I do understand both the article and the feelings of this post, and I will agree that there are some cases of abuse.
If you don't mind, let me just share another perspective, hopefully without getting flamed.
I am a union firefighter with 18 years on the job. I honestly try to work hard, and I am proud to serve the public. I work for one of the busiest fire depts in NY ,( calls per employee ).
Recent contracts have cut our dept staffing severely. We actually respond to calls not meeting the minimum OSHA and NFPA safety staffing levels. We have begged the city to hire more of us, but they refuse. Last month they actually cut new fire boots from the budget, deciding instead to give that $1000 to "Go Art".....a local artists group. Oh well.
Anyway, I work overtime when it comes around. I also teach EMT classes in addition to my regular working schedule at straight time. That does get included in my annual salary, which does factor into my retirement someday, (perhaps...it depends on other factors to complicated to get into now).
The point I'm making is that when I work overtime either teaching or on a rig, the city is making more money , a profit , then they are paying me. They bill for ambulance calls and for teaching and for many of the "Extra" stuff I do. So yes, I am making more money, but more so are they.
The other point is that THEY say overtime saves them money because they do not have to pay extra for benefits, for training, or for more bunker gear, helmets, boots, uniforms, etc.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love my job and try my best to do it well. We see things most people never see and have to do things most could not. Even with overtime factored into whatever my retirement pension ends up being, it will not be anywhere near the numbers in that article.
The only thing I'm saying is that the city has two options....hire more people (to maintain our already low minimum staffing, at a lower "new hire" wage), or pay overtime. THEY choose to pay the overtime. It is not always our choice.
I'm not asking for an argument.....just wanted to respectfully give another perspective.