Union Meeting's President's Report

Thursday, April 10, 2013
President's Report
for Special Membership Meeting
Hilton New York JFK Airport Hotel, Queens, NY

Delegate Education Seminar REGISTRATION at Recording Secretary / Security Benefit Fund Table Today!! - Registration and payment at Recording Secretary / SBF Table

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

Delegate ID Cards
Delegate ID Cards are being distributed today. Please see your Borough Trustee.

Today's Agenda

UFA General Elections
UFA General Elections for all offices except Fire Marshal representative will take this June. Any member in good standing that wishes to run for office must contact the Recording Secretary, LeRoy McGinnis, at 212-545-6973 to request an election packet (which includes Candidate Petition forms).

Candidate Petitions (original signatures only) are due at the UFA office by 5pm on Thursday, May 1st. The Candidate Nomination Meeting will take place during the May 15th Union meeting at the International JFK Hotel. Ballots will be mailed on May 30th, due back by 5pm on June 23rd, and counted on June 24th, commencing at 10am. Military members serving active duty and not residing in their NY residences may vote via the internet, in accordance with the UFA Constitution. Election results will be announced on that same day, upon ballot count completion at the AAA. Ballot tabulation at the AAA will be conducted under the oversight of the UFA Election Committee, as per the UFA Constitution. The Committee consists of one representative from each borough who is listed on the UFA website. Those elected will take office effective August 1, 2014 for a 3-year term.

To ensure all members receive ballots, All Members with a new home address should insure that their residence addresses on file with the UFA are updated and accurate. In order to do this, members must prepare and sign a "SBF Change of Address Form" and fax/email or mail to the UFA, Attn: SBF. Forms can be found HERE. Change of Address forms can also be obtained from your Delegate, who can assist you, or you can call the UFA SBF at 212-683-4723. Additionally, members wishing to receive e-mails from the UFA should add the UFA e-mail address, UFA@ufanyc.org, to their contact address book (to prevent emails going to your "spam" or "junk" folder).

May Union Meeting
The May 2014 Union Meeting and UFA Candidate Nominations WILL NOT be held at the Taj Mahal during the Delegate Education Seminar. It will take place the following week at the International JFK Hotel, on Thursday, May 15th, as scheduled on the UFA Work chart Calendar, due to required Candidate Nomination Meeting for the UFA General Election.

Labor Relations/ Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) Update
The Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) has held ongoing meetings with the Office of Labor Relations (OLR), concerning Healthcare costs to both the city and our members. UFA President Steve Cassidy will update the membership today.

Political Action / Lobby Day April 29th
UFA Legislative Director Jim Slevin has scheduled Lobby Day for Tuesday, April 29, 2014. 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). PLEASE make sure THIS FORM is filled out so an agenda packet is made available for all members who are participating in Lobby Day! THIS FORM should be faxed to the UFA 212-683-0710 or emailed to PAC@ufanyc.org, NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, APRIL 18TH. **Form is available at the Trustees table.**

It is expected that the buses will leave at 7am and not return until 9pm. Members should also look up their legislators HERE and make appointments to see them during lobby day.


NYS 2014-15 Budget Enacted
In March, New York State Legislature passed the 2014-15 budget on time. UFA Vice President Jim Slevin will update the membership.

Roster Staffing Case Updates - The Office of Collective Bargaining's (OCB) Interim Decision
As you know, the UFA and UFOA filed a joint petition on January 31, 2011, alleging that the City's elimination of the 5th firefighter in the 60 Engines set forth in the Roster Staffing Agreement violated its requirement to negotiate, as well as created a negative safety impact. In its Interim Decision, dated June 20, 2011, the Board of Collective Bargaining (BCB) found that the Roster Staffing Agreement contained a "sunset" provision that terminated the staffing levels in the 60 Engines at a specified time, and 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 firefighters.

Article 78 Proceeding and Subsequent Appeals
With regard to the dismissal of the unions' claims relative to the City's duty to negotiate, on July 29, 2011, the UFA filed an Article 78 proceeding in the New York Supreme Court, which challenged that part of the BCB's decision that found that the City did not have to negotiate with the unions after it changed the staffing levels in the 60 Engine Companies, as being arbitrary and capricious. The City and Board of Collective Bargaining each filed cross-motions to dismiss the UFA's appeal. On February 8, 2012, the NY Supreme Court denied the City's and BCB's applications to dismiss the UFA's Article 78 petition.

The UFA's case then proceeded through the NY Supreme Court seeking an order annulling part of the BCB's Interim Decision which held that the City was not required to negotiate its unilateral decision to reduce fire engine company staffing levels. On July 6, 2012 the NY Supreme Court denied the UFA's Article 78 petition, deferring to the BCB as the agency charged with interpreting the NYC Collective Bargaining Law.

Thereafter, the UFA filed a Notice of Appeal of this denial of the Article 78 Petition to the Appellate Division, First Department. The parties, including the UFA, the City, and the BCB each filed written appellate briefs, and on January 14, 2014, oral argument was conducted by UFA Labor Counsel before a panel of Justices of the First Department. On February 18, 2014, the Appellate Division, First Department issued a Decision and Order that affirmed the underlying BCB and NY Supreme Court determinations as rational and proper. The First Department decision is posted on the UFA website.

The UFA has filed a motion seeking leave to appeal this matter further to the New York State Court of Appeals, because the Court of Appeals must first grant approval for the filing of any further appeal. The City and the Office of Collective Bargaining have each filed opposition papers to this motion.

Safety Impact Hearing
Status conferences are being scheduled with the Office of Collective Bargaining and the neutral Trial Examiner, Dean Ted St. Antoine of the University of Michigan School of Law, to inquire of the City's lack of progress in obtaining and coordinating responses to the UFA's original Information Request, and Supplemental Information Request, including the information concerning the first-due 10-75 data.

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: LeRoy McGinnis, 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'.

Riding Early in Understaffed Units - Don't Do It!!!
Department Regulations 11.1.2 require that all members riding must be assigned on the Officer's Riding List. If you are not on the Riding List, you are not permitted to ride. Early relief is only permitted man-for-man, as per Department Regulations 21.1.4, which state "Members may be relieved before roll call for a period not to exceed 60 minutes. Such relief shall be on mutual exchange basis." Members are reminded that if you arrive at work early and your unit is still riding understaffed, you are not permitted to ride unless it is an authorized early relief of another FF. UFA MEMBERS DO NOT WORK FOR FREE!!

Improper Practice Case: UFA vs. Department and Bronx Battalion Commander
The UFA has completed the Improper Practice hearing against the Department and the Battalion Commander from the 15th Battalion, based upon the UFA's claims that the FDNY violated the New York City Collective Bargaining Law (NYCCBL) when it discriminated against Light Duty FFs from L39 by unilaterally transferring them from the previous Light Duty posts on 03/09/12, and again on 08/01/12.

In addition, the UFA claims that the FDNY interfered with the statutory rights of all Union members when the Battalion Commander made inflammatory statements to members of L39 and E63 indicating that he was going to target any and all Union members who sought to protect and preserve their NYCCBL right of participating in protected union activity.

There were a total of eight days of hearings. On its direct case, the UFA presented Firefighters from Ladder 39 and Engine 63 as witnesses, as well as Bronx Trustee Edward Brown. As part of the City's defense case, Battalion Commander Cartica testified and incredibly stated that he was not responsible for the transfers of the Ladder 39 Light Duty Firefighters. Post-Hearing Briefs are scheduled to be submitted to the Board of Collective Bargaining on May 2, 2014.

UCT Case Update & Court Ordered Subpoena Against City
In a favorable decision to the UFA and UFOA dated April 30, 2013, the New York State Court of Appeals denied the City's motion which requested permission to appeal to that Court. Specifically, the City was trying to appeal from the Appellate Division, First Department order that denied the City's challenge to the New York Supreme Court order that required the City to produce all drafts and versions of a consulting report prepared by Winbourne Consulting, entitled "911 Call Processing Review." NYC Corporation Counsel has provided the UFA and UFOA with all drafts and versions of the "911 Call Processing Review," an independent consultant's report that is highly critical of the City's handling of 911 fire-related calls.

Finally, after approximately a one-and-a half year delay caused by the City as a result of their frivolous attempts to not disclose the "911 Call Processing Review", the safety impact hearing resumed on December 20, 2013 and was completed on January 15, 2014. Each and every version of the independent consultant's report was admitted into evidence.

In addition, due to the help of our membership, the UFA put an overwhelming number of UCT Error Correction Log sheets into the evidentiary record. The UFA also outlined structural fires which resulted in exorbitant response time rates despite the inaccurate statements made by the City in its pleadings. The UFA has decided to focus solely on the safety impact issue regarding the method by which fire-related 911 calls are being handled post-UCT, rather than the newly implemented ICAD software.

The Office of Collective Bargaining will now determine whether the exclusion and/or restriction of the duties by the Fire Alarm Receipt dispatchers on 911 fire-related calls have had a safety impact on our membership. Post-Hearing Briefs will be submitted to the Board of Collective Bargaining on April 14, 2014.

Dependent Audit
Several months ago, the City of New York began a Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit (DEVA). Employees were sent letters instructing them about documents that needed to be submitted in order to verify their dependent's eligibility. By doing so, their dependent's health plan coverage would continue uninterrupted.

There were members who possibly had changed their home address without notifying the health plans and therefore they never received the letters. **Please check the Trustees table for members from your company that have not yet been verified.**

Delegate Education Seminar Registration Packages Mailed
Registration packages were mailed to all Delegate residences in February. 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 returned to the UFA NO LATER THAN APRIL 14th to receive your discounted rate. After April 14th 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 HERE clicking on Delegate Education from the home page.

Defensive Driving Course will take place on Tuesday, May 6th @ 5pm SHARP!! Pre-registration is required; UPDATE FOR 2014: PLEASE NOTE - SEATING IS LIMITED!! Defensive Driving Participants MUST be pre- registered for class by calling Mike Chierico at 631 587 2435 and leaving a message with their Name and Unit Number. DON'T FORGET TO BRING YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE!! Class will start promptly at 5pm and registration will close shortly beforehand.

Pension Statements: Albert Connolly will be available for delegates to break down their pension statements. All delegates attending the seminar should print out their personal pension statement, via the pension portal on FDNY intranet. (Al's workshop will be held at 4pm on Thursday, May 8th.)

Delegate Seminar Topics: Poll Your Members
Many of our members depend heavily upon their Delegates for guidance and important information. Delegates should poll their members prior to attending the seminar so they may have answers to their members' questions when they return. Topics to be addressed this year include: UFA State of the Union Address, UFA Media & PR Strategies, Compensation Accrual Fund (your annuity investing), Deferred Compensation Plan (457, 401k, & IRA), Pension Reform, New On-Line FDNY Pension Statements, Disability Pensions, Retirement Planning, UFA Dental / Optical / Prescription Drug plans, New Protective Gear, FDNY Research & Development, Cancer Awareness/Prevention, Medical Office Issues, UFA Criminal Counsel, UCT & Roster Staffing Cases, Being an Effective Delegate, 50% Indicator, Pension Loans, ITHP, Roth IRAs, Health & Safety Issues, Firefighter Legislation & Political Action, Pension Planning by the FDNY Pension Unit and more. In addition, many representatives from health care companies, mortgage companies, financial advisors and others will have exhibit tables and be distributing literature. You can also check out the latest notices for this year's Seminar on the UFA website, HERE. Seminar dates: May 6-9, 2014.

2014 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial
The 2014 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Service will be held Saturday, September 20, 2014. The mission of the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, which is located in the shadow of Pike's Peak, is to honor the sacrifice made by IAFF members who serve as professional fire fighters and emergency medical personnel who have given their lives in the line of duty. Previously only members that had succumbed to an LOD injury or an on-duty heart attack had been submitted to the IAFF and had their names added to the memorial.

The UFA is now able to submit members who have died either active or retired from a presumptive condition such as a WTC related cancer since 2002. We need any delegate who has had a member that falls into this category to first reach out to the next of kin and ask if they would like their loved one to be included this year.

Please notify the UFA no later than April 30th with the name and number of a contact person. The IAFF will then invite 2 family members to attend the ceremony in Colorado Springs. The family is responsible for their own travel & hotel arrangements (the IAFF website, http://www.iaff.org, has section dedicated to this event). The UFA will continue, as done in the past, with assisting the family members invited to the service. Any additional family members or firefighters that would like to attend are permitted.

Reminder: Return Your Parking Placard # List to UFA
Delegates should have already recorded placard number assignments and faxed (or mailed) the provided company placard roster list to the Recording Secretary's office, ATTN LeRoy McGinnis 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. If you have not yet provided the placard roster list to the UFA, please do so ASAP.

9th Annual MDA $1 per Member per Meal Program
During the week of Jan 19th -26th the UFA once again asked members to participate in this fund raising effort to help those afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy. Donations received from this go directly to those in‎ our area, including many of our own members' families. Donations may still be sent to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Western Long Island District Office-3231, 5 Dakota Drive # 101, Lake Success, NY 11042.

Manhattan 5th Alarm Box 1406
Health & Safety Officer Gerard Fitzgerald has reached out to Dr. Kelly regarding a generic CD-73 for Manhattan box 1406, she agreed and passed on her recommendation to Safety where we are waiting on their decision. The UFA recommends that all members that operated at the fatal 5th Alarm in Manhattan on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014, submit a CD-73 for exposure to possible toxins in the air.

National September 11th Memorial Museum
Prior to its official public opening, The National September 11 Memorial Museum has arranged for a special tribute-filled Dedication Period for the 9/11 community. From May 15th through May 20th, 9/11 families, first responders, recovery workers and survivors will be able to preview museum exhibits and events. The Museum will remain open 24 hours per day during the Dedication Period in tribute to the thousands of Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers who worked around the clock in the aftermath of 9/11. The previews are free, but reservations are required. To learn more about the events and exhibits visit: www.911memorial.org/dedication.


Stephen J. Cassidy