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?

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

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

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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.

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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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