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Firefighters making 90k, DB pension, and 4 day weekends

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  • Mar 4th, 2018 10:37 am
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Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
1877 posts
1025 upvotes
clseea wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 2:44 am
Ok, so you're not using any established compensable factors or formula then? It should simply be whatever an "average" job pays? That doesn't seem like a very well thought out compensation plan
I set forth how an employer of firefighters (or any profession for that matter) should set their compensation offers, by assessing the difficulty of recruitment and retention. And adjusting accordingly.

In the case of firefighters, there are literally so many qualified applicants that the process cannot possibly be based on truly objective criteria. Hence, it is clear, at least in that instance, that compensation needs to fall substantially.

Yes, nobody disagrees that firefighters provide a valuable and sometimes very dangerous service to the public. But to suspend the very basic principles of the labour market for a specific profession is fundamentally unfair to both the public taxpayers and to those in the firefighting profession itself, particularly new entrants.
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2007
2049 posts
594 upvotes
burnt69 wrote:
Feb 9th, 2018 11:49 pm
Compensation for firefighters or any public servant or employee of a private corporation with a fiduciary duty to shareholders should be set at level at which the number of qualified applicants for the positions is only slightly above the number of available positions.

Of course, if it is known that there are a lot of near-term retirements or expansion requirements, for example, the salaries would need to be a bit higher, to stimulate more demand. Likewise, if demand is disappearing, salaries could be lower to achieve a workforce reduction through attrition.

A firefighter, a police officer, etc., traditionally has been an 'average' sort of job, so I don't see why a reasonable salary isn't similar to that of an 'average' salary of a Canadian. Roughly $51,000/year if you want to put a number on it.
Explain to me how is a police officer/fire fighter is an "average" sort of job and is comparable to the average 9 to 5 office worker.

Is the average worker sworn to protect the public?
Is the average worker expected to put themselves in dangerous situations AND defuse it?
Is the average worker expected to walk INTO a flaming building and put out the fire?
Is the average worker expected to carry out arrest warrants on an armed suspects?
Is the average worker expected to respond to armed robberies and hold hours long negotiations with armed suspects?
Is the average worker expected to help locate any missing persons?
Does the average worker risk getting hit by speeding trucks/cars while performing their job behind a cubicle?
Does the average worker carry 20 to 40 pounds of equipment on them during their shift?

Find me an average paper pusher who are expected to do one or more of the above....
Sr. Member
Apr 14, 2017
810 posts
376 upvotes
DT Calgary
malecoke wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 1:36 pm
Explain to me how is a police officer/fire fighter is an "average" sort of job and is comparable to the average 9 to 5 office worker.

Is the average worker sworn to protect the public?
Is the average worker expected to put themselves in dangerous situations AND defuse it?
Is the average worker expected to walk INTO a flaming building and put out the fire?
Is the average worker expected to carry out arrest warrants on an armed suspects?
Is the average worker expected to respond to armed robberies and hold hours long negotiations with armed suspects?
Is the average worker expected to help locate any missing persons?
Does the average worker risk getting hit by speeding trucks/cars while performing their job behind a cubicle?
Does the average worker carry 20 to 40 pounds of equipment on them during their shift?

Find me an average paper pusher who are expected to do one or more of the above....
Jeez, talk about dramatic. You watch too many movies. In the past 15 years in Toronto, 2 cops have died in the line of duty. How many construction workers do you think have died in the last 15 years in Toronto? Can't imagine many firefighters are running into burning buildings in today's world or there's many "hour long negotiations with armed robbers", but I'm sure you know that.

The reason they get paid this salary/wage is because of unions, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that - you're allowed to say that. I assume a lot the people down voting are public sector employees and this strikes a little too close to home. It's just that if this were the private sector and/or there weren't unions (public or private), the salaries wouldn't be this high.
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2007
2049 posts
594 upvotes
FreshCo wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 1:47 pm
Jeez, talk about dramatic. You watch too many movies. In the past 15 years in Toronto, 2 cops have died in the line of duty. How many construction workers do you think have died in the last 15 years in Toronto? Can't imagine many firefighters are running into burning buildings in today's world or there's many "hour long negotiations with armed robbers", but I'm sure you know that.

The reason they get paid this salary/wage is because of unions, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that - you're allowed to say that. I assume a lot the people down voting are public sector employees and this strikes a little too close to home. It's just that if this were the private sector and/or there weren't unions (public or private), the salaries wouldn't be this high.
Just because only 2 Officers have died in the line of duty does not mean it is not an inherently dangerous occupation. Risk is not only measured by how many Officers have died but a variety of other factors, (ie the violence one may encounter, the substances at a crime scene, your "office" environment etc etc), all these the average office worker will NOT encounter on a REGULAR basis. A lot of dangerous scenarios will not make it on the news because either it's not a sensational story that attract views or because the Officers did not make a mistake and media cant make a big stink about it. There's a reason why life insurance is more expensive when you tell them you are a emergency response personnel.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/cr ... -1.4453110
http://blackburnnews.com/windsor/windso ... b-hwy-401/

Explain to me how the regular office worker is exposed to the same risks as the above Officers are REGULARLY encountering.
Sr. Member
Apr 14, 2017
810 posts
376 upvotes
DT Calgary
malecoke wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 2:12 pm
Just because only 2 Officers have died in the line of duty does not mean it is not an inherently dangerous occupation. Risk is not only measured by how many Officers have died but a variety of other factors, (ie the violence one may encounter, the substances at a crime scene, your "office" environment etc etc), all these the average office worker will NOT encounter on a REGULAR basis. A lot of dangerous scenarios will not make it on the news because either it's not a sensational story that attract views or because the Officers did not make a mistake and media cant make a big stink about it. There's a reason why life insurance is more expensive when you tell them you are a emergency response personnel.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/cr ... -1.4453110
http://blackburnnews.com/windsor/windso ... b-hwy-401/

Explain to me how the regular office worker is exposed to the same risks as the above Officers are REGULARLY encountering.
Whats with these straw-man arguments? A cop car getting in an accident, oh the horror. My colleague got into a severe car accident on the way to a meeting last year, it happens.

And no, comparing a cop to an office worker is comical. If you want a fair comparison in terms of 'risky' jobs, compare it to being a construction worker, bus driver, truck driver, conductor, welder, millright, miner, etc - the list goes on.

I'm not saying its not risky, but is it really riskier than those above mentioned jobs? What are we even arguing? I have nothing against police/fire fighters, but the reason they get such benefits/salary is because of unions. How can you possibly deny that?
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2007
2049 posts
594 upvotes
FreshCo wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 2:19 pm
And no, comparing a cop to an office worker is comical. If you want a fair comparison in terms of 'risky' jobs, compare it to being a construction worker, bus driver, truck driver, conductor, welder, millright, miner, etc - the list goes on.
Notice all of the risky jobs you mentioned are getting above average money compared to a regular job? There's a reason why.

And frankly it wasn't you who compared Emergency Responders to an "average" job...it was burnt69....so I'm glad we agree that comparison is comical at best
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
1877 posts
1025 upvotes
malecoke wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 1:36 pm
Explain to me how is a police officer/fire fighter is an "average" sort of job and is comparable to the average 9 to 5 office worker.
Every job has its unique set of hazards, occupational risks, stability of employment, etc. Firefighters, police, etc., have minimal risk of layoffs during economic downturns. 9-5 office workers are routinely cleaned out, as tens of thousands of workers in Calgary can attest to these days with all the empty office buildings downtown. Anyone who makes the career decision to pursue a career in the 'emergency services' certainly should realize that they will encounter many very dangerous, ugly, sad, emotional, and difficult situations in their time on the job. Its not like anyone trains to be a police officer or a firefighter without knowing that on the first day on the job they could be in a gunfight, or running into the twin towers.

Why not pay firefighters $500k/year? $1M/year? $10M/year? It sounds fanciful, but in the case I cited earlier, you have nearly 10X as many people qualified as you have jobs. So there are people prepared to take the risks involved with a job at the price offered. As the price of the job is lowered, perhaps not as many will find it worthwhile and will pursue other lines of work.

Also, firefighters, police officers, etc., are paid through the extraction of value from citizens under threat of the use of force (actual use of force if you don't pay your taxes!). Many citizens, because of an over-allocation of resources to firefighters, police officers, etc., are forced to do with less. Its only morally right to use solid labour market principles to determine compensation of public servants, no matter how risky their job is, or how much sympathy we have for them.
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2013
2313 posts
607 upvotes
Woodbridge
burnt69 wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 2:30 pm
It sounds fanciful, but in the case I cited earlier, you have nearly 10X as many people qualified as you have jobs.
I don't understand this point of view. You state that firefighters need to be of above-average physical condition and have a high school diploma. If that's all that qualifies someone for the job, wouldn't you be able to pay firefighters minimum wage and still have more qualified people than available positions?
Sr. Member
Apr 14, 2017
810 posts
376 upvotes
DT Calgary
jvnanu wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 2:52 pm
I don't understand this point of view. You state that firefighters need to be of above-average physical condition and have a high school diploma. If that's all that qualifies someone for the job, wouldn't you be able to pay firefighters minimum wage and still have more qualified people than available positions?
Not with the current collective bargaining agreement with their union, no. Do people really not get this fact? Odd.
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
187 upvotes
Mars.
FreshCo wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 1:47 pm
Jeez, talk about dramatic. You watch too many movies. In the past 15 years in Toronto, 2 cops have died in the line of duty. How many construction workers do you think have died in the last 15 years in Toronto? Can't imagine many firefighters are running into burning buildings in today's world or there's many "hour long negotiations with armed robbers", but I'm sure you know that.

The reason they get paid this salary/wage is because of unions, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that - you're allowed to say that. I assume a lot the people down voting are public sector employees and this strikes a little too close to home. It's just that if this were the private sector and/or there weren't unions (public or private), the salaries wouldn't be this high.
No need to feed the troll. The person in question is probably a cop/fire fighter himself who believes in his entitlement.
Don't be a cooch.
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2013
2313 posts
607 upvotes
Woodbridge
FreshCo wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 3:01 pm
Not with the current collective bargaining agreement with their union, no. Do people really not get this fact? Odd.
Well this entire discussion is hypothetical anyway. I'm trying to understand his pov.
Newbie
Jan 17, 2018
12 posts
5 upvotes
So many haters, being a firefighter is a high stress job if you are doing it solely for the money/benefits. I would recommend only going into it if you have a passion for it.
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
1877 posts
1025 upvotes
jvnanu wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 2:52 pm
I don't understand this point of view. You state that firefighters need to be of above-average physical condition and have a high school diploma. If that's all that qualifies someone for the job, wouldn't you be able to pay firefighters minimum wage and still have more qualified people than available positions?
I gave a link earlier in which 600+ people applied to become firefighters, ~300 were found to be 'qualified' per their own criteria (whether the criteria is too strict or not can be a topic of debate), but at the end of the day, only 32 or so were hired.

So there is obviously a large excess of qualified individuals ('qualified' per their standards) relative to available positions.

Hundreds of (primarily) young men who wanted to pursue firefighting who were otherwise deemed to be qualified were denied even the opportunity for an interview. A very unfair situation, given that everyone who applies for a firefighter job, at the outset, is prepared to take, and is comfortable with the risks of being a firefighter, and is willing to accept the wage proposition as offered.

BTW, many fire departments are actually volunteer. Occasionally they have recruiting pressures and governments have to look at ways to increase their compensation above $0 through generous training per diems, call-out per diems, etc. In some smaller communities, such as one in BC I'm familiar with, the 'fire department' basically is a group of guys who use the firehall as a sort of clubhouse, drink together, build things together for the community, a sort of social and community service club. Much like the Kinsmen, Shriners, Kiwanaas, the Eagles, Stonemasons, etc.
Deal Addict
Sep 4, 2007
1232 posts
703 upvotes
Edmonton
burnt69 wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 2:30 pm
you have nearly 10X as many people qualified as you have jobs.
There are 100x as many people qualified for big 4 consulting or accounting jobs. So many new grads with fancy degrees, excellent extra curriculars, designations and letters up the yin yang, and quality internship experience. There are more right now than there ever have been, every year more and more. By your logic, the market should have dictated that starting salaries for such firms should have gone down. And yet they have not. When is the last time you saw a big 4 firm cut salaries? You can easily look up salary guides that will tell you that the salaries have in fact gone up. Supply has gone up. Why isn't price going down? Why is the "free market" failing? There's more to the determination of salary it than just the number of applicants. You're fixated on one number, one piece of a complex puzzle. Life is more complicated than econ 101. If there's anything fanciful, it's these right wing half truths about the "free market" solving everything.
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
1877 posts
1025 upvotes
frozenmelon wrote:
Feb 10th, 2018 3:49 pm
There are 100x as many people qualified for big 4 consulting or accounting jobs. So many new grads with fancy degrees, excellent extra curriculars, designations and letters up the yin yang, and quality internship experience. There are more right now than there ever have been, every year more and more. By your logic, the market should have dictated that starting salaries for such firms should have gone down. And yet they have not. When is the last time you saw a big 4 firm cut salaries? You can easily look up salary guides that will tell you that the salaries have in fact gone up. Supply has gone up. Why isn't price going down? Why is the "free market" failing? There's more to the determination of salary it than just the number of applicants. You're fixated on one number, one piece of a complex puzzle. Life is more complicated than econ 101. If there's anything fanciful, it's these right wing half truths about the "free market" solving everything.
Things are slow to move, but eventually with so many people chasing limited accounting jobs (so you claim), compensation will fall or stagnate.

The owners of the big-4 are leaving a lot of money on the table if they aren't hiring the cheapest qualified workers they can find. Since they're probably swimming in money right now, they don't care, but at some point, demand for their particular industry may dry up, and they will have to rationalize compensation to market prices.

I don't follow compensation at the big-4, but I understand that a new grad really doesn't make a lot in accounting these days. I had the opportunity to visit an office in downtown Calgary a few years ago and it was full of business grads earning $30k/year in an insurance company's claims call center.

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