N. Y. Firemen Try for Eight-Hour Day
Another step to better working conditions for the firemen of New York City has been provided in a bill drawn up for the establishment of three platoons. The bill reads as follows:
“Section 1—After June first, nineteen hundred and thirtyone, no member of the uniformed force of the Fire Department, except the chief of the department, shall be required to be on duty for more than eight hours a day in any one period of twenty-four hours; and all such members, subject to such exception, shall be entitled to at least one day of rest in every calendar week. The head of such department shall divide the members of such uniformed force into such divisions and assign them to such tours of duty that the purposes of this local law shall be accomplished. But in the event of a conflagration or other similar emergency, or for the purpose of exchanging tours of duty, members of such force may be continued on duty for such hours and in such numbers as may be necessary therefor.
“Section 2—The provisions of the Greater New York Charter and of chapter two hundred and twenty-six of the laws of nineteen hundred and twenty-two, in so far as such provisions are inconsistent with this local law, are hereby superseded.
Section 3—This local law shall take effect immediately.” All ranks of the department are included in the bill with the exception of the head of the department. In 1927 an attempt was made to pass a bill similar to the one described with the exception that the Police Department was also included. This time the bill was drawn up solely for the interest of the Fire Department. If approved, the measure will become effective June 1931 to allow the city to train the additional men that would be required by the three-platoon system.
Sponsors of the plan expect to prove to the city that the duty that the men of the department perform entitle them to shorter hours of service. At present the men are putting in eighty-four hours a week, and under the suggested plan it would be fifty-six hours.