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IAFF Local 332
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Why Bother To Join The Fire Fighters Union?
Updated On: May 04, 2004



What benefits are there in joining the IAFF?  There are numerous reasons why all fire fighters in Asheville should be a member.



Why Bother?


A question that is repeatedly asked is “What can the Asheville Fire Fighters, Local 865, IAFF, do for me?  When IAFF’s 12th District Vice President Dominick Barbera is asked a question like this by fire fighters, he quickly answers, “The Union has already done it.  It is now up to you to keep it.” You can do this by uniting with the members of your profession.  Every day, employer groups are urging politicians at every level of government to take away many of the benefits most public employees take for granted.


Every benefit that working people enjoy today (that did not exist in the sweat shops at the turn of the century) can be traced to the efforts of labor unions – FLSA overtime, employer provided health insurance, worker’s compensation, paid vacation, OSHA protection, retirement pay, Social Security and Medicare.  This long list of labor won benefits continues.  Companies and sectors of all levels of governments, who have never been organized by a union, offer the benefits won by unions to be able to compete in the work force.


The IAFF has been a leader in this fight since 66 fire fighter locals chartered the IAFF on February 18, 1918.  The heritage of fire fighting has always been one of bravery, loyalty and devotion to public service.  Success in this profession is only possible when there is unity of purpose.  These qualities are what shaped the IAFF into a Bold Union of over 2,500 locals and 265,000 members.  Over 90% of the fire fighters in the US and Canada are IAFF members.  This document offers a glimpse into why our members are proud of their affiliation with the IAFF.


Networking:  Your Local’s leaders have a yearly updated IAFF directory to enable them to make contact with the officers of over 2,500 locals in the United States and Canada.  There is almost no problems Local 865 will face that someone else has not already found a solution.


Advocacy:  The IAFF and Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics of North Carolina have legislation introduced, as well as fight against bad legislation, to protect fire fighter’s interest.  In addition to legislation, your interests are represented before the federal, state and local agencies.  The IAFF is an advocate for you at all levels of government when your profession is under fire by those who would take away benefits and danger your safety.


Discounts;  As a member of Local 865, you are offered a variety of benefits including life insurance, retirement investments, reduced home mortgage plans and more.


Unity;  The only way that fire fighters can have political respect is to speak with a united voice.  Management will no longer make a decision affecting operations, pay or benefits without wondering where the union will stand on the issue.  And, remember, you are the union.


Recourse:  When your profession has a problem, there is only one place Local 865 has to look for possible solutions.  The IAFF can gather, analyze and disseminate information to assist in preparation and conduct of referenda and community relations activities.  They have the expertise to provide research and technical assistance concerning major problems effecting fire fighters such as staffing, privatization and consolidation to name a few.


Newsletters:  The IAFF, PFFPNC and Local 865 have expert publications relating to your profession such as research, legislation affecting fire fighters and commentary that you will not find elsewhere.


Seminars, Workshops, etc.: The IAFF and the PFFPNC offer numerous seminars and workshops to train your association’s leadership to help your local become successful.


Research: The IAFF has been the indisputable national leader on research at almost no cost to its members.  Through federal grants in the 1970’s, the IAFF sponsored much needed research which established the standard for fire fighter protective clothing such as PBI and improved SCBA, etc.  Asheville’s Local officers have access to the IAFF’s Health and Safety Department and its training staff of researchers.


Training Development: Down through the years the IAFF has been the nation’s leader in promoting and developing various training programs.  During the1970’s, the IAFF secured grants from the federal government and in cooperation with the International Association of Fire Chief’s, sponsored the EMT Certification program.  Also during this period, and in cooperation with the IAFC and the US Department of Labor, the IAFF launched the Firefighter I, II and III training and certification program.  More lately, the IAFF developed ten hazardous materials training programs and is currently offering training to fire departments across the nation.  Several fire fighters from Asheville have had access to this training.


Legal Assistance:  Local 865 is able to offer legal guidance and assistance.  The IAFF, PFFPNC and Local 865 have quick access to the top law firms in the nation and state should there be an issue where legal assistance is needed.


Political Activity:  In attempting to increase political power of fire fighters, the IAFF encourages political involvement at all levels of government.  By uniting in a solid block of political activity, it is more difficult for the politicians to ignore the requests of the fire fighter.  The IAFF and PFFPNC provide information, ideas and assistance so that members can become politically involved.  This assistance comes in the form of education, active campaigning and establishment of PAC funds.  The IAFF, PFFPNC and Local 865 have leaders who can mobilize members and get action going when it is needed.





Hopefully, you will agree that the question should no longer be – Why bother joining Local 865 and the IAFF…but…Why isn’t every fire fighter in the Asheville Fire Department a member?


For additional information, click on IAFF benefiting fire fighters in Asheville.


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