Suburban Fire Department Fights Mass Layoffs

Private company takes over McCook Fire Department

Workers at the McCook Fire Department have taken to the picket lines to protest a mass layoff.

The town, located just south of Chicago, decided to privatize its fire service and gave the contract to a company called Kurtz Ambulance Service, Inc.

"They really never negotiated," veteran firefighter Danny Golden said. "They said take severance or there's the door. They did offer a $15,000 cut that would put them-us under the savings what they're saving with Kurtz."

The eight fired union firefighters picketed in front of the village hall Monday.

"He's affecting my wife, two young kids, my ability to make money to put food on table," firefighter Chris Dospoy said.

Village leaders initially tried to merge with the nearby Pleasantview Fire Protection District, but residents did not pass the proposal. Negotiations between the two sides were unsuccessful.

According to the Des Plaines Valley News, the nine-person fire department cost the village $1.2 million a year. McCook Mayor Jeff Tobloski told the newspaper that the village has been running on a $1.5 million deficit, and the tax base isn't strong enough to manage the fire department's expenses.

NBC 5 was unsuccessful in obtaining a response from Tobloski or Kurtz officials.

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