NFFE Teams Up with Grassroots and the U.S. Hotshots Association with Letter to Biden and Agency Leaders
October 18, 2022
Yesterday, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) sent a joint letter addressed to President Biden, OPM Director Ahuja, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, and Interior Secretary Haaland on wildland firefighter workforce reforms. The union teamed up with Grassroots Wildland Firefighters and the U.S. Hotshots Association to urge the President and agency leaders to take action to improve pay, housing, work-life balance, and other concerns.
“Federal Wildland Firefighters have been pushed to their limits for decades,” the letter reads. “Low pay, demanding work, and a lack of work/life balance has left our workforce depleted and frustrated. Federal Wildland Firefighters have the most dangerous civilian job in America, with over 24 line of duty deaths already in 2022 and counting. Cancers, traumatic injuries, death, PTSD, divorce, suicide, are the sad results of a workforce that is underappreciated and not properly supported by their federal employers. Federal wildland firefighters are unrecognized and often-forgotten first responders.”
The letter lists many solutions to significant issues, including permanent pay increases in line with other first responders, fire assignments shifted to ten work days and five rest days, revamping the Forest Service housing program, additional funding for more personnel and equipment, mitigation of environmental exposure, and many other recommendations.
“NFFE is proud to stand in solidarity with Grassroots Wildland Firefighters and the U.S. Hotshots Association as we continue to take on substantial reforms for federal wildland firefighters,” said NFFE President Randy Erwin. “It is imperative that the White House and land management agencies understand the urgency that is needed in implementing solutions to these dire issues. NFFE is confident that our collective action with groups like Grassroots and the Hotshots Association will bring about much needed change for our brave wildland firefighters across the country.”