Union Meeting's President's Report

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
President's Report
for Special Membership Meeting
Hilton New York JFK Airport Hotel, Queens, NY

City Health Plan Providers Present Today
City Health/Medical Plan vendors are present today in the lobby to answer your questions and distribute literature. Make sure you get the info you need to best protect your family!!! Visit the SBF table to receive updated price flyers and transfer forms if you're interested in changing or updating your City Health/Medical Plan. The transfer period begins October 1st for Active members and November 1st for Retirees.

Security Benefits Fund (SBF) Help Table Today
Members who require help regarding dental, prescription drugs, optical or any other benefits provided via the UFA SBF should visit the SBF table today. SBF personnel are there to help you.

Flu Vaccinations
BHS has not yet received the vaccine. We hope to reschedule flu shots to November.

Delegate Photos at Today's Meeting
Photos will be taken at today's meeting for all delegates that do not have a current ID card.

Today's Agenda

Contract Negotiations/Labor Relations
Last week the UFA met with Labor Commissioner Bob Linn concerning the recent MLC deal, specifically the savings to be generated on Healthcare changes. In addition the UFA continues to await meeting dates to resume contract discussions, after this meeting takes place we will notify the membership. UFA Vice-President Jim Slevin will update the delegates at today's meeting.


FOIL Requests for Identity of FDNY Pensioners
The UFA and UFOA recently jointly filed an Article 78 Proceeding in Brooklyn Supreme Court, seeking to enjoin the City and FDNY from releasing the identities of FDNY retirees in conjunction with the amounts of their pensions. The NY Times and a non-profit conservative group known as The Empire Center for Public Policy had served FOIL requests for this information. The proceeding is currently scheduled to be heard by the Court on November 17th. UFA VP Jim Slevin and General Counsel Michael Block will update the membership.


What Fire Fighters Need to Know About Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
While it has been known that the deadly epidemic of Ebola is occurring in several western countries in Africa, the first confirmed case in the United States occurred in Dallas, Texas. On September 30th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed the first travel-associated case.

Fire fighters and EMS personnel transport daily many patients with fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, which are common symptoms of many infectious and contagious diseases. Therefore, it is important that a patient history is taken that includes the onset and severity of symptoms, medications, history of travel, and potential exposures. As always, consistently use proper PPE and wash your hands during every patient encounter.

The transmission of the Ebola virus occurs through direct contact with blood and bodily fluids of an infected person. It can also be transmitted through exposure to objects that are contaminated by the bodily fluids, such as needles.

All members are reminded they should not wear potentially contaminated bunker gear outside of the apparatus area in your firehouse.

FAQ regarding Ebola, can be found on the trustees tables.


FUFA Political Action/GOTV
With Election Day on Tuesday November 4th fast approaching, all members are reminded of the importance of supporting the candidates that support us. The UFA's GOTV campaigns are vital in showing our candidates that our members will turn out to assist in the election process. It is especially important as we continue to submit legislation concerning improving the new pension tiers that affect nearly all of our recent hires. The key races in our area we will focus on are in Suffolk, Nassau, Upper Westchester/Putnum and Dutchess & Orange County.

    Senate
  • 3rd District, Tom Croci - Suffolk County
  • 7th District, Jack Martins - Nassau County
  • 8th District, Mike Vendittio -Nassau County
  • 40th District, Terence Murphy - Upper Westchester, Putnum, Dutchess
    Assembly
  • 94th District, Andy Falk - Putnam/Dutchess
  • 99th District, James Skoufis - Orange
We ask all delegates to start now, in organizing members from your company to be available to assist on Election Day. Please look for the GOTV 65-2's and check the UFA website to see which candidates we are endorsing this year, and most of all turn out!

Voter Registration Deadline - October 10th
The deadline to register to vote and be eligible for the general election on November 4th is October 10th!

The easiest way to register to vote is online through the DMV's Web site HERE. MyDMV requires you to create an online account, completely removing any paper from the process. Anyone with a NYS driver's license is eligible to register online.

Another simple tool to register to vote is online through the NYC Board of Elections website, HERE (for NYC Residents) or HERE (outside of NYC). Just complete the form, print, and put it in the mail. If you have any questions, please reach out to your delegate.


UFA Life Insurance Open Enrollment
AIG and the UFA executive board have agreed to an open enrollment for all active firefighters, beginning October 15th - November 31st. Any active member who has not previously been denied coverage may increase their current coverage to the max $500,000. Active members not currently enrolled may elect any amount, up to and including $500,000. All members will be receiving a mailing. Each mailing will include a letter of explanation, an enrollment/change card, and return envelope. If you have any questions, please call Maria Zingone @ 646-839-6503.


FST Validation
For those suffering from a cancer they believe is related to their work at the WTC disaster site, the deadline to register with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (re-opened under the Zadroga Act), may be as early as October 12th.

Generally, if you were diagnosed with a 9/11 related eligible cancer, other than prostate cancer, before October 12, 2012, the deadline for registration with the Fund is October 12, 2014. Calculating the deadline can be complicated and depends upon an individual claimant's facts. Thus, we strongly recommend that anyone who is thinking of filing a claim consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.

As you know, the Fund is a program to compensate firefighters and other first responders who suffer from illnesses or injuries as a result of participation in the September 11th rescue/recovery efforts. UFA General Counsel, Michael Block and his firm, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo have been at the forefront of filing claims with the Fund on behalf of first responders. They recovered more than $265 million on behalf of first responders in the original Victim Compensation Fund (2002-2003) and were co-liaison counsel for injured WTC workers in the Federal lawsuit that resulted in a $700 million settlement in 2010.

With regard to the re-opened Fund, they already represent more than 1400 claimants and have successfully obtained over $193 million in awards for their clients to date.

If you are interested in filing a claim with the Zadroga Fund or have questions concerning your rights or possible deadlines for filing, we recommend you call the Sullivan Papain Block firm as soon as possible at 212-732-9000 or email; SPBMC-NY@Triallaw1.com.

Registration forms and additional information can be found on the web: www.vcf.gov.


Health Care Providers at Today's Meeting
The City Health Plan's transfer period is as follows; Active members can change health plans October 1st - October 31st. Retirees can change health plans November 1st - November 30th. Health plan changes requested during the Transfer Period will be effective the first day of the first full payroll period in January 2015 for active members. Late changes will not be accepted by the City!!!

During the annual Transfer Period active members may transfer into any health plan offered for which they may be eligible, add or drop optional rider coverage or add or drop dependent(s). To make changes (including enrolling in the Buy-Out- Waiver Program), the member must complete a Health Benefits Application. (To elect the Buy-Out Waiver Program or change health premium contribution tax status, members must fill out both a Medical Spending Conversion Enrollment/Change Form and a Health Benefits Application).

Forms are available at www.nyc.gov/olr or through the Health Desk at Fire Headquarters. Members who waive their City health benefits will lose their PICA drug coverage. Certain changes can instead be made on the City's Employee Self Service (ESS) website at www.nyc.gov/ess.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: If adding or deleting a spouse or child using ESS, the on-line updates will be held as "pending" until hard copies of the correct documentation (per Dept. policies) are received.


UFA Dental Plan Transfer Period
The Dental Transfer Period begins October 15th for active and retired members and ends December 31st. Changes become effective on January 1st . Healthplex, which manages the UFA Dentcare program (no out-of pocket) and UFA Family Plan (pay & reimbursement), will be present at the November 13th Union Meeting to distribute literature, enrollment forms and answer questions.


UFA Scholarship Applications Deadline Has Passed
Deadline for submission was Monday October 6th. UFA Treasurer Ed Brown anticipates the mailing of checks on /or around Mid-November.


Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Program Annual Open Enrollment Period For Plan Year 2015
The Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) and Dependent Care Assistance Program (DeCAP) programs allow active FF's to deposit a portion of their pre-tax income into accounts maintained for certain health and dependent care expenses not covered by your health plan or SBF. As per Dept Order 60 "the Flexible Spending Accounts Program Annual Open Enrollment Period will be September 22nd through October 31st . Employees can enroll in the Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) Program, the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DeCAP), and the MSC Health Benefits Buy-Out Waiver Program during this period for Plan Year 2015 (effective enrollment date is January 1, 2015). Employees who have a health plan premium deduction and who wish to change their tax status under the MSC Premium Conversion Program can do so during the Health Benefits Program Annual Transfer Period. For information and to download the necessary forms, visit: Flexible Spending Accounts Program: http://nyc.gov/html/olr/html/flex_spending/flex_spending.shtml." Pick up your Flexible Spending Accounts Program 2015 Plan Year booklet at your Trustees Table today.


Change of Beneficiary/Address Checklists
UFA Recording Secretary LeRoy McGinnis reports that Change of Beneficiary and Change of Address Checklists are inside the following three Delegate Manual Booklets: 'Security Benefits Fund', 'NYC Health Plans', and 'Insurances & Free Benefits'. They also include contact information for making changes. More Booklets can be ordered from the Recording Secretary's office at 212-545-6973.


2014 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Wall
On September 20th, 2014, Five fallen UFA members will be added to the National Fallen Fire Fighters IAFF Memorial Wall in Colorado Springs. Representatives from the UFA and the fallen members' families will be present at the dedication. Additional information can be found on the IAFF homepage, along with a live feed on Saturday starting at 2pm. Members can log on at www.iaff.org.

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Cassidy
President