I just finished reading Margaret Wente’s article in The Globe and Mail about how firefighters are one of the “best-paid guys around” Lots of time off to go fishing, hunting or run your own business on the side and your union always wins.
I guess Marg has never heard of female firefighters but for the sake of argument I will assume she means both sexes when it comes to firefighting.
Maybe Ms. Wente never heard of Jonathan Sanchez, the firefighter from Grande Prairie who was fired because he publically aired internal concerns shared by his co-workers and himself. This is part of his termination letter.
“Please be advised that your employment with the County of Grande Prairie No.1 (“county”) is terminated effective immediately for just cause for reasons which include failing to be a loyal and faithful employee, breach of confidentiality, making unauthorized statements to others, not following the chain of command, not acting in the best interests of the county and for bringing, or having the potential of bringing, the reputation of the county into disrepute.”
Guess the union didn’t get its way.
Even more surprising with Margaret’s article is her own paper published a story less than a year ago about how a full-time firefighter was subjected to discipline because they volunteered in another community.
My point to this is the union doesn’t always get its way and firefighters are open to discipline, including termination, just like the rest of us.
As for what a firefighter earns, as far as I am concerned it’s not enough.
Sure, someone will say, “I will take their job”, but they wont put themselves through years of college or specialized training just in hopes of becoming a volunteer, as most of the smaller communities have as their firefighters.
Regardless of a firefighters shift, they still work 40 hours a week based on the length of their schedule, this also includes working Christmas, your child’s birthday and anniversaries. Nobody talks about wanting to go to the scene of a car crash and remove a steering wheel that is embedded in the drivers chest, or having to gather the limbs of a child that was just crushed by a tractor trailer.
Do you want to go down into a subway tunnel and clean up the aftermath of someone who just jumped in front of a train? Didn’t think so.
The next time you want to take a jab at what someone earns, describe the whole job description, not just the perks.