Chattanooga Firefighters speak to the City Council on why they need a pay increase as proposed by Mayor Kelly’s budget

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) – “The recruit academy that will be graduating September 9, we have a class with them just to show them how to balance their budget and how to live off of firefighters’ salaries. But I’ll tell you this right now they can’t,” said Bradley Freeman.

Chattanooga Firefighters spoke about their current low wage. Firefighters told their stories about how they need to work second jobs to make ends meet due to the lack of pay as a Chattanooga firefighter.

“The time that we need to have need been doing our other jobs. We’ve spend trying to make sure that we make ends meet for a family.”

“The amount that’s been requested is not a lot in the eyes of the firefighters. It is huge, it will allow us to work one job.”

Under Mayor Kelly’s budget, C.F.D. firefighters would see a significant pay increase which is something they have been fighting for after a payroll study showed they were paid less than firefighters in Nashville, Memphis, and Cleveland.

“I did not until recently have the ability to work a side job to make ends meet due to being a single parent. When my divorce initially happened I had two sons. One 6 and want a brand new infant. Any time not spent at the fire station was spent caring for them. After ever-rising health insurance premiums, taxes, and pension payments after all that is taken out it leaves me very little to stretch. I became very astute knowing how long I had to pay my bills and when those utilities would be cut off.”

The firefighters said this pay increase will give more than just money, it will also give them time.

“It will allow us to spend more time with our families. It will allow us to be able to come home and stay home. It will allow us to be able to make better decisions.”

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