COVID-19 and Rochester Labor
IAFF Local 1071
Interview with International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1071 officers Eddie Santiago, Matt Murphy and John Joseph, 22 February 2021
During the initial COVID phase (March, 2020) few of IAFF's nearly five hundred local members contracted the virus, though there were no firehouse-related cases; in contrast, over sixty members were exposed in September's second wave (though again, none were clearly work-related).
In general the union received strong support from their international union, the City Administration, the County and the Fire Department: PPE was provided to firefighters, there were weekly conference calls, vehicles were ordered to be cleaned weekly, and masking was required whenever feasible. Despite this support the union had to resist the administration's efforts to change contract provisions related to such benefits as sick leave and maintaining work schedules.
Firefighters worked a normal volume through most of the pandemic, although during shutdowns other tasks such as inspections, school visits and fire hydrant maintenance were put on hold.
As of 22 February 2021 sixty percent of firefighters had been vaccinated against COVID. In person union meetings, which had been suspended during March-June and September-October, were resumed in the union's hall, large enough to honor six foot spacing recommendations.