BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – Several firefighters are speaking out after being laid off Monday.
Beavercreek Township is cutting back on part-time first responders.
9 firefighters won’t be headed in to their engines; Keith Holloway is one of them.
He spoke to 2 NEWS about his recent unemployment saying, “Obviously it’s disappointing because you know this is– this is a job I love doing, but it’s also obviously a job that helps take care of my family.”
Prior to the cuts, the department was made up of 27 full-time and 27 part-time firefighters.
The Beavercreek Board of Trustees voted to change that after evaluating services to the township.
The department will now be staffed with 42 full-time firefighters who meet several qualifications, including being a level II firefighter.
Holloway doesn’t buy the Board’s reason for the transition; he thinks there’s more behind the decision.
He explained, “It feels like blatant retaliation for us trying to organize a union of the part-time firefighters. I’ve worked there for 8 years now. The other two guys were automatically excluded– worked there for 10 years and 19 years. So they’re throwing away you know 37 years out the door right then.”
Holloway claims part timers were trying to unionize to earn higher wages and better representation.
Of those attempting to do this, he says all 4 leading the charge were laid off.
The firefighter says weeks after the International Association of Firefighters contacted the department, announcements about lay offs began around November 4th and 5th.
Despite being firing, he says he is not bitter and supports his fellow firefighters who are still on the job, but he is concerned.
“It does make it less safe for the citizens, not only because there are less experienced guys out there,” he worried aloud. “But because there’s fewer guys out there.”
Beavercreek officials were unavailable for an interview Monday and Tuesday, but they did provide a statement.
In the release, a township administrator spoke to Holloway’s concerns of a reduction in the safety of the community.
“There will be no negative result with respect to the response to emergency situations within the township,” said Alex Zaharieff, a Beavercreek Township administrator.
The firefighters will be on paid leave until December 31st.