Pay wildfire employees a fair wage
Wildland firefighters are exhausted and leaving the federal fire service in droves.
The only raises we’ve seen in recent years are 1% pay increases that haven’t kept up with inflation. We were promised 50% pay increases starting Oct 1, 2021, by the Infrastructure Bill and we have yet to see a dime.
Most of us need to earn over 600 hours of overtime each summer just to pay the bills. We work 14 days followed by two days off all summer long, working later into the fall each year.
According to public records, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Interior have more employees earning over $100,000 than the majority of federal agencies.
They also have some of the lowest average annual salaries of all federal employees.
We have fat cats and grunts — not much in between. The USDA has an average annual salary of about $70,000. This number is still twice the amount of a forestry technician (wildland firefighter) base salary.
Your hardworking wildland firefighters are some of the lowest paid employees in the federal service. They are working for agencies that pay their many administrators six-figure incomes.
Last fire season, we protected the community from the Red Apple Fire, Rooster Comb Fire, Batterman Fire, Schneider Springs Fire, and 25 Mile Fire, among others.
Tim’s Act (HR 5631), in honor of smokejumper Tim Hart who perished in the line of duty last summer, would provide fair pay ($20/hr starting wage), increased mental health benefits, and retirement buy-back options.
Paying for Tim’s Act will take money.
Your hardest working and lowest paid federal employees are vastly outnumbered by six-figure earning fat cats. We can afford to compensate our firefighters fairly.
Do you value the boots on the ground who protect your homes and lives? Then pay them fairly for the sacrifices they make.
Please let your elected officials (Reps. Dan Newhouse and Kim Schrier) know that you support wildland firefighters. Our nation can afford to pay wildland firefighters fairly — it’s a matter of putting your money towards causes that you value.
Homeless in Wenatchee
Today marked the first memorial done for those who lost their lives to the streets and beyond.
I wasn’t expecting that many people to attend. But during and after the memorial, I looked at the people and I was surprised and thankful at the same time.
I was honored to be a part of it and looked up and felt some type of relief in their faces! The memorial brought us all together.
For the people in Wenatchee, that was the first of many to come at the Wenatchee Rescue Mission. We are all at one point or another feel the sense of loss in our lives.
Special thanks to Scott and The Wenatchee Rescue Mission and staff for the Memorial.
Deaths of the innocents
A recent Safety Valve letter about the attempt by our Supreme Court and many state governments to terminate all abortion rights ended with a question to the readers: “How can you vote for someone who is in favor of killing babies?”
My question in return is, “How can you vote for lawmakers who stonewall any laws that are related to helping reduce the epidemic of gun violence?”
We are now looking at almost a mass shooting every day, right here in our own United States of America, from grocery stores, to subways, to places of worship, to schools, and other locations too numerous to list.
Motivations for these acts of violence are not all the same, but more than a few have been traced back to white supremacist conspiracy theories, but that would need another Safety Valve letter of its own.
What I see is a need for all of us to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Do I have a consistent ethic regarding the value and dignity of all human life? Does it cover life ‘from the womb to the tomb?’ ”
To me, that means not only reasonably protecting the unborn (with the need for certain exceptions that do allow abortions), but it also means protection of innocent lives that are increasingly being destroyed by unbridled gun violence.
For me, these are not political issues. They are issues of balancing our freedoms of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” with what is best for protecting the dignity of all human life, and what that means is getting legislation passed that will stem the tide of uncontrolled gun violence without further delay! We should not all have to live in fear of where the next mass shooting will occur.
Protect your rights and save innocent lives
I do not own a gun. I support your right to own and use guns responsibly. What I do not support is Congress, the NRA and all responsible gun owners who cannot see the need for a solution to the daily murdering of innocent children, teachers, the elderly, persons of faith and every day shoppers by persons who should never have been able to buy or possess a gun.
Isn’t it time for responsible, law-abiding gun owners to come together to protect their right to gun ownership by pressuring the NRA and their local, state and federal elected officials to enact effective measures to keep guns out of the hands of potential mass murderers before more tragedies occur forcing laws to be made that ultimately affect your Second Amendment rights?
C’mon folks; you’re smart, loyal Americans and it’s time for you to protect your rights while saving hundreds of innocent lives each year