On April 15, 2013 MacLeans magazine published a scathing complaint about the salaries earned by essential service workers including firefighters, police officers and teachers. In it, the author attacks unions as the reason for the problem.

Brother Chad Kemery, President of UCTE Local 40403 and Regina Airport Firefighter wrote to the editor correcting the publications misinformation and expressing his views and frustration. Although the editor did not bother to print it, we thought it was worthy of a read.


Letter to the Editor:

As a firefighter, I take issue with the article published on April 15th “The $100,000 club: Who’s really making big money these days” in which the author feels the compensation received by firefighters, police officers and teachers is outrageous.

The derogatory tone used by Nancy Macdonald, the author, as she refers to these professions as “so-called essential workers” begs the question about whether or not this was an opinion piece instead of a well-researched work. I find it astonishing that anyone would question the essentiality of police, firefighters and paramedics. If her house was burning or if she was the victim of a crime, wouldn’t she want to know that there is always someone there to help?

Furthermore, some of the author’s facts are flawed. At no time does she take into account the years of service some of these men and women have put into their careers, the actual number of employer scheduled overtime hours in order to get the job done or the rank and city in which these people work.

According to Statistics Canada, those Canadians who are ranked as the highest paid in Canada include senior managers in broadcasting, department stores and financial institutions as well as banking, credit and investment managers. Is Ms Macdonald expecting the public to accept that these careers are worth more than those of police officers, firefighters and teachers? She does not complain about the banking fees or the price of television cable which supports these salaries all over $100,000.

Ms Macdonald’s article is a thinly veiled tirade on workplace unions fighting to augment the standards by which people are compensated. If she has a problem with unions then she needs to say it and clearly identify that this is the point of article. She should not attack those who have chosen to serve our communities by protecting that which we own and those who we love.

Chad Kemery

UCTE Local 40403 President