FOP and IAFF work together to protect America's first responders

06/17/2003

Today National Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury announced a cooperative effort with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) to ensure that public safety personnel are not adversely affected by recently proposed changes to the regulations governing overtime coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

"The nation's largest law enforcement labor organization is teaming up with the nation's largest organization representing professional firefighters and EMS personnel to ensure fair compensation for public safety professionals throughout the nation," Canterbury said. "These brave men and women are concerned about the proposed changes to the FLSA regulations, and we are working together to protect their right to receive overtime pay."

On 31 March, the U.S. Department of Labor published a notice of proposed rulemaking to "update and revise the regulations" implementing the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay for executive, administrative, [and] professional employees," the so-called "white collar" exemptions of the FLSA. Public comments on the proposal are due by 30 June, and over the next several weeks, Canterbury stated that the FOP and IAFF will work together to address the concerns of the hundreds of thousands of police, fire, and EMS employees across the nation.

Canterbury noted that the primary concern of the FOP is that the final rule, when issued, reflects the increased hazards and workloads faced by public safety employees in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. In addition, Canterbury said the regulations should further recognize that the increased burdens of homeland security on State and local public safety officers do not only fall on rank-and-file employees, as first- and second-level supervisors must also work extra hours to ensure the safety and security of the communities they serve.

"Our goal is to work with the Labor Department toward recognition of the unique nature of the work performed by America's first responders, and their primary mission of protecting our communities from threats to their safety and security," Canterbury said. "No other public or private sector employee is required to stand as the first line of defense for their fellow citizens, nor to place their lives on the line in this regard. We will continue to work cooperatively with the Administration and the Department to ensure that these concerns are reflected in the final regulations."

The Fraternal Order of Police is the nation's largest law enforcement labor organization, with more than 306,000 members. The International Association of Fire Fighters is the nation's largest organization of professional firefighters, paramedics and emergency response personnel, with 260,000 members.