65-2 #12 February 24, 2012

Union Issues


1. Union Meeting Locations
The March, April and June General Membership Meetings are all scheduled to take place at the Hilton New York JFK Airport Hotel. The May meeting will take place during the Delegate Education Seminar.

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2. City Budget
The 20 firehouses the Mayor attempted to close last year have not received funding in the budget this year. For a list of companies slated to be closed, see the FDNY Report distributed at the February 9 Union meeting. Steve discussed this with all Delegates present at the February 9 Union Meeting.

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3. Pension Reform
Tier VI Lobby Day--March 13th
The UFA will be having a Lobby Day in Albany on Tuesday, March 13th. There will be a rally at 11:30am outside the Capital in conjunction with the NYSPFFA. As in years past, the UFA will provide transportation to and from Albany leaving from various locations. Delegates should compile a list of all members that need transportation along with their preferred departure location (exact locations will follow shortly). THIS FORM should be faxed to the UFA 212-683-0710 or emailed to PAC@ufanyc.org. It is expected that the buses will leave at 7am and not return until 9pm. Members should also look up their legislators. Please go HERE and make appointments to see them during lobby day.

Prior to Lobby Day we are calling on all members, their family and friends to contact the legislature and voice your opposition to Tier VI. Please go HERE to contact your elected representatives.

In addition, the NYS AFL/CIO has set up a special phone # that members can call to contact their Senate and Assembly members: (877) 255-9417.

Call the Governor, your State Senator and Assembly member and voice your opposition to Tier VI!

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4. Special Election March 20th
Governor Cuomo announced the Special Election to fill vacant Senate and Assembly seats to be held on March 20. We will be looking to turn out volunteers for the following vacant seats. Assembly 93, Yonkers - Assembly 100, Orange County. This is our opportunity to be heard and support the candidates that support us. We are waiting for final details as to where we will be operating from. If you are concerned about your Pension, Tier VI, Health Benefits or the possibility of a Constitutional Convention, then you should make yourself available for the UFA GOTV operations. We will need volunteers to help get UFA endorsed candidates elected. Email your name and contact info to PAC@ufanyc.org. Delegates must supply a list of at least 10 members per company that will be available Election Day (March 20th) and the days leading up to it. This list can be EMAILED or faxed to the UFA 212-683-0710 or PAC@ufanyc.org. Retired members can contact the UFA by faxing or emailing us directly.

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5. Vulcan Society Law Suit
The City filed an appeal in January of the finding by District Judge Garaufis that the City engaged in intentional discrimination in the FDNY entrance exam process. It also appealed the Order by the Judge appointing a FDNY Monitor to supervise the future testing and hiring process for at least 10 years. The City's Brief accuses Judge Garaufis of out-and-out bias in his rulings on alleged racial discrimination in Fire Department hiring. The City demanded that Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis be removed from the ongoing lawsuit over the Fire Department's hiring practices. That lawsuit, says the City, "began as a narrow challenge" to two application exams--but has "been misused" by Garaufis to mount "an unjustified takeover" of the FDNY's hiring structure. "Along the way," writes Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo in a 139-page filing, Garaufis "lost any semblance of neutrality." See your Delegate for media articles attached to Union Meeting President's Report. Steve discussed this with all Delegates present at the February 9 Union Meeting.

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6. Bureau of Training Focus Group
The Bureau of Training scheduled six focus group sessions which took place through the first week of February, they included members of ranks from Firefighter through Deputy Chief. UFA Board members were observers during several of the full day sessions. The Bureau of Training memo announced that the focus groups' purpose is to review and discuss how changes in building construction and the contents have affected current FDNY fire-ground tactics and Firefighter safety. A primary focus is "ventilation of structures." Steve discussed this with all Delegates present at the February 9 Union Meeting.

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7. Roster Staffing Litigation

As you know, the UFA and UFOA filed a joint petition on January 31, 2011, alleging that the City's elimination of the 5th FF in the 60 Engines as set forth in the Roster Staffing Agreement violated its requirement to negotiate, as well as created a negative safety impact. In its Interim Decision, the BCB dismissed the unions' allegations of a violation of the duty to negotiate, but found that the unions had set forth sufficient facts to warrant a hearing to determine whether the reduction in staffing has a practical impact on the safety of FFs. The UFA and UFOA filed their joint Discovery Request upon the City in October for the safety impact hearing. The City delivered 17 cases of documents and six compact disks in response. The Office of Collective Bargaining has appointed Theodore St. Antoine, former Dean of the University Of Michigan School Of Law, as the Trial Examiner who will preside over the safety impact hearing.

With regard to the dismissal of the unions' claims relative to the City's duty to negotiate, we filed an appeal of that part of the decision on July 29th in the N.Y. County Supreme Court. The BCB's Interim Decision is posted HERE.

On February 7, 2012, UFA Labor Counsel held a status conference call with Trial Examiner St. Antoine and the City's attorneys from the Proskauer law firm. The UFA discussed the status of its review of the City's document production, and advised the City that a supplemental information request will be filed by next week. This supplemental information request will primarily focus on fires that occurred in 2011 where Engine companies that were formerly staffed with five firefighters were either the first on the scene or first due. Members of these former five-firefighter companies are urged to speak to our Labor Counsel.

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8. Help from 60 Former 5-Man Engines for Roster Staffing Case!
The UFA requested from Delegates of all 60 former 5 FF engines to submit a list, by January 23rd, of all 10-75s where their unit was the 1st engine on the scene, from February 1, 2011 through present date and also any future 1st due 10-75s. This includes the Box #, date and time of the box. Once all info has been received, the UFA will request the Incident History Reports, CD-72s and battalion audio tapes of all 10-75s provided. The UFA Executive Board thanks all members who worked to pull the requested info and forward it to us for this case.

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9. BCB Rules Against UFA/UFOA in 3rd Day BI Improper Practice
The Board of Collective Bargaining found that the expansion from 2 to 3 building inspection periods per week did not have a practical impact on firefighter/officer safety and/or workload. The UFA fought this case in conjunction with the UFOA as co-petitioners. The Determination and Order is excerpted below.

DETERMINATION AND ORDER: Pursuant to the powers vested in the Board of Collective Bargaining by the New York City Collective Bargaining Law, it is hereby DETERMINED, that the increase in building inspection periods from two per week per Fire Company to three per week per Fire Company did not involve a per se or practical impact on safety or workload; and it is further ORDERED, that the improper practice/scope of bargaining petition filed by the Uniformed Firefighters Association, Local 94, and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, Local 854, docketed as BCB-2668-07, be and the same hereby is, dismissed.

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10. Modified Response Improper Practice, BCB Interim Decision:
Improper Practice Dismissed, but Safety Impact Hearings Ordered
The BCB's Interim Decision in the Modified Response case regarding the City's failure to bargain the expansion of the initial pilot program was rejected. However, the Board ruled that the UFA did raise sufficient facts to establish a potential safety impact and it granted safety impact hearings. The BCB Order is excerpted below.

ORDER: Pursuant to the powers vested in the Board of Collective Bargaining by the New York City Collective Bargaining Law, it is hereby ORDERED, that the Verified Improper Practice Petition filed by the Uniformed Firefighters Association, Local 94, IAFF, AFL-CIO, docketed as BCB-2958-11, is hereby dismissed; and it is further ORDERED, that a hearing be held as to the scope of bargaining portion of the petition to ascertain whether the FDNY's implementation of the Modified Response Program results in a practical impact on the safety of UFA members.

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11. UCT Case Update
The Unified Call Taker hearings at the OCB took place in 2011 on June 21, July 19, August 2, August 4, October 6, November 18, December 21, January 19 and January 25. The UFA and UFOA are working together on this case as well. Additional hearings are scheduled for February 24 and 28.

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12. Start-of-Tour Under / Reduced Staffing Grievance
The UFA filed this grievance in June. The Department has indicated a willingness to address this issue in a manner to preclude the necessity of an arbitration regarding this grievance. The UFA met with the Department on January 26 to address the issue with the objective of eliminating this practice. We will advise the membership if the Department follows up with resolutions that we believe will address the underlying issues in our grievance. In the interim, if your company is ordered to ride either Under Staffed (3 or fewer FFs in an Engine) or Reduced Staffed (4 FFs in a Truck) at the start of the tour, you must 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, which will help our case. Remember to immediately notify the UFA if any Firefighter or civilian is seriously injured due to this staffing reduction!

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13. 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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14. 2011 W-2: Verifying Annual LODI Tax Deductions
Current IRS regulations provide favorable tax treatment of your wages during the approved period of Line-of-Duty Injury (LODI). Wages will be treated on a pre-tax basis. The Dept computes your LODI medical leave days automatically and deducts the dollar amount from your taxable income as per prior UFA contractual agreement. This year's W-2 reflects LODI dates between December 19, 2010 through December 17, 2011, and reduces gross wages for all calendar days an employee was out on LODI medical leave (not light duty). To verify that proper deductions were taken by Payroll on your W-2 statement, see the FDNY Salary Chart package, distributed at the February 9 Union Meeting, and refer to the chart that applies to your grade and dates that you were out on LODI. The 'Daily Rates' for January 1, 2011 thru June 30, 2011 are circled in the last column on each page. The Daily Rate equals annual base, longevity, night shift & holiday pay, divided by 365 days, except on leap years, which are divided by 366 days. This is the Dept's standard formula used to determine your per Deim deduction for LODI medical leave. It is based on calendar days, not the days you missed tours.

Fiscal Leap Year Rates: Because the current Fiscal Leap Year is July 1, 2011 thru June 30, 2012, members must use the following formula to determine their per Deim rates for July 1, 2011 thru December 31, 2011: The Fiscal Leap Year Daily Rate equals annual base, longevity, night shift & holiday pay, divided by 366 days.

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15. Duplicate W-2 & 1127 Forms Available Through NYCAPS
W-2 and 1127 forms are available through NYCAPS Employee Self Service, www.nyc.gov/ESS. To obtain a duplicate W-2 or 1127 form through the NYCAPS Employee self service, follow these simple steps:
  1. Log into NYCAPS Employee Self-Service, www.nyc.gov/ESS.
  2. Under the Payroll and Compensation folder, click the Tax Summary (W-2 & 1127).
  3. Select tax year, view details and print tax form.

If an Employee Self Service password reset is required, please contact the NYCAPS helpdesk at 212-487-0500.

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16. Tax Deferral Options
Deferred Compensation (457 & 401k) enrollment and ITHP, allow for direct deductions from your paycheck. As a result of the contributions made your taxes are reduced, and earnings will accumulate tax-deferred. Special Deferred Compensation Plan 65-2 # 9 and Special ITHP Waiver / 50% Indicator 65-2 # 8 were distributed at the February 9 Union meeting.

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17. Deferred Comp Plan (457 & 401k) Enrollment & Adjustments
The City of New York Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) is comprised of pre-tax 457 and 401(k) Plans, and a post-tax Roth 457 and 401(k) Plans. DCP is a supplemental savings plan to your FD pension and Social Security. To join DCP you must first enroll and get a PIN # by calling Client Services at 212-306-7760. It will take up to 7 days for your PIN number to arrive in the mail. To adjust (or initially select) your DCP contributions, which can be done easily over the phone or via web, you'll need to use your PIN #. Contact the Client Service Department at 212-306-7760 if you have any questions. NOTE: New enrollees cannot select 'Single Payroll' deferral as their first deduction. You can put up to 50% of each check into your (457). If you also have a 401(k), you can put a combined total of 70% of your paycheck into it. Total contributions cannot exceed $17,000 ($22,500 if over 50 years old) for the year for each of the 457 and 401(k) plans. Therefore, the combined total 457 and 401(k) contributions cannot exceed $34,000 ($45,000 if over 50 years old). There are also 'Catch-up' provisions that enable you to double your annual contributions for three consecutive years if you are approaching retirement eligibility. For detailed info about DCP programs, see Special Deferred Compensation Plan 65-2 # 9, was distributed to all Delegates present at the February 9 Union meeting, or go to OLR at www.nyc.gov/html/olr/html/deferred/dcphome.shtml.

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18. 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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19. Missing UFA Parking Placards: Police Reports
It is important that all thefts are reported to the police on a Complaint Report, with placard numbers provided. Any unauthorized person caught in possession can be arrested and investigated as to how they obtained the placard(s). Persons involved with illegally supplying parking placards to others WILL be prosecuted by the UFA to the fullest extent of the law. Non-firefighter use of UFA placards in the past has caused legitimate concerns among law enforcement and traffic agents in respecting Firefighter vehicle parking privileges near quarters. Non-firefighters with UFA placards have been arrested for impersonating a Firefighter. Security features were added to insure OUR vehicles are afforded every legal courtesy--not anyone else!

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20. Delegate Education Seminar Registration Packages Mailed
Seminar Dates: May 8 thru May 11. Registration packages were mailed February 3 to all Delegate residences. Seminar registration and hotel room reservations must be made by check only, payable to the 'UFA' (phone registration cannot be accepted), along with the proper form. It must be received at the UFA by March 29 to receive your discounted rate. After the deadline you'll need to make your room reservation by credit card directly with the hotel at the full-price per-night rate--if rooms are still available. If this is your first Delegate Educational Seminar, you can familiarize yourself by reviewing last year's agenda and program activity book on the UFA website HERE. You can also check out the latest notices for this year's Seminar which will be mailed to you this month.

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21. Marsh Catastrophic: New Policies Still on Hold
Marsh (US Life) informed the UFA that it is still awaiting a determination from the federal government to see if the plan can continue to offer coverage exactly as it was before Healthcare Reform. Marsh informed the UFA it is working vigorously to get an exemption, which would allow members to add all their dependents, and for new members to join. Members currently with policies may only add dependents within 30 days of a qualifying event (birth, marriage, divorce, etc.). Until then, the temporary hold will continue on new policy applications for catastrophic policies. Members will be informed as soon as a determination is made.

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22. FDNY WTC & LODI Prescriptions: Walgreen's & Duane Reade Excluded
The FDNY reported to the UFA that effective January 9, 2012 Walgreens and Duane Reade will no longer be participating pharmacies under the Express Scripts' prescription plans. This means members will no longer be able to fill WTC and LODI prescriptions at these locations.

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23. Honor Emergency Fund Automatic Payroll Check-Off
The Honor Emergency Fund is a not-for-profit organization since 1921 that provides monetary grants to distressed active/retired Firefighters and their dependents, active/retired EMS employees and their dependents and active civilians, for costs related to medical needs and dedicated treatment programs. Over the past three years the Fund has awarded 200 grants totaling over $1.5 million to help employees from all areas of the FDNY to cope with significant family hardships. (UFA NOTE: Most of the awards have been to UFA members and their families.) To maintain this vital service for all members, the Dept is asking each member to consider participating in a voluntary Automatic Payroll deduction of $2 per paycheck to keep the Fund viable. This deduction is tax deductible and will help the Honor Emergency Fund continue helping those in our FDNY family who find themselves in extraordinary financial need. To enroll, click on--Employee Self Service--located in the Workplace Related section of the FDNY Homepage. After logging on, navigate to Payroll and Compensation, click on Deduction Information and select FDNY Honor Emergency Fund. For information about the Fund or questions about eligibility, please contact: Stan Reimer, Director, 9 Metrotech Center - Room 5E, Phone: (718) 999-2531, Email: reimers@fdny.nyc.gov, Fax: (718) 999-1609.

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24. 2012 Fire Bell Club Scholarship Award Application
Applications for the Fire Bell Club Scholarship Award are now available. Applications can be obtained from Ms. Jacqueline Merveil, FDNY Registrar, at 718-281-8465. Eligibility: (1) Applicants must be active FF's 5th Grade and above & Officers who have been accepted or are attending an accredited institution of higher learning. (2) FF's/Officers who are pursuing a degree in Fire Service Administration, Public Service Management, Nursing or a related Fire Service discipline and who have completed a minimum of twelve credits. Applicants must submit a written statement of 500 words explaining why an applicant should be considered for award. Award: $500. Deadline: April 30th.

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25. 8th Annual Pat's Run
On Saturday, April 21st in Tempe, AZ the 8th annual Pat's Run will take place. FDNY Members are still needed to join TEAM BRAVEST which will run in memory of Pat Tillman (and all service men and women who made the supreme sacrifice). If you are interested in joining TEAM BRAVEST register at: www.tinyurl.com/TEAMBRAVEST. Sign up to TEAM BRAVEST, password: FREE-O. For more info contact Anthony Henry (E-10), teambravest2012@gmail.com.

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26. FDNY Bravest vs. New England Law Enforcement Boxing Fundraiser
On Saturday, May 19th, at 7pm at the Foxwoods Resort Casino located at 350 Trolley Line Blvd Mashantucket, CT 06338. Bravest Boxing will be splitting the proceeds with Work Vessels for Veterans and the National Public Safety Athletic League. The Bravest Boxing Team will donate proceeds to various charities. Tickets: $30, $50, and $100 for VIP ringside. To order tickets call toll-free 855-660-6606 or e-mail bfchelp@verizon.net. Discount room rates are available to FDNY members at the MGM Grand for $199 per night. Mention code BOB4 when reserving your room.

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27. Save the Date for the 2012 Lt. Chuck Margiotta (L-85) Memorial Biker Run
On Sunday, June 3rd (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) includes food, beverages, and music. Non-riders & friends of Chuck are encouraged to make a 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