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    Lightbulb An Interesting Debate

    Ok, firstly I "walked" into this conversation late, so I don't have any further background info.... yet. Still this story has a familiar ring to it, just different voices:

    Firefighter-paramedic debate smoulders on

    Text By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News

    Published: January 02, 2010 7:00 AM
    Updated: January 02, 2010 8:20 AM

    Readers continue to weigh in on Tom Fletcher's series of columns about the state of emergency services in B.C. Here's one in response to the Dec. 23 column about the vast difference in pay between big cities and smaller communities, followed by Fletcher's reply:

    Tom, I find it difficult to accept your premise that $35 an hour is too much to pay firefighters. Sure, by all means combine them with ambulance people or whatever. But surely it has to be worth it to society to have well trained, motivated people willing to risk life and limb to get you and yours out of your burning home when you need it?

    To broaden the debate a bit, who is more essential to society - firefighters, or bankers, financial hotshots and CEOs? Or newspaper columnists, for that matter?

    I'll submit firefighters and columnists are. If the columnists are not being pressured by the CEOs, that is.

    I'd venture that ordinary folk, whether they work for the fire department, or the papers, or minimum wage, have a lot more in common with one another than with CEOs et al. Anyone who's not earning million dollar-plus bonuses (I should say receiving, not 'earning'!) by my definition is ordinary wage-slave citizenry. What's happened the last 30 years or so is they have been hoodwinked into believing that unregulated markets will produce the good life for everyone. And the push toward excessive individualism has made it OK to take a 'me-first' attitude.

    The notion that the government is going broke and we have to give up all these 'frills' like special care, education, support for single moms, etc. is misguided, I think. There is plenty of money out there. 'We' just have to lay our hands on it through our tax system. We need to make it socially unacceptable to receive huge unearned salaries, bonuses etc.

    The well-off have figured out that by lobbying for tax concessions and convincing ordinary people they can have the lifestyles of the rich (read the credit card revolution), then they can make off with major spoils. In addition it is now obvious that the pie called Earth is not big enough for the current world population to live at U.S. and Canadian standards, let alone when it reaches nine billion or so. What then?

    The answer the rich and famous seem to have found is: grab what you can while the going is good. We see this in the pressure the banking and financial industries are applying to stop additional preventive regulation against another derivatives-based meltdown.

    What will happen, maybe not soon enough, is the hoodwinked will wake up to this reality, and a social movement for reform similar to past ones over slavery (19th century), labour (1900s), and - surprise - financial excesses (1930s) will force these issues.

    So, Tom maybe you could tone down the rhetoric, not be a shill for the rich and powerful, maybe think of how many firefighters could be paid $35 an hour instead of that money accumulating at the top. After all, the firefighter (and probably, the columnists) pump that money back into the economy daily. And the rich? Don't worry about them, they'll always be with us.

    Happy New Year to you,

    Colin Dover

    Tom Fletcher replies:

    Thanks for your letter, Colin.

    I'm not arguing that unionized firefighters should take a pay cut. In the City of Vancouver their current top rate is $37 an hour, on an arbitrated contract that expired Dec. 31. Other urban areas have similar union contracts, but the pay rate at most B.C. fire halls remains at zero, except for a core of salaried full-time chiefs and assistant chiefs in mid-sized communities.

    I make more than zero and less than $37 an hour, but comparisons with private sector employment aren't useful here. Whether Black Press pays me minimum wage or $100,000 a year is strictly a function of the company's revenues, expenses and choices. A monopoly emergency service has a particular hold on the public purse. Many people have written to me remarking on the multiple fire trucks and ambulances that show up at accidents in those urban areas favoured by full-time emergency services.

    Your argument that there is "plenty of money out there" is factually incorrect, as a cursory review of the province's ever-increasing spending and slowly recovering revenues will show.

    In case you missed my main point, it's the urban union members who are powerful in this scenario. They are the favoured elite, and the rest of the media almost without exception have acted as their "shill" for as long as I can remember. This is one reason why most people remain ignorant of the real situation.

    (Another important reason is that most of the B.C. media are focused entirely on urban areas. Black Press and CBC radio are the main exceptions.)

    To put some fairness and efficiency into the emergency response system, I advocate combining ambulance and fire services, and where practical giving these people bylaw enforcement responsibility to go along with fire inspection duties. The elites should at least work full-time for their money, and the ability of communities to pay has to become a priority.

    cheers,

    Tom


    Tom Fletcher - BC Local News
    Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press newspapers. He's based in Victoria.

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    $35 an hour!!! Holly Cow, that is pretty damn good wages. I would rate that as excellent.

    I have worked in several jobs at several companies. One thing they all have in common is that the employees don't feel they are getting paid what they are worth. Some would argue that Blue Collar workers earn all the money, they build the products or provide the service. Other argue that the educated and decision makers are worth more.

    For instance, an account with four years of college and knowledge of the laws could find ways to avoid taxes or spend the money differently earning the company millions. An electrical engineer could find a way to eliminate a resistor or transistor. When you sell millions of products, that one little change could save hundreds of thousands. The Mechanical engineer finds ways to build the same product cheaper and easier. It saves the company millions. The CEO makes multi-million dollar decisions. These can make or break the company.

    If one follows the logic of some on these boards, a fire fighter needs no education. You simply take one of the thousands of physically fit men or women available, train them for a few weeks, and they can do the job. So do we really need to pay them more than $10 per hour.

    Determining an appropriate Wage for government employees is often difficult as the nature of the work creates a monopoly. There is no competition. NYS Troopers get paid extremely well. They start around $60,000. After 5 years it goes to around $75,000. Plus overtime. That is a pretty good salary for the job.

    Is there a right answer. According to the one author we should not pay high salaries, in fact, one gets the impression he feels we should all be getting the same salary. Personally, it should come down to the available talent pool. If I have 10 openings for factory work and I offer $15 an hour and subsequently end up with 100 applicants that are qualified I could argue I am paying too much. By the same token, if I only end up with 5 applicants then I am not paying enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    $35 an hour!!! Holly Cow, that is pretty damn good wages. I would rate that as excellent.
    You do realize that is Canadian $$, which tends to "look" a bit bigger than US $$. I don't know the current "conversion", but I'm sure it's still a pretty decent rate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    So do we really need to pay them more than $10 per hour.
    Nice trolling!

    Noone takes you seriously. Does that bother you?
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    You do realize that is Canadian $$, which tends to "look" a bit bigger than US $$. I don't know the current "conversion", but I'm sure it's still a pretty decent rate.
    Its actually not that much different these days. 1 USD is about $1.06 Cdn. $35 Cdn is about $33 US

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    You do realize that is Canadian $$, which tends to "look" a bit bigger than US $$. I don't know the current "conversion", but I'm sure it's still a pretty decent rate.
    Last I knew the exchange rate was about 95 cents Canadian to 1 U.S. Dollar,that would be around $33.25 U.S dollars. I'm not going to look it up, because heck, Wikipedia is wrong and we criticize those who look up facts. [/SARCASM]

    P.S. Last line is not directed at you, just the high school drop outs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Nice trolling!

    Noone takes you seriously. Does that bother you?
    Not a bit, people like you can't handle the truth......

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    $33 USD /hour is about average for major career depts here. Its not that big of a deal, comparable with journeymen electricians, skilled trades. Starting in Alberta is $65,000 and change for rookie FF. This is without OT or additional certs such as EMT-P, High Angle, Water and Ice, Industrial, After 5 years, many FF arepushing close to $100 yr working OT and with extra quals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    $35 an hour!!! Holly Cow, that is pretty damn good wages. I would rate that as excellent.
    Hey, numbskull, why don't you learn how to spell before you give me flack for missing a k at 3 in the morning.

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    Without knowing anything about the average income in that town its hard to say whether or not that is reasonable or not.

    One thing that doesn't always factor in with public service jobs is supply and demand. When cities know that they can get hundreds of applicants for a single position, there isn't much incentive to raise salaries. Why pay more than you need to, after all? Seems to me that the more heavily unionized public sectors (fire and police) have managed to go against that trend in a lot of areas while other types of public jobs, many of which come with their own set of dangers, don't do as well.

    But, pretty much anyone will be able to come up with an argument about why they are underpaid....

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    The firewalls are playing havoc with this website, but it may give better insight to your question, auxman.

    http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/...an_Area/Salary
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    Hey, numbskull, why don't you learn how to spell before you give me flack for missing a k at 3 in the morning.
    Gee, who pee'ed in your Special K. I thin we need to have a little talk (spoken in the voice of Ricky Riccardo).

    As I always say, Don't sweat the petty stuff and don't pet the sweaty stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    The firewalls are playing havoc with this website, but it may give better insight to your question, auxman.

    http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/...an_Area/Salary
    Cool site. It looks like the firefighters make as much as a teacher. Interesting for me was the Project Manager in IT position (Sort of like something I do). The private industry paid $74,189, same job in government is $81,868.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Gee, who pee'ed in your Special K. I thin we need to have a little talk (spoken in the voice of Ricky Riccardo).

    As I always say, Don't sweat the petty stuff and don't pet the sweaty stuff.
    Ok, so now your not only ignorant, but your a hippocrite. Its okay for you to make a spelling mistake but if I miss a k, oh lord the world is gonna end.

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    The more truly essential a job is, the less the enrichment. If you are truly needed by society, you owe it to society to be affordable to them. CEOs are a bureaucratic appendix, thus their salaries are justifiable insofar as the workers are not abused to pay their salaries. Sports figures have no limit to their acceptable salaries as professional sports are a luxury. I am not arguing that vital jobs should be paid unjustly, but that justice in wages works both ways. A doctor, for instance, is less justified in becoming rich if this results in harm to his patients. A firefighter's wages must be just both to him and to the taxpayers.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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    Sadly though, in this World of Free Enterprise, the interpretation of "justified wages" is different between groups, and even persons. What I might think of as being justified may not meet with yours. So the question becomes:

    Who has "justification" for being paid more as say a firefighter than as a medic or a police officer or a doctor or nurse?

    I agree, "professional" athletes do not provide what I would call an essential or even really important service, certainly not enough to "justify" why they make MILLIONS of dollars per year to pass a football or baseball around. Why should they get so much when the grunts of the world are slogging it out in Iraq, Afghanistan or other mud-holes in the world? Or us poor slobs picking up broken people who sustained injury from car wrecks etc?

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    I'm beginning to hear a lot of talk amongst certain folks in the political class about what they view as government workers being paid unreasonably high wages. I suspect that they will avoid critisizing those in the public safety field much though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    Its actually not that much different these days. 1 USD is about $1.06 Cdn. $35 Cdn is about $33 US
    Thanks for the update, haven't been to the Great White North for a while now.

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    Post Well............

    Based on a 42 hour Straight-time work week, $37/hr is about $ 80,000.00/yr.........
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Sadly though, in this World of Free Enterprise, the interpretation of "justified wages" is different between groups, and even persons. What I might think of as being justified may not meet with yours. So the question becomes:

    Who has "justification" for being paid more as say a firefighter than as a medic or a police officer or a doctor or nurse?

    I agree, "professional" athletes do not provide what I would call an essential or even really important service, certainly not enough to "justify" why they make MILLIONS of dollars per year to pass a football or baseball around. Why should they get so much when the grunts of the world are slogging it out in Iraq, Afghanistan or other mud-holes in the world? Or us poor slobs picking up broken people who sustained injury from car wrecks etc?
    They get so much because people are willing to shell out the money. Nobody is forced to go to games or buy jerseys. And that's the thing--the more essential you are, the less justified is a high salary. You owe it to people to be affordable. But they owe you a just wage. It's not easy, but the only thing easy and worth it is your prom date.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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    It's not easy, but the only thing easy and worth it is your prom date.
    HAHAHAHAAHA Maybe for you she was! Easy, I mean.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    Ok, so now your not only ignorant, but your a hippocrite. Its okay for you to make a spelling mistake but if I miss a k, oh lord the world is gonna end.
    Good lord man, people make misspelling, typos, and bad sentences all the time. Occasionally you get one that is just funny. Don't take it personally, I just saw the humor in that one.

    Sort of like the other day when I said "When it pours it rains", sad part was upon being questioned I though it was still right. Only after deep scrutiny did I see the problem.

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    Can you guys take your "spelling-bee" somewhere else?

    Thanks.
    The Management.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Sadly though, in this World of Free Enterprise, the interpretation of "justified wages" is different between groups, and even persons. What I might think of as being justified may not meet with yours. So the question becomes:

    Who has "justification" for being paid more as say a firefighter than as a medic or a police officer or a doctor or nurse?

    I agree, "professional" athletes do not provide what I would call an essential or even really important service, certainly not enough to "justify" why they make MILLIONS of dollars per year to pass a football or baseball around. Why should they get so much when the grunts of the world are slogging it out in Iraq, Afghanistan or other mud-holes in the world? Or us poor slobs picking up broken people who sustained injury from car wrecks etc?
    Remember a few years ago when The Buffalo Bills really sucked, they were barley filling the stadium half full. They then paid Jim Kelly $4 million a year and suddenly all of the games were sold out and the stadium was full. George SteinBrenner buys his teams all of the time, it is an investment. It all comes own to what salary you can negotiate for yourself. It has more to do with supply than demand. Millions of people are qualified to be soldiers and do the job. Not everyone can run a 4.4 40. Not everyone can dunk the ball.

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    I must be living in a time warp cause the Bills still SUCK!

    Go Vikes!

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