- Firefighters are asking the city for higher pay.
- The local union has been negotiating with the city of Tallahassee for eight months.
- Watch the video to see how far they marched and how city leaders are responding.
It's a push for better pay for first responders. Tallahassee firefighters united at city hall to fight for a better wage.
I have been following the negotiation between the local firefighters union and the city for months. Now, I am hearing from firefighters as they continue their negotiations.
Crystal Pruitt says her husband's job as a Tallahassee firefighter can pose challenges for her family.
"The kids wonder if daddy is coming home or not," Pruitt said. "You're basically a single parent every third night."
She says his work does not stop there.
"My husband isn't a starting firefighter and still has to work a second or third job," Pruitt says. "We should be ashamed of ourselves."
That's why Pruitt, along with over 70 firefighters, friends and family from across the state marched to city hall to push for a higher wage. This is an effort that has taken eight months.
Deputy Chief Richard Jones with TFD spoke with me on behalf of the city. He said the city has come to the table for each of their meetings wanting to reach a deal.
"The city continues to work diligently with the fire union to come up with an amenable contract agreement," Jones said. "We have offered a proposal for a salary increase for all firefighters."
At a meeting I sat in on in September, the city was offering a raise of about $1,600 per year.
That would up the salary before tax from about $44,000 to over $45,000.
The union said that's not enough. Anna Marie Shealy is also married to a TFD firefighter. She said the city's offers have been discouraging.
"I'm feeling really disheartened by our city officials for not coming to the table with a contract that is usable for the fire department," Shealy said.
Jones says they hope to reach a deal soon for the firefighters and their families.
"We are hoping the union will take this to their members for a vote," Jones said.
Vice President of Tallahassee Professional Firefighters David Morrison also said they want to reach a deal.
But, he said they need more than the current offer to keep from driving some away from the department.
He said this about one of his friends that just resigned.
"When I talked to him about it, he said he didn't feel that the risk was worth the reward," Morrison said.