President's Message

The Fire Lines - April 2015

NY’s Bravest Reject FDNY’s NEW Discriminatory Employment Practices

As City Hall Pushes for $13/HR. Minimum Wage – It Believes Permanently Disabled N.Y. City Firefighters Surviving on Just $10,000 year or $27/Day is Acceptable

On Monday, March 16th, the UFA launched a campaign together with hundreds of New York City firefighters, City Council members, legislators and clergy on the steps of City Hall to address new discriminatory employment practices of the City of New York and the FDNY. While the city invested millions of dollars in a multimedia recruitment drive to address a lack of diversity at the agency, promising all new recruits “The Best Benefits,” it has instead created a dangerous double standard that threatens public safety.

There are now over 1,400 of the newly hired FDNY firefighters who lack any real disability protections. Should they be burned, seriously injured, or paralyzed on the job, the disability protection for a Probationary (Rookie) Firefighter equals only about $10,000 per year or $27 per day. Corrective legislation is urgently needed to address this crisis which stems from a June 2009 veto of New York City Firefighter and Police Tier II disability protections.

Would you risk your life and health for only $27 a day? It’s horrific that the top leadership in City Hall is saying that $10,000 a year is all the disability protection that a New York City Firefighter - the best trained firefighter in the world – will receive if permanently disabled on the job. Do they believe disabled firefighters can survive, pay their rent, feed their family and afford to send their children to college on this meager sum? Just last week the mayor demanded a minimum hourly wage of $13/hour in the City of New York, but yet is a new, young firefighter protecting the public worth only a fraction of that if he or she is permanently disabled?”

We have sought to correct this dangerous crisis for over a year and it has continuously fallen on deaf ears at the highest levels in City Hall. We believe that all New York City firefighters require equal disability protections should they be burned, seriously injured or even paralyzed in the line of duty protecting New Yorkers. When the FDNY began its recruitment campaign for new firefighters in 2011, it advertised: “The best job in the world has the best benefits in the world.” However, the City of New York failed to warn its newest firefighters, just don’t get hurt in the line of duty!
Since a federal judge’s ruling, the FDNY has graduated over 1,400 new firefighters with more than 46% of those being black, Latino, Asian or female. The UFA, together with the FDNY’s fraternal societies say it is morally reprehensible for city leaders to demand firefighters risk their lives every day without having fair and adequate disability coverage.

When any firefighter is rushing into a burning building, their sole focus should be on doing their job and saving lives, not worrying about what may happen to their families if they are seriously injured.

View the two new videos ”$27/Day” (http://goo.gl/UGCiQF) and “Recruiting Lies” (http://goo.gl/8408cZ) containing interviews with impacted firefighters addressing their concerns.

New York City Firefighters have proven that they will do anything to protect life and property but, how can City of New York’s leaders truthfully tell a young firefighter that they will be protected when that is not the fact? Follow this initiative on our website www.ufanyc.org, Facebook.com/ufanyc, and Twitter at #standwithbravest. The UFA will be lobbying legislators in Albany and for details on how you can help, read Vice President’s Slevin’s Legislative Update on the next page.

St. Patrick’s Day Events

On Saturday, March 7th, I was honored and privileged to be the Grand Marshal of the 40th Annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. On March 17th, hundreds of firefighters also joined the UFA to march in the 254th St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan which was dedicated to the 24 fallen members of the Fighting 69th Regiment and their Gold Star families. This regiment was one of the first military units to respond to the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. Since that tragic day, 24 members of this historic unit have been killed in action. As always, stay safe!

As always, stay safe!

Stephen J. Cassidy,
President