One of the most annoying and hypocritical spectacles during the Rudy Giuliani mayoral era was listening to him pontificate about the heros of the fire and police departments--yet when it came to paying them decent wages, he was the usual Republican prick (yes, this is the proper word the use). This came back to me this morning when I read in today's NYTimes that the NYC firefighters reached a tentative deal for a contract:
The Bloomberg administration and the city’s largest fire union have reached a tentative two-year contract that gives union members raises totaling 8.16 percent and increases pay for starting firefighters by nearly $10,000.
....The agreement, reached with the Uniformed Firefighters Association, which represents some 8,900 members, calls for raises of 4 percent on the first day of the contract and 4 percent on the first day of the contract’s second year.
It would also raise the base salary after five years on the job to $68,475, from the current $63,309. There would be additional longevity increases beyond that.
One of the highlights of the agreement is the increase in pay for starting firefighters to $35,000 from $25,100. That brings rookie firefighters nearly to the $36,878 they were paid before the last contract was reached in October 2005. That contract, which expired July 31, called for a reduction of nearly $12,000 as part of a package of concessions in exchange for raises.
Starting pay for a firefighter is $35,000? Damn, that seems pretty low to go out and risk your life every day. The rest of the story also reports on the on-going impasse between the city and the police union.
The latest round of negotiations between the city and the police union reached a stalemate last year after the union rejected a deal that would have increased pay for rookie police officers by about $10,000 from the current $25,100. The offer also would have raised the maximum base pay after five years of service to about $63,000 from $59,588.
And cops are getting $25,100 to get shot at? This is the urban version of the "chicken hawks"--the rah-rah politicians who love the military but never served...remember, Cheney had "other priorities" when he was called--Republicans who will drape themselves all over every police officer or firefighter when it comes to a photo-op but refuse to pay them a decent living wage.