Huntsville firefighters’ quest for equal pay continues to smolder
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville firefighters’ quest for equal pay continues to smolder. The Huntsville Firefighters Association wants to see salaries for four positions within the department equal the base wages for its police counterparts.
A pay parity ordinance was first introduced at a city council meeting last month, but with no vote. Instead, the city is now performing a formal job reclassification audit.
“They can reclassify us all they want to and if it’s done impartially, they’ll see that yes, they deserve this and probably even more based on the number of hours we work,” said Huntsville Firefighters Association President Steve Jones.
Pay parity ordinances already exist in Mobile, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery. Jones said currently only two of the four positions are being audited and that process could take anywhere from three to six months.
“You’re looking at dragging this out another year and we’re already 11 months into what we’re trying to achieve,” he said.
Jones said the pay parity is meant to improve the quality of life for roughly 350 fire and rescue employees. But while it will increase their pay, he wants to be clear — they’re not asking for a raise, just equality.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle recently told WHNT News 19 partner The Huntsville Times the audit will determine whether firefighters pay increases are justified on their job requirements, training, education and other factors.