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How to Join

Local Associations Map

Locals are signing up across the country. Check out our associations map for more info.

How Can Our Local Enroll?

Your Local must enroll as a group and must not allow individual election in accordance with IRS guidelines. Your Local must enter into a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), or similar language in which your employer agrees to:

  • Transfer regular contributions to the pooled MERP account; and
  • Transfer accrued sick and/or vacation leave into MERP (if applicable).

In some instances, you may designate different classes of employees within the bargaining unit (by date of hire or years of service, for example).

Locals with Collective Bargaining

Participation in the IAFF MERP must be bargained into your contract and the following must be submitted:

  • Master Application
  • Joinder Agreement (three-way signed agreement: Trust, Employer, and Local)
  • Copy of your bargaining language or MOU
  • Enrollment for each Eligible Member (forms or census enrollment)

All bargaining unit members within the Defined Eligible Class must participate. Non-Local members cannot be excluded.

Locals without Collective Bargaining

Contributions can be made Pre-Tax or Post-Tax

If Contributions will be pre-tax,

  • There must be a Special Agreement in place between the Trust and the Association.
  • The Special Agreement must make contributions mandatory on behalf of all Local members within the defined eligible class in order to get pre-tax treatment.
  • The Special Agreement must be signed by the Association and by the Employer.

If Contributions will be post-tax,

  • No Special Agreement is needed with the Employer, however there should still be a Joinder Agreement signed by the Association that commits contributions on behalf of all Local members within the defined eligible class.

Contributions can be Employer-funded or Member-funded but must be restricted to dues-paying members of the IAFF Local. Non-Association members are excluded from participating.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in providing the IAFF MERP benefit for your Local, we suggest using the Trust Consultants as a resource to help you through the following steps:

  • Set up a meeting with the Trust Consultants and your Local Executive Board to review the plan.
  • Determine what contribution strategies will work best for your Local and whether any carve-outs of your membership would be beneficial.
  • Draft the proposed contract language or a Memo of Understanding (MOU) for upcoming negotiations.
  • Develop a plan for educating members on the program and its benefits. This can include virtual and/or in-person meetings, station visits, and more.

Interested in Joining Us?

Contact us to learn more about the plan and how your local can participate.