8TH DISTRICT REPORT | FREDDIE ESCOBAR
Greetings AND Happy New Year from the 8th District
As the newly-elected president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, IAFF Local 112 (UFLAC), I am honored to represent more than 3,400 firefighters, paramedics, inspectors, dispatchers, and pilots of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). UFLAC is looking forward to making 2019 a successful year for our members and firefighters throughout California. Our new Executive Board was sworn in on December 15th and we have hit the ground running.
We kicked off our two-year term at our general membership meeting featuring special guest Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who addressed our members and took questions for nearly an hour. Since taking office in 2013, Mayor Garcetti has been a champion for our LAFD firefighters by replacing our former hostile fire chief, increasing the LAFD budget each year, hiring desperately needed firefighters, and beginning the process to restore the resources that we lost during the recession in 2012 – including engines, trucks, and ambulances. Mayor Garcetti reiterated his support for our firefighters and made it clear that public safety, and the LAFD in particular, will continue to be a top priority of his administration in the years to come. At this same membership meeting, we were proud to welcome a surprise special guest, State Senator Maria-Elena Durazo, who is a lifelong labor leader and a strong supporter of firefighters in the State Capitol.
UFLAC is fortunate to have a fire chief, Ralph Terrazas, who is willing to work in a collaborative manner with labor and to have a mayor and city council willing to fully fund our fire department. Thankfully, we are in this position because of the work that we have done through our successful political action and through an investment in long term relationships with our elected officials in Los Angeles. By working to support those who support our firefighters and our department, UFLAC has emerged as a leading voice for labor in Los Angeles. Over the next two years, our Executive Board and our membership will continue to work diligently to keep our relationships strong and put in the work that needs to be done so that our firefighters remain a top priority in Los Angeles.
In January, we were proud to serve as the host city for the 2019 IAFF ALTS Conference that was held in downtown Los Angeles and attended by more than 1,700 firefighters from throughout the US and Canada. Leadership training seminars like ALTS are critical to learning new skills and expanding our leadership capacity. ALTS also serves as a breeding ground to prepare the next generation of leaders so that firefighters throughout the IAFF stay strong and have the tools that are needed to be successful for all of our members.
This year’s ALTS coincided with a massive Los Angeles teachers’ strike and our firefighters were proud to march alongside educators in support of their efforts. I’m happy to announce that a deal was reached between United Teachers - Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District shortly after our firefighters rallied on behalf of LA teachers to increase resources for local schools.
We expect 2019 to be a busy year for UFLAC as our current contract will expire on June 30th of this year. As we prepare for contract negotiations with the City of Los Angeles, we feel confident that we will be able to secure a fair agreement for our members that protects their safety, working conditions, pay and benefits, and provides a secure retirement for our families. Not too long ago, UFLAC was constantly at war with our previous mayor and city officials. Thankfully, those days are a thing of the past, as we are now able to work and negotiate in a collaborative manner with city leaders to reach win-win solutions for both our members and for the city that we are proud to serve. These changes didn’t happen overnight, but as a result of a carefully mapped out communication and political action strategy. UFLAC is now in the strongest position at the bargaining table and in city hall that we have been in decades.
As the new president of Local 112, I look forward to working with our Executive Board to be active participants in the good work of the CPF. As a 30-year firefighter and current active duty Captain II with the LAFD, I realize that UFLAC is just one part of a bigger picture and larger network that includes CPF, IAFF and all of our brothers and sisters in the fire service.
I look forward to participating in the important work of the CPF in the months to come and I can be reached at email@example.com with questions, comments, or ideas from our CPF partners.
The 3,400 members of UFLAC and the 8th District look forward to working with everyone in the CPF to have a great 2019.