What is Local 51, and what does that mean to you as a union member and a firefighter? The bottom line is that we are the lowest local number in our region and we have been affiliated with the IAFF for 90 years. Local 57 are out of Oklahoma and local 58 are out of Dallas. However, Dallas was out at one time and basically obtained there number back. I know some of you have heard me on my soap box about this, but I cannot impress upon you enough that we should be proud of this. It never ceases to amaze me how we short change ourselves when we are revered by the IAFF. We are the IAFF and we have the 11th district field representative right here on our executive board.
A new year is upon us and we will be working hard to continue serving you, the members. I know there is a need for information, and we have been trying to get the word out to you. The web site has been up and running and we have approximately 300 log ins and around 100 hits a day. We have also attempted to write more information and have come out to the stations. I am sure you all are aware that we have had a tough year of grievances, disciplinary representations, contractual violations and the list goes on. For those that pose the question of why do we represent these individuals, and why do we get them their jobs back. The answer is each member has the right to union representation and it is our duty to do so. Is there a priority? Yes, there definitely is. Anyone being disciplined unjustly without due process, taking shifts without pay or losing one’s job is definitely a priority.
Many times we, the executive board, use all channels available to us to resolve your issues and yes, at times it appears we are doing nothing. In fact, many of your concerns are resolved by seeking all avenues without having to go through the long and tedious arbitration process. I speak for myself and have requested that all board members in the future make efforts to inform you on a more regular basis. However, for the executive board their efforts are always questioned and often go unnoticed, so to them I would like to say thank you.
I ask that you, the membership, continue to ask questions but also please come forth with concerns and grievances. There are nine of us and many times our plates are full and we aren’t aware of all that goes on with almost 775 members, 6 battalions, and various departments.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who voted in our last election. I will continue to work for you. In return, I ask that each and every one of you take care of each other, do your job, and do it well. This is the best job in the world; remember we are always in the public eye and whether you believe it or not, your actions reflect on all of us. Let’s strive to keep HONOR and BROTHER HOOD in our profession.
With the New Year, many changes are on the horizon. A new Chief is near; we are working on a new contract at the end of the year, and all the hurdles in between. We will continue to do the job that is needed and with your help we will move forward with success.
Happy New Year
Fraternally, George E. Nieto, 1st VP