By CSLEA Supervising Counsel Dave De La Riva
Bargaining Unit 7 Seasonal Lifeguards employed by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) are responsible for preventing drownings and performing swimmer rescues at State Parks and Beaches throughout California. During the winter months, Seasonal Lifeguards have also been called upon to utilize their training and life-saving skills at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (OSVRA) located approximately 90 miles east of San Diego.
It was recently brought to CSLEA’s attention that Seasonal Lifeguards are traveling in some cases as far away as Huntington Beach (150 miles) to perform their duties at OSVRA for weekend work without receiving reimbursement for mileage and without being issued a per diem. In December 2019, CSLEA engaged in discussions with DPR and also filed a grievance in order to resolve this issue. As a result, on January 22, 2020, CSLEA confirmed with DPR that Seasonal Lifeguards who are called upon to work within the Ocotillo Wells District will now be reimbursed for travel expenses and provided a per diem.
CSLEA recognizes the importance of the emergency services provided by Seasonal Lifeguards within the DPR system and thanks the Department for recognizing the need to resolve this issue. With the resolution of this issue, not only will DPR continue to benefit from the work performed by Seasonal Lifeguards, but most importantly, the general public will benefit. This work assignment to OSVRA promises to continue to draw those Seasonal Lifeguards who possess the unique skills necessary to serve and keep safe those who enjoy all of the benefits OSVRA has to offer.