NFFE President Erwin: Biden’s FY24 Budget Delivers Crucial Reforms for Federal Wildland Firefighters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Dorsey
March 13, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) praises the Biden Administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024, which addresses several issues relating to the federal wildland firefighter workforce. More than $4.2 billion would be provided to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to implement necessary reforms.
“Since President Biden took office, our union has been advocating strongly to reform policies affecting federal wildland firefighters,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “With this proposed budget, it is clear the White House has heard our plea for additional resources. The Biden Administration understands the dire need for wildland firefighter workforce reform, and the President is delivering on his commitments to support the brave women and men protecting our communities from the wildland fire crisis.”
According to the USDA, the President’s budget establishes a special base rate salary table for all federal wildland firefighters that will permanently increase pay, in addition to a new premium pay category that provides all incident responders with additional compensation for all hours they are mobilized on an incident. The proposed reforms also include an extra $20 million to enhance support for firefighters’ mental and physical health and wellbeing. Lastly, the budget calls for an additional $50 million and $22 million for USDA and DOI to repair, renovate, and construct housing for wildland fire personnel.
“Thank you to President Biden for taking this critical step in addressing the wildfire crisis and improving the lives of federal wildland firefighters across the country,” continued President Erwin. “These reforms will help the Forest Service recruit and retain skilled personnel and better serve the American people. While there is still much work to do to ensure our wildland firefighting workforce has the resources to be sustainable in the coming years, I am proud that our members are seeing results from their advocacy. I look forward to working with lawmakers to make sure the provisions of this budget are funded by Congress.”