Montana Votes for Eight-Hour Day

Montana Votes for Eight-Hour Day

Montana has taken the lead in reference to an eight-hour day for firemen as reported on page 146 of the April issue of FIRE ENGINEERING. By a vote of 87 to 4, the state House of Representatives approved a bill which provides for a three platoon system in cities of the first class, and the firemen are to receive a minimum salary of $150 a month. The bill was signed by the Governor.

The combined Fire and Police Departments of Lewistown, Mont., will have roll call at 8 a.m., 4 p.m., and midnight, in accordance with the new measure. All members will be required to work straight eight hours with no time off for meals and no going to bed on shift. Off shift members are required to report in cases of emergency.

Butte has been operating under the three-platoon system since early in the summer of 1934, in accordance with a city ordinance.

The full text of the new state law follows:

An Act to Amend Section 5138 of the Revised Codes of Montana, 1921, as Amended By Section 1 of Chapter 135 of the Session Laws of the Twentieth Legislative Assembly of the State of Montana. Relating to Hours of Work of Members of Paid Fire Departments of Cities of the First and Second Class, Providing a Minimum Compensation for Members of Paid Fire Departments of Cities of the First Class, Providing that Members of Paid Fire Departments of Cities of the Second Class shall suffer no Reduction in Salary on Account of the Operation Thereof, Providing the Act shall Not be Operative as to Cities of the Second Class Unless the City Council, City Commission or other Government Body shall by Ordinance Adopt this Act, Providing Penalties for a Violation Thereof, and Repealing All Acts or Parts of Acts in Conflict Therewith.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

SECTION 1. That Section 5138, of the Revised Codes of Montana, 1921, as amended by Section 1 of Chapter 135 of the Session Laws of the Twentieth Legislative Assembly of the State of Montana, be, and the same is hereby amended to read as follows:

“SECTION 5138. On and after July 1st, 1935. in cities of the first and second classes, the City Council, City Commission, or other governing body, shall divide all members of the paid Fire Department, except the Chief thereof, into platoons of three shifts. The members of each shift shall not be required to work or be on duty more than eight (8) hours of each consecutive twenty-four hours, except in the event of a conflagration or other similar emergency when such members or any of them may be required to serve so long as the necessity therefor exists. Each shift shall by changed once everv two weeks: (Each member shall be entitled to at least one (1) day off duty out of each eight-day period of service without loss of compensation.) No member of a paid Fire Department of a city of the first or second class shall engage in any occupation of any other kind whatsoever. Members of paid Fire Departments of cities of the first class shall each receive a minimum salary of Eighteen Hundred Dollars ($1,800.00) per annum, payable in equal monthly installments. Members of paid Fire Departments of cities of the second class shall suffer no reduction in salary on account of the operation of this Act, provided that this Act shall not be operative as to cities of the second class unless the city Council, City Commission or other governmental body thereof shall by ordinance adopt same.”

SECTION 2. Violation of this Act shall be deemed a Misdemeanor: Penalty. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this Act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be Punished by a fine of not less than One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars, or more than Six Hundred Dollars ($600.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days or more than seven (7) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 3. If any provision, clause or phrase of this Act be adjudged unconstitutional or invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, for anv reason, such adjudication shall not affect the validity of the Act as a whole, or of any section or provision thereof which is not specifically so adjudged unconstitutional or invalid.

SECTION 4. That all Acts or parts of Acts in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.

A convention of the firemen of the northern part of Illinois and the southern part of Wisconsin, will be held in Platteville, Wis., May 23.

Efficient work by the staff of a hospital at Murray, Ky., succeeded in moving forty-two patients from a three-storv hospital building. Fire spread quickly and forced three nurses to jump to safety. The loss was placed at $150,000.

Binghamton, N. Y., will purchase fire apparatus estimated to cost $14,000. The purchase was delayed by the Mayor’s opposition, but the City Manager has now been authorized to make the purchase.

Chief W. B. Walters and Assistant Chief W. H. Hagensick of the McGregor, Ia., Fire Department, were unanimously re-elected for another term. Assistant Chief Hagensick has served the department for nearly forty-six years.

Wages of Butte, Mont., firemen were increased to their former level. The original cut was from $160 a month to $128, hut since a five per cent restoration last August, firemen received $134.40 monthly. The new salaries are retroactive to March 1.

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