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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!!
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."
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
Stephen J. Cassidy
Joseph A. Miccio