The Portland Firefighters’ Association, IAFF Local 43, is requesting that the City of Portland, Oregon increase firefighter overtime to a double time rate instead of the traditional time and one-half rate due to chronic staffing shortages and an excessive amount of mandatory overtime. According to both the city and the union, firefighters face progressive discipline if they refuse to work mandatory overtime shifts. However, the staffing shortage is so pervasive, mandatory overtime occurs on a regular basis. Union leaders hope that by increasing the overtime rate, more firefighters will voluntarily agree to work overtime, thus reducing the number of mandatory overtime shifts.
According to Portland’s KGW8 News, the city’s fire department is actively recruiting and training firefighters. The department has also begun accepting lateral transfers to fill vacancies more quickly. Despite these efforts the department remains understaffed and may remain that way for several years due to past hiring freezes and other factors. Click here for more on the story from KGW8 News.