(UPDATE, 11:15 a.m.: Hanley notes that San Francisco's East Coast-like density necessitates a different style of firefighting than in neighboring cities. He claims "we throw bodies at fires" in an effort to keep them from spreading and fight fires from "the interior." This, he notes, makes for a more vigorous type of firefighting, justifying a shorter work week. He is unsure how much firefighters in the other "East Coast" cities named on his union's survey earn, but he suspects San Francisco's take home more because of housing prices).
No. 798's next claim is a bit tougher to take. The supes have rattled Hanley's cage in the recent past by proposing SFFD employees work longer hours. The union's rebuttal notes that doing so "decreases public safety for residents and increases the risk of firefighter injury. If more firefighters are injure din the line of duty, worker's compensation and disability payments would skyrocket." This seems to be a stretch; worker's comp Armageddon doesn't seem to have occurred in the 13 other Bay Area cities named in the supes' survey.
(Update, 11:15 a.m.: Hanley is uncertain if fatigue problems have arisen in neighboring cities. He states that SFFD's contract does call for very good pay, but feels other neighboring firefighters have more vacation time and more generous benefit and pension plans -- and notes that, for reasons unknown, the SFFD has a mystifyingly high rate of cancer among its firefighters, which sets it apart from any other department in the nation.)
Finally, the union rebuttal claims that SFFD members have already deferred wage increases (though the supes seem to want more than that; they're talking concessions), changing work hours would require voter approval and not take effect until 2011, and needs to be reviewed by the fire commission.
In any event, it seems the fire burning between the supes and firefighters is ready to jump a few alarms and there's no containment in sight.
(Update, 11:15 a.m.: "Why is it the firefighters the board of supervisors is solely after? Do they have an agenda to pick?" asks Hanley. "They're acting as if increasing our hours will solve the budget crisis. Let's be real, that's not true. We're being scapegoated by a small group of the members of the board of supervisors."
Since when has six of 11 been a "small group"?)