65-2 #29 April 28, 2011

Union Issues


1. May Union Meeting & Candidate Nomination Meeting
The May Union Meeting and UFA Candidate Nominations will take place on Thursday, May 12th at 10am at the International JFK Hotel, as scheduled on the UFA Workchart Calendar, due to the required Candidate Nomination Meeting for the UFA General Election. The May 2011 Union Meeting will NOT be held at the Taj Mahal during the Delegate Education Seminar.

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2. UFA General Elections
Candidate Petitions (original signatures only) are due at the UFA office by 5pm on Monday, May 2nd. The Candidate Nomination Meeting will take place during the May 12th Union meeting at the International JFK Hotel. Ballots will be mailed on May 26, and counted on June 13, commencing at 9am. Military members serving active duty and not residing in their NY residences may vote via the internet, in accordance with the UFA Constitution. Election results will be announced on that same day, upon ballot count completion at the AAA. Ballot tabulation at the AAA will be conducted under the oversight of the UFA Election Committee, as per the UFA Constitution. The Committee consists of one representative from each borough who is listed on the UFA website. Those elected will take office effective August 1, 2011 for a 3-year term.

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3. Roster Staffing Case Update
On March 29, 2011, a Pre-Hearing Conference was held at the Office of Collective Bargaining before this Agency's Deputy Chair and its General Counsel Steven DeCosta. At this conference, which was held on the record, the UFA set forth its arguments concerning the elimination of the 5th Firefighter on all Engine companies. The UFA argued that the City failed to negotiate the specific terms of the Roster Staffing Agreement and also argued that the City failed to address the negative safety impact caused by its unilateral decision to reduce staffing. Mr. DeCosta's role at the conference was to determine what issues in this case require a hearing and whether or not there were any preliminary issues which would require an interim decision by the Board of Collective Bargaining. One such preliminary issue concerned the interpretation of specific language contained in Paragraph 11 of the roster staffing agreement.

The City has defended against the UFA's improper practice and safety impact charges by claiming that the current roster staffing plan is essentially the same as the roster staffing plan proposed by the Department in 1989. In order to rebut this false claim, the UFA may seek to introduce the actual testimony given by at least one of the City's witnesses in the 1989 hearings. The UFA anticipates that the Board of Collective Bargaining will either issue an interim decision on the case, or an order granting hearings. We have requested to file an information request on the City after that decision or order is issued, so that the UFA can prepare for the future hearings. We will keep the membership apprised as this case moves forward. Delegates are reminded that that the 1996 Roster Staffing Agreement is located in the Contracts & Agreements Chapter of the Delegate Manual.

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4. Riding Under or Reduced Staffed? - Fax the 'Starting Tour Understaffed' Form
It has been documented on numerous occasions that units have been ordered to start the tour while riding understaffed. Per AUC 287, any engine or ladder riding with fewer than 4 Firefighters (3 or less) is understaffed. A ladder riding with 4 Firefighters is defined as a Reduced Staffed Unit. This is not only in violation of staffing requirements in AUC 287 (and also Dept Regulations 17), it is endangering Firefighter and civilian lives.

  • Education/Medicals: Units are placed in service while awaiting details for the 6x after Education Day or Medicals. Battalions are responsible for proper notifications to the Division Staffing Coordinator (DSC) to see that incoming units after Education Day and Annual Medicals are fully staffed at 1800. In accordance with AUC 287, these units should not be riding understaffed while awaiting a member from another unit.
  • End of Tour Injuries: Members injured near the end of a tour are sometimes not being replaced for the incoming tour. Regulations 17.12.9 states: "Any uniformed member requesting medical leave from the field will automatically be placed in such status at the end of the tour if the Medical Officer is unable to reach the firehouse or hospital emergency room where the member is located." If injured and unable to perform your duties, members are reminded to immediately tell your Officer you are injured and "requesting medical leave." This will insure you are properly treated and also require the Battalion to make necessary notifications so that a member is held over or detailed to your company for the beginning of the next tour. REMEMBER: Requesting medical leave immediately after injury is the best way to insure your company does not ride understaffed on the next tour!!!

Fax the Form: The UFA will be filing a grievance and needs your help documenting violations of AUC 287. If your Engine is ordered to ride Under Staffed (3 or fewer FFs) or Ladder Reduce Staffed (4 FFs) at the start of the tour, fax the 'Starting Tour Understaffed' Form and your Officer's Unusual Occurrence Report (if available) to the UFA, Attn: Joseph Miccio, Recording Secretary, at 212-683-4359. Immediately notify the UFA if any Firefighter or civilian is seriously injured due to this staffing reduction!

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5. Understaffed Unit Injury Reporting
Any member who becomes injured in the Line-of-Duty while working in an *Understaffed Engine or Under/Reduced Staffed Ladder is requested to notify your Delegate. The Delegate or another member of the unit should fax a copy of the Officer's Unusual Occurrence Report (if prepared by your Officer) and any additional pertinent information to the UFA at 212-683-4359 or 212-683-0710, ATTN: Joe Miccio, Recording Secretary. Immediately notify the UFA if any firefighter or civilian is seriously injured due to this staffing reduction!

*UNDERSTAFFED UNIT: Per AUC 287, any engine or ladder riding with fewer than 4 Firefighters (3 or less) is Understaffed. A ladder riding with 4 Firefighters is defined as Reduced Staffed Unit.

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6. Firehouse Closings & City Budget
It has been reported that the FDNY is preparing to close 20 companies effective the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. The media reports indicate the Department has identified the companies it intends to close, but has not yet released the list. The UFA has met with various elected officials to discuss strategy to minimize cuts to FDNY operations--and regarding scheduling a Fire Department Budget Hearing at City Hall. The UFA will work with the City Council, support the affected communities (a 45 day notice is required by the City before closings take place) and run an aggressive ad campaign that informs the public how they will be affected by firehouse closings. Steve Cassidy gave an update to all Delegates present at the April 14 Union meeting.

IMPORTANT: Keep faxing those Company OOS Forms whenever your unit is taken out of service or relocated!!!

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7. Modified Response Pilot Expands
The Department expanded the Pilot Program to Brooklyn and Staten Island on April 4. Issues resulting from the Pilot Program were discussed at the Labor Management meeting on March 9. The UFA filed subsequently an Improper Practice citing a safety impact. Recently E-308, a single unit, was dispatched to a gas leak under the Modified Response program, and encountered a working fire upon arrival that resulted in injuries to 8 FFs and displaced many families. This plan in its current form is designed to close FH's and will lead to additional Firefighter injuries. This issue was discussed at the April 14 Union meeting. See attached article from "The Chief."

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8. UCT Case Update
The upcoming dates for our Unified Call Taker hearings are May 18, June 10, June 21 and July 19. UFA and UFOA are also drafting the discovery demand from the City and the Fire Department. Steve updated the membership at the April Union meeting.

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9. Deutsche Bank Trial Starts
The Deutsche Bank trial continues, Monday to Thursday each week, at 0930 hours in Manhattan, at the Supreme Court, 100 Centre St., Part 94 on the 15th floor. The District Attorney expects the trial to last four months. Members are permitted by the Department to wear their Class A uniforms to this trial. In accordance with Department regulations, members in uniform may not speak to the media without the Department's permission. Members of course can attend while wearing other attire identifying themselves as Firefighters. As always, all members are reminded to maintain the professional deportment the public has come to expect from us, in accordance with all Department rules and regulations.

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10. Do Your Part to Protect Your Pensions!!! - Easy Way to Write Your Legislators
Your local state legislators need to know your position--and the facts--if they are to support the UFA in our efforts to protect your hard earned future pensions. It's easy to do. The UFA website has a section that allows you to quickly write your elected officials. Go to the UFA Homepage. Click on the red 'Action Alert' tab, which is right above our 'Bloomberg's Lies' banner. Click the 'Take Action' button. Enter your zip code. It will automatically generate a form letter that explains the facts. Enter your name and click send. Letters will be emailed instantly to Governor Cuomo, your State Senator and your State Assembly Member. Currently we are targeting legislators to educate them about the Variable Supplement Fund (VSF). To be effective, we need you to take action and write your legislators. They need to hear from you to help protect our benefits. Go to the Homepage now to have a say in your future!!!

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11. Police & Fire Public Safety Alliance
The UFA/PBA's Fire & Police Public Safety Alliance continues to combat Mayor Bloomberg's outright lies and misinformation campaign to adversely influence the public and elected officials about police and fire pensions and the Variable Supplement Fund (VSF). We continue to use all our resources to educate our elected officials and the media regarding issues that affect Firefighters and Police Officers, including press conferences, political lobbying and paid advertising. Visit the UFA Homepage, for the latest updates. Steve updated the membership at the April 14 Union Meeting. See attached letter from City Councilman James Saunders, chairman of the Civil Service & Labor Committee to all City Council Members, and the press release from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, regarding the VSF. Also see attached advertisements, media clips and press releases.

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12. 24-Hour Mutual Restriction Policy
The Dept reported the annualized medical leave rate on April 1 was 7.58%. Commissioner Cassano said he intends to take away 24-hour MX privileges if medial leave reaches 7.6% on an annualized basis. Supplement 11 to Dept Order 12, issued February 24, 2011, states: "At the present time, the Department will not consider this suspension unless the rate reaches 7.6% as measured by reported medical leave rates as of the first of each month. Thereafter, the twenty-four hour mutual privilege will be revoked for the month and rates will be reviewed again in the same manner on the first day of the following month."

The UFA filed its grievance, and had the Step 3 hearing at HQ on April 4. The FDNY's new policy of suspending 24-hour mutuals violates the Department's disciplinary procedures, in that it disciplines Firefighters in the absence of formal disciplinary procedures as provided by the UFA's Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") as well as Fire Department regulations. Pursuant to previous attempts by the Department to circumvent proper disciplinary protocol or contractual agreements and restrict mutuals, the rulings in OCB Case numbers A-2485-86, A-2266-85 and A-2439-86, have reversed all such impositions. Based upon the reality that headcount is dramatically reduced, and that Firefighters are forced to work more overtime as a result, it will be statistically impossible for medical leave rates not to continue to increase. The operational policies of the Department (reduced staffing and headcount) essentially created an environment where the triggering event to suspend mutual privileges will be unavoidable.

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13. Return Your Parking Placard # List to UFA
If you have not done so already, Delegates must record placard number assignments, then fax (or mail) the provided company placard roster list to the Recording Secretary's office, ATTN Joseph Miccio at 212-683-4359 (or 212-683-0710 if the first line busy). Enter the placard permit #s given to each member, and company roster changes. Delegates should keep a copy for their records.

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14. Delegate Seminar Topics: Poll Your Members
Many of our members depend heavily upon their Delegates for guidance and important information. Delegates should poll their members prior to attending the seminar so they may have answers to their members' questions when they return. Topics to be addressed this year include: UFA State of the Union Address, UFA media & PR strategies, Compensation Accrual Fund (your annuity investing), Deferred Compensation Plan (457,401k, & IRA), Disability Pensions, CD-72 Preparation, Retirement planning, UFA Dental / Optical / Prescription Drug plans, New Protective Gear, Cancer, Medical Office issues, UFA Criminal Counsel, Grievances & Improper Practices, Being an Effective Delegate, 50% Indicator, Pension Loans, ITHP, Roth IRAs, NYS College Savings Program, Health & Safety issues, Firefighter Legislation & Political action, Pension Planning by the FDNY Pension Unit, and more. In addition, many representatives from health care companies, mortgage companies, financial advisors and others will have exhibit tables and be distributing literature. You can also check out the latest notices for this year's Seminar by visiting the Delegate Seminar Secion. Contact your Delegate if you are looking for info. Seminar dates: May 3 - 6, 2011.

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15. LODI / CD-72 Classes at Delegate Education Seminar
The UFA will be conducting special classes this May during the Delegate Education Seminar to better prepare Company Delegates to properly guide their members. The Department's Line-of-Duty Injury Report (CD-72) is one of the most important documents that is closely scrutinized during the disability pension application approval process. The same is true regarding the Department's Exposure Report (CD-73). Accurate and timely preparation of these reports is paramount to ensure you and your families' financial security are protected if your career is suddenly cut short due to an injury or exposure that occurs during the course of your duties. NOTE: Safety Bulletin 7 is the Department's policy for Line-of-Duty Injury/Exposure reporting.

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16. Young Adult Coverage to Age 26 Open Enrollment
In accordance with the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the City of New York will offer young adults (up to age 26) coverage as dependents on their parents' health plans, effective July 1, 2011. Information for retirees regarding the Young Adult Health Benefits Coverage is posted on the UFA website in the Security Benefit Funds section. An Open Enrollment period, for the sole purpose of enrolling a young adult under your health benefits coverage, will be held from April 1 thru April 30, 2011 for retirees--and May 1 thru May 31, 2011 for active members. All information for both active and retired members including instructions, enrollment forms, FAQs, and premium rates (if applicable) can be obtained on the Office of Labor Relations website at www.nyc.gov/olr. Select "Health Benefits Program" and then select "Young Adult Coverage to Age 26." If you are unable to access the website you may request enrollment material by writing to City of New York, Office of Labor Relations, Health Benefits Program, Attention: Age 26 Unit, 40 Rector Street, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10006. This information can also be found in the SBF Section.

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17. Marsh Catastrophic: New Policies Hold
Marsh (US Life) put a temporary hold on new policy applications. It is awaiting a final determination from the federal government if the plan can continue to offer coverage exactly as it is today, or if it falls under Federal Healthcare Reform guidelines. Marsh met with government representatives on April 4th to discuss this issue; however, Marsh did not get a final determination. Members will be informed as soon as a determination is made.

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18. Date Change--Medal Day 2011--Wednesday, June 8th
As per Dept Order #8, issued February 3, "this year's FDNY Medal Day Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 8th at 1100 hours at City Hall Park. This date change is for this year only." Make sure you adjust your UFA workchart calendars accordingly.

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19. World Police & Fire Games 2011 NYC--Volunteers Needed
The WPFG 2011 is looking for volunteers to make these the best Games ever. New York is hosting the Games, the 2nd largest sporting competition in the world, to respectfully coincide with the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The 2011 WPFG NYC Organizing Committee is looking for both active and retired members (family members as well). The Games are New York's way of honoring all the brothers who we lost on 9/11 and continue to lose from working at Ground Zero and also thanking Fire and Police Departments from around the world that showed their support. The WPFG 2011 is looking for firehouses to adopt-a-sport, which entails help in running the sport by supplying volunteers. Some houses have adopted sports they are familiar with, while other houses have adopted sports that are relatively close to their firehouses. There are many venues in the five boroughs, Nassau, Suffolk and upstate. The three main venues are The Javits Center, Randall's Island and Lehman College. The dates of the Games are August 26th - September 5th. Step up and help make this a first and world class event. Please contact rmckeon@2011WPFG.org or call Rob McKeon @ 516-582-7384. Please spread the word to the retired members from your houses!

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20. 2011 Lt. Chuck Margiotta (L-85) Memorial Biker Run
On Sunday, May 22nd (rain or shine) at 10am sign-in will begin at Farrell H.S. 2900 Amboy Rd. Staten Island, NY. Riders Fee: $20 (passengers ride free). Non-riders & friends of Chuck are encouraged to make a $20 donation. Kickstands up at Noon. All proceeds go to the Chuck Margiotta Scholarship Fund. For more info contact Mike Margiotta at 718-698-9494, e-mail mix28@aol.com or visit www.chuckmargiottascholarshipfund.com.

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Fraternally,

Stephen J. Cassidy
President

Joseph A. Miccio
Recording Secretary