I am writing to express my concern about Cal Fire being used as a tool to bust local firefighter unions. Local cities want to limit expenses in all areas of government, including firefighting. The right thing for them to do is to negotiate in good faith with firefighter unions and other unions. What I have seen occurring is that the city administrations seek out bids from Cal Fire for firefighting services (most often not providing equivalent service levels) to gain the upper hand with the local unions. (Examples: Watsonville, San Carlos, etc.)
Cal Fire Administration wishes to expand their influence, so they go along and play into this. Sometimes, Cal Fire even ends up with a new contract, replacing a city fire department with their own staff. My understanding is that Gov. Jerry Brown does not favor expanding Cal Fire beyond its core missions. There is a need to limit expenses and increase revenue for this state fire department, as well as refocusing the department on its core missions. Cal Fire Administration should not be becoming the biggest union-busting organization in the state of California.
Steve Homan, Bonny Doon