Cal Fire Local 2881 Firefighter Discusses Fair Pay for Firefighters
CAL FIRE Local 2881 represents the 6,500 firefighters of CAL FIRE. They answer more than 400,000 calls per year with professionalism and integrity. However, CAL FIRE firefighters are in crisis.
“Today (August 16th) I did the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do as a firefighter,” said CAL FIRE firefighter Steve Mueller. “While I look forward to protecting my neighbors and working hard with my colleagues, I didn’t enjoy talking publically about how our pay lags drastically behind other departments.”
California’s independent Human Resources Salary Report reveals that CAL FIRE firefighters make 30-90% less than firefighters from California’s top twenty-five fire departments. A fifteen-year veteran of CAL FIRE can make more money, and with less responsibilities, as an entry-level firefighter at a local department. Three months ago, CAL FIRE had a 50% no-show for the promotional Fire Captain test.
Entry-level firefighters make only minimum wage. In five years, due to compaction within the Department, they will make as much as mid-level firefighters. The compaction and overlapping of pay negatively impacts morale among firefighters and robs our men and women the incentive to promote.
“I love fighting fires and the camaraderie on the job but, it is important that our pay at least be competitive with other fire departments,” said Mueller.
Mueller mentioned that firefighters will be at the State Capitol at 11AM on Monday, August 22nd to protest the pay disparities.
The men and women of CAL FIRE will always answer the call and it is an honor to protect our neighbors. We hope to work cooperatively with the Administration to find a viable solution.