Pay for California state firefighters cut by 7.5%

CAL FIRE dozer and transport
Dozer and transport for the Nevada Yuba Placer Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. CAL FIRE photo, March, 2019.

Budget problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in pay cuts for many employees of the state of California.

In May, 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom said he would seek a 10 percent pay cut for state workers, but the changes in salary had to be negotiated with numerous labor unions.  The reductions could be accomplished by modifying various types of special pay, overtime, vacation time, or health insurance. By the July 1 deadline all but one of the smaller unions had agreed to the changes.

The deal worked out by the firefighters union, CAL FIRE Local 2881, was an overall 7.5% cut while receiving two flexible days off each month. That includes a 4.4% reduction in their retirement health care, resulting in a 3.1% cut in take-home pay. The changes take effect this month.

More information is at the Sacramento Bee.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

22 thoughts on “Pay for California state firefighters cut by 7.5%”

  1. If the governor would donate his salary back to the fire fighters, no cuts would be needed. He’s wealthy and doesn’t need the state’s money.

    1. Highly doubtful. The 2020 CA Governor salary is $201,680.
      Rough estimate CDF has 6,100 Permanent 2,600 Seasonal firefighters.
      If evenly distributed each CDF fire employee would get about $23
      Not even close to make up the 7.5% cut.

          1. I sometimes get hotels when I go on vacation with my friends and family. If I’m on a fire assignment I sleep on the ground.

        1. You are actually completely wrong. When you factor in the costs of a caterer, showers, port-poties, wash stations, and all the other camp compliments it is much cheaper to put crews in hotels and per diem. Another example of the evolution of the false evolution of the fire industry.

          1. Oh right on. Motels save money! How could I have been so naive? Next time my hotshot crew shows up to a state incident I’ll make sure they give us motel rooms and full per diem to save money. Hopefully they also pay us for the 24 hours we spend chilling at the motel.

          2. JD is no longer permitted to eat, drink, or poop in fire camp. He will have to wait til he gets back to the holiday inn. No exceptions.

        2. Whoa josh! You need to chill. Next I’ll bet you start saying people should only be paid for the time they work and not continuously “Portal to portal” thru their BS schedule of 24 on 24 off.

          1. My favorite DIVS quote “ok guys, you’re gonna have to bear with me for most of the day cuz I haven’t been on this piece of ground since the day before yesterday and a lot has changed.”

  2. Well THAT’s going to attract a lot of dedicated workers to consider Fire as an employment path!
    “Let’s cut off our feet and go for a walk!”

  3. Gavin also gave himself and the elected officials a 4% pay raise and in doing so makes those individuals exempt for any budget or pay cuts.

  4. RE: putting fire fighters in tents rather than in hotels, why not extend this courtesy to our California lawmakers when they are in session?

  5. I pray that some “firefighter” had to explain to a victim of the Camp Fire that there were no hotel/motel rooms available to them within a 2 hour drive because they were all taken up by all the “basasses” working a one day on, one day off schedule.

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