an open letter from Stockton Firefighters to Stockton residents regarding the lawsuit and our commitment to continue to provide quick, effective emergency services.
Updated: See the Ch. 10 story.
Wednesday, December 15, Santa Claus will ride on a classic Stockton Fire truck to deliver approximately 6,000 pounds worth of turkeys to the Emergency Food Bank in an effort to assist many of Stockton’s less fortunate families this holiday season.
Stockton Firefighters will wear pink fire duty T-shirts this week while out in the community to help raise awareness for breast cancer during national Breast Cancer Awareness month. Firefighters also received permission from the Fire Chief to wear the t-shirts on duty for one day, Friday, October 22.
Stockton firefighters will donate $5,000 to Susan G. Komen—Passionately Pink for the Cure, a non-profit that focuses on raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research and patients. In addition, off duty firefighters in their pink duty T-shirts will be bagging groceries at Safeway Supermarket to help raise funds in conjunction with Safeway’s Breast Cancer Awareness Program. Firefighters will also be selling the pink T-shirts to help raise funds for Susan G. Komen—Passionately Pink for the Cure.
If you are interested in making a monetary donation to help the cause, visit the Stockton Firefighters team at this link.