Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Federal Firefighters Secure New Benefits and Safety Measures

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Firefighters who work for the federal government will enjoy new benefits and safer working conditions with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), recently signed into law by President Biden. A priority provision for the Fire Fighters (IAFF) in the 2022 NDAA will permit federal firefighters to voluntarily swap shifts. It also establishes a new parental bereavement leave benefit and requires the Department of Defense to prevent the use of toxic chemicals in firefighting foams.

“The demanding 72-hour workweek required of our federal fire fighters is nothing short of brutal. I know firsthand just how difficult it can be to tend to personal or family matters without the flexibility of shift trades,” said General President Edward Kelly. “Correction of this oversight is long overdue, and I am confident this legislative victory will go a long way in resetting the work-life balance of those impacted. I am also very pleased that our federal brothers and sisters will have access to a new parental bereavement leave benefit available to them following the loss of a child. Perhaps most importantly, the provisions around toxic [perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)] will provide additional tools to extinguish cancer from the fire service.”