A group of Latino firefighters said their impending promotion to the rank of lieutenant — and the $18,000 pay hike that comes with it — is bittersweet because it was expedited based on their race, reports dnainfo.com.
And that’s not the way they wanted to become firehouse shift bosses.
The Latino firefighters instead wanted to wait their turn. They’ve already waited six years since taking the lieutenant’s test and were prepared to wait a bit longer. But department brass pressured them into accepting the promotion ahead of some of their firehouse brothers who scored higher on the test, they told DNAinfo Chicago.
“This is about how I feel about myself. I feel like it’s wrong to jump other guys on the list when it’s not my turn to be there,” said one of the Latino firefighters who reluctantly accepted the promotion ahead of dozens of his firefighting brothers.
“I felt threatened because [the Fire Department] said they weren’t going to call after this. And that’s solely based on race. I’m being treated differently than everyone else because of my race.”
The Latino firefighters had each waived race-based promotions twice as a matter of personal pride and a surefire way to avoid serving under the stigma that they didn’t deserve the promotion on their own merit.
But when they got the third promotion offer, Cmdr. Monica Porter made it clear that if they turned it down again there wouldn’t be a next time, the firefighters, who all asked to remain anonymous, told DNAinfo.com.
So far, no firefighters in line to become lieutenant have been removed from the promotion list for refusing the job a third time.
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