Firefighter Union President Says Many Firefighters Remain Below Federal Poverty Hourly Pay Rate

  • Saturday, October 24, 2020
Chattanooga Fire Fighters Association President Jack Thompson said city officials plan to raise all city employees to above the federal poverty rate, but it will not apply to firefighters.
He said firefighters start out at $10.54 an hour and do not reach the hourly poverty rate until eight years.
Thompson said, "
The City of Chattanooga administrators have been publicizing for the last few months that "ALL" Chattanooga City Employees currently receive more than $12.38 per hour, which is NOT true. The Federal Poverty Rate, which the City repeatedly cites, is listed as $12.60 per hour. Their current plan is to raise all City Employees' starting salary to at least that $12.60 per hour rate... EXCEPT for the Firefighters of the Chattanooga Fire Department.
"Their justification for not raising the Fire Department's starting salary to at least the Federal Poverty Rate, is that the members of the Chattanooga Fire Department are not eligible for this increase due to our work schedule and that these calculations can not apply to us. The average City of Chattanooga Employee works a 40 hour work week for approximately 2,080 hours per year. The Chattanooga Firefighter works a set 3,120 hours per year. This amounts to Firefighters working over 1,000 hours per year more than ANY other city employee and those additional hours are NOT eligible for overtime pay. In other words, they claim that because the Chattanooga Firefighters work more hours, they should be paid less for each of those hours. The City's attempt to claim that this "simple math" is irrelevant; is utterly disingenuous.
"At this time, the starting salary for a state certified Chattanooga Firefighter is only $10.54 per hour. A Chattanooga Firefighter does not reach that $12.60 per hour mark until after eight years of employment... eight years to reach the proposed starting salary of every other city employee, which is still their acknowledged Federal Poverty Rate. These Firefighters must also be trained in hazardous materials, numerous rescue disciplines and be certified Emergency Medical Technicians.
"There are currently more than 100 Chattanooga Firefighters that are below the City's new proposed starting wage, and the City administrators have stated that there are no plans to raise them above that level. The substantially low pay rate compared to other Fire Departments in our region is resulting in an exodus of certified Firefighters and causing staffing levels at the Chattanooga Fire Department to reach dangerously low rates, both for working Firefighters on scene and the Citizens that they have sworn to serve.
"The city has yet to respond to repeated attempts to discuss this issue."
Breaking News
Inmate Who Arranged Meth Sales In East Tennessee While In Georgia Prison Gets 70 Months
  • 10/1/2023

An inmate at the Dodge State Prison in Georgia has been sentenced for setting up meth sales to individuals in East Tennessee. Jesse Odell appeared before Judge Charles Atchley at Chattanooga ... more

Agents Say Cleveland Man Tried To Swallow 65 Fentanyl Plus Marijuana During Arrest
  • 10/1/2023

A Cleveland, Tn., man has been charged with distributing large numbers of deadly fentanyl pills. Agents said he tried to swallow 65 fentanyl and some marijuana at the time he was stopped by police. ... more

Police Blotter: Someone Throws Object At Uber; Man’s Car Is Stolen When He Leaves It Running With Keys In It
  • 10/1/2023

A man told police his silver 2015 Kia Optima had been vandalized. He said he was driving north on Market Street with an Uber passenger in his vehicle. The man said as he was driving past the ... more