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Michigan USDA firefighters push for permanent pay

Michigan Wildland Firefighter
State of Michigan
Michigan Wildland Firefighter

Firefighters in Michigan are calling on Congress to not let their paychecks fall off a fiscal cliff. A provision in the bi-partisan infrastructure law is set to expire and federal wildland firefighters could see dramatic pay cuts

Forest Service firefighters are given a base salary around twenty-thousand dollars, but that expires on September 30.

Most wildland firefighters are seasonal workers and are paid by the hour.

Warner Vanderheuel is a representative for the wildland firefighter’s union, he’s based in Oscoda.

He says if lawmakers eliminate the base salary there will be mass resignations and retirements in a work force that’s already struggling to fill open positions.

If we lose 30% of the employees the small org charts we have now, it wouldn't look very good. At all.

A bill to make base salary permanent lives in a Senate committee chaired by Michigan Senator Gary Peters. In a statement, Peters said he supports the bill, and first responders should get the compensation they deserve.

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