Friday, June 25, 2010

Letter writing campaign for Birmingham Firefighters opposing the proposed pay cut

Some important key points to take into consideration when writing your letters is below. Some of it is technical but I want you to be educated and informed before writing your letters. This is information gathered by the Local Union representative for the City of Birmingham Firefighters. I ask that you pray about these letters and please be respectful in your letters. We simply want to point out to these individuals that you are not dealing with a typical employee who works a 9 to 5 job and that is all the city’s leadership has ever dealt with. We need to educate them and direct them in the way that they should go, not berate them. I want to quote something from a book I am reading about the foundation of America. “Corrupt personal and business practices which once would have erupted into major scandals, today seem scarcely scandalous. But where once we would have been up in arms, speaking out, writing letters, and voting, now we just shake our heads and counted it as another sign of the times.” We have a voice! Please use yours, whether it be for this issue or another wrongful deed.

I have read where people are telling firefighters to quit complaining since they chose the profession. All I have to say to that is, aren’t we glad we have men willing to put their lives on the line for us everyday.

“In the meeting Mayor Bell said that Judge Smith had instructed the City to do certain things as it pertains to JCPB, one of which was to fix our (fire fighters) pay. Anyhow, the Mayor said he must "fix" our salary, but did not have to go to court until September, and would not adjust our salary until then. The formula so to speak for what they are using is the Birmingham Public Safety "Fire Fighter" schedule that is on the JCPB web site. They are taking the hourly rate and multiplying it by 2600 hours (108 shifts) to get your salary. All they have done in reality is to take the grade 17 annual salaries divided by 2600 hours, and made that our hourly rate. A police officer would have a higher hourly rate because of working 2080 hours a year. This would put us in line with police officers annually. It is apparent that the Council will act tomorrow and it may have 3 furlough days in it. That is 3 - 8 hour days, not 3 - 24 hour shifts. Just some quick figuring while at the Budget session is that a FF will stand to lose approximately 11% from what they are currently making. But that is before these other pay cuts instituted by the Mayor come into effect (which could mean up to a 28% pay cut.)”

“This fight over our pay has been a very tricky one. No other fire department I have been able to find pays their fire fighters by the hour. We are asking to be paid for every hour we work, using the portion of FLSA that is on our side to secure our pension monies that have been wrongfully withheld, and fighting to keep from getting such a large pay cut across the board.”

Here are the addresses you need for your letter writing and I would ask that you write each one of the following individuals. You can always make one letter and simply change the addresses and names before sending.

Mayor William Bell
City Hall
710 North 20th Street
Birmingham, AL 35203
fax 254-2926

C. Lynwood Smith, Jr.
United State District Court
Northern District of Alabama
Hugo Black United States Courthouse
1729 5th Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
b'ham 716-2962

Alabama GovernorBob Riley (R)
State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130

Alabama SenatorsJeff Sessions (R)
335 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Richard Shelby (R)
110 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Alabama Representatives
Spencer Bachus (R)
1900 International Park Dr.
Suite 107
Birmingham, AL 35243

Artur Davis (D)
2 20th Street North
Suite #1130
Birmingham, AL 35203

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