IAFF BENEFITING FIRE
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
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
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.
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
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?
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?
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
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
- Federal Hatch Act Reform (Passed)
- Continue FLSA overtime protection (Another
victory in 2004)
- Fire Fighter National Collective Bargaining
- Hazardous material transportation Identification
- National Health Care Expansion
- Expanding OSHA coverage to public employees
- Making IRS Section more secure for public
- Federal funding to fire departments with the
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (Passed and continuing to
- Federal funding for fire department staffing
much like the federal law enforcement funding. (Passed and now working on getting
funding in the budget)
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 additional information, click on “Why Bother?”