CAL FIRE Schedule A Contracts Post-MOU Adoption

Now that the dust has had a minute to begin settling since CAL FIRE’s new MOU was adopted, I’m curious how this is affecting Schedule A and Amador contracts.

As with every MOU renewal over the past few decades, there was considerable concern that bringing CAL FIRE employee wages and working conditions closer to the industry standard may cause significant adverse impacts to CAL FIRE’s Schedule A contracts, with the possibility of either service reductions or elimination of the contract all together.

In years past, there have been relatively very few Schedule A or Amador contracts that were adversely affected as a direct result of the MOU. Sure, some contracts were threatening to ditch CAL FIRE for many years and the contracting agency just used a renewed MOU as a convenient scapegoat to achieve pre-existing goals. This really only effectively shook out some already weak hands, but few-if any-contracts were lost solely as a direct result of the wage increases.

Has this pattern held true with this most recent vote in October?

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A northern unit has lost a Sch A contract with a Native American Tribe that displaced/displacing 22 employees. Nobody is losing their job, just having to move work locations/units.

The current staffing(72hr work week) requires 3.11 personal per position(2019 strategic plan). So it’s been stated that those existing agreements will have till 7/1/24 to up to that number or face a 1yr notice of agreement termination.

Cal fire is still cheaper when you pencil it all out. The agreements/contracts get a ton of stuff for free i.e engines, dozers, crews, aircraft, and chief’s among many more things. It will be interesting to see what shakes out


I would venture to guess the MOU agreement had little if anything to do with the A contract being terminated.


I have no knowledge of the loss of that contract, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

This afternoon, the Butte County Board of Supervisors voted to close 3 Amador stations effective Monday morning and not once was the terms of CAL FIRE’s MOU mentioned.

Instead, the key contributing factor was a county-wide budget shortfall associated with across-the-board pay raises for all county departments.

In fact, the CAO even mentioned that in years past, CAL FIRE wages outpaced county employee wage growth (even though almost all of the past CAL FIRE wage growth has been tied to minimum wage increases), but, this time, the CAO clearly stated that it was county employee wage growth in order to compete with wages in other counties that created a county-wide budget shortfall that necessitated cuts to all county departments including the fire department.


I have to question your assertion that nothing has been lost to MOU increases. Losses are not always seen in actual cuts, but rather in no new expansion. The increases in wages in one of my particular contracts will keep us from adding positions that were planned.
I do not fault the employees for wanting/needing a pay raise, but rather the union for eschewing the idea that there will be no impacts, and if so… then so be it. That horse has been beat up on here so no need to revisit.
The problem with the contract process that the union seems to favor is the “retroactive” component. It is really hard to negotiate a contract, sign it, work within it and then be told three months in that you need to now account for a 8% increase with no mechanism to go back and get the additional funds. Imagine if you were told at home that your electrical company had decided to have an increase in your rates and that they would be retroactive back 4 months. If you have a budget in your household and have little reserve funds… then you have some tough choices to make.
I believe this is the result of having people in union leadership who have never had to deal with that or who just flat out do not care.
The reason that the cuts to the Amador in BTU were not tied to the existing raises is that they have not hit the county yet. Those will be absorbed within the existing contract. Once the rate letter and contract details are sent to the units you will begin to see the impacts and come July they will really begin to show.

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CAL FIRE does not loose schedule A contracts due to financial reasons, even if that is the purported reason by the BOS/City Council/District Board, CAL FIRE looses schedule A contracts over politics.

Let’s not forget, we as employees, personally subsidize cheap fire protection for communities with schedule A contracts. That means less money in your families budget, so that residents of a community pay less taxes. Tell me who is getting the better end of that deal?

When we go into bargaining, loosing schedule A contracts, should be the last thing on the minds of the bargaining team. The only concern of the bargaining team should be improving pay and benefits for the membership. The communities with schedule A contracts will either pay the increase, knowing it’s still a good deal, or they will do it on their own. That is a decision to made made by that governing board, not a consideration of the bargaining team.

Schedule A contracts, for the most part, a burden not a benefit for the employee.


Like it or not, AB1405 is coming.

Plan accordingly.

I know I’m looking forward to 2026!


So is it proposed or passed? Thanks

This needs to happen just to get to a same work week. Yeah, it will shake things up, things will shake out, and in the end it will be better. Subsidizing local gov just postpones the inevitable. (Me: Current CalFire, former local gov)

And there are some LG that use the threat of “going Cal Fire” in negotiations. It’ll be better for everybody.


Can someone explain how a Schedule A contract us a burden to us employees when we all work the same schedule, doesn’t matter where you work.


It’s still in Committee and has not gone for full vote yet. There are issues with the California budget and the Governor and LOA are over 20 billion apart as to the size of the deficit. Also, 50+ of California counties were granted tax filing deadlines to October. This is only making the budget process much harder.


AB1405 is far from becoming a law. AB1405 has not even made it out of the Public Employment and Retirement Committee. Also since the bill has a financial impact after the P.E&R. committee the bill would have to go to the fiscal committee. If the bill makes it out of both committees, it would be read a second time on the assembly floor and after amendments, the bill would be read a third time and voted on. If it passes in the assembly, it goes through the exact same process in the state senate. First reading, Committees, second reading, amendments, third reading and vote. If it were to pass both the assembly and senate vote, it still has to be signed by the governor. Who would most likely veto the bill and say the state doesn’t address working condition outside of bargaining.

This is exactly what happened with AB2493. The state wasn’t budging on giving us 4800 time in bargaining. So L2881 pushed it though legislatively. It bill passed both the assembly and senate, only to be vetoed by Governor Brown, with the reasoning that the state doesn’t address working conditions outside of bargaining.

Also, I’m not sure what AB1405 has anything to do with what I said. CAL FIRE doesn’t loose contracts for financial reason, CAL FIRE looses contracts due to politics.


My understanding (someone correct me if you feel differently):
We are historically the least expensive PROFESSIONAL FD around. If the bargaining team pushes for higher wages and shorter workweek we could lose contracts ( Read: employees and union members)as a result. The argument is that some of the lower end schedule A contracts hold us hostage because of potentially losing them if there was higher pay or shorter workweek.

The contracts can be seen as a burden because we are more afraid of losing them than making sure our employees are taken care of.


You hit the nail on the head. Also adding to your points, one of the largest burdens on employees are staffing issues. A majority of the staffing issues this department faces are to do inadequately staffed schedule A contracts. During the 90’s and into the early 2000’s the department faced numerous hiring freezes. During this time the department expanded though bringing in new schedule A contracts, which the department did everything and anything to secure those schedule A contracts including bringing in contracts that were not adequately staffed.

We as employees personally subsidize cheap fire protection for municipalities that have schedule A contracts. This is a burden on us as employees. We get paid less than we should and work more than we should so that the residents of those municipalities can pay less taxes.

BTW, for those that didn’t know, not all CAL FIRE employees work the same schedule. See MOU Section Shift Patterns.


Well, I’ve been in a Schedule A position for 24 years and I don’t consider anything a “burdern”. This has gotten me everything I own and what I do for my family, if someone want a to complain about staffing, being held hostage, making more money then move on and stop complaining…be happy to have a good, well respected job. I’m out


That mentality is exactly why we have the issues we do. Basically you are saying we shouldn’t fix the problems facing this department and if someone brings up those issues, they should leave the department. Please explain to me how that approach is going to solve anything?

You do know that things today in the fire service are much different than 24 years ago, correct? Back then guys would give up their first born child for a fire job. Today, departments see a fraction of the applicants they once did. Departments are just stealing employees from other departments now because no one can find people who want to do the job. It’s a big game of musical chairs. So unless we fix those issues, many of which are caused by schedule A contracts, our department will continue to loose employees to those others departments, all of which are now doing lateral hiring with expedited academies.

I also find it interesting that you say the schedule A contract has provided for everything you have. Unless you are a schedule C employee, that schedule A contract didn’t directly provide you with anything. While all CAL FIRE employees do not work the same schedule, all of our paychecks come from the same place, the State of California.

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I don’t need you or anyone else to tell me things are different now than they were 24 years ago, but the schedule A contracts aren’t the problem with unfilled positions. It’s the lack of people to fill said positions that’s why every department has vacancies, every fire dept. I know of has vacancies, so it isn’t a CalFire specific issue and the mentality that losing, or dumping, contracts is going to solve the issues isnt good for anyone either.
Yes the Schedule A contract got me everything I have because my pay check may say State of California on it but the money that pays my salary comes from the City I work in.


The facts on the ground are this
The largest portion of the staff of CF is in the 02350 (Wildland SCH B) just last month another 300 positions were created. The dept priorities are

  1. Mental Health of the employees
  2. Training & response readiness
  3. Resource management (02350 & VMP)

The E staff has made it clear SCH A CONTRACTS will be lost during this process. However, JOBS WON’T BE LOST. Displaced employees will be offered vacant positions.

Finally, if you think the contract doesn’t effect how LG decides to contract and provide services to their citizens, you are fooling yourself. There are still many municipalities that are underfunded. Be it staffing shortages, larger PERS contributions, or decreased tax revenues. One need look no further than San Miguel in San Diego County, Placentia in Orange County, Calimesa & Canyon Lake in Riverside County, Victorville in San Bernardino County or the depts in Amador County. The funding challenges are real, and shortage of available labor will continue to get worse. Train yourself, get better, and be prepared to change employer’s of you are not getting what you believe you are worth.


The thing is some of us really enjoy working for CAL FIRE, and shouldn’t be ostracized for wanting to improve the working conditions within CAL FIRE.

As you stated, the E staff has made it clear with improving the working conditions of CAL FIRE we could loose schedule A contracts and they are okay with that. The E staff is okay loosing schedule A contracts because they understand that the contracts are a burden on the employee and if the department wants to achieve its #1 goal of employee health and wellness that needs to change.

The department understands that the health and wellness of the employee, should not be second to the residents within a schedule A contract paying less taxes.