NFFE Engages with the Biden-Harris Administration on Improvements to Wildland Firefighter Pay, Benefits, and Work-Life Balance
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2021
Contact: Steve Lenkart
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) sent a letter to President Biden regarding the status of the federal wildland firefighting workforce that included several recommendations aimed at stabilizing and expanding the program. Building on the pay incentives announced by the White House on June 30, NFFE is advocating for President Biden to further increase pay for all wildland firefighters, hire at least 10,000 new firefighters over the next decade, and allot more resources to support a better work-life balance for federal firefighters.
“NFFE and federal wildland firefighters are pleased with President Biden’s recent commitments to improve working conditions and quality of life for those serving on the front lines of the fire crisis,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “However, we are encouraging the Biden-Harris Administration to take these initiatives a step further, as the federal firefighting workforce desperately needs additional resources to protect the country from increasingly devastating wildfires.”
To enhance the efficiency of the workforce and to retain the most skilled wildland firefighters, NFFE is calling for a pay raise for all federal wildland firefighters by at least 50% across the board. This will allow the federal government to hire and maintain experienced firefighters, saving on recruit training costs and more effectively deploying current federal resources. Due to worsening fire conditions around the country, NFFE is also recommending the workforce hire 10,000 to 20,000 new firefighters, supplemented by converting all seasonal firefighters to permanent positions. Lastly, NFFE is requesting the exploration of work-life balance reforms for federal firefighters, including modern mental health programs and staggered work schedules.
“It is absolutely critical that the federal government focus its efforts on improving the condition of the firefighting workforce to combat the raging wildfires across the country,” continued Erwin. “NFFE appreciates President Biden acknowledging this issue, and we look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to support our federal wildland firefighters through competitive pay, additional resources, and a better quality of life.