Saturday, August 16, 2014

Unionize Private Contracted Firefighters

If any type of wage slave worker looks around they will see wage disparity, even within their own job types. If you are the lucky one with a good or better wage you cannot help but feel bad for the person doing the same job at a lower wage. I, as a firefighter, just recently off the fire line saw this very situation and have seen it many times before, but this time it just bothered me more. The last round of fires this year people were getting hurt and fire season is just starting in northern California. I think this is a place where unions should be looking into private hand crews and see what the workers’ wages are and do they ever get overtime or any benefits. I know most pay minimum wage. The workers sleep on the ground, eat at fire camps, and get lunches water at camps like the Cal Fire and volunteer firefighters get so why do the private contractors pay only minimum wage? I see that Firestorm Wildland Fire Suppression Inc. has new transport buggies and pickup trucks so you would think they are making money, but are they making it off the backs of the minimum wage workers? Firestorm is not the only private contractor out there and I expect the pay is the same. These workers are fighting fires right alongside Cal Fire firefighters, which are union get to stay in motels at night and good wages. The federal firefighters have a union looking out for their pay and benefits. Local government strike teams and cities have union contracts. Hell, even Shasta County volunteers are paid well and even receive overtime after 40 hours. So why do the private contracted companies get away with making huge profits off their workers? This needs to be fixed either by the Feds state or a good union. This is hard, dirty and dangerous work and all the firefighters should be compensated fairly.