Fayetteville, NC Local 1873 is fighting for equal pay and respect after years of empty promises made by the City Council to make salaries commensurate to other safety departments in the city. At a recent City Council budget meeting, where a new plan for pay step increases was debated, fire fighters were publicly belittled by a council member who said they didn’t deserve a pay raise because of their work schedule. Listen to the remarks here.

Once these outlandish comments became widely known to the public, Fayetteville’s mayor, city manager and council member all apologized separately.

The Fayetteville local says while the city’s proposed step plan for the fire department is a good first step to help the newer, younger members of the department and junior officers, it does not directly address the problems with compression in the upper ranks.

“Each and every one of us love what we do, otherwise we wouldn’t do it. None of us got into this profession to get rich. But when you have the starting salary for a fire fighter at Ft. Bragg equal to that of a captain here, after 10 years of service and two promotional exams under their belt, it’s no wonder we have experienced personnel leaving to go to work elsewhere,” said Frank Kocsis, president of the Fayetteville Local 1873, in a letter addressed to Fayetteville Council members. “No, we don’t have a recruiting problem. We get hundreds of people testing each year to try and get hired here. But we do have a retention problem, and a large part of it is because of the pay.”