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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Nov. 1, 2001 — Union representatives of V.I. Port Authority aircraft rescue firefighters will be in Territorial Court Friday regarding work slow downs at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix last week.
The Port Authority filed temporary restraining order documents to keep firefighters from staging further job actions following a sick-out last Friday by about 15 firefighters at the St. Croix airport. The sick-out forced the delay of four flights that morning. Firefighters from the V.I. Fire Services who had previous aircraft rescue training needed to be called in to fill the vacancies and allow flights to land.
The firefighters are members of the United Industrial Workers of the Seafarer’s International Union and are subject to a collective bargaining agreement with the Port Authority, which classifies the firefighters as Class III employees. That classification prohibits them from striking due to public safety issues.
Amos Peters, vice president of the UIW Caribbean region, who will represent the firefighters in court Friday, told the St. Croix Avis that the union and the Port Authority recently signed a new contract. But apparently, many of the firefighters are unhappy with its terms because they will be paid less than officers on the Port Authority’s newly formed police force.
Peters said entry level salaries for Port Authority firefighters is $22,500 a year. But he said that after one year of service the figure jumps to $26,000. For Port Authority police the starting salary is $27,753. After 20 years of service, a firefighter’s salary reaches $41,564 compared to a police officer’s $46,066.
Peters said the Port Authority firefighters will be paid on the same scale as firefighters in the government operated Fire Service through 2006. There are 30 Port Authority firefighters split between the St. Croix airport and the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas.
The Territorial Court hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in the court of Judge Ishmael Meyers on St. Thomas.

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