MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The Mobile Fire Fighter Association is turning to Go Fund Me as they try to raise money to fight for what they say they deserve.
“It’s important for us to be able to offer a competitive career path where we can retain quality employees,” said Bill Erickson, President of the Mobile Fire Fighters Association.
The Mobile Firefighters union says that effort is being hurt by a shift incentive city leaders are offering Mobile Police, but not Mobile Fire. Erickson says they have now hired a lawyer.
“We’re also retaining legal counsel to look into potential conflicts with the personnel act that has a parity clause where we’re supposed to be maintaining the same compensation as the Mobile Police Department,” he said.
The union hopes the Go Fund Me raises $40,000. So far, they are more than 10% of the way there in just 3 days. Some of the money will be used to pay the legal team, but portions will be used to educate the public on what they say is staffing issues in the department and how it affects response.
“We’ve seen improvements in our staffing in recent years, but with changes in job market and our current compensation we literally aren’t able to get enough applicants to fill a class right now,” Erickson said.
The Mobile Fire Fighter Association says all of this is about making sure they have adequate staffing and have a competitive applicant pool to make sure open positions are filled.
“We’re here to help, we don’t want to be asking for help, but if we’re going to be able to do our job to the best of our abilities and protect the community the way they deserve then we need community support right now,” Erickson said.
We reached out to Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office on Wednesday for an interview about the union’s concerns and the Go Fund Me. He was not able to talk with us, but Wednesday afternoon we were sent a statement:
“I believe every City of Mobile employee deserves competitive wages, and our administration has been working toward that goal since I took office in 2013. Since then, there have been six citywide pay raises plus additional longevity and pay adjustments for our first responders specifically. Because of the rising cost of living and to address labor shortages, our administration recently approved a 2.5 percent Cost of Living Adjustment for all City of Mobile employees. We will also soon be engaging a third-party consultant to conduct a comprehensive pay analysis to determine how compensation for City of Mobile employees compares to compensation received by municipal employees in our region and in other similarly sized cities in the United States. In addition to that, we are also proposing a minimum of a 2.5 percent merit raise in next year’s budget, which would be the City’s first merit increase in 15 years.”
We also reached out to Mobile Fire with some questions, but did not hear back on Wednesday.
The Go Fund Me can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/get-fired-up-mobile?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_npc4+get-fired-up-mobile
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