CPF District 8 represents the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Local 112.
New Leadership, Elections and the Work to Come
It is truly my honor to serve as the new 8th district vice president of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF), representing over 3,200 dedicated firefighters and paramedics of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC) Local 112.
As the newly elected president of UFLAC Local 112, this is the first article that I am writing in my role as the new CPF 8th district vice president.
Let me first offer my most sincere gratitude to our former UFLAC Local 112 President Frank Lima, who is now serving as the 10th district vice president for the IAFF representing California, Arizona, New Mexico and Hawaii. As the president of Local 112, Frank also served with distinction as the 8th district vice president of the CPF. I was honored to serve as Frank’s 1st vice president at Local 112 throughout the duration of his term as president of our local. I learned a tremendous amount from Frank about leadership and setting a bold agenda for our firefighters at the local, statewide and national level.
Local 112 and the 8th district of the CPF is in a better place today thanks to Frank’s leadership, and you have my commitment that I plan to do everything possible to continue the momentum that we have established at the local and state level. I look forward to working closely with the other CPF district vice presidents to make sure that the critical work of our statewide organization is successful and that all of our hard work in the CPF reaches down to the local level as we fight for legislation to improve the safety and benefits for our California firefighters and continue to fight back any and all attacks on our pensions and retirements. You have my commitment that I will fight not just for the 8th district, but also for all of our brothers and sisters in the state of California.
Here in District 8, things continue to move forward with a great deal of positive momentum. Not too long ago, we had a mayor who worked against our UFLAC Firefighters, our field resources were decimated, and we hadn’t hired a single new firefighter or paramedic in nearly five years – putting a tremendous amount of strain on our already understaffed department.
Thankfully, over the past four years, we have turned things around in the Los Angeles Fire Department. We now have a mayor who has made the fire department and our firefighters a top priority of his administration. We also have a City Council that understands and supports our issues. This was not an accident, and it came as a result of hard work in educating our elected officials and we have made sure to maintain a healthy political action committee (PAC) so that we have gotten the right people elected to office at the local level. Our political action has made all of the difference in the world here in the City of Los Angeles.
This positive momentum continued with our recent March 7th municipal elections in the City of Los Angeles where UFLAC coordinated our own independent expenditure campaigns that were instrumental in getting our mayor and six of our supportive LA City council members re-elected outright with more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary. Two other City Council seats will be headed to a runoff election on May 16th, and our UFLAC supported candidates are in a good position to win these upcoming elections, having received the most votes in their respective races in the March primary election.
In a city with over 4 million people and over 460,000 emergency calls for service each year, it is essential that we elect candidates who support firefighter safety, staffing, and a fair contract and retirement for our members. After years of being beaten up and taking a back seat to other Los Angeles labor organizations, today the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City take a back seat to nobody in LA City Hall.
As we continue to make progress in the City of Los Angeles for our members at Local 112, UFLAC is proud to do what we can to support our brothers and sisters in neighboring locals in the greater Los Angeles area and beyond. We realize that our cities and jurisdictions have a great deal of overlap and it is important that other locals are supported by their respective cities so that they have the proper staffing and resources that they need to keep their cities safe and be a critical part of the regional public safety apparatus.
In addition to the success that we had in the March 7th elections with getting our endorsed candidates elected, UFLAC was proud to play a leading role, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, to work to defeat a deceptive, divisive ballot measure called Measure S. If passed by the voters, Measure S would have essentially halted all major construction projects in the City of LA, while costing an estimated $70 million per year in revenue to the City’s general fund, which is used to fund our Fire Department and other critical city services. With our coordinated, comprehensive campaign to fight against the terrible ballot initiative, Measure S was defeated by more than a 2 to 1 margin!
In other recent news, several UFLAC board members and key rank and file members attended the Annual IAFF Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. in March where we were able to meet with several of our Los Angeles area Congress Members and lobby them on this year’s federal legislative agenda, which includes advocating for full funding for SAFER and FIRE grants to support proper staffing in in local fire departments that have been cut.
We were also active in pushing for the establishment of a National Cancer Registry for Firefighters who have been impacted by this deadly disease. We let our Congressional representatives know that we support Senate Bill 382 and House Bill 931 that will create this National Cancer Registry for Firefighters and be instrumental in tracking trends and analyzing outcomes for our Firefighters who have been stricken with this deadly disease.
I know that there is still much work for us to do both in the 8th District and throughout the state of California. My commitment to you is that I will work alongside CPF to deliver a strong message to our elected officials and other key decision makers that Firefighter issues must be made a priority at the State and local level.
I’m honored to be serving in this new capacity and I look forward to working with you all in the days to come.