CA state firefighters voice frustration over low pay

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California's state firefighters say they are paid significantly less than local fire crews, and they are hoping to make a change. (KABC)

California's state firefighters say they are paid significantly less than local fire crews, and they are hoping to make a change.

While at the California State Capitol, CalFire firefighters gathered to wage a different battle -- one for better pay.

An independent study shows state firefighters are underpaid by 30 to 90 percent when compared to 20 other California departments. The study also shows they work much longer hours.

"They go 30 days without seeing their family and you want to pay them minimum wage. I mean, who would want to show up to that job?" said protester Jesse Malone.

The frustration from state fire employees has led to turnover as firefighters have been leaving to find better pay and schedules.

"I'm actively working to leave. The working conditions are so bad, why would I stay?" said CalFire employee Tim Edwards.

CalFire union negotiators accuse the California Department of Human Resources of not following through with promises to fix pay disparities, so they are taking their fight to the public.

"You can work 120 hours a week and you still don't make enough in Southern California," Malone added. "To make a living, we have to work extra shifts even though we're forced to work extra shifts."
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