Deming firefighters resign, demand better wages

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DEMING, N.M. – 14 of the 21 firefighters and EMS workers at the Deming Fire Department have put in notice of resignation.

They are demanding better wages. Their protest continued Monday in Deming.

“The mayors, city administrators, how come we’re not important to them? How come the community thinks we’re important, but how come they think we’re not important? That’s the one thing, like why? I don’t get it,” said Robert Sanchez, president of the New Mexico Professional Firefighters Association.

Sanchez called on city leaders for change.

“We all know in public safety we didn’t get into for the money. We all know that. We have to be fair and compensate our firefighters and our EMS providers,” said Sanchez.

City officials have already posted job openings – entry-level pay is just over $35,000 a year. However, firefighters are not on a typical 40-hour work week schedule. Sanchez said that boils down to just under $12 an hour.

“They’re making almost minimum wage, almost less than fast-food workers.”

A pay stub from a firefighter with 13 years under his belt showed an hourly rate of $13.45. Many said that’s a small price, for a huge sacrifice.

City officials said those workers did get a 6.5% raise last year. KOB 4 asked for additional information, but the city administrator did not answer any follow-up questions.