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Asheville Fire Fighters Association
IAFF Local 332
May 23, 2017
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IAFF Benefiting Fire Fighters
Updated On: May 04, 2004
IAFF BENEFITING FIRE FIGHTERS

IAFF BENEFITING FIRE FIGHTERS

IN ASHEVILLE

 

Why is it so important that professional fire fighters in Asheville unite with fire fighters from other cities in North Carolina and from other states in political action? This section of Local 865’s web page is just a small sample of the benefits won over the years due to the efforts of United Fire Fighters.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF

FIRE FIGHTERS

 

Political decisions affecting every aspect of the professional fire fighter’s lives in Asheville are being made in Washington, D.C., Raleigh and in our City Hall.  It is important that fire fighters understand the law and rule making process and unite to influence these decisions at every level of government.

 

This begins with being a member of the largest association of organized professional fire fighters in the world.  The IAFF represents and works for a membership of approximately 265,000 in more than 25,000 locals.  Our Legislative Program is directed by the IAFF Department of Governmental Affairs and Political Action and is mostly responsible for the fire fighter legislative victories in Washington.

 

 

FAIR LABOR STANDARDS OVERTIME

 

The Fair Labor Standards Overtime provision is enjoyed by Asheville Fire Fighters today due to the persistent efforts of the IAFF.  As a result of the 1985 US Supreme Court Garcia Decision, all public employees were granted overtime, Following this decision, the National League of Cities, the US Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties joined forces in an effort to have Senate Bill 1570 and other similar bills passed which would have exempted professional fire fighters from overtime pay. 

 

The IAFF worked at an unbelievable pace to insure that fire fighters had the benefit of the overtime we enjoy today.  For the first time in the history, in April 1986, overtime for career fire fighters came into affect.  On the local level, Local 865 also worked to ensure that the eligible IAFF members in Asheville were granted the benefit under the new federal law.  Unfortunately, most professional fire fighters in North Carolina, who fail to organize an IAFF local by April 1988, still do not enjoy this benefit.

 

Whether the City chooses to give fire fighters time off during an uninterrupted FLSA work cycle or pay overtime, the benefit to Asheville Fire Fighters, working an average of a 56 hour work week and earning $1000 bi-weekly, is the equivalent of $54 per month. Under the current 27 day work cycle, one uninterrupted long cycle will pay most of the year’s union dues.  Without the work the IAFF did in 1985 and continues to do, there would be no one and one-half overtime pay for working extra days in a work cycle.

 

 

IRS NOTICE 87-13

 

In 1987, the IRS issued notice 87-13 causing concern for state and local employees with respect to taxation of “basic employee benefit plan” such as, sick leave, disability pay, and others.  The IRS’s intentions were to tax the employee at the time of accrual and tax for all benefits the employee had banked up until that date.  The taxation would have also included any insurance premiums paid by their employer on the employee.  Had it not been for the IAFF and other public employees unions passing corrective legislation, Asheville fire fighters bi-weekly checks would have been much smaller.

 

For a fire fighter earning $1000 bi-weekly, each 24 hour sick day banked would have cost approximately $26 in taxes.  How many sick days have you accumulated and how much has this saved you.

 

Health care and life insurance premiums the City pays on all of us would be approximately $20 per month in additional taxes.

 

 

INFECTIOUS DISEASE

 

Hospitals and medical associations worked to defeat legislation that would have required giving out information to first responders who had come in contact with a person with a contagious disease.  After several years of united effort by it’s members, the IAFF was successful in getting the “Infectious Disease Notification Law” passed.  As a result of the IAFF’s work for first responders, if you come in contact with a patient that is suspected as having a life treating communicable disease, you can call the City Nurse and have her to investigate. She will then notify you if you need further tests or preventative treatment.  Getting this type of medical information was nearly impossible before this law was enacted.

 

No one wants an infectious disease nor do they want to unknowing carry a disease home to their family.  How much is this worth to you?

 

PASS-THROUGH INSURANCE

 

During the Savings and Loan bail-out in the early 1990”s, several members and Congress and the former and first President George Bush wanted to limit FDIC coverage of pensions to $100,000 regardless of the number of participants in the plan.  The IAFF was successful in passing legislation to maintain coverage to $100,000 for each participant in the plan. 

 

Losing pensions due to bank failure would be devastating to all fire fighter family retirement security. How much is this worth to you in Asheville?

 

 

IRC SECTION 415

 

Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) was developed to prevent taxpayers subsidies of exorbitant pensions sometimes paid to top executives of major corporations.  A huge problem developed due to the method the IRS used to compute the section 415 limits which failed to take into account certain features of the public employee’s pension plans threatening the tax exempt status of North Carolina Fire Fighters pensions. If this had happened, fire fighters would have paid more taxes now and received smaller pension benefits after they retire.

 

The IAFF took the lead in passing legislation to establish a fair method of calculating Section 415 limitations on pensions to protect public employees pensions plan against losing their tax exempt status.

 

Asheville Fire Fighters earning $1000 bi-weekly would have paid approximately $22 per month in additional taxes plus taxes on all accrued interest if this legislation had not passed.

 

 

OTHER IAFF LEGISLATIVE PROJECTS

 

  • Federal Hatch Act Reform (Passed)
  • Continue FLSA overtime protection (Another victory in 2004)
  • Fire Fighter National Collective Bargaining
  • Hazardous material transportation Identification Legislation
  • National Health Care Expansion
  • Expanding OSHA coverage to public employees (Passed)
  • Making IRS Section more secure for public employees (Passed)
  • Federal funding to fire departments with the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (Passed and continuing to increase funding)
  • Federal funding for fire department staffing much like the federal law enforcement funding.  (Passed and now working on getting funding in the budget)

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

Due to the success of the IAFF’s legislative agenda through the years, Asheville Fire Fighters benefit financially many times over than what they will ever pay in union dues.  The purpose of this document is to illustrate that United Fire Fighters is the key to the IAFF’s success.  For this reason, all Asheville Fire Fighters should make a concerted effort to do all we can to keep Local 865 strong and working for us.

 

For additional information, click on “Why Bother?”

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