Scanlon Leads Bipartisan Letter in Support of Alternative Work Schedules for Federal Firefighters

August 1, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Mary Gay Scanlon joined Representatives Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Robert J. Wittman (R-VA) in leading a letter to Rear Admiral Charles W. Rock, Commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, in support of federal firehouses adopting an Alternative Work Schedule.


In recent years, many federal firehouses have adopted an Alternative Work Schedule in an effort to allow firefighters greater rest and recovery periods in between shifts. However, the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic is one of the few federal firefighting regions that has not transitioned to this schedule. Consequently, this reluctance has led to an increase in transfer requests from firefighters, leaving crucial posts short-staffed and overworked.


“Firefighters have some of the toughest and most strenuous jobs in our communities,” Representative Scanlon said. “They keep us safe and protect some of our nation’s most valuable assets. Ensuring that these brave men and women do not have to be burdened with the additional stress of unsustainable work schedules is not a partisan issue, and that’s why I led this effort along with Reps. Luria and Wittman to urge the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic to transition their federal firefighters to an Alternative Work Schedule.”


“Due to the extreme demands firefighters face, we should make sure they are properly rested to protect their safety and ours,” Representative Luriasaid. “Our local federal firefighters have told us that current work schedules complicate efforts to fill positions and maintain morale. I urge the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic to explore switching to an alternative work schedule to put our firefighters in the best position to serve our communities.”


“Our federal firefighters do so much to protect some of the most valuable assets in our nation,” Representative Wittman said. “It is absolutely critical that they be adequately rested and prepared for their shifts – for the health of our firefighters and their families. An alternative work schedule has proven to be successful in other areas of the nation, and exploring this option in the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic should be considered.”


“The current shift rotation scheme utilized at Navy Regional Mid-Atlantic has harmed recruitment and retention of firefighters leading to unnecessary expenditures of taxpayer dollars and potentially placing our military and our fire fighters’ safety at risk,” James B. Johnson, 16th District Vice-President of the International Association of Fire Fighters said.  “Rear Admiral Rock is empowered to direct the adoption an alternative work schedule that saves taxpayer funds while improving fire fighter retention and recruitments efforts which will aid as fire fighters protect our nations protectors.”


This bipartisan letter was signed by fellow Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), David Cicilline (D-RI), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Bradley S. Schneider (D-IL), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), and A. Donald McEachin (D-VA).