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lord_casek

Fire Crew Bosses Who Can't Speak Spanish Can Lose Jobs

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With 24 major wildfires burning across the southwestern United States, fire officials need every firefighter they can get. They've done that in Oregon, but it's created another problem.Officials are now having to lay off some of the bosses who manage those firefighting crews because the bosses are not bilingual. Many of the newer hires in Oregon only speak Spanish."What we do know is 85 percent of the crew makeup is of Hispanic descent," said Jim Walker, with the Oregon Department of Forestry.The state said all bosses must speak the same language of their crew on the fire lines for safety reasons. They want to make sure that the leader of the crews can quickly communicate during an emergencey if the fire turns or if there is another problem on the fire lines."Our main concern is that they are safe, and they are in a safe environment, and a lot of that deals with communication," Walker said.Because of the state's language requirement, Jaime Pickering can no longer work as a crew boss and supervise 20 firefighters. He can only manage a squad of four firefighters."If you have one Spanish guy on the crew, as an English crew boss, you can no longer be a crew boss. You have to step back to a squad boss, which is a demotion," Pickering said.The state of Oregon actually made the change in 2003, after a devastating wildfire season in 2002 had contractors scrambling to find help. The state just started strictly monitoring the law this year, as Hispanics continued to fill fire lines."I think the (rule) is good, because that's for safety purpose," said Manuel Franco, who is a contractor for fire crews. He thinks the state's rule is necessary for worker safety."If there's a rock rolling down, everybody should understand that," Franco said.But he does wish it were different."We're living here. We should speak the language," he said.So why couldn't the state require that these crew members speak English? The state doesn't have a clear answer."If it comes down to a safety issue, and it's determined that's the only way we can have people safely on an incident, then yes," Walker said.

 

Copyright 2006 by

TheDenverChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/nationalnews/9413390/detail.html

 

 

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you know what, I bought that record from Specs on hwy 37 in 1989 but I fully support getting those 'fire captains' out of the mix, if you need to speak spanish AND english to save lives, so be it. Those that can't; move to the back and 'assist' us.

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There are plenty of jobs that have training requirements in order to achieve a higher position.

In an area of the country that has one third or more of its population speaking Spanish, then I don't see why this is causing an issue.

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why don't they just teach the english speakers spanish instead of firing all the english speakers?

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Mmmm... could be, I got no problem with that... EXCEPT... you guessed it, swine flu.

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for the larger issue, what I never fully understood is why doesn't america embrace being a bilingual country? there's no shame in teaching spanish as a required subject to children from an early age. i don't understand what the drawback would be, yet many people seem to take the "love it or leave it" approach to language as well.

 

but at the same time, bump S.O.D. haha

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Ha ha^

 

I think there is a lot to be said about firing/laying off people who cannot speak spanish in this country. This shit would not stand around the time of the world wars when motherfuckers coming to this country took great pride in learning English, and great pride in assimilating to this culture. I feel a lot of immigrants now do not see this as necessary.

 

Even if the US were to stand behind a Bi-lingual country, that still means that everyone should know 2 languages, not that the people who have been living here for years need to learn immigrants languages or they lose their jobs.

 

Pretty fucked up in my book.

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Ha ha^

 

I think there is a lot to be said about firing/laying off people who cannot speak spanish in this country. This shit would not stand around the time of the world wars when motherfuckers coming to this country took great pride in learning English, and great pride in assimilating to this culture. I feel a lot of immigrants now do not see this as necessary.

 

Even if the US were to stand behind a Bi-lingual country, that still means that everyone should know 2 languages, not that the people who have been living here for years need to learn immigrants languages or they lose their jobs.

 

Pretty fucked up in my book.

 

 

I don't necessarily disagree with you - I believe that if you plan on living in a country for an extended period of time, you should make an effort to learn the language regardless of whether you're in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Spain or wherever else. English for the United States, so I do think its pretty fucked that these guys got demoted - but thats ignoring the larger issue.

 

On the flip side, I hardly feel that Spanish can be considered an "Immigrant" language as 12.5% of the current US population is listed as Hispanic. Granted that doesn't necessarily mean that every Hispanic person in the united states speaks Spanish - but you get my drift. And the fact of the matter is, there are millions more native Spanish speakers living here as illegal immigrants, on work visas, student visas, political asylum, etc. etc.

 

Reflecting back to what shit was like around the world wars is really irrelevant. We can talk about the good ole' days - but what would ultimately be more beneficial to Americans - embracing bilingualism or shunning it? Either way, Spanish is spoken in every region of the continental United States - no sense in just writing it off. Another benefit is the relationship to other romance languages - a knowledge of fundamental Spanish could help future studies of Italian, French, and Portuguese.

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for the larger issue, what I never fully understood is why doesn't america embrace being a bilingual country? there's no shame in teaching spanish as a required subject to children from an early age. i don't understand what the drawback would be, yet many people seem to take the "love it or leave it" approach to language as well.

 

but at the same time, bump S.O.D. haha

 

 

i'll tell you something that fucks with me. i live around a small german community and i see no german language in the local stores. i do see spanish, though. all the time.

i've gone to small indian communities. do i see idnian? not much. i do see spanish, though.

 

why, as a nation would we be willing to bow down and make spanish a necessary and exclude all other languages?

 

hispanics (call it bigoted or whatever, i don't give a fuck) want to make it a necessary when mexico doesn't give us such amenities? if i go to mexico and demand free schooling for my kids, free healthcare, etc. i would get laughed at and thrown in the pokey....and i know what they do to gringo's in their pokey's.

 

i'm not racist against hispanics. legal or illegal. i just think it's fucked up to concede to one culture and exclude all others. learn our fucking language. it's not a huge request.

 

everyone expects so much from our country. for free most of the time. it's not free. it costs us a ton. money and otherwise. this is a melting pot.

 

as the posted above said, immigrant who came at the turn of the century took so much pride in learning our language and becoming an american citizen. it meant so much to them to do this.

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I don't necessarily disagree with you - I believe that if you plan on living in a country for an extended period of time, you should make an effort to learn the language regardless of whether you're in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Spain or wherever else. English for the United States, so I do think its pretty fucked that these guys got demoted - but thats ignoring the larger issue.

 

On the flip side, I hardly feel that Spanish can be considered an "Immigrant" language as 12.5% of the current US population is listed as Hispanic. Granted that doesn't necessarily mean that every Hispanic person in the united states speaks Spanish - but you get my drift. And the fact of the matter is, there are millions more native Spanish speakers living here as illegal immigrants, on work visas, student visas, political asylum, etc. etc.

 

Reflecting back to what shit was like around the world wars is really irrelevant. We can talk about the good ole' days - but what would ultimately be more beneficial to Americans - embracing bilingualism or shunning it? Either way, Spanish is spoken in every region of the continental United States - no sense in just writing it off. Another benefit is the relationship to other romance languages - a knowledge of fundamental Spanish could help future studies of Italian, French, and Portuguese.

 

I didn't say it wasn't beneficial to learn a new language. Anywhere in my post. But I think saying comparing the Good ol' days to now is irrelevant is silly. What would ultimately be more beneficial to American in my eyes is making immigrants learn English. Not Forcing the people who live here, and have lived here for years to learn a new language.

 

There is something fundamentally wrong with telling people who have been making a living for themselves, for years that they can no longer do so because we don't think it's necessary for immigrants to speak English.

 

I understand your point, and I agree that American schools as a whole should put more focus on being Bilingual. But I think that goes for immigrants as well. To say that the people who are living here have less rights to work than people who just moved here, and obviously have no respect for the way things are run is ludacris.

 

The fact is that we are giving jobs to people in our country, that are 1. here illegally. And 2. Completely unconcerned with becoming a functioning member of the country. To go somewhere for the money only, and ignore the rest of the culture is a fucked up thing to do. And BILINGUAL means 2!! I think that should go for the immigrants as well. How're you going to try and rationalize making American people learn Spanish, but completely ignore the fact that most immigrants don't want to be bothered to learn English? They want us to learn their language, and make all sorts of exceptions for them. Why? So they can take our jobs and money?

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To go somewhere for the money only, and ignore the rest of the culture is a fucked up thing to do.

 

Americans have been doing this shamelessly for going on 200 years. In fact, you pretty much summed up the situation in Iraq.

 

Besides, the US doesn't have an official language. Since everyone has to communicate (which is a logical requirement for any job), then prior to hiring someone the person in charge needs to establish if the candidate is bilingual. If not, they can take the job on a provisional basis as long as they take a basic Spanish course. Or get another job.

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I didn't say it wasn't beneficial to learn a new language. Anywhere in my post. But I think saying comparing the Good ol' days to now is irrelevant is silly. What would ultimately be more beneficial to American in my eyes is making immigrants learn English. Not Forcing the people who live here, and have lived here for years to learn a new language.

 

There is something fundamentally wrong with telling people who have been making a living for themselves, for years that they can no longer do so because we don't think it's necessary for immigrants to speak English.

 

I understand your point, and I agree that American schools as a whole should put more focus on being Bilingual. But I think that goes for immigrants as well. To say that the people who are living here have less rights to work than people who just moved here, and obviously have no respect for the way things are run is ludacris.

 

The fact is that we are giving jobs to people in our country, that are 1. here illegally. And 2. Completely unconcerned with becoming a functioning member of the country. To go somewhere for the money only, and ignore the rest of the culture is a fucked up thing to do. And BILINGUAL means 2!! I think that should go for the immigrants as well. How're you going to try and rationalize making American people learn Spanish, but completely ignore the fact that most immigrants don't want to be bothered to learn English? They want us to learn their language, and make all sorts of exceptions for them. Why? So they can take our jobs and money?

 

 

If you read my previous post, you would have seen that I think its important to learn the native language no matter what country you're living in, United States included. That being said, the reality of the situation is that Spanish is spoken in every region of the continental United States - just because you think they should learn English doesn't mean that Spanish will go away, nor should it. Also, learning a language doesn't happen overnight, and a lot of the immigrants you speak of that prided themselves on learning English didn't always happen with the first generation of settlers.

 

As for why it should be encouraged: Look, auto mechanics who specialized on a certain type of car in the 80's no longer specialize in that type of car. How come? Cars are designed differently today, so working on cars today would require learning a new skill set as they went along, no? More and more Spanish speakers are living in America, illegally AND legally - you want a leg up in numerous fields? Learn Spanish. I never said anyone should be forced to learn Spanish to adapt - I said it would be beneficial, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be encouraged, not forced.

 

Also, don't blame the people moving here for work if you have a problem with illegal immigration - blame the companies that outsource, supported by government policies that force people in other countries to work for $1 a day, or blame the corporations that union bust and hire illegal immigrants. If the economy completely folded today and there were better economic opportunities in South America - would you consider moving there? How fast do you think think you could learn the Argentinian dialect of Spanish?

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My post never said that American's should not learn Spanish. Nor that it should take 5 minutes to learn. I feel like you and I are about to have a DAO/Spitfire post attack, and that's not what I want. I totally agree that learning Spanish is beneficial, and that more people should be ENCOURAGED to do so. I don't think we differ on that. But I don't think learning Spanish should be required in this country i.e The fire pit crews. In a Spanish speaking country, of course it should. Just as I would assume learning German would be a pre-requisite to getting a job in Germany.

 

What mainly seems to irritate me is that yes, The Us does provide people with a place to come get jobs, legally and Illegally. But I don't think that just because I moved to Argentina, I would start demanding Argentina to make English a national language, or fire my boss because he couldn't speak English.

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hahaha - the worst part is, is I think we both fundamentally agree on the same points. only difference being the wording and perspective. and I understand your irritation fully, but this is the reality of the situation. right now, I guess one solution would be writing the senator or representative from this district and complain of unfair hiring practices. alluding to the post by shai - at the very least, before being demoted, the crew chiefs should at least be given a remedial conversational spanish course tailored to this line of work in order to keep their rank/position. maybe that could be a viable solution? or offer english classes to those that want to work government contracted jobs...

 

My post never said that American's should not learn Spanish. Nor that it should take 5 minutes to learn. I feel like you and I are about to have a DAO/Spitfire post attack, and that's not what I want. I totally agree that learning Spanish is beneficial, and that more people should be ENCOURAGED to do so. I don't think we differ on that. But I don't think learning Spanish should be required in this country i.e The fire pit crews. In a Spanish speaking country, of course it should. Just as I would assume learning German would be a pre-requisite to getting a job in Germany.

 

What mainly seems to irritate me is that yes, The Us does provide people with a place to come get jobs, legally and Illegally. But I don't think that just because I moved to Argentina, I would start demanding Argentina to make English a national language, or fire my boss because he couldn't speak English.

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i agree with gimme yo panties a ton. very well said.

 

one thing i just thought about, 100 years ago schoolchildren were taught latin.

it's a very old language, and most everyone at one time spoke latin as well as kings english.

most, however, did not use latin in conversation. they spoke kings english.

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i agree with gimme yo panties a ton. very well said.

 

one thing i just thought about, 100 years ago schoolchildren were taught latin.

it's a very old language, and most everyone at one time spoke latin as well as kings english.

most, however, did not use latin in conversation. they spoke kings english.

 

the reason why is because the bible was written in latin and catholic mass used to be held in latin - there are still churches that do this, but its pretty rare in america now. kind of like how you're supposed to read the qaran in arabic. greek was also taught as well, for reading historical and classical literature texts in the original language.

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the reason why is because the bible was written in latin and catholic mass used to be held in latin - there are still churches that do this, but its pretty rare in america now. kind of like how you're supposed to read the qaran in arabic. greek was also taught as well, for reading historical and classical literature texts in the original language.

 

 

that and it was also a much more educated nation. think of the statesmen that era turned out.

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I just asked a friend of mine who is a firefighter about this and he said that this is the first he has ever heard of something like that. I am not in Oregon though he does respond to fires in Oregon during the summer season if they are big enough. As far as this happening in Oregon.

http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/AGENCY_AFFAIRS/firefightingcrewlanguagerequirements.shtml

So it looks like that article is fairly inaccurate Casek, I wonder if they printed a retraction of the article? Somehow I doubt it, but this article obviously does increase anti-Hispanic sentiment across the country, and further the Neo-conservative agenda.

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