65-2 #17 March 20, 2012

Union Issues


1. Pension Reform
Pension legislation was passed (Tier VI) March 14th that will affect all City and State employees hired in the future. As you are well aware, on June 3, 2009, former Governor Patterson vetoed sunset provisions of Tier II pension laws, which effectively placed new police and fire (NYC) hires into Tier III. However, no UFA new members have been placed in Tier III as a result of the hiring freeze brought on by the DOJ lawsuit.

This legislation will affect future FDNY and NYPD members in a limited way. Their pensions will be based on the final 5 consecutive years' average salary, which replaces the final 3 consecutive years under Tier 3. Many other unions' future hires (City & State) were more severely impacted by the legislation.

We remain optimistic that the City will restart negotiations with the UFA. Our goal is to restore benefits that future hires lost when Governor Patterson vetoed Tier II.

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2. UFA Lobby Day in Albany
The Executive Board thanks the hundreds of members who turned out for the rally in Albany March 13th. It was a great event and our message was heard loud and clear by the legislature. A special thanks to Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos for hearing our concerns and ensuring that benefits remain in place to protect our future UFA members.

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3. Visitors at Quarters
Important Message from UFA General Counsel, Mike Block Any time visitors arrive at the firehouse, the house watchman should request identification AND record the names in the Journal. The house watchman should also record the times of arrival and departure of the visitors. Finally, unless ordered not to do so, the house watchman should also immediately notify the Officer on the arrival of visitors.

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4. City's Motion to Dismiss UFA Roster Staffing Appeal Denied
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.

With regard to the dismissal of the unions' claims relative to the City's duty to negotiate, the UFA filed an appeal of that part of the decision on July 29th in the N.Y. County Supreme Court. The City and BCB filed cross-motions to dismiss the UFA's appeal. We are pleased to report that on February 8, 2012 the NYS Supreme Court denied the City's and BCB's applications to dismiss the UFA's Article 78 application. The UFA's case will now proceed through the NYS Supreme Court seeking an order annulling part of the BCB's Interim Decision dated June 29, 2011, which held that the City was not required to negotiate its unilateral decision to reduce fire engine company staffing levels. The BCB's Interim Decision and the Supreme Court's Decision and Order are posted HERE.

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5. Roster Staffing Hearing Updates & Discovery Requests
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. 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 Executive Board thanks all members from former 5-FF engines who worked to pull first due 10-75 info last month and forward it to us for this case. The UFA submitted on February 28th its Supplemental Discovery request to the City for the Incident History Reports, CD-72s and battalion audio tapes of all 10-75s provided, in addition to other information and documents.

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6. UCT Case Update & Court Ordered Subpoena Against City
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; and in 2012 on January 19 and January 25, February 24, February 28 and March 5th. The UFA and UFOA are working together on this case. Additional hearings are scheduled in April. During the February hearings, the UFA/UFOA requested all documents concerning the study of the UCT system conducted by an independent consulting firm. The City refused to provide the documents. The BCB does not have authority under the Labor Law to compel the City to produce documents. Therefore, the UFA filed with the NYS Supreme Court to order the City to produce the requested information. On February 29, 2012, NYS Supreme Court issued a 'So-Ordered Judicial Subpoena Duces Tecum,' which compels the City to comply with UFA Discovery Requests for the UCT Study documents, and certain additional information the City refused to produce, by March 30th.

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7. Discrimination Lawsuit Brought By D.O.J. & Vulcan Society
The lawsuit brought by the government and the Vulcan Society, pending before Judge Garaufis in federal court, continues to progress. It is anticipated that up to 60,000 applicants will take the new FDNY entrance exam. The test began to be administered in mid-March and will continue to mid or late April. The manner in which the test will be scored has not yet been determined. However, it is unlikely that any hiring list will result until early 2013.

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8. Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) Considers Whether Cancers Should Be Covered Under Zadroga Bill
On February 15th and 16th, 2012, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) for the World Trade Center Health Program conducted public meetings to consider the types of illnesses that should be covered by the health monitoring and compensation provisions of the Zadroga legislation. Steve Cassidy is a member of the committee, representing Firefighters. The meetings were intended to assist STAC members in deciding which medical conditions, particularly cancers, they should recommend be covered by the Zadroga programs. The STAC Committee will soon make a recommendation to Dr. John Howard, the Administrator of the WTC Health Program. Steve Cassidy believes that virtually all Committee members now recognize that certain cancers should be covered. The committee will soon meet to determine which cancers should be included in the recommendation to Dr. Howard.

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9. City Budget
For a list of companies that were slated to be closed last year, see the FDNY Report distributed at the February Union meeting. Steve updated the membership at the March 8 Union meeting.

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10. 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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11. 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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12. LODI Bills
If you are transported to the hospital for a LODI, it is important that you NOT provide the hospital with your personal address. Provide the 9 Metrotech address for proper billing. However, despite this, occasionally, the hospital system MAY have your personal address on file due to personal visits to physicians and other healthcare needs. In this case, they may send you a bill for the services. If this happens, it is very important that you do not ignore this bill! This may result in the bill ending up with a collection service. Even though you are not personally responsible for bills associated with a LODI, this may still end up adversely impacting your credit rating. If you receive a bill in your name, submit the bill to the UFA Health & Safety Office with the CD-72 from your injury. Fax to 212-683-4768. The BHS informs us there is a four-year statute of limitations on paying all bills associated with LODIs. Do not ignore these bills! We will work with BHS to ensure that the bill is paid. If a bill reaches collections, you will receive a letter from BHS stating the bill is not your responsibility. You MUST send this letter to the various credit bureaus to ensure that they are aware you were never responsible for this bill. Do not wait until you try to apply for a mortgage or new loan to discover that an old LODI bill is incorrectly on your credit report. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the UFA Health & Safety Office.

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13. Firehouse Repairs
Safety issues regarding firehouses must first be reported to the Officer on duty and the FDNY Resource Center. These include problems with plumbing, sewage, broken Nedermans, maintenance issues and rodent infestations. The Officer should call the Resource Center at 718-999-4357 M-F, 7am to 3pm. After hours is for emergencies only. The Resource Center will give a Work Order Number to the Officer. Allow a reasonable amount of time for the concern to be addressed. After a suitable amount of time, the Officer may follow-up. If you believe there is an immediate health and safety issue, please have your Officer follow the above steps, obtain the Work Order Number and the date it was obtained, and then notify the Health and Safety Officer/Sergeant-At-Arms for assistance.

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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. Also see Special Tax Year 2011 65-2 #13 which was mailed to all Delegates on March 1.

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. Copies of 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 which 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 HERE by clicking on Delegate Education from the home page. You can also check out the latest notices for this year's Seminar on the site.

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21. Union Meeting Locations
The April and June General Membership Meetings are 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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22. Delegate ID Photos to Be Taken at April Union Meeting
The UFA will be taking UFA ID Card photos at the April 12 Union meeting of Delegates who have not yet had their pictures taken. ID Cards will be distributed at the June Union Meeting.

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23. 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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24. 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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25. 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