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February 14, 2016
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This website belongs to the members of Local F121. If you are a member and have a suggestion that you believe would make this site better, please visit our "Contact Us" page and let your suggestion be known. All suggestions will be considered. Additionally, we need reports from around the local of what is happening in the lives of our members. If you know of something that we need to share about our members or their family please let us know using the "Contact Us" webpage. Remember, a strong union local is an active union local. Good things don't happen if we are passive. So please play an active part in our local.
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Important News


Click here for a message on the importance of staying Fit to Survive.

What's New at IAFF F121
Bethesda V.P
All allow me to welcome and congratulate Brother Neil Gunnet as the new V.P representing Bethesda and soon to be Carderock. Read More...
Recent update from OPM in regards to recent OPM Data Breach.
Download: DON OPM Breach FAQs 062015 upd.pdf
Letter from IAFF General President calling for resignation of OPM Director in light of recent OPM Data Breach.
Download: Data Breach.pdf
Brothers and Sisters
  All, First I must apologize for not posting sooner, Myself and the E-Board have been acclimating with new daily business and old as well. Ive been very busy and inundated with the ongoings of our Local, but believe me when I say we've hit the ground running. Read More...
Fit Testing


For all members we at Indian Head had an issue with Safety during fit testing. After some research and a call to OSHA in Washington DC this is where we are at.

Both the Union and Management have agreed that we must follow the law and as such have also agreed that when fit tested if the tester does their job properly and asks for a member to trim back a mustache or be clean shaven that member will do so.

In saying that let me explain. To declare a person not fit to be tested because of the length of mustache the tester must have you Don your face piece and visibly see hair in the seal. OSHA, during my call with them, stated that any hair intrusion; including bushy eye brows, side burns, natural hair lines, mustaches, or daily facial growth; in any part of the seal would be a failure even if the test is performed and passed. They give no exclusions for any reason. The tester may let a person go with a days growth but they certainly do not have to and should not by law. Don't push that issue lest you want to get into detailed scrutiny with all areas of hair.

Discussion between the Union and Management will most certainly result in a forth coming SOG. This SOG should not be thought of as a screwing of the members in as much as a protection from Safety with their opinion based conclusions.

With all the above said, if your location has a grooming policy in place do not go against that policy. For example a military style policy that states mustaches no longer than the corner of the lip, please follow that rather than argue that "l can grow a 3/4 inch mustache and it passes the test for fit testing so I should be able to wear it." The Union will not have a good chance in defense and Management will have a case on you if you refuse.

 Frankie Hannah
 VP Indian Head

Also note: this message was at the request and authorized by President Tatekawa

Standardized Employee Uniforms

On Friday March 13, 2015 I signed a new “Standardized Employee Uniform” MOU alongside NDW Region Fire Chief Miedzinski.  These signatures culminate the efforts undertaken by both parties over the last eighteen months.  Additionally, it represents our continued progress towards one collective bargaining agreement for the entire region.

Until agreement was reached on this MOU, there have been seven different uniform agreements throughout the NDW region.  While the seven agreements all have something in common, no two agreements were alike.  Many union members readily asserted that the uniform worn at their respective duty location should be the standard for the entire region.  As you can imagine, this resulted in many disagreements amongst reasonable people.  The task before your respective Executive Board member was to find an agreement that moved the Region forward to one uniform.

I want to thank all of those rank and file members that provided input and comments to our union leadership.  The comments received by local leaders proved essential to us.  Each location had at least one, and in many cases, two or three representatives that gave input into the final proposal presented to management.     I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically thank VP Feltner for providing the consistent motivation for completing this agreement.   

I want to point out the following highlights from the agreement

  • This agreement became effective immediately upon signing for all personnel hired after the date of signature, March 13, 2015.

  • This agreement becomes effective for all current employees (hired before March 13, 2015) eighteen (18) months after signature (September 13, 2016) as it relates to the daily work uniform.  The eighteen (18) month transition period to conform to the new standard is to serve two purposes;

  • Allow current uniform items to be worn through a DoD determined two (2) fiscal year (Oct 2014 through Sept 2016) lifecycle.
  • Allow the employees to receive an $800 clothing allowance in the first quarter of FY16 (delivered in Oct to Dec 2015) to fund the transition and purchase of new daily work uniform items.

  • Between now and September 13, 2016 members are free to transition to the items provided for in the agreement at their own pace.  They are encouraged to transition to the new standard as current uniform items wear out and are replaced, as we believe this is the most cost effective means of transitioning to the new uniform standard. 

  • On March 13, 2017 the standardized Dress (Class A) Uniform becomes effective.  This time is to allow for the disbursement of the FY17 uniform allowance (delivered in Oct to Dec 2016) to reach you and then allow you time to acquire the needed Dress (Class A) Uniform items.

  • As you have noted above, all discussions of disbursement of uniform allowance occur in the first quarter of the Fiscal Year.  This agreement addresses a repeated concern of many members, the timing of the delivery of the annual uniform allowance.  Upon signing this agreement, the Agency must now deliver the annual $800 uniform allowance in the first quarter of each Fiscal Year, instead of the unpredictable delivery window we have experienced over the past six or seven years.   Likewise, there is a provision that newly hired members receive their initial $1600 uniform allowance within sixty (60) days of their start in the FD.

  • In order to comply with a DoD instruction, starting no sooner than September 2016 the Agency will carry out an annual uniform inspection.  The exact timing, procedure and list of items subject to inspection will be outlined in an SOG to be issued in the near future.

  • Over the next eighteen (18) months members will be issued an NFPA 1999 compliant three-season foul weather jacket.  This uniform outer garment will protect personnel performing patient care during emergency medical operations from contact with blood and body fluid-borne pathogens. It also includes additional requirements that provide limited protection from specified CBRN terrorism agents.  Additionally, these jackets will display reflective features to provide members with a measure of protection when operating in low light or nighttime conditions.  These NFPA regulated jackets have an approximate value of $200-$250.

  • With the adoption of this agreement, on September 13, 2016 all bargaining unit employees will transition to a full Navy blue uniform, shirt and pant.  Regardless of the title of the position occupied, all of us will wear a Navy blue daily uniform shirt and pants/shorts.   Starting on September 13, 2016 white shirts (and gold badges/collar devices) are expressly reserved for members of management.

  • At the request of many members, we were able to obtain the inclusion of Navy blue uniform shorts for all locations, as noted above in the agreement.  In order to be in compliance with the uniform agreement, shorts may only be worn when shoes rise up no higher than five inches up from the wearer’s ankle. (Please note that 8 or 10 inch boots may NOT be worn with shorts)

  • There will now be a standardized logo displayed on all t-shirts, sweatshirts, wind shirts, polo shirts, hats or other items bearing a logo.  The Regional Fire Chief will designate the standardized Fire Department logo that may be displayed.  The standardized union logo that may be displayed shall be that logo that is currently shown on all union logo wear (IAFF logo over an image of the US Capitol).  Please be aware of this change when purchasing new t-shirts and the like.  Again, this change becomes effective on September 13, 2016.

  • Upon any future issuance of a mandatory Physical Fitness MOU or SOG (required by NFPA 1583), the Agency will be required to provide physical fitness shoes to all personnel. 

I hope these highlights provided you the answers to questions that have been asked many times over the last few months.  I believe that your Executive Board members worked diligently to achieve the desired outcomes, based on the inquiries from the field, as they worked in a spirit of compromise and understanding.  It is because of their engagement on this Standardize Uniform MOU that I believe everyone can find more than a few items that they will call positive.


Greg Russell,

Download: Standardized Employee Uniforms.pdf
Interim Report - Elections 2014

Brothers & Sisters,

     Please see the following report provided to me from President Emeritus Bruce Poore, our elections chairman, and then forwarded to the executive board last night.  After accepting this report as submitted, in consultation with Chairman Poore it was determined that the election of the Secretary/Treasurer, the only contested position, will move forward with voting starting on Monday evening, August 25, 2014.  This will be for a seven day voting period through the local's online voting portal in accordance with our Bylaws.

     I wish to note that there wasn't a Nomination and a Second for the position of Vice-President for Pax River and Bethesda.  In accordance with the Bylaws, when there is a vacancy in office, the executive board will appoint a person to this position.  This appointment will last until the next scheduled election which is in the Spring of 2016.  I expect the executive board to consider candidates for these positions at their first meeting following the closure of the 2014 elections. If a member resides in either Pax River or Bethesda that has an interest in serving, please contact me at  I will be sure to carry your interest forward to the entire executive board.  (And for the record, I don't vote unless there is a tie)


Gregory Russell
President, National Capital Federal Fire Fighters

Now, for the interim report from President Emeritus Poore:

From: Bruce Poore
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 17:52 PM
To: Gregory Russell
Subject: IAFF F-121 2014 election nominations

Brother Russell,

Please accept this as an interim report.

On August 10, 2014 an email announcing the opening of the nominations period was sent to 206 registered recipients within the Local's database.  According to the analytics that are gathered by the union's web service, it has been confirmed that 70 members read the email message.  However, this doesn't include any member with a registered government email account as that email service doesn't respond to interrogations sent by our web service.  The analytics also reported that one person "opted out" of receiving any further emails from IAFF Local F121.

On August 11, 2014 through August 18, 2014 I accepted email nominations at the  However, due to a technical glitch, I learned that some nominations were sent to the email account.  Those nominations were accepted as if they arrived in the mailbox.   In total, the mailboxes received 27 emails, including one advertisement.   

I contacted the person that nominated a person to an officer position.  After verifying that a valid nomination and second was received, I turned to the nominee to determine if they would accept the nomination. 

I have the following to report.
For General Secretary Treasurer
Jason Morgal  confirmed
Ryan Gallant    confirmed
Central Vice President
Raymond Tatekawa   confirmed
Pax River
two nominations but no second

Randall - no second

Tatum - no second

Annapolis Vice President
Bower  confirmed
Dahlgren Vice President
Randy Feltner   confirmed
Bethesda Vice President
No Nominations
Indianhead Vice President
Hannah   confirmed

Those that are in uncontested races should be considered elected by acclimation.  The contested race of Secretary/Treasurer will require region wide balloting.  We will now move forward with the election balloting for that position.

Respectfully Submitted
Bruce F. Poore, Election Committee Chairman

Administrative Investigation
To: All Bargaining Unit Employees,
The Union has reason to believe that several bargaining unit employees will be interviewed as part of an investigation regarding work situations in the fire department.  The answers provided by you or others may result in disciplinary actions against yourself or other bargaining unit members.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, I URGE EACH PERSON CALLED TO NOTIFY THE PERSON DIRECTING TO THE INVESTIGATIVE THAT YOU ARE EXERCISING YOU RIGHT TO REQUEST UNION REPRESENTATION.  You only have to make the request and share that you are in fear of an adverse action resulting from your participation. (This is similar to your MIRANDA rights in criminal matters) This is for your protection.

As part of this investigation you may be required to give written statements during the interviews. 
Generally, you must attend these meetings (administrative investigations) and you must fully cooperate and answer any questions truthfully

To help prepare you, here are a few comments about the interviews to answer questions that you may have:

1. You should ASK, with a Union Rep present, to be advised about the purpose of the meeting so you fully understand the scope of the investigation and purpose of the questions.   Before starting, You should ASK what are the rules governing confidentiality and understand them completely.
2. Although you must participate in the investigation, the interview should NOT be coercive in nature.
3. You may only refuse to answer questions and/or be entitled to union representation IF the investigation may possibly lead to criminal conduct
against you, in which case you may invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent unless you are granted immunity.
4. You should request union representation.  Since the topics or results may result in disciplinary action being taken by the agency against you, you should not take this type of interview lightly.  Your future career could depend upon the results of this investigation.
5. You are entitled to union representation EVEN IF the investigation concerns any grievance, personnel practices or general conditions of
employment.  Generally, any discussion about what happens in the workplace involved general conditions of employment.
6. You are protected against reprisals for providing information by the Whistleblower Protection Act.

7. You should ASK for a copy of any written statement that you give during the interview. 

8. You may request union representation at anytime during the interview.  Once you request representation it is best that you respectfully decline to answer any further questions until representation is present and remain silent. 

Please feel free to call me 
 if you have any questions about these interviews or if  you wish to have union representation during these interviews.  Depending upon advice that the local is seeking, the Union may already have a representative present.

Again, this is a very serious matter and it calls for your complete honesty.  Don't try to hide answers or be dishonest in of your responses.  Don't speak of things that you do not have first hand knowledge of.  Doing so could place your continued employment in jeopardy.

Greg Russell, President

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Action Center
Contact US
This website belongs to the members of Local F121. If you are a member and have a suggestion that you believe would make this site better, please visit our "Contact Us" page and let your suggestion be known. All suggestions will be considered. Additionally, we need reports from around the local of what is happening in the lives of our members. If you know of something that we need to share about our members or their family please let us know using the "Contact Us" webpage. Remember, a strong union local is an active union local. Good things don't happen if we are passive. So please play an active part in our local.
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