The IAFF entered the 1950s with a membership of 72,000 and a rising awareness among fire fighters that pay increases did not match the rates of inflation. The union turned its focus to strengthening the collective bargaining process by advocating for compulsory arbitration laws. The union also began a decades-long and largely successful effort to keep fire fighters’ pensions from being absorbed into the Social Security system.
At the 20th IAFF Convention, IAFF leaders mandate the establishment of an annual salary of $5,000 per year and urge members to persist in their efforts to secure the necessary legislation to have the salary mandate established into law in their communities. A goal is set to establish a 40-hour work week and to allow retirement at half pay after 20 years of service. In addition, the IAFF calls for three-quarters pay for fire fighters disabled in the line of duty and a minimum benefit for widows of $1,200 per year.
In the last 25 years, salaries of policemen and firemen employed in United States cities have increased more than 80 percent.
The IRS rules that if firemen are required to wear distinctive types of uniforms while at work, and if such uniforms are not suitable for ordinary wear, then they may deduct the cost of their maintenance as a necessary business expense.
The IAFF leads a movement against congressional bill HR 6000, which permits all public employees of state and local governments to be included under Social Security, arguing to exclude all public employees in positions covered by retirement systems.
“During the last two years, through the action of the International Labor Organization, all the progressive nations of the earth have secured the right to organize and bargain collectively. This, at last, has been accepted as a universal right by all the nations of the earth. The gateway to universal peace and prosperity is slowly opening the way for all mankind to enjoy.”John P. Redmond, IAFF President (1946-1957)
The U.S. Department of Treasury informs the IAFF that new locals are exempt from federal income tax.
The IAFF stresses the importance of first-aid training for fire department employees.
The IAFF warns members that the rapidly increasing use of television antennas poses an emerging fire risk.
The IAFF lauds Congress’ passage of a retroactive pay increase for the District of Columbia and Canal Zone fire fighters, and an increase in widows’ pensions.