“On September 11, 2001, our nation swore to Never Forget, and this nation finally lived up to that solemn vow,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “This important law (Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund) permanently reauthorizes this essential, life-sustaining compensation fund for fire fighters, emergency medical responders and other responders who never quit until the completion of their mission after the devastating attacks of September 11.”
For 65 years, when not fighting fires, IAFF locals have been fighting another ongoing threat — muscular dystrophy, a disease that includes more than 40 neuromuscular disorders.
The NFORS Exposure Tracker app was created to give IAFF members a place to log exposure and incident details in a private, encrypted and secure online environment. The information shows when and where carcinogenic exposures are likely to have occurred. The app was developed through a partnership with the IAFF, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, International Public Safety Institute (IPSDI) and other fire service experts.
As more and more women choose fire fighting as a career, the IAFF moves forward with plans to better address women’s health issues including pregnancy to include health guidelines and other resources.
Soon after former Vice President Joe Biden, a long-time friend of the fire fighters and the labor movement, announced his candidacy for president, the IAFF announced its decision to endorse him. The International’s members got behind him 100 percent. The IAFF gold and black could be seen at nearly all Biden’s campaign events.
The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act to permanently extend the September 11th Fund (VCF) was signed into law, the result of tireless efforts by the IAFF, the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Local 94, Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) Local 854 and many others to make sure those who become ill as a result of their work at Ground Zero get the benefits and care they deserve.
Thanks to strong lobbying efforts by the Professional Fire Fighters Association (PFFA) of Louisiana, the state legislature unanimously passed SB 107 adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of injuries eligible for workers’ compensation. Governor John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law on June 5.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill granting benefits to fire fighters who develop cancer, making Florida the 47th state to recognize the disease as an occupational injury.
The law provides full coverage for cancer, including disability and death benefits and recognizes 21 cancers as linked to firefighting. The coverage will be provided, not through a workers’ compensation claim as in many other states, but instead through an employer-provided group health plan. The coverage includes a one-time, lump-sum payment of $25,000 to fire fighters upon a cancer diagnosis.
New Brunswick became the fifth province to formally recognize post-traumatic stress as an occupational disease among first responders. Legislation introduced earlier this year was officially signed into law June 29. The legislation helps protect members in seven IAFF locals in New Brunswick. Presumptive coverage for post-traumatic stress for the purpose of workers compensation benefits now exists in half of Canada’s 10 provinces and covers a vast majority of the nation’s 23,000 members.
Fire fighters in Canada’s easternmost province are celebrating a hard-fought victory with the announcement that Newfoundland and Labrador will amend its workers’ compensation rules to specify that 11 types of cancer are presumed occupational when contracted by fire fighters who have worked a pre-determined number of years on the job.
With these changes, presumptive coverage for professional fire fighters now exists in every Canadian jurisdiction in which there are IAFF affiliates.
Membership in the IAFF has grown to a record 320,000 professional fire fighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada. Since 2000, when Harold Schaitberger took office, membership has grown 45 percent.
After years of intense lobbying by the IAFF, Congress did the right thing and repealed the employer-provided health insurance tax, more commonly referred to as the Cadillac Tax.
The Cadillac Tax was set to go into effect in 2022 and would have imposed an arbitrary 40 percent tax on employer-provided health insurance. The dangerous tax would have shifted the burden of coverage on to workers through high deductibles-co-pays and coinsurance while doing little to lower costs.