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Thread: Scranton Firefighters make minimum wage

  1. #26
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    The situation in Scranton is special in that EVERY employee is taking the cuts, not just the firefighters. The city is broke. Where do you want the money to come from? These guys have a few options. Either severely adjust their way of living (house, cars, etc.) or quit and get another job. These are tough economic times and we are long past the point of thinking we are immune to the affects of such simply because we (as a service) are public employees.
    Question for you GT.. if your community told you that your pay was being severely cut and you would be working for minimum wage, could you afford to do it, or would you seek greener pastures?
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    Well, lest we forget, some people such as myself took a severe paycut (higher in percentage from my current pay to minimum wage) just to work this job. Could I afford to do it? Possibly, but it would throw the strain on my partner and that wouldn't sit very well for me. I've also had the opposite problem, finally having an opening at my dream department but having to say no due to the fact I'd have to start all over on the pay scale. There's no doubt that being cut to that extent is tough on all but the most financially secure. I understand GTR's comment and agree to a certain extent but I do feel it's possible to leave out of responsibility to your family/ not stay out of a selfish desire to do what you love. I wish them all the best, I couldn't imagine the difficulty of that decision.
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    If my fire department pay was cut to minimum wage I would have no other choice than to seek a THIRD job, a full time one in fact, to be able to keep my house.

    Right now, in addition to my firefighting job I am a part-time tech college fire instructor. That job and working 56 hours a week at minimum wage would NOT allow me to pay my bills. It doesn't matter how much I love being a firefighter, or how dedicated I am to protecting the lives and property of the community I serve, the harsh reality is I simply could not financially make it on minimum wage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    You guys seem to have missed the point.

    We have guys jumping ship every so often chasing money at other departments or sometimes in other fields all together. There are those of us who could have taken a number of other jobs making more money, but we didn’t. We like our department and most of us live in the communities we protect. My point was that money is not always the driving factor for who stays and who goes.
    This has nothing to do with this situation. All the examples you put forth in your "points" are all choices an individual themselves get to make. For the employees of Scranton fire department, what was their choice?
    The situation in Scranton is special in that EVERY employee is taking the cuts, not just the firefighters. The city is broke. Where do you want the money to come from? These guys have a few options. Either severely adjust their way of living (house, cars, etc.) or quit and get another job. These are tough economic times and we are long past the point of thinking we are immune to the affects of such simply because we (as a service) are public employees.
    Why is the city broke? What measures have been taken to prevent this? Have any programs, handouts, give-aways or social programs been cut?
    So you believe that these fire fighters are greedy to get fairly compensated for an honest days work in a skilled trade? Your solution is not to hold those responsible for causing this situation, but chastise the employees and have the attitude; well to bad,adjust your life style or quit and find another job if you don't like it?
    Funny from an individual that has both career and volunteer in their signature...why, the volunteer side of the job not paying enough?
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    As I've said previously, I live here. These are the guys I work with, that I train with, and that I hang out with. Luckily, we all do not get paid by the same people...

    Scranton FD May not be known for the Heroic Efforts in Structure Fire's, or their amazing ability to make 1 gallon of water put out 3 car fire's. But their a bunch of good men. These guys train, they work, and they fight, just like the rest of us. Many of the city's firemen are paramedic's in a side job, or a PA Fire Instructor. When I heard what had happen, the only thing I could think of is that If this happend nationwide, It would Kill the profession. No one would ever wan't to be a fireman, and allot of people would have to leave. Imagine your department, or your fulltime job cutting you like this... No matter what your job is, it's not right.
    Firefighter 1/ PA EMT-B

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    You guys seem to have missed the point.

    We have guys jumping ship every so often chasing money at other departments or sometimes in other fields all together. There are those of us who could have taken a number of other jobs making more money, but we didn’t. We like our department and most of us live in the communities we protect. My point was that money is not always the driving factor for who stays and who goes.
    No, it appears to be you that is missing the point here.

    The situation in Scranton is special in that EVERY employee is taking the cuts, not just the firefighters. The city is broke. Where do you want the money to come from? These guys have a few options. Either severely adjust their way of living (house, cars, etc.) or quit and get another job. These are tough economic times and we are long past the point of thinking we are immune to the affects of such simply because we (as a service) are public employees.
    What is making the situation in Scranton "special" is the unilateral decision by the Mayor to willfully violate the collective bargaining agreements by reducing all workers wages to minimum wage. Just about all of the rest isn't "special" in any way because it's going on all across the country. Municipalities are in bad financial shape largely due to the economy tanking (not the fault of public sector workers) and their own fiscal mismanagement (also not the fault of public sector workers). Far too many have wasted substantial amounts of limited revenues on pet projects and other politically motivated things rather than truly tightening the belt and ensuring adequate funding for essential services first. "Payment Holidays" taken by the employers are a prime cause of the "pension crisis", not "overly generous benefits".

    This isn't a case of the guys in Scranton thinking they are immune to the poor economy. They have been living it for a long time now. The City of Scranton has been in Act 47 status (PA Distressed Municipality Designation which brings state oversight and significant constraints on the collective bargaining process) for 20 years. They have been hemorrhaging jobs for years and the FD is a pretty much a shell of it's former self. They have made concessions. They have offered other concessions that have been rejected by the City.

    This current situation is the product of hubris and a "my way or the highway" style of governance by the Mayor. The city is unable to get a $17 million bond right now because there isn't a new "recovery plan" (a requirement under Act 47) in place - this is what is causing what is essentially a "cash flow problem". The Mayor wants a 78% property tax raise as part of it, the Council wants to explore other revenue options to reduce the amount that taxes will be raised. The Mayor won't even consider it and this stunt is a political move to force Council's hand regarding the recovery plan.

    Think about it, outright layoff of a portion of the city workers affects a smaller number of workers and allows those workers access to full unemployment benefits and other assistance. Plus they would be able to look for alternate employment while waiting to be called back to work since this is supposedly a "short-term" need. Cutting the pay of all employees by 2/3 significantly effects EVERY EMPLOYEE, hinders the ability to collect unemployment and possibly other assistance, virtually eliminates the ability to find (temporary) alternate employment since they are still working full-time for the city and will likely cause issues with their credit scores, bills, mortgages, etc that could extend beyond the short-term. It's nothing more than a strong arm tactic using the employees as pawns in a political chess match.

    Frankly, your portrayal of this as a situation of needing to accept cuts (regardless of the reasonableness of those cuts) as part of a new economic reality or move on to better paying employment is at best ignorant and otherwise simply repugnant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    You guys seem to have missed the point.

    We have guys jumping ship every so often chasing money at other departments or sometimes in other fields all together. There are those of us who could have taken a number of other jobs making more money, but we didn’t. We like our department and most of us live in the communities we protect. My point was that money is not always the driving factor for who stays and who goes.

    The situation in Scranton is special in that EVERY employee is taking the cuts, not just the firefighters. The city is broke. Where do you want the money to come from? These guys have a few options. Either severely adjust their way of living (house, cars, etc.) or quit and get another job. These are tough economic times and we are long past the point of thinking we are immune to the affects of such simply because we (as a service) are public employees.
    I'm taking MY fair share of cuts, I don't see a single Effing politician taking any. And I haven't seen any Firefighters spend 60 MILLION on a goofy bridge that was supposed to only cost 20 million. And oh yeah, nobodies really sure how stable it is.
    And BTW, this is a SKILLED trade, not burger flipping. Working for minimum is okay if you're on a paid on call dept. that just can't justify fulltime positions. You're doing it as a service, not because you depend on it to feed your family.

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