The administration in Providence, RI decided to cut Fire Department costs by eliminating D Group. The remaining groups absorbed the members from the eliminated platoon, and picked up 25% of the hours vacated by D Group.Â I served the City of Providence on D Group for the first seven years of my career. They were also the best years of my career. We had pride in our group, just like the other groups had pride in theirs. Only D Group was the best.
Since I began my career with the fire service theÂ relationship between the firefighters union, Local 799 and the City of Providence has been strained. It mattered not if the economy was thriving or diving, the city consistently claimed that they were broke, and needed concessions.
We complied. We gave back, cut staffing, gave up vacations, COLAs and health care benefits. We have worked with the city honestly, transparently and in the best interests of both parties. The most recent group running the city thanked us by stabbing us in the back.
Forty firefighters injured in April is no big difference from any other April, it’s the nature of the job. The only difference is, the injuries were reported. During my career when somebody was injured they would shake it off, bandage it up and get back to work, limp through the remainder of the shift, use a sick day or two if they were hurt bad enough and get back to work. 90% of the injuries I sustained were never reported. I did report nearly twenty injuries in twenty-three years, had surgery, endured months of PT, got hooked on pain meds, got unhooked on pain meds and kept on fighting.
Would I do the same thing today?
Not a chance.