|March 28: COVID-19 Member Update|
March 28, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing all of our lives in a way that is both unprecedented and previously unimaginable.
As of today, there were 321 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Orange County, including seven OCFA employees. As the days go by, we know that more Orange County Firefighters will be diagnosed with COVID-19 and we want all of our members to know that we are here for you. Your safety is our top priority.
As you know, our work is critical to the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve. The people of Orange County depend on our first responders and the medical community to be there in their time of need. We know that our jobs come with significant risks and possible exposure, for that reason, we want to assure all of our members that we are doing everything in our power to take care of your needs. This includes the recently announced financial support from our Fallen Firefighter Relief Fund for any member in good standing who has been restricted from duty because of a COVID-19 exposure. Your union is doing all that we can to mitigate and minimize the impact that the coming weeks will have on our members and your families. To this date, other departments are still burning their own sick leave as well as not receiving support for lodging for their employees.
Vice President Gibson, Treasurer Tantuvanich, and I met with Fire Authority management on Monday morning to discuss the topics of concern that you, our members have brought to us including but not limited to the lack of trust between Fire Management and our members as well as consistency of messaging and application.
Of course, as you would expect, they did try to flip the script stating that some of our membership doesn’t trust our own executive board, this was a moment of weakness on their behalf to deflect responsibility for their actions. Please know that there are multiple board members working on your behalf each and every day.
They have tried to discuss a couple of concepts that would bring potential impacts to your MOU. Their inexperience to look to impact you first before putting their best foot forward did not catch us off guard. Their ideas were not well thought out and are limiting to the work force, without any capture of what they might be trying to achieve.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been negatively impacting all aspects of life and has placed an enormous amount of stress on our membership and their families. As a reminder, The Counseling Team International, Peer Support and Chaplains, are available to help you and your family through this difficult time. In response to the current social distancing recommendations, TCTI is now conducting sessions via tele-health. Local 3631 has also created a new page on our website entitled COVID-19 Stress & Wellness. If you have any questions regarding Behavioral Health & Wellness please contact Secretary Cabrera firstname.lastname@example.org.
On another note, we are proud to welcome Brian Abney to the Executive Board of the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association Local 3631.Brian will be filling the vacancy created in the director position. Director Abney has worked in the OCFA since January 2005 and has been a member in good standing with Local 3631 for over 15 years, including serving as a Union Steward for three years. I want to thank all those who applied for the director’s position.
On a final note, please remain vigilant during these tumultuous times. We are all working tirelessly to protect you and your families. Don’t let your guard down. The manner in which we protect each other will get us through these trying times.
If you need help, reach out to myself at email@example.com or any of our Executive Board Members, including those who are the designated contacts for our COVID-19 response. They are:
OCFA Incident Management Team L3631 Representative, Operations
L3631 Public Information, IAFF Liaison, CPF Liaison, Member Donations
Behavioral Health and Wellness
Thank you for your service to one another and the people of Orange County. Now more than ever, let’s look out for one another. We will get through this together.
Tim Steging, President
2020-3-28 Membership Board re Covid Update.pdf