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Charlotte Fire Fighters Granted Payroll Deduction

January 17, 2013 – In a time when payroll dues deduction has come under attack in many municipalities, Charlotte, NC Local 660 fire fighters are getting it for the first time. The Charlotte City Council voted 6-5 to allow union dues to be automatically taken out of  member paychecks and deposited directly in the union bank account.

Local 660, with assistance from the IAFF and other labor organizations lobbied Charlotte leaders for the deductions. The Charlotte City Council conceded and decided to consider the issue. “With the knowledge that we gained at the IAFF Affiliate Leadership Training Summit and other events, we were able to steadily build our reputation in the community and convince the City to grant us dues deduction,” says Local 660 President Tom Brewer.

“This is no small accomplishment,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “The IAFF has been proud to stand with its Charlotte members to push successfully toward their dues deduction goal.”

“This has certainly been a collaborative undertaking that was well worth the effort, a job well-done,” adds IAFF 12th District Vice President Larry Osborne.

Collective bargaining is not allowed in North Carolina. So when it was announced that the Democratic National Convention was coming to Charlotte, many labor groups, including within the IAFF, decided not to attend. The show of unity among brother and sister members of labor demonstrated to the Charlotte City Council that Charlotte Local 660 and other labor groups were a political force that deserved recognition.

Brewer says one ALTS workshop -- on coalition building and organizing -- was particularly helpful to the effort. “Just by implementing what we learned, we were able to form coalitions and help elect four labor-friendly candidates to political office with just $1,200 in our PAC fund last election cycle. And now, we have payroll deduction, " he says.

Details on how soon deductions can be implemented and other logistics are still being determined.

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