Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Some English-speaking firefighters are losing their jobs because of an Oregon state law that requires them to be bilingual

Melica Johnson:

The Department of Forestry enacted a law three years ago that requires them to be bilingual, but this year they're actually enforcing it.

2002 was such a devastating wildfire season, contractors were scrambling to find firefighters.

Hispanics often filled their needs on the fire lines.

Jim Walker of the Department of Forestry said "what we do know is 85 percent of the crew make-up is of Hispanic decent."

But many of the Hispanic fire fighters do not speak English. Walker says the language barrier is a concern.

Those concerns led the state to draft a new rule that all firefighting bosses speak English, and the languages of crew members who don't speak English.

Jaime Pickering, a squad boss overseeing 20 firefighters, says the rule means "job losses for Americans. The white people."

Because of the state's language requirement, Pickering can no longer work as a crew boss and supervise 20 firefighters, he can only manage a squad of four.

Pickering says that "if you have one Spanish guy on the crew, as an English crew boss, you can no longer be a crew boss, you have to step back to a squad boss, which is a demotion."

Fire Crew Bosses Who Can't Speak Spanish Can Lose Jobs

Oregon Fire Bosses "Fuegoed" for Not Speaking Spanish

Recepción a Oregon. El inglés no se requiere.


At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both Oregon state officials and those in the firefighting business say they do not think there are 'that many' illegal immigrant workers in the fire crews.

Yeah, sure.

So because of illegal hiring practices, even of the state of Oregon itself, firefighters may lose their jobs.


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