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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Losing Your American Job for Not Speaking Spanish

In light of our recent post Fed up with “Press 1 for English?” , let's review a prior FoxNews report talking about American firefighters losing jobs to Mexicans that can't speak English.

Oregon is requiring fire crew bosses to be able to communicate with ALL of the firefighters under their command as they fight wildfires in the state. Most of the firefighters are Hispanic and only speak Spanish. If the crew bosses do not speak Spanish; some of them are being laid off or demoted. Your Comments?

Tags: English, firefighter, Fox News, hispanic, Mexican, Oregon, Spanish, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 6:02 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Rod Eccles said...

This seems to be typical Liberal government policy. Blame the American for everything and force them to bend over backwards but let those from south of the border or anywhere else and never require them to speak or understand the language that is spoken around the world. Why not require the workers to speak English? I am sure its because Oregon thinks it would be unfair for the lowly worker to learn the Business Language of the world.

[Comment cross posted at

Blogger Rod Nichols said...

The story on Fox and other news media claiming that Oregon is firing its fire crew bosses over their inability to speak Spanish is erroneous.

Here are the facts:
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has no requirement that its employees speak Spanish, and does not demote or fire anyone because of their inability to speak Spanish. And to our knowledge, no crew boss on the private contract fire crews that we use has ever been fired on account of not being able to speak Spanish, either.

Because English is the language of firefighting in the U.S., we must have the ability to communicate with all of our crews. Accordingly, the interagency contract requires that the leaders of contract crews speak English. This requirement covers the crew boss and the three squad bosses on a typical 20-person crew.

Because they are private businesses, the crew contractors may choose whom they hire for their crews. But if a company elects to hire employees who do not speak English, then our contract requires that the supervisors of that crew, in addition to speaking English, must also be able to speak the language of any crew members who do not speak English. This is a matter of good communication, safety and effectiveness for the agencies that hire crews under the contract.

For more information go to the Oregon Dept. of Forestry web,, or contact: Rod Nichols,

Rod Nichols
Oregon Dept. of Forestry

Blogger Bill Smith said...

In response to Rod Nichols (Oregon Dept. of Forestry):

First, thank you for posting your comment.

You stated that Fox News incorrectly reported "that Oregon is firing its fire crew bosses over their inability to speak Spanish is erroneous."

Fox News actually reported: "Oregon is requiring fire crew bosses to be able to communicate with ALL of the firefighters under their command as they fight wildfires in the state." Which was true - you were doing so by enforcing the terms of "Your" contract.

The contractor's fire crew bosses were being fired because You (Oregon DOF) was enforcing a provision under a contract.

A provision which should not have been a requirement. If you were to hire all the people, would you have required that they ALL speak English? The truth is you contracted for services because you were unable to get the job done with your own manpower and then you placed a contract requirement on the contractor which the DOF was not willing to impose on itself.

Why didn't you place in your contract that contractors had to hire only workers who spoke English? Why didn't you put in your contract that the contractor could only hire legal residents of the United States?

Although I can understand your reasoning for your contract requirement, the fact is that (without all your accompanying explanations) Fox News caught the Oregon DOF with its "pants down." In fact, Oregon did require "contracted" fire crew bosses to be able to communicate with ALL of the firefighters under their command as they fight wildfires in the state. And it appears, American firefighters were subject to losing or lost their jobs to Mexicans that can't speak English.


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