65-2 #14 March 03, 2009

UFA-FDNY Union Issues


1. Night Closings Update
On January 17, the City began night time closings of E-4, L-53, E-61 and E-271. After considerable protests in the media by the UFA, local communities and elected officials, the FDNY announced its decision to staff most or all of these companies each night when they have surplus FFs, as daily staffing permits. Reminder: in accordance with PA/ID 5-74, units are not permitted to start the tour understaffed. Contact the UFA immediately if your company is put in service understaffed at the beginning of the tour.

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2. Budget Cuts: Announced Company Closings 7/1/09 & 1/1/10
On January 30, Mayor Bloomberg announced the City's Fiscal Year 2010 Preliminary Budget. It included the following cuts to fire operations: the 4 fire company night closings will become full time closings effective 7-1-09, 7 additional fire companies will be disbanded effective 7-1-09, 5 additional fire companies will be disbanded effective 1-1-10, 27 Fire Marshal lines and 5 Supervising Fire Marshal lines will be eliminated based on attrition. Steve Cassidy gave an update at the February 12 Union Meeting regarding our communications with the City and the FD regarding the budget issues. See your Delegate for a summary.

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3. Official Pay Raise Charts Released by the Dept
According to FDNY Payroll, the March 6th paycheck is still expected to reflect the new August 1, 2008 and Reopener salary increases and retro. Official pay charts (distributed at the Feb. Union Meeting) were prepared by FDNY Payroll for all grades reflecting the 4% salary scale increases effective August 1, 2008, and the 3.5% Reopener salary increases. These charts are now available on the FDNY Intranet. Footnotes and header notes on most pages contain important data and formulas that will help you understand the charts. The 'Formulas Used' footnotes on the Feb. 12 handouts were inserted by the UFA.

  • Pages 1 thru 3: all FF grades hired prior to January 17, 2006
  • Pages 4 thru 6: all FF grades hired between January 17, 2006 and March 31, 2007
  • Pages 7 thru 9: all FF grades hired on or after April 1, 2007
Additional Charts were distributed at the February 12 Union meeting for Fire Marshals, Marine Wipers, and Special Assignment.

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4. Retro & Pay Increase Date: March 6th
The Dept still expects March 6 to be the implementation date for salary increases and retroactive pay for both the Reopener and the August 1, 2008 increases. Each member's retro money will differ depending upon appointment date. Each member's CFR-D, RSOT & Chauffeur retro will vary depending on the number of tours worked and appointment date. Retro pay for all Base, Night Shift & all types of OT can be calculated by subtracting amounts you were actually paid from the amounts you should have been paid in accordance with the salaries listed on the official salary charts distributed at the Feb 12 Union Meeting.

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5. 2008 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. To verify your proper deductions, see the Salary Chart package distributed at the February Union Meeting and refer to the chart that applies to your grade and dates that you were out on LODI. The 'Daily Rates' are circled in the last column on each page. The UFA also distributed at the February Union Meeting Special 2008 Tax Year Issue 65-2 #11 of 2009, which includes additional info regarding the per deim salary rate charts that will allow you to verify the Dept's calculations. It also includes much more info re your paycheck deductions and tax calculations.

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6. 2008 FICA REFUNDS in February Paycheck
Per Dept Order #14, "FICA Refunds for 2008 LODI were included on the February 20, 2009 paycheck. The amount of the refund is indicated as "FICA Refund" and is listed in the deduction section at the bottom of your check stub as a negative deduction. The amount of your FICA refund is simply added to your net pay, and does not affect 2009 earnings or 2009 FICA/Medicare earnings or withholding. The amount of the FICA Refund depends on various factors such as when the LODI was incurred, and whether or not the maximum FICA withholding was reached. For example, a member who already reached the maximum FICA withholding (6.2% of $102,000 or $6,324.00) before incurring LODI, will only have the Medicare portion (1.45%) refunded. Since the FICA Refund is indicated as a negative deduction, it is possible for members with large amounts of LODI to have a FICA Refund in excess of other total deductions. In these cases, the "Total Deductions" amount on a member's check stub could indicate a negative number."

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7. BITs Subpoenas of Member Phone Records
Members should be aware that the Bureau of Investigations and Trials has recently subpoenaed the phone records (numbers called, dates & times, length of conversation) of a member under investigation for a non-criminal disciplinary matter. The subpoenas were obtained without court order. All members should be aware of this practice.

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8. IRS Regulation Regarding Nominal Retirement Age
The IRS issued new regulations concerning in-service distributions after "normal retirement age," which were explained by UFA VP Jim Slevin at the October Union Meeting and in 65-2 #76 of 2008. These regulations are scheduled to take effect on or after January 1, 2011. The preliminary opinion of the NYC Law Dept is that it does not appear that the NYC Funds are in danger of losing their tax-exempt status as a result of these new regulations. It is tentatively concluded that the regulations in question will not affect a public safety officer's ability to retire after the years of service required by state and/or city law and receive a full, unreduced pension, even if he or she has not reached the age of 50, so long as she or he severs all employment with the employer who maintains the plan. This new regulation appears to affect only those who have in-service retirement distribution plans, which allow employees to retire, begin receiving benefits, and continue to work for the same employer under the same pension plan. NYC Firefighters do not have this in-service option, and therefore it does not appear that this new regulation will affect NYC Firefighters' retirement plans.

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9. Portal-to-Portal OT Pay Reminder
Per Dept Order #7-2009, "portal to portal overtime is guaranteed per arbitration decision No. A-3811-91, as long as the criteria for portal to portal is met. This criteria is defined in PA/ID 5-74. If the portal to portal eligibility criteria has been satisfied per PA/ID 5-74, then portal to portal can be provided whenever a member reporting for duty is detailed before the start of that tour. Exceptions are noted in PA/ID 5-74 section 10. In addition, members shall review and comply with section 2.7.6 of the TPR Manual. Please be advised that timely arrival of details is still expected, e.g., firefighters reporting for a 6x9 tour, having not worked the previous 9x6 tour, should be ready for fire duty or expected to leave for their detail prior to 1800 hours."

  • 1. Contractual Obligations: Per our Contract, Dept Policy and Arbitration ruling A-3811-91, members are not required to arrive at the detailed unit before the start of the tour. If you are denied a portal mark for a detail, take a mark in your Company Journal and contact the UFA Recording Secretary, Joe Miccio, at 212-545-6973 or RecordingSecretary@ufanyc.org. In accordance with Article XXIII of the UFA Collective Bargaining Agreement, members "shall receive compensation for travel to the unit to which that employee is detailed at a rate of 45 minutes (OT) of travel time if the detailed unit is within the same borough as that employee's permanent unit or 1 π hours (OT) if (a different borough)..." When returning from your detail, you "shall receive compensation for travel to the permanent unit at the same rates (stated above)..."
  • 2. Exceptions (no portal pay): If you are on a detail for one half of a 24, you shall receive portal for one trip, not both. If you are detailed for more than a single tour, you shall receive portal only for the beginning of the first and the end of the last day of such detail. Also not eligible for portal: training assignments, light duty details, details from a staffing pool, if the detail is an OT tour, and details across the floor. NOTE: Remind your Officers to give you a portal-to-portal TPR mark when you are detailed to BHS for Annual Company Medicals.
  • 3. Verifying Your TPR Mark: TPR Manual paragraph 2.7.6 states, "Portal to portal overtime is guaranteed per arbitration decision No. A-3811-91..." Your Officer is required to enter a TPR code on your TPR form each time you travel to or from an eligible detail (note above exceptions). If this entry is not made, you will not receive portal pay for your detail. Your Officer receives a blank TPR form preprinted with your name on it from HQ each week. This weekly TPR form covers all tours worked through 0900 on Sunday each week-and must be sent to HQ by your officer on Monday via the bag. When detailed, it is your responsibility to check your TPR form upon the completion of each tour to ensure proper entries were made for both portal trips, unless the detail is one of the exceptions listed above.
  • 4. TPR Codes for Portal: Inside borough (1433); Outside borough (1434)

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10. Avoid Collection Agency Calls
LOD Injury Must Use FDNY HQ Address Members who are injured in the line-of-duty should never provide their home addresses for transportation to the hospital. Only provide 9 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The PCR Report must have the Department address printed legibly. There have been confirmed instances where invoices have been referred to collection agencies (who call members at home) due to poorly printed address fields not scanning accurately from the PCR. As a reminder, only approved treatment by authorized providers will be paid for by the FD for any follow-up medical care needed. It is important to keep copies of all authorizations for your approved specialists along with your CD-72's to avoid any problems. If you still have a question or a concern, please forward a copy of your CD-72, any authorizations, and outstanding bills to the UFA Health & Safety Office (Fax #: 212-683-4768 or call 212-545-6965 with questions).

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11. Leave Balance Report on Your Pay Stub
In accordance with the January 23 Memo to All Units from the Chief of Operations, your January 23 check stub reflects the 2009 vacation leave that you accrued during 2008. Members who used an emergency leave extension in 2008 may have a reduced amount of vacation leave for 2009. Positive unused vacation leave, adjusted tours, time owed the city, and time owed the member remaining on 12/31/08 are deleted on the January 23 check stub, unless a request for carryover (with proper justification) of unused time was submitted to the Chief of Personnel for approval. See your Officer if you have any questions regarding leave time entries on your pay stub.

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12. Random Drug Testing Quarterly Report
The FDNY reports that the following units were tested randomly between 10/01/08 and 12/31/08. A total of 81 Units were tested within this period: 39 Engines, 26 Ladders, 13 Battalions, and 3 Divisions. Nine Fire Marshals were also tested within this period. Reports listing each company tested and individual dates were distributed to each Delegate at the Feb 12 Union Meeting. They are sorted by both company and chronologically.

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13. Delegate Education Seminar Registration Forms Mailed
Registration packages were mailed to all Delegate residences on February 9th. 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 31 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 at www.UFANYC.org/seminar/index.php. You can also check out the latest notices for this year's Seminar. Location/Dates: Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Tuesday, May 19, 2009 thru Friday, May 22, 2009.

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14. Return Your Parking Placard # List to UFA
If you have not done so already, Delegates must record placard number assignments and fax (or mail) the provided company placard roster list to the Recording Secretary's office, ATTN Joe 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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15. 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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16. FF Family Scholarship Section on UFA Website
A special Firefighter & Family Scholarship Section is on the UFA website. Members can look up scholarships offered by the UFA, FDNY fraternal organizations, memorial scholarship funds, and any other scholarship information that the UFA is made aware of. General descriptions of the types of scholarships and eligibility are posted. Contact information or links are provided on the site, which enable you to follow up with each organization for particulars. Scholarship dollar amounts, filing periods and other criteria change periodically. Persons seeking scholarships need to contact the listed organizations sponsoring the scholarships for the current levels of scholarships offered and application procedures.

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17. Military Member Resources on UFA Web Site
FDNY Members can now access the DCAS (NYC Dept of Citywide Administrative Services) site and the USDOL Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) site-via the UFA web site. Each of these links, which can be accessed by clicking HERE, provides specific information regarding the laws and your rights, including FAQs and required forms. The UFA will add additional information of importance to this section as it becomes available. Hard copies of several important sections from these sites were distributed to Military Members at the Feb 12 Union Meeting.

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18. Burn Center Night
On Saturday, April 4th the NY Islanders will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7pm at Nassau Coliseum. Tickets: $34 for Center Mezzanine. A portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the NYC, Nassau, and Suffolk Burn Centers. For more info call Adam Jacobs, 561-501-6867 or e-mail Adam.Jacobs@NewYorkIslanders.com.

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19. FDNY/NYPD Racquetball Tournament
On Saturday, April 18th & Sunday, April 19th, at Club Fit, 584 North State Road, Briarcliff Manor, NY the FDNY/NYPD Racquetball Tournament will be held. Entries must be received by April 11th. For applications and further info contact Siegy Klammer at 845-306-8355 or Pete Klammer L-47 Gr. 18 at 718-430-0247 or Eric Klammer L-59 Gr. 21 at 718-430-0243. Proceeds from the event benefit both FDNY/NYPD Charities.

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20. 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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21. BC Matthew Ryan Memorial Scholarships
Applications are now available for this year's BC Matthew Ryan Memorial Scholarships, which are named to honor the fallen Chief who made the supreme sacrifice on September 11, 2001. Two (2) one thousand dollar scholarships are awarded annually and can be used for college/university, high school, trade school or private school. Applicants must meet both the following criteria: (1) Must be the daughter or son of an active, retired or deceased (both line of duty and non-line of duty) member of the Fire Department. (2) The Firefighter (not the student) must be an active, retired or deceased member who played hockey on FDNY, Firehouse, Town, Local, or League hockey team. Application forms were distributed along with Dept. Order #12.

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Fraternally,

Stephen J. Cassidy
President

Joseph A. Miccio
Recording Secretary