Raleigh firefighters association fights against 'insulting' hourly pay

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Thursday, March 3, 2022
Raleigh firefighters association fights against 'insulting' hourly pay
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Police and fire departments are using incentives and other measures to fill steep worker shortages but some say starting pay remains a serious concern

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A number of police departments are handing out signing bonuses as they work to beef up staff.

The Fayetteville Police Department is advertising jobs with an incentive.

Raleigh Police is giving $5,000 bonuses to officers who have experience and are looking to make a lateral move.

The department says data from mid-December shows there are more than 120 vacancies.

The pay can vary depending on where you work. Starting salary for a police officer is slightly higher in Fayetteville than in Raleigh.

The Raleigh Fire Department is also looking trying to fill positions.

"We are now at a 10% vacancy rate. That is up 450% in three years," said Raleigh Professional Firefighters Association President Andy Davis.

The association is fighting for better pay and a post on social media is getting a lot of traction. It notes the starting hourly wage is $13.42.

Davis said the pay can put more stress on firefighters to build up hours.

"We've had to work 30% more hours, at $13 an hour, just to make $39,000 a year," said Davis.

The association said there are 94 Raleigh firefighters making less than $15 an hour and 156 making less than $17.33.

Meanwhile, Target announced this week that some employees can make up to $24 an hour.

Davis said the situation is frustrating and insulting, and people are struggling to pay their bills.

"The lights have to stay on and the water has to stay on to sustain, and we believe that we are one of those critical city infrastructures," said Davis. "Unfortunately, we've been left behind year after year, and we're starting to see repercussions of that."