The Richmond Firefighters Local 188 union has unanimously decided to take a vote. There are no confidence against Fire Chief Angel Montoya. They are citing concerns over low staffing levels, strenuous working conditions, and a lack of response to their grievances. The morale amongst Richmond firefighters has hit an all-time low. It is leading to mental health challenges for the firefighters and difficulties for their families. With attempts to address the issues internally proving unsuccessful, the union is seeking action to address their concerns.
Union’s Struggle with Working Conditions
Richmond firefighters have been grappling with challenging working conditions. It is including 24-hour shifts for up to 20 consecutive days to cope with low staffing levels. Union president Mike Velazquez has highlighted how this grueling schedule has taken a toll on firefighters’ mental health and personal lives. Their families having to rearrange schedules for childcare to accommodate the demanding work hours.
Unresolved Concerns and Allegations
Efforts to address the issues directly with Fire Chief Angel Montoya have reportedly been unsuccessful. The union claims that Montoya has allowed staffing levels to reach critically low points. They are forcing firefighters to work excessively without adequate time off. When the union expressed the need for programs to address firefighter mental health, Montoya dismissed their concerns as “union propaganda,” further fueling the tensions.
Absences and Lack of Presence
Union leadership has raised concerns about Montoya’s regular absences from important meetings, including the City Council budget meetings and Contra Costa County executive fire chief meetings. His absence from these crucial discussions has reportedly resulted in Richmond being excluded from grant funds and lacking representation in decision-making processes.
City Manager’s Role and Support
The union is calling for the full removal of Fire Chief Montoya. It is a decision that falls under the jurisdiction of City Manager Shasa Curl. However, despite meeting with Curl, the union representatives claim not to have received her support for their cause, which adds to their frustration and feelings of being unheard.
Conclusion: Seeking Resolution
With morale at an all-time low and concerns about staffing levels and leadership unaddressed, the Richmond Firefighters Local 188 union is resorting to a vote of no confidence against Fire Chief Montoya. The firefighters are seeking a resolution to the challenging working conditions and lack of support for mental health initiatives. The situation is putting immense pressure on the union. They are determined to bring about change for the well-being of their members and the effectiveness of the Fire Department. As the call for Montoya’s removal gains momentum, the city management must respond and take necessary actions to address the union’s concerns.