New Orleans firefighters claim current staffing shortages threaten their ability to put out fires in the city on a timely basis.
"When it comes down to the actual manpower on the streets, we're at critical mass now," Firefighters Union President Aaron Mischler said.
According to the Mischler, his members will no longer work excessive overtime to cover for a city administration and department that can't attract or retain employees.
"They're trying to bring people in," Mischler said. "Last year, the mayor budgeted for 50 new hires. We hired 8. This year, they budgeted for another 50. We're at 39 going on through the process, right now, but it's not keeping up with attrition."
The union claims the NOFD's call volume has increased 150% over the last decade while the number of firefighters has dropped by 25%.
The department's 480 or so rank-and-file personnel constitutes the lowest staffing level in the agency's 128-year history.