Atlanta Fire Union: Firefighter Staffing Shortages Dangerous

A union leader says the city is not getting all it can get out of fire personnel performance.

The reason, says Paul Gerdis, is the mandatory overtime policy fire commanders have instituted due to staffing shortages.

He told city council members late Wednesday that it is impossible to fill many fire companies without requiring firefighters to work more than there already demanding workload.

The impact on staff is both exhaustion and stress, he says.

Gerdis says the manpower crunch not only hurts his members but could impact residents if they get fire response that is not optimum.

The union says the resolution to the situation is not draining the available firefighters but fixing attrition. To do that, Gerdis says, the city has to recognize Atlanta pay is about 30 percent below comparable cities in the Southeast. Starting pay is just over $40,000.

The union has a chip to play. In 2018, mayor and city council gave police officers a catch-up pay hike of $10,000. Some officers even got more.

From www.fox5atlanta.com