Paywatch: Thanks to the Public Employee Union, Multiple LA Lifeguards Make Nearly $400K a Year

AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

In LA, you can make a lot of money — and not just in entertainment.

Speaking of, in 1989, Baywatch debuted.

After only one season, the swimsuited series was canned.

Sensing it could still blow up, the creative/production team bought the rights; David Hasselhoff took a salary cut for an executive producer role.

The new version — with Hasselhoff now set to profit — was revived for television syndication in 1991.

Fast-forward to gargantuan international success, complete with a two-season spin-off and a feature film.

From Fox Business:

At the height of its popularity, Baywatch was the most widely-viewed TV series in the world, pulling in an estimated weekly audience of more than 1.1 billion viewers in 142 countries.

And:

Experts estimate Hasselhoff alone made around $100 million…

Therefore, consider him the world’s richest lifeguard.

And now meet what’s surely the world’s second richest — also from California.

As reported by Forbes, lifeguards in The Golden State can really clean up.

Per OpenTheBooks.com CEO Adam Andrzejewski, his organization found that, in 2019, 82 LA County guardians of the shore raked in more than $200,000.

Seven lifeguards reeled in more than $300,000.

And — look out, Mitch Buchannon — one swim-trunked savior pulled in $391,971.

Here’s how Fernando Boiteux’s earnings break down: $205,619 in salary, $60,452 in perks, and $125,900 in benefits.

Just below Fernando sits Captain Daniel Douglas, who scored $140,706 in salary, $21,760 in “other pay,” and $74,709 in benefits.

Oh, and also: overtime pay of $131,493.

Daniel’s tally: $368,668.

From Forbes:

Thirty-one lifeguards made between $50,000 and $131,493 in overtime during the year. For example, Daniel Douglas (comp: $368,668; overtime: $131,493), Jaro Snopek (comp: $292,455; overtime:$119,669) and James Orr (comp: $281,270; overtime: $113,015) each made over $100,000 in overtime alone.

How’d such financial conquests occur?

According to Andrew — as expressed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed — the answer’s simple: unions.

After 30 years of service, [lifeguards] can retire as young as 55 on 79% of their pay. The Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association makes all this possible. Since 1995 the union has bargained for better wages, hours, benefits and working conditions.

In 2009, Santa Monica came to an agreement with LA County: The city would pay $25 million over ten years. In 2019, the contract was extended for five years to the tune of $17 million.

As Andrew notes, “There were no identified competitors, and the contract wasn’t put out for bid.”

It seems good to be a public employee in the state. Per Forbes, taxpayers fork over $45 billion a year to those who work for California.

That bill’s set to be stretched across fewer folks — California’s shrinking in population.

And I doubt most moving out are public employees.

Likely to stay: Some very lucky lifeguards.

That being said, to all those who sweatily keep swimmers secure, I salute you.

And to those escaping the West Coast for Texas, Nashville, and the like — as well as those staying with the palm trees to fight for their home — I hope your spirits run free…just as they do on TV:

And if you’re out of work in Southern California…maybe look into lifeguarding.

-ALEX

 

See more pieces from me:

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Find all my RedState work here.

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