union response.doc by BayAreaNewsGroup


									United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County Press Release


Fours Years of Contract Negotiations Has Resulted In An Impasse

January 29th, 2014

It is with great disappointment that I announce that the Moraga Orinda Fire District, Fire
Board of Directors has declared impasse on our members after four years of contract
negotiations. The Firefighters and Firefighter Paramedics of the Moraga Orinda Fire
District are members of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County,
IAFF Local 1230. Our members provide fire and emergency response along with
emergency medical services which includes ambulance services for the citizens of the
town of Moraga and city of Orinda. We consider this action an insult to those who have
faithfully provided a high level of services with pride and professionalism despite our
treatment at the negotiation table.

It is important to us that the citizens understand why we are opposed to the Fire Board’s
actions. We have stood by quietly as the Board worked through getting its financial house
in order. We have witnessed the frivolous spending on ideas that were not well thought
out, excessive spending on equipment and programs, and the consistent manipulation of
the long range financial forecast to fit a constantly changing agenda. We were also
subject to an expensive and baseless investigation generated by the previous Fire Chief.”
Employees hired prior to 2013 pay approximately 25% of their salaries towards pension
costs, this includes paying 9% of the employer’s share. This is significantly higher than
most other public agencies. Our 9 new firefighters and all future employees fall under the
new pension laws, which over time will provide a cost savings to the district. Finally, the
results of a financial accounting error has led to a deficit in the General fund. Now they
want to put the full burden of correcting this problem on the backs of the very people this
District exists to employ.

"Even though our members of the MOFD work in one of the most affluent parts of the
county; they are one of the lowest paid in the Bay Area. The Board has been under
pressure due to some of their financial decisions and now they want to correct these
errors on the backs of their firefighters" says Vince Wells, President of Local 1230. We
have seen a significant loss in revenue in many of the jurisdictions we represent. The
Moraga Orinda Fire District was the last place we felt we would end up in this situation."

The firefighters were presented a "last best final offer" that includes a pay cut, further
changes in staffing, and reduction in medical contributions for current employees and
retirees. Our firefighters have not had a cost of living raise for over 5 ½ years and have
picked up 100% of the medical cost increase since 1/1/2011.

“The MOFD Firefighters remain committed to providing the same high level of service
our community has come to expect. It is our hopes that through the legally obligated fact
finding process, the Board will reconsider and negotiate a fair contract for our members.”

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