Bill introduced to raise the max-out limit on overtime pay for federal employees

For some senior-level fire personnel their pay stops after working a certain number of overtime hours

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Roosevelt Fire, Bridger-Teton NF, WY, Sept. 29, 2018
Roosevelt Fire, Bridger-Teton NF, WY, Sept. 29, 2018. Photo by Kari Greer.

Senator Diane Feinstein has introduced the Wildland Firefighter Pay Act, a bill that would raise the maximum limit on overtime pay for federal firefighters. The current limit affects higher level employees at the GS-12 and above level, and some GS-11s depending on if they are exempt from the provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the existing provisions if they work hundreds of hours of overtime they may reach the cap after which they earn no more money. In some cases later in the fire season employees who spent a lot of time fighting fires have been told they earned too much and were forced to pay some of it back.

The proposed legislation eliminates the existing annual and pay period limits and creates a new one that places the maximum annual pay including overtime at Level II of the Executive Schedule, which in 2020 was $197,300.

“The current overtime pay cap for these brave men and women is outdated and represents a significant hurdle in retaining our most-experienced firefighters,” Senator Feinstein said. “Lifting this cap would ensure that these first responders are fairly paid for their hard work while helping build a federal firefighting service that can meet the challenges of our ‘new normal’ when it comes to wildfires.”

The Forest Service estimates that up to 500 senior-level firefighters either stop participating or do not request pay for hours worked once they reach the pay cap. This has a significant effect on federal wildfire response capabilities.

Senator Feinstein’s press release did not mention raising the pay of the federal wildland firefighters who live paycheck to paycheck.

UPDATE Oct. 26, 2021. The Senate bill has a number now:  S.138 – Wildland Firefighter Fair Pay Act, introduced January 28,2021; no other action has been taken.  The House of Representatives version of this bill is H.R.4274 – Wildland Firefighter Fair Pay Act, introduced June 30, 2021, and has been referred to two committees.  A hearing will be held Oct. 27, 2021 before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

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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.

39 thoughts on “Bill introduced to raise the max-out limit on overtime pay for federal employees”

  1. The pay limitation concept always struck me as unprincipled, if not unethical. I support the bill; however, the title and summary description by Senator Feinstein are appalling. “The Wildland Firefighter Pay Bill,” is a misleading title. The average person or, potentially, the average congressperson could be expected to misunderstand who and what this bill claims to address. Senator Feinstein’s remarks don’t sufficiently emphasize and specify the identity of the affected group, and how tiny their proportionate numbers are to the rest of the workforce. The overall presentation is that of over-generalization. This is how Senator Feinstein describes the bills purpose and beneficiaries, “the current overtime pay cap for these brave men and women is outdated and represents a significant hurdle in retaining our most-experienced firefighters.” The summary goes on to give a raw number for the FS estimated number of affected senior-level firefighters, 500. I mean relative to what? That number just floats out there. The ignorant, with regards to the fire divisions of Federal Land Management Agencies, might think that is statistically significant. As far as retainment is concerned, I didn’t know there was a difficulty retaining our GS-12’s and up. These people are at GS levels that most career wildland firefighters will never achieve. I would think there was more of a retirement problem at that level. Therefore, despite its merit, it reads and feels like propaganda.

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  2. 1. We didn’t make the divide…..and this bill only widens it. But that divide was there long before a lot of us came up….and people crossing it dont really do much for us after.

    2. I’m not “mocking” those efforts…its absurd that it’s necessary. That a FF and their family can’t be secure if injured or worse has been a long time problem only solved with bandaids like non profits and fundraising. Those organizations are great but they can only do so much.

    And if there’s only so much yall can do…well then get out of the way…we’ll go forth and put the effort in then. Or more likely we’ll get whatever quals and experience we need on the Fed dime and jump ship to PG&E, CalFire or wherever cause we’re also tired of all the “in the background we’re trying for ya” promises that never come to fruition.

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  3. I just want to see an open letter signed by 20 Forest Supervisors asking to change our pay and classification. They can publish it and send it to Vicki Christiansen, Tom Vilsak or Joe Biden. No?

    OK how about from 50 district rangers? No?

    What about the 7 Jump base managers? No?

    Maybe 100 FMOs could all sign an open letter explaining why our employees pay and classification is unacceptable? No?

    I’m not trying to divide people here, but there is a reason we have to bring awareness anonymously, because the people who have the power to be noticed aren’t doing anything.

    Our thanks go out to Bill Gabbert, one of the few that actually cares about the Forestry Technicians and provides a forum where is lowly workers can burst a few bubbles and ruffle some overhead feathers…

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  4. Its easy to throw a lot of comments that come from frustration. As I understand it this bill was an offshoot of a comprehensive look at California shortages including Teams, crews, engines and overhead and this piece was portion of many recommendations. I was a long term, like over a decade seasonal employee with no avenues at all so I get where lower GS folks are coming from and when I got a chance to be their voice I did my part and ruffled more feathers than most, but even at a GS13 there is only so much you can do. Continue to advocate for the lower levels, quality of life and fair pay because it’s becoming an acute issue at every grade level.

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  5. True we should all be 100% behind this bill and supporting those above us making 6 figures. That way when/if the bill passes they can contribute more to our injury/fatality GoFundMe’s. This is a blessing in disguise yall.

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    1. Well, not even close to what I said. Not claiming this is a good bill or that everyone should be behind it. What I’m saying is that your anger is misdirected. Look to create allies who can help you in this campaign. Don’t alienate them. This isn’t an us vs them issue. This is an us issue. I’ll continue to argue for better pay and benefits, among a great many things.
      As to the tragic and horrible way our employees and families are treated after an accident, injury or fatality, I have worked with the WFF for years and contributed directly to those affected. Additionally, I have sat vigil, served as honor guard, spoke at memorials, drank too much at wakes, and carried bodies off the line. For you to so casually joke about those types of effort and the grief that comes with it does two things. 1-proves my larger point, that you are dividing people rather than working to provide solutions with those who can best advocate for you and, 2- shows exactly the kind of person you are. I can understand the anger and frustration but to mock efforts to help the victims of tragedy is pretty low.

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  6. I’ll add in a thought or two. I’m one of those GS fantastics, I also know where I come from and remember my 20 years of IHC time both fondly and sadly. I believe change needs to happen, and immediately. I agree with others that this legislation is tone deaf at best, and certainly insulting. I wish it was part of a comprehensive overhaul for wildland fire that dealt with pay and benefits. But it’s also only proposed legislation- nothing has happened yet. I firmly support the efforts many have made towards that goal, and continue to do so.

    With that said, a bit of reality. The GS 12s-15s don’t have the kind of pull you wish they did. They are middle men at best- unable to enact the change you (and usually they) would like to see. They can advocate for it and should. One of my biggest gripes with my counterparts is how infrequently they speak up and shout truth to power. Most are afraid of the consequences I suspect. And to head off the question about what/when I’ve said something- I mention the pay issue and argue with leadership about it almost every day. I was the guy who suggested to the BoD that we (at the GS 11-15 ranks) should take a voluntary downgrade to the next lowest grade to spread the love to those who needed it down the pay scale. (Met with shocked laughter) I have told multiple RFs that no firefighter should be less than a GS7, and that a fire series is an inevitable must. I’ve defended people on this site calling for better pay standards, from folks who tell people not to complain. I’m stating this so you’ll understand where I’m coming from- please pump the brakes on the nastiness and invective. I understand the anger, and it is justified. But it’s misdirected in this case. Don’t lump in all the GS fantastics in and insult everyone who isn’t still on the ground. You’ll only alienate and isolate from folks who can try to help. This is a massive problem and it won’t be solved by knocking anyone in the federal fire service. This is simply my best advice, not meant to be rude.
    Feel free to let me know if we can speak directly, as I genuinely want to continue to help- if you haven’t figured out who I am by now….

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  7. I am an old lady who grew up in the PNW and never was a firefighter, nor ever worked in reforestation. I salute each of you who commented to identify the gross abuse of on-the-ground firefighters (excuse me, it’s ‘forest technicians, right?).
    This “hero” crap has got to stop. People who engage wildfires are not F****** “hero’s”. They are men and women undertaking work that creates the real potential for horrible death, lifetime health concerns, and all of the known risks of our military in alien countries.
    The bottom line is that pay AND benefits must be paid from the bottom up. Every time that I consider the billions of dollars of “costs to control” damage created by wildfires, I wonder at the incredible gap between the wealth of land-owners, government budgets, and what “our heroes” take home to pay their bills, seek medical care, protect their families and children against the Dog & Pony Show that our media performs.
    Hey, all you all, take a year off, go work in a 9-5 Walmart, and let your wealthy neighbors feel the consequences. Heck yeah, the 3% can buy their own commercial fire-fighting resouces. Well, let them. Then maybe they will understant the the power of wealth against fire doesn’t stop at their property line. I am sick in my heart for the lives lost, the long-term health consequences, the desperate circumstances that drive fire-fighters to suicide.

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  8. Again the thinking isn’t they shouldn’t get the cap removed or adjusted….it’s that there should bigger priorities. The fact that they’re complaining enough that it gets action while we’re still “down here” struggling is sad and shows how much they don’t care. I’m not gonna shed a tear for a GS fantastic getting capped at $165k while I have a GS5 collecting welfare benefits and another who won’t go perm because paying into retirement, TSP, and health care is a paycut for him and his family for now while he can stay seasonal and get his kids health care from medicaid.

    And AGAIN the absurd fact that anytime a Forestry Tech gets injured or killed they gotta reach out to the Wildland Firefighter’s Foundation for help and start damn GoFundMe’s. That situation should be UNACCEPTABLE for any leader amd a priority to fix….yet here they are making six figures and complaining that is just so unfair to be capped…………………

    Tone deaf AF. We’re tired of it.

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  9. I believe they should be compensated but not before compensating those below them. The Forest Service has a money problem. Our Forest has downsized staff by 40% in the past 10 years. Most all of those cuts are below the GS7 level. Where will this hypothetical extra $60,000 come from without taking cuts else where? Historically when financial cuts are necessary they take it from the lowest. This hypothetical $60,000 could pay the annual salary of 3 ground pounders or be added to the vacation fund of someone making $200,000.
    I am not apposed to GS 13’s getting more money. I am apposed to that extra money being taken from the lower people which historically has happened.
    We need a total finance makeover, not just for the top 5%.

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  10. Just a few comments, In the fire fighting world if you take a look at the situation reports it takes roughly 3 people to support 1 field going firefighter and this does not include GACC level dispatching, caches or aviation type of support in the sit report other than the on site committed aircraft. In all the agencies combined there are roughly 35 thousand firefighters and red carded people. This bill was driven by acute shortages of support staff during California’s siege last fall. UTFs in critical areas were at a record levels and COVID had a part to play but it was a very busy year and many folks that met the bell met it multiple times. I get the concerns in the lower ranks and they are not wrong and it needs to be addressed, but if you get to the GS 13 or 14 level by doing what you are supposed to why should their value not be compensated? Now, I never had my pay docked when I was working accept when I responded to a hurricane and the FEMA rules caused it and it pissed me off royally. I currently respond as an AD after 44 years in the business and after making 18 grand I get to enjoy a 50 percent pay cut. I will respond anyway but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It is fair to say the AD system is a result of a bad funding system and probably should be invested in current employees but its not where we are so cut that out and what are the ground folks willing to sacrifice? Safe food, medical help, timely pay, decent plans, maps or communications?

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    1. A pay cut to what? Your Social Security Supplement, which is meant as a disability payment to bridge the gap between Mandatory Retirement Age and Social Security eligibility?

      I’m not kidding, if you are able to work so prolificly yet your pension, health insurance, AD work and disability payments aren’t enough for you then I don’t have any sympathy.

      Inflation and prices have skyrocketed for the younger generation and real wages are much lower than they were for the older workers 20 years ago.

      And as you all watched it happen no one said anything or cared. I guess you already bought your houses and enjoyed your Transfer of Station pay, while it’s nothing but cuts for the younger folks.

      I’m so sorry your disability supplement gets cut after you earn over $18k in retirement at rates more than double our rates, while enjoying the same benefits.

      Instead of suggesting these people move into executive service where they wouldn’t be affected, or creating a pay scale that works for all Wildland Firefighters, the older folks suggest a small change that only beneilfits the highest income employees.

      Either offer help for all or get a life.

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  11. Smokejumper bro, I am hoping with this new legislation and them making a position of someone in control in DC (https://wildfiretoday.com/2021/01/16/president-creates-interagency-wildland-fire-subcabinet) that is for fire advocacy is hopefully our answer of them making NEW PD’s and a new pay scale. I can’s complain too much as for myself because I look at a lot of long term financial concerns and don’t blow my money every winter, plus being employed year round helps a ton as well. I tell seasonals and other just starting, the way the system is now is that we don’t get paid well up front, but if you invest in your TSP and do enough years your retirement will be very relaxing with little financial problems, plus if you do it right you’d be able to double dip for numerous years before meeting Social Security age. Also, don’t forget about the firefighter retirement that bridges the gap between your retirement date and social security, ask some retirees….it helps.

    Now Cookie Monster, you have a point that those GS-12’s have earned it and if I was in that position I would feel the same way, but knowing where my “roots” (GS-3, head down and dig) came from I would be advocating a lot more for the lower GS levels. I am glad you finally backed some of the firefighters in this forum, as you didn’t at first. If you haven’t walked the walk, don’t talk the talk man. Yes, this is a big issue, will it be solved, doubt it!!

    Portal to portal you want…..move to CalFire!!!
    To get this system to work, finally we have a fire individual in DC, this MAY help!!
    To better provide for us at incidents, provide better for us when we get home. It’s a dirty hard job!!

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    1. Well WFM All Day,

      I’ll be going to DC soon if things work out and we’ll be putting a bill together.

      Honestly, I’m not overly hopeful these days. It’s going to take some real solidarity from Forestry Techs. And I’m not kidding when I say we need to look at ALL avenues, including withholding services. What services? There are many.

      And as far as GS12s earning it, yeah sure. Well hotshots earned it too. Same with Jumpers. I’ve backboarded quite a few people off the line, and they weren’t GS12s.

      And who cares if they earned it or not when the think that “earning it” means they get to kick out the ladder behind them, and look down at their employees?

      We are over it and it’s to.e to decide if they want Wildland Firefighters or not. If so, pay us what others earn, equal pay for equal work.

      If they don’t want us, OK then.

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  12. Well Cookie Monster to accurately answer your question of “How would you feel if your OT was cut 75% the way through fire season.” we’d have to be paid 6 figures before we could see exactly how it “feels” for yall. Or at least not have to work “only” 1000hrs of OT to clear $60k or work.

    They can “understand” our anger and frustration until the cows come home…but until “they” actually do something about it it its just lip service.

    But its not “F them” its more incredulity Our frustration is not driven by greed.We just want to be paid more equitably for our work and efforts…we want to take care of our families. So when a FF gets injured or dies on the line we all have to start an effing GoFundme to help their family…this complaining on the pay cap comes across as tone deaf. Or at the very least lazy since this would only take a “simple admin change”. While getting the ditch diggers anything is what…..”too hard”?

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    1. I get it. Lots of broken with the system. I am not even primary fire so I don’t have the time and skin in the game. So this is a conversation that I don’t have the street cred to get buy in when we are all sitting around a table.

      Logistically all the things ground pounding fire folks is asking for is complex at an agency level. I think it should be done and done now and the excuses for not are poor leadership and destructive to people’s lives. Stopping a cap on earnings for hours that those folk work is a change in a the Yellow Book and one simple definition. And at some point those GS fantastics were you. They got the years and the quals and made the sacrifices to make GS-12. On my Forest we can’t get a big pool of applicants for those jobs, it’s weird. I am GS fantastic because I spend three years and 30 grand in graduate school working 90 hour weeks with no off season and made choices to move around and take jobs in less desirable places. Are there bad GS fantastics who somehow got there despite themselves, absolutely. Like there are bad ground pounders.

      It’s unfortunate that this conversation goes to accusations of who we are as people and our actions.

      The more and more I age the more and more I think about how success is built on relationships, I used to and maybe still am the dude that speaks up and curses at meetings and “calls” folks out. It hasn’t worked out well for me as overhead just stops listening.

      Right now we just gotta work together and gets whatever wins we can. I’ll continue to sign 16’s whenever I get the chance, let people lay low when appropriate, and buy snacks and treats for my folks out of my pocket. It’s sucks and wrong but we’ll continue to flank the system until we can change it. It’s the system we got to work with as we work to change it.

      I appreciate the discussion, it helps me to learn and better advocate for my people.

      What are the steps to get portal to portal or raise Forestry Technician pay across the board? How do we get the Worker’s Comp system to actually work? What are things at incidents and camps to better provide for the Forestry Technicians? The food is definitely bad and unhealthy?

      I wish I had more answers and more power to implement change.

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      1. Get a hold of Dianne Feinstein and let her know that there is a problem. Solving it involves pay and classification of primary fire “forestry Technicians.”

        Maybe you can answer this, but why does USDA not allow student loan repayment even though on paper they are able to grant $10k per employee per year to pay off federal student loans?

        Maybe offer that to your guys.

        Thanks for responding. Maybe you can get in touch with Dianne Feinstein and let her know what the bigger issues are for the workforce?

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      2. “And at some point those GS fantastics were you. They got the years and the quals and made the sacrifices to make GS-12. On my Forest we can’t get a big pool of applicants for those jobs, it’s weird.“

        Most of the those people forgot what it was like to be us somewhere around GS-10. I’m a 13-13 GS-6 with a good relationship with my bosses all the way up to our district ranger, but every time I bring something up regarding the working conditions or work-life balance of my crew, I’m pretty much told that we just need to suck it up. They all admit that fire season is longer and harder than it used to be, but don’t seem to connect the dots of how that might affect us.

        It’s not weird that the pool of applicants at that level isn’t bigger; people at the lower levels are getting burned out and leaving before they get there. On my forest the majority of crew and engine captains that I’ve met have left in the last few years or are actively looking for jobs outside of the government or in structure departments. Most of the GS-6 and 7s I’ve met have left or are looking for work elsewhere, mostly looking for structure jobs that pay almost twice as much for easier work. Hell, the pool of applicants for GS-6 positions leaves a lot to be desired, but most people are over it after a few years, and I completely understand why.

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        1. Our Air Center Manager sent a GS7 forklift driver position announcement over to our base manager. “He scoffed and said why would any of us want that?!?”

          I raised my and and reminded him I am a Smokejumper / EMT / IC4 / Crew Boss and I’m a GS-6…

          It’s a broken system

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          1. With fire fighter retirement, probably a 13/13 maybe 18/8, with tons of opportunity to make OT and H. Not to mention tons of job openings all around the country that you qualify for that would get you a GS 8 within 2 to three years! I have one of those open right now. That gs 7 fork lift driver position has none of that potential. Yep….. take the fork lift driver job if you want to. I think I’d pass if I were in your shoes!

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  13. I agree with Smokejumper Bro.
    The budget is finite. They will pay the top before they pay the bottom. They will cut the jobs of gs3-gs6 in order to pay the g 13’s if they have to. This extra money has to come from somewhere.
    Sorry 13&13, you can’t work this off season because we need to the GS 13’s to make $200,000 instead of $160,000, good luck with trying to get a mortgage. See you back here in 6 months. Oh and you can’t get another job with the forest service.

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  14. I understand the frustration and the angry in the comments. There are other more important issues with getting boots on the ground paid more.

    But a single admin change that is easy will get your Type I IC’s and Forest FMO’s and other folks payed when they work. At a GS11 and “only” getting in 500 or 600 hours of OT a year it doesn’t hit me but if I work 1100 hours of OT I don’t get payed except base. How would you feel if your OT was cut 75% the way through fire season. On non fire suppression I am cut off after 70 hours of OT in a pay period including the implementation of emergency treatments due to a two week pay cap per the Yellow Book.

    The same attitude of F them the GS fantastics they make enough is applied to boots on the ground, “it’s just a seasonal job, they get paid in sunsets, they like the job so they are fine sleeping in the dirt.” Don’t use the same logic.

    We’re one team, it’s a win for everyone.

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    1. But literally, it’s a win if you are at $165k… You are probably the same person holding up redcards and quals, not giving R&R for your IA crews even though they’ve worked 20 days straight on district, calling them lazy when they don’t want to work shoulder seasons after 1000 hours of OT.

      Sorry I don’t feel like we are “one team” when management is making over $165k and taking up legislative time, while in their other hand they are not advocating for their employees and even actively trying to harm their employees by cutting hours on fires, not paying for lunch breaks, etc… while cooperators on the same incident are portal to portal at double the wages.

      So maybe if you’ve made $165k and can’t earn more OT, take a break, approve someone else’s redcard, and help the workforce.

      So please explain how it’s a win for the typical worker

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    2. Good points regarding working because we want to. Sunsets are lovely. Sleeping in the dirt increases immunity.
      I do-however – disagree with the “my job my choice attitude” some seem to be conveying regarding those of us “The great unwashed” below the GS-9 tier.
      It is just another stab at class warfare to not support the upper eschelon receiving fair pay and a non punitive approach to compensation for “over maxed” hours. A compromise is most definitely available.
      How about the boots on the ground who are compelled to often support pointless (unachievable) end state decisions, dangerous engagements, half baked strategic and tactical plans, piss poor engagement decisions, etc. not be punished by some elitist admin. drone who wants to cut corners by not allowing full 16 hour paid shifts?
      If the upper level folks can justifiably whine about capped hours then we have the right to be livid about being held in spike or base camp. Always fit for duty -in case the need arises to pull us back to duty if things go south, this is called “Stand By” and it lasts during every hour we are not on the line or demobed. One may say it’s technically not stand-by time because it doesn’t follow delicately crafted guidelines, but that would be incorrect.
      I personally don’t care what you or any other upper management employee is making , but if you want to make a move toward a fair and equitable change, stop penalizing those of us who will do whatever it takes, whenever it’s needed, for as long as necessary to meet the objectives.
      You say “There are more important issues to getting boots on the ground paid more”? Such as… Sounds a bit on the arrogant condescending side to attempt to justify more pay for some but deny readily available funds absorbed by the incident for “the boots on the ground”.
      Have you ever been instructed by DIVS that your CTRs’ had to stay within the operational shift times ? The very times denoted on the IAP but the actual shift started at least 1 hour prior to and your hike out began at the end of the IAP operational period (putting you back at spike or base camp 2 hours past the end of the operational period) ? Happens all the time. Do the math and maybe you’ll see why so many posts are not as supportive as you might hope.
      The ones who jack us out of a few hours a day in order to meet vanity based financial optics should cease this type of demoralising punishment. At which point one might just gain a little support from those who put it all on the line for a few nice sunsets and some well deserved cash.
      After all, aren’t we all one team?

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  15. What about ADs. When they work fires and have too many hours there social security is negatively impacted by the Social Security Cap. They lose a dollar for every two dollars earned. This disincentive is a big problem. Many incident management teams are impacted, and lose important skilled responders, who have a wealth of tacit knowledge. Our elected officials need to be made well aware of these issues. I intend to contact mine.

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  16. Yet another way to boost the “overhead” benefits. They did this with TOS a couple years ago, to where only GS-9 and above could get it. What’s next, this new fire executive branch will make the top 5% earn even more and not give the boots on the ground the pay we deserve when risking our lives.

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    1. Your statement about TOS is false – there was no limit to only GS-9 and above, but it doesn’t matter anymore since TOS went away for everyone on 1/1/21.

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      1. Really?? Huh, yeah I thought it was a deal like 2 years ago. Thanks for the correct information. Also, I meant with the new administration moving in, the pay increases would occur on top and not throughout the pay scale.

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  17. I cant believe this is something she needs to spend her time and energy working on. Its not the worst cause but lump it into a bill make forestry techs compensated better than fast food workers. I rarely potty a GS 12..

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  18. Right! I wish I had the “problem” of my pay being capped at $165k.

    I’m just imagining these people complaining about a pay cap while turning down some purchase request for new fire shelters, an OT authorization for a single digit GS who just trying to get work done, and figuring out how to screw a crew out of boot stipends.

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  19. The Forest service employs around 10,000 wildland “firefighters”. This would benefit the top 5%. Why not give all firefighters (sorry, forestry technicians) a livable wage before boosting the top 5%s pay? Many new fire fighters risk their lives for less than local minimum wage (federal employers don’t abide by local minimum wages.

    6th year wildland firefighter making $14.95 an hour.

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    1. It’s like they can’t comprehend that there are people so far below them. Wealth inequality for the country so they’ll do the same in the forest service. The GS scale hasn’t been updated for decades so GS 3-11 are all under $30/hour but then gs12 is a $7/hour bump? Same for GS13 on up. Big bumps for me little bumps for thee

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      1. One problem is those who would benefit from this….are the only voices that have access to and get heard by those in the executive levels i.e. Director of BLM, Chief of FS, Secretary of Interior or Ag., Senators, Congress etc….

        Anytime there’s a site visit we’re shuffled out of site or told to be seen not heard and to “behave”…..its always a veiled threat to get marginalized or worse fired if we did say something.

        It wouldn’t surprise me that Sen. Feinstein believes those jumping out of planes, digging line, or dragging hose on the line are getting paid on the double digit GS scale and that this bill would help……

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  20. The Forest service employs around 10,000 wildland “firefighters”. This would benefit the top 5%. Why not give all firefighters (sorry, forestry technicians) a livable wage before boosting the top 5%s pay? Many new fire fighters risk their lives for less than local minimum wage (federal employers don’t abide by local minimum wages.

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  21. Cries in GS-6 Smokejumper. Haven’t brought home over $25k in any of the past 14 fire seasons. Thanks Dianne!!!

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    1. Right! I wish I had the “problem” of my pay being capped at $165k.

      I’m just imagining these people complaining about a pay cap while turning down some purchase request for new fire shelters, an OT authorization for a single digit GS who just trying to get work done, and figuring out how to screw a crew out of boot stipends.

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    2. Yep. GS5 13/13 here. And overhead has the audacity to get pissy when good guys and girls leave for 40 hr a week jobs that pay good money. They don’t care about us.

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