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Local Firefighters Are Furloughed
Even though the city needs more money, firefighters do not deserve furloughs because they do not make much money and most have to work second jobs. It is imperative to department morale that they receive adequate monetary compensation, without relying on a second job.
Firefighters do not deserve furloughs. Local firefighters are on 24-hour shifts in an A, B, and C block schedule. There were two furlough days during the year, on specified holidays. This meant whether or not the firefighter was working on that specified holiday he or she would not be paid for it.
Furloughs had a detrimental effect on morale in the department. No one wants to work and not be paid for it. The furlough also made the people in the department believe that their hard work was not appreciated, and unneeded. It is unfortunate that short lived fixes, such as layoffs and furloughs are becoming the norm and are negatively affecting morale and the quality of service (Duggan, Lewis, & Milluzzi, 2010).
Causes Strain
Firefighters often have to work two jobs. People in the emergency service industry do not join this field for money. The majority of firefighters at the City of Charleston work at the fire department full time, and work another job part-time. They work two jobs out of necessity, not from the enjoyment of working two jobs. Most people do not want to work a 24-hour shift to have to go straight to another job without the ability to go home first. The furlough is causing many of the firefighters to work more hours at their part-time jobs, which makes them more tired. Excessive tiredness causes more accidents and mistakes on the job. An example of excessive tiredness causing a mistake would be; a firefighter skims over checking the truck off because he or she is tired from the previous day’s work at his or her part-time job. The fire station goes on a call and needs a tool normally on the truck. The tool is missing from the truck and would have been noticed if the firefighter checking off the truck had not been tired.
Many of the Charleston area firefighter’s families are suffering because of the furlough. The families suffer when the bread winner is working two jobs. The firefighter is not able to spend as much time with his or her loved ones. They miss important milestones in their children’s lives and development, such as a baby’s first steps or a child’s recital. City of Charleston firefighters work a 24-hour shift. That is 24 hours away from his or her family. It is especially difficult to go straight to another job and be away from family for approximately 33 hours at a time. The effects of the furlough go deeper than just 48 hours of unpaid salary.
The most important reason firefighters do not deserve furloughs is that they do not make much money. The approximate median annual salary for a firefighter in the City of Charleston is between $30,000-34,000 (“2012 Budget Salaries,” 2012). It is very difficult, or close to impossible to raise a family on that one income. An example of this would be local firefighter Kevin Land. He works as an engineer on a ladder truck for the City of Charleston full time, and as a firefighter part-time for the Ashley River Fire Department to support his family. Beautification
The City of Charleston claims the furlough is a result of the need of money for “beautification projects” in downtown Charleston (Bryan, 2009). The City furloughed its employees to plant rose bushes and palmetto trees in the median of downtown Charleston. Although the roses are beautiful, the money would have been better spent feeding firefighter’s families. Legislatures believe that furloughs are the best way to cut spending without the loss of jobs (Shannon, 2010).
In conclusion, although the city needs more money, firefighters do not deserve furloughs for two main reasons. First, most have to work second jobs. The most important reason is, firefighters do not make much money. Charleston area residents need their local firefighters to be alert and ready for action. Furloughs have drastic effects on firefighters and their families. The city could use revenue from the one cent sales tax and tourism in lieu of furloughing emergency personnel. Firefighters work hard for their salaries and spend a large amount of time away from their families. They deserve fair compensation for their work without the threat of furloughs looming.

2012 Budget Salaries. (2012) Retrieved from http://www.charleston- Bryan, C. (2009). City of Charleston: Furloughs or Tax Increase Next Year. Retrieved from Duggan, M. J., Lewis, J. E., & Milluzzi, M. (2012, Spring). Labor Relations in Hard Times. Illinois Public Record Employee Relations Report, 27(2), 1-9. Business Source Complete
Shannon, R. (2010, Fall). Public Sector Furloughs: Player Perspectives, Strategies, & Grounds for Challenge. Illinois Public Employee Relations Report, 27(4), 1-9. Business Source

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