December 17, 2021 – AFA Active Member Dues Assessment Announcement – Online Vote Begins January 18th

Motion for Contingency Binding Arbitration Dues Assessment (see Motion Language Below)

Summary:
Request for an AFA membership dues assessment needed to cover unanticipated expenses above and beyond what has been estimated for binding arbitration. IF approved, this assessment would:

  • The AFA surveyed the AFA membership to determine which method of assessment was most desirable. See survey results by clicking here.
  • Deduct $10.90 additionally for up to 10 pay periods, starting February 18th.
  • This assessment would only be spent IF the cost of binding arbitration exceeds the AFA estimate of the cost for binding arbitration. It is unlikely that we would exceed our estimate, BUT it is important that we have a contingency plan in place in case we experience significant cost overruns.
  • The dollar amounts the AFA has budgeted for negotiations & binding arbitration is a strategic number and therefore confidential.
  • The elected AFA trustees will be made aware of the confidential binding arbitration budgeted number and the AFA Trustees will review the binding arbitration expenditures, determine if the cost of binding arbitration exceeds the AFA estimate of the cost for binding arbitration and then report this to the membership.
  • If binding arbitration costs stay within the budgeted amount, the additional dues assessment monies collected would be returned to the membership by reducing your future AFA dues deduction to zero or a factional amount until the assessment is reimbursed.
  • This additional dues assessment would only apply to Active, not Retired AFA members and only Active AFA members will be allowed to vote on the additional dues assessment motion.

Background:

  • If a fair deal is not reached at the bargaining table between labor and management, impasse will be declared, and the remaining issues can be resolved through the process of binding arbitration.
  • Binding arbitration is a very expensive prospect which will require a large amount of money to cover the needed expert reports, expert witnesses, negotiators, arbitrators, and other legal counsel sequestered in Austin during the binding arbitration proceedings.
  • In the Fall of 2022, at least half of the current Austin City Council Members will be “termed out”, including the Mayor. It will be a high priority to seat new City Council members who are favorable to firefighter issues. Again, a very expensive prospect.
  • The AFA spent over $425,000 on the 2021 Spring binding arbitration campaign. Spending this amount was achieved within budget and without asking for an assessment from the membership BUT it did lower SPAC and Legal Defense savings accounts. Binding arbitration is funded out of the Legal Defense fund.
  • The AFA has included into the AFA FY22 proposed budget, the amount estimated to accomplish the funding of both the binding arbitration and Austin City Council Campaign expenses, WITHOUT an assessment from the membership. The AFA Board feels that there is a high likelihood that the AFA can fund both endeavors with funding already identified within the proposed AFA FY22 budget.
  • So the proposed assessment would be an insurance policy of sorts, only to be used if binding arbitration costs exceed the budget AFA is proposing to cover binding arbitration expenses.
  • As per our AFA Constitution and Bylaws,

“Assessments for Active Members may be made in the following manner. Each Active Member in good standing shall be notified in writing at least thirty (30) days in advance of the date on which the vote for an assessment is to occur. The proposed assessment shall become effective upon a majority vote of the Active Members participating in the vote…”

The “30 day in advanced” requirement necessitates that we seek approval from the membership in advance of the need. Remember, binding arbitration will normally start 30 days after bargaining impasse is declared and the arbitration process will usually last only 10 days. Given this compressed timeframe, it is essential to seek advanced approval for an assessment.

Motion:

Do you approve a dues assessment with the following requirements?

  • The dues assessment amount of S10.90 additional per pay period for up to 10 pay periods, likely starting on February 18th, 2022.
  • The additional dues assessment will be collected by the AFA, but only spent if binding arbitration costs exceed estimated costs present in the AFA FY22 budget.
  • The dollar amounts the AFA has budgeted for negotiations & binding arbitration is a strategic number and therefore confidential.
  • The elected AFA trustees will be made aware of the confidential binding arbitration budgeted number and the AFA Trustees will review the binding arbitration expenditures, determine if the cost of binding arbitration exceeds the AFA estimate of the cost for binding arbitration, and then report this to the membership.
  • After the conclusion of negotiations and binding arbitration, all expenditures will be released to the membership.
  • All additional dues assessment amounts not spent, will be returned to the AFA membership by way of reduced AFA dues assessment in the future, as soon as possible and within 2022.

Please respond to this email if you have any questions.

Bob  Nicks
President, Austin Firefighters Association
(512) 217-3474

Online vote has started on 12/21/2021 and will be open until  12/23/2021, 5:00pm. Please go to the “memebrs area” and then to the voting center.

 

December 15, 2021 – Online vote for 2022 AFA Budget and 2022 AFA Priorities & Enabling Actions starts next week – Tuesday, Dec. 21st at 8:00 AM and ends on Thursday, Dec. 23rd at 5:00 PM.

Click here for 2022 Proposed AFA Budget

Click here for 2022 Proposed AFA Priorities & Enabling Actions

Please click on the link below for the 2022 AFA Budget and Priorities discussion board. This discussion board is where members can post their questions and comments regards the 2022 Proposed AFA Budget and 2022 Proposed Priorities & Enabling Actions.

https://www.iafflocal975.org/forum/topic/2022-afa-proposed-budget-and-priorities/

If you want to be notified every time someone posts on this discussion board, click on “Subscribe to this topic.” at the bottom of the discussion board page.

 

November 27, 2021

AFA Budget Workshop – November 30th at 9 AM.

More deeper dive stuff on the upcoming AFA FY22 budget:

Here is a quick overview of the AFA budget adoption process:

  • Draft budget prepared before AFA Membership Budget Workshop, considering the known cost drivers and revenue projections for the FY22 fiscal.
    • Significant cost drivers will be Spring 2022 bargaining and binding arbitration along with Fall 2022 City Council races
  • November 30th, 2021 – AFA Membership Budget Workshop
  • December 6th, 2021 – At AFA Eboard meeting, the proposed FY22 AFA budget is finalized
  • December 7th, 2021 – AFA agenda posted announcing December 14h AFA General Membership Meeting
  • December 14th AFA Membership Meeting where proposed AFA budget is presented
  • December 21st to 23rd, online vote to adopt AFA Proposed budget

FY22 Budget notes

  • FY 22 budget will be challenging given the over $425,000.00 spending on the Spring 2021 Binding Arbitration campaign
  • The Council race for the Fall of 2022 is an important one. This is the first time that Council members of the first 10-1 Austin City Council will “term-out”. Therefore, we will have (5) new Councilmembers and (1) new Mayor as a result of this election. The AFA goal to is have a significant war chest established for this election.
  • IF the firefighters and City management do not reach a deal at the bargaining table, approximately 30 days later we will enter a binding arbitration process. This is an expensive endeavor and will require large sums of money

September 23, 2021 – 

The following five (5) candidates have been selected by an online vote to be a part of the next Bargaining Committee:

Jeremy Copus

Christine Jones

Bob Nicks

Alex Vanegas

Donnie Watson

 

September 15, 2021

The following members have accepted their nominations to be on the ballot for the 2022 Bargaining Team elections:

 

Jason Christilles

Jeremy Copus Bio.pdf

Carlos Encarnacion Bio.pdf

Christine Jones Bio.pdf

Les McKay Bio.pdf

Bob Nicks Bio.pdf

James Rae

Phillip Rangel

Vanessa Schaefer Bio.pdf

David Spidle

Alex Vanegas Bio.pdf

Donnie Watson Bio.pdf

Ben Whitely Bio.pdf

 

As we receive Bios from the nominees we will continue to update this Page.

Please click on the link below for the 2022 Collective Bargaining discussion board. This discussion board is where members can post their questions and comments regards the upcoming bargaining cycle including questions to the nominees for the Collective Bargaining Team.

https://www.iafflocal975.org/forum/topic/2022-collective-bargaining-discussion/

If you want to be notified every time someone posts on this discussion board, click on “Subscribe to this topic.” at the bottom of the discussion board page.

Below is the timeline for the process:

  • September 15th – The member online discussion board and candidate bios will be published to the AFA web page and distributed via email to the AFA membership
  • September 21st @ 0800 through September 23rd @ 1700 – the online vote for the 5 elected bargaining members will be conduced
  • September 23rd shortly after 1700 – Online voting results will automatically be displayed when you return to the online voting link. Also, an email with the results will be sent via email to the AFA Membership.

Now that the AFA firefighters have achieved binding arbitration that may be used as an alternative to contract negotiation impasse, it is important the new AFA Bargaining Committee is formed as soon as our AFA Constitution and Bylaws allows. This new bargaining committee, once formed, will be the primary body that will make the decisions to prepare for and conduct the next collective bargaining negotiations and binding arbitration, if necessary. To comply with the AFA Constitution and Bylaws, the newly elected AFA Bargaining Committee will not take effect until October 1st, 2021.

Here is the section of the AFA Constitution and Bylaws that govern the timing and composition of the AFA Bargaining Team Committee:

“Nine (9) members shall be selected to serve as the Bargaining Committee for the Local. This Committee shall consist of five (5) elected members and four (4) appointed members. The four (4) appointed members shall be appointed by the President and ratified by the Executive Board. This Committee will be formed up to twelve (12) months prior to the anticipated effective date of the Collective Bargaining Agreement they are being selected to bargain for. Their term will end when the next Bargaining Committee is formed. If a vacancy occurs during a bargaining cycle, the President shall appoint a replacement which will be ratified by the Executive Board.”

This will be our first time using our new platform and new discussion board forum so I expect a few hiccups. If you have any issues with logging in to the new platform or the discussion board please contact Tim Olson at (512) 441-7572 or via email: [email protected]

Bob Nicks

President, Austin Firefighters Association

September 15, 2021 – 

During my tenure as President of the Austin Firefighter’s Association, it has been important that the membership directs the Association on how to proceed on all important business whenever possible. Our Association is built on “the will of the membership” premise, and your Association will do what you direct us to do. This is extremely important especially when we are faced with potentially contentious issues that could divide our solidarity. Conducting a deliberate process, followed by an online vote will ensure that everyone can be involved in the discussion and decision. Once the decision is made, we go forward together in unity.

As such, there is an important matter that your AFA feels must be brought to your attention; the likely negative effects that the passing of Proposition A would have on future fire department budgets and on future labor/management negotiations. Once this proposition passes, it will be too late. Only now can we affect the outcome.

The entire AFA Eboard feels an obligation to the membership to educate the membership on Prop A so we are announcing an AFA Special Meeting.   The purpose of this meeting will be to start a discussion and process to determine if the firefighters should oppose Proposition A.

Click here for Agenda for September 20th AFA Special Meeting on Proposition A

It is important to this discussion that both pros and cons voices are heard. If you are willing to be that “con” voice for the discussion board as well as membership email, please let me know and we will set you up for this role.

It is important to note that, to date, zero Austin Council members support Prop A and the far majority are actively opposing it.

Proposition A would exponentially increase APD funding and will be voted on by the Citizens of Austin. Early voting for this election starts on October 17th and Election Day is November 2nd.
Proposition A, if passed, would most likely have a profound negative impact on the building of future fire stations and obtaining additional aerials. More importantly, it will have a negative effect on upcoming negotiations and future budget cycles and could cause firefighter layoffs.

The AFA has never supported “defunding” police, in fact, we unapologetically support fully funded Police, Fire and EMS Departments. However, Prop A is a huge overreach that will negatively affect Austin Firefighters. Although, proponents claim that Prop A will end Police “defunding”, this is false.  A law passed at the State Legislature earlier this year that fully restored Police funding, the Police are now funded 10 million more than ever before.

According to the COA budget office, Prop A would obligate the City to spend an additional 54 to 119 million dollars per year. This is in addition to the “refunded” and historically high budget that the Police will operate under in FY22.

What is Prop A?

Below is the approved ballot wording:
Proposition A –
Shall a petitioned ordinance be approved to enhance public safety and police oversight, transparency and accountability by adding new chapter 2-16 to establish minimum standards for the police department to ensure effective public safety and protect residents and visitors to Austin, and prescribing minimal requirements for achieving the same, at an estimated cost of $271.5 million – $598.8 million over five years?

Articles on Prop A

  1. How many cops do we want and at what cost?
  2. No way on PROP A

Brother and Sister firefighters, much more info will be presented during the discussion period prior to the online vote, including sample language for a NO on A campaign IF the membership votes to oppose Prop A. Your AFA has been against de-funding the police from the beginning, and we fully support appropriate police staffing, however this ordinance removes needed flexibility to balance ALL budget needs, including those of AFD.

We have dealt with contentious membership issues in the past and, after the vote, my hope is that this process will result in membership solidarity, even if we may differ in our personal opinions. Whether the vote outcome is “yes or “no” the AFA will follow the will of the membership.
Please email or call me with your questions,

Bob Nicks
President, Austin Firefighters Association
Cell (512) 217-3474

September 1, 2021 – 

7:30 AM: 9 11 Memorial Ceremony to remember those Firefighters who lost their lives on September 11.  Buford Fire Tower on Lady Bird Lake,

Location:  Cesar Chavez and Colorado.

Austin Firefighters Association will hold their annual memorial to remember all who fell on September 11, 2001.  This ceremony also incorporates a remembrance of Austin Firefighters, active and retired, who have passed away in the last year.  The event will take place at Buford Tower. The ceremony will include the Austin Firefighter Honor Guard, Emergency Services Pipes and Drums Association and AFD Quint 1.


09:30 AM: 9 11 Memorial Climb. Austin firefighters will climb the Pleasant Valley Drill Tower in full turnout gear, an air pack, and a hose bundle. Firefighters will make the number of up and down flights which equals roughly the height of the World Trade Center.

(Firefighters from Austin and surrounding areas have been participating in this Memorial Stair Climb every year since that tragic day in 2001. The first climb actually took place the day after the tragedy at the AFD William Roberts Training Academy during the training of Cadet Class #106.)

Location:  517 S. Pleasant Valley Rd.


12:00 PM: Bagpipes and Drums. Hosted by the Texas Capitol.

Emergency Service Pipes and Drums Association (ESPADA) will play in the Texas State Capitol Rotunda.

Location:  State Capitol Rotunda

September 7, 2021 – 

Hello Brother and Sister Firefighters,

From the Austin Fire Department Facebook Page:

“As we prepare to lay our brother, Firefighter Rodney “Rod” Kelley, to rest today, we want to thank everyone who reached out with condolence messages; we are incredibly grateful for the support and kindness many of you have shown during these difficult days.

For those who may have known Rod and are unable to attend today’s service, it will be livestreamed starting at 12:30 p.m. CDT. To access it, click the obituary link below, then “read more” under the obituary, and scroll to the bottom for the livestream at the appointed time: 

CLICK HERE FOR LIVESTREAM OF FUNERAL

Please continue to keep Rod’s family, friends and colleagues in your prayers during this difficult time.

July 26, 2021 – 

Since 2021 is the 20th Anniversary of 9 11, we asked for help with designing this year’s Commemorative T-shirt. Thank you Jeremy Burke for your awesome design!

If you want a t-shirt, please place an order. We will have limited extra t-shirts so if you want to guarantee a 2021 9 11 Commemorative T-shirt, please place an order by responding to this email.

When placing an order please provide us with the following information:

a) AFD or 975 logo on the front

b) size (Adult Sizes: XSmall to XXXLarge and Youth Sizes: Small to Large)

c) quantity of each size.

The 2021 9 11 T-shirts cost $15.

I will send out an email once we have received the t-shirts to let everyone know when they are available for pickup.

CLICK HERE TO SEE IMAGE OF 2021 9 11 T-SHIRT

The new 2021 Commemorative 9 11 T-shirts have been approved for use during the month of September 2021.