IAFF BENEFITS FOR NORTH CAROLINA FIRE FIGHTERS AND PARAMEDICS
Political decisions affecting every aspect of the professional fire fighter's lives in North Carolina are being made in Washington, D. C., Raleigh, and in local city halls. It is important that fire fighters understand the law making process and unite to influence these decisions at every level of government. This begins with the affiliation in the largest association of organized professional fire fighters in the world. The International Association of Fire Fighters represents, and works for, a membership of approximately 225,000 in more than 2400 locals. The Legislative Program is directed by the IAFF Department of Governmental Affairs and Political Action and is responsible for a number of legislative victories in Washington.
FAIR LABOR STANDARDS OVERTIME
The Fair Labor Standards Overtime provision is enjoyed by most North Carolina Fire Fighters today because of the persistent efforts of the IAFF. After the 1985 Garcia Decision, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the U. S. Conference of Mayors joined forces in an effort to have Senate Bill 1570 and similar bills passed which would have exempted professional fire fighters from overtime pay. Whether cities choose to give fire fighters time off during an uninterrupted FLSA work cycle or pay overtime, the benefit to a North Carolina fire fighter earning $900 bi-weekly is the equivalent of $48 per month. Even with the fluctuating work week often imposed on Paramedics, the increase in earnings are substantial.
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 benefits plans" such as, sick leave, disability pay, and others. The IRS' intentions were to tax the employee at the time of accrual. This included benefits already banked by the employee. The taxation would have also included any insurance premiums paid by cities on the employee. If it had not been for the IAFF and other public employees unions passing corrective legislation, North Carolina fire fighters' salary checks would be much smaller. For a fire fighter or paramedic earning $900 bi-weekly each 24 hour sick day banked would have cost approximately $20 in taxes. How many sick days have you accumulated? Health care and life insurance premiums would have been approximately $20 per month in additional taxes.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE NOTIFICATION
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 diseased person. After several years of united effort, the IAFF was successful in getting the "Infectious Disease Notification Law" passed and continues to assist locals in protecting their members under this law. No one wants an infectious disease nor do they want to unknowingly carry a disease home to their family.
During the Savings and Loan bail-out, several members of Congress and former President 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 $100,00 for each participant in the plan. Losing pensions due to bank failure would be devastating to all North Carolina family's security. How much is this worth to you as a fire fighter or paramedic?
IRC SECTION 415
Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) was developed to prevent taxpayer subsidies of exorbitant pensions sometimes paid to top executives of major corporations. A major problem developed due to the method the IRS used to compute the Section 415 limits which failed to take into account certain features of public employee pension plans threatening the tax exempt status of North Carolina fire fighter and paramedic pensions. If this had happened, fire fighters would have paid more taxes and received smaller pension benefits when they retired. The IAFF helped pass legislation establishing a fair method of calculating Section 415 limitations on pensions protecting public employees pension plans against losing their tax-exempt status. An N. C. fire fighter or paramedic earning $450 per week would have paid approximately $20 per month in additional taxes plus taxes on all accrued benefits if this legislation had not passed.
OTHER IAFF LEGISLATIVE PROJECTS
· Federal Hatch Act Reform. (Passed)
· Continue FLSA overtime protection.
· Fire Fighter National Collective Bargaining.
· Hazardous Materials Transportation Identification Legislation. (Passed)
· Manufacturer Presumptive Liability for fire fighter protective clothin and equipment. (Passed)
· High Risk Occupational Disease Notification and Prevention. (Passed)
· National Health Care.
· Expanding OSHA coverage to public employees. (Passed)
· Improving the IRS Section 457 to make the plan more secure for public employees.(Passed)
· And Many Others !! (See IAFF Web Site)
OTHER IAFF DEPARTMENTS
Due to the success of the IAFF's legislative agenda through the years, fire fighters and paramedics in North Carolina receive back many times more than what it costs for monthly union dues. The reasons for being a member of the IAFF, however, does not begin and end with its political and legislative activities. In addition to services available from the offices of the Executive Board Officers, the IAFF has eight departments to assist the North Carolina locals in numerous areas.
· Department of Technical Assistance and Labor Issues
· Department of Education and Information Resources
· Department of Occupational Health and Safety
· Department of Hazardous Materials Training Grants and Programs
· Department of Governmental Affairs and Political Action
· Department of Public Relations and Communications
· Department of EMS
· Department of Special Events
· In-house Legal Services
IAFF Financial Corp - A wholly owned financial company of the IAFF offering members mortgages, 457 retirement options, home & auto insurance coverage, banking, and many other financial benefits - Available to members only. Learn more here