David Sprague

Why is there a labor management class at MHFC?

Course Description:

If you want to impact staffing on your engine or truck companies, or get more people assigned to your training division, or see programs get funded that support the health and wellness of your brothers and sisters, or in short, want change in your organization – you need to come to this class.

Let us share a story with you that we didn’t know we were writing.

Over the past 15 years, we have built an organization that has found alignment at the labor, management, city, and elected leadership levels. In the early 2000’s we could rarely count to a majority on the city council, the city manager had other priorities, and the fire chief and executive board were usually at odds if not actively working against each other. Today, each of these stakeholders work together towards our priorities – which are often shared. This has included upstaffing engines & truck companies from three to four-person, acquiring a property for a division of training, increasing training staff by 80%, and funding many other employee-focused programs.

We learned how to work together, create long-term goals, and change our perspective so that we have an opportunity mindset. While your path may look different, there are principals that you can take from our journey and apply during your career that will substantially improve operations and training within your organization


David Sprague, Berkeley Fire Department: My grandfather retired after 22 years of service in 1977. I have been doing my best to fill his shoes since 2001. I spent 15 years heavily involved in our IAFF Local, on the Executive Board, and on many negotiations’ teams. I sought an assignment to the Division of Training and enjoyed that for five years and I am currently supporting our members as the Deputy Chief of Operations. Since 2014 I have volunteered my time with FireNuggets and helped provide training to firefighters around the Country. In a weird and beautiful intersection of both union and management roles, I’ve worked to make training a priority in our organization, embedding support for it in our MOU, Job Classifications, and our formal and informal policies and procedures.