Union Meeting's President's Report

Thursday, February 5th, 2015
President's Report
for Special Membership Meeting
Hilton New York JFK Airport Hotel, Queens, NY

Special Business

    Pick Up at your Trustee Table TODAY:
  • Salary Chart Package for LODI Deduction Calculation
  • Fire Marshal: see Fire Marshal Rep, Steven Tagliani
  • Marine Units: at the Manhattan Table
  • Special Assignment: at the SBF Table, see Jimmy Dahl

Security Benefit 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.


Today's Agenda

Contract Negotiations/Labor Relations
The UFA will be meeting with the Office of Labor Relations Commissioner Bob Linn to continue contract discussions. UFA President Steve Cassidy will update the membership.


UFA Political Action
NYS Senate
On Wednesday February 4th, UFA President Steve Cassidy gave Testimony at NY State Senate Hearings, examining public protection. Steve will update the membership Today.

IAFF
On January 22nd, UFA President Steve Cassidy along with more than a dozen Tier 3/6 firefighters and with the assistance of the IAFF, began work on a PSA to highlight the lack of full disability benefits for new and future firefighters. Once finished, this video will be sent to all NYC & NYS elected officials and will be made available on the UFA website.

City Council
UFA President Steve Cassidy and Vice President Jim Slevin met this week with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley to continue discussion on a Home Rule concerning restoration of full disability benefits for our members.

Albany Update
Vice President Jim Slevin will update the membership on the changes taking place in Albany.


Improper Practice Cases
NYC Board of Collective Bargaining Rules that FDNY Interfered With UFA Rights and Retaliated Against UFA Membership
In this improper practice matter, the UFA challenged involuntary transfers of Firefighters from Ladder Company 39 from their respective light-duty posts, by Battalion Commander Keith Cartica of the 15th Battalion, as being discriminatory and interfering with the rights of the UFA and its membership under the New York City Collective Bargaining Law ("NYCCBL"). In addition, the UFA argued that the FDNY interfered with, and engaged in actions that were inherently destructive of UFA members' rights under the NYCCBL when the Battalion Commander disparaged the UFA and its officials at a firehouse meeting after he closed Ladder 39/Engine 63 simultaneously, and subsequently, when the Battalion Commander attempted to "negotiate" with an individual UFA member.

Specifically, the UFA prevailed on its claim that the FDNY violated New York City Collective Bargaining Law sections 12-306(a)(1) and (3), when it transferred UFA members from their light duty assignments on August 1, 2012 because such action constituted retaliation/discrimination for these members' engagement in protected, union activity. The UFA also prevailed on its claim that the FDNY violated NYCCBL § 12-306(a)(1), when the Battalion Commander launched into a tirade at L-39/E-63 because this speech interfered with the rights of UFA members, pursuant to NYCCBL § 12-305. Additionally, the UFA prevailed on its claim that the FDNY's actions were inherently destructive and violated NYCCBL § 12-306(a)(1), when the Battalion Commander told one of the Firefighters that he would be returned to his previous light duty post, if he could get the UFA to withdraw the improper practice petition.

Article 78 Proceeding Dismissed by New York Supreme Court
The UFA brought this Article 78 Proceeding seeking to overturn the Board of Collective Bargaining Decision which denied the UFA's Improper Practice. The underlying improper practice challenged the unilateral implementation of a policy from the BFI that required members in the rank of Fire Marshal to remain in that rank for a minimum of two years. This policy especially affected Firefighters who were on the civil service promotional lists for the rank of Fire Marshal, and the rank of Lieutenant. Despite the numerous witnesses who testified on behalf of the UFA at the underlying hearing, that the two-year minimum commitment policy existed and was implemented, the Board ruled that the UFA did not establish that the policy existed or was being enforced.

The UFA appealed this ruling on the ground that the Board's decision was not supported by substantial evidence from the underlying hearing, and was arbitrary and capricious. The New York Supreme Court granted the City and the Board's motions to dismiss, ruling that a rational basis existed for the Board's underlying decision because the Board found that Chief Byrnes of BFI never "made anything more than a request or that any of the witnesses were required to remain a Fire Marshal for two years before being promoted." Further, the Court found that the underlying improper practice hearing was discretionary, as opposed to being mandated "pursuant to direction by law." In addition, the New York Supreme Court rejected the UFA's appeal that the Board's determination was arbitrary and capricious on the basis that the Board incorrectly interpreted the applicable case law.


Complications of Winter Firefighting

Chauffeurs:
Increased stopping distances, decreased visibility and unpredictable actions of civilian motorists will have an effect on response. Consideration must be given to snow/ice removal and accessibility of travel routes to/from alarms.

Water Supply Concerns:
Water on the ground from cold weather operations will create an increased potential for slips and falls.

It is imperative the S.C.B.A. are properly checked and maintained, to prevent moisture buildup that could lead to icing of the internal components of S.C.B.A. Most often the hands, feet, ears, and face of a firefighter are most prone to frostbite. Frostbite will appear as changes in skin appearance, such as discoloration and will be accompanied by numbness and stiffness to the affected area. The best way to prevent frostbite is to protect skin from direct exposure to cold air. Firefighters should dress in layers of loose fitting clothes beneath their bunker gear.


2015 UFA Delegate Seminar
In accordance with the UFA Constitution, a seminar site was chosen by a majority vote of the Delegate body. The 2015 Delegate Education Seminar will be held May 12th through May 15th in Atlantic City at the Tropicana. The May 2015 Union Meeting WILL be held at the Tropicana. It is scheduled for May 15th.

Information packets with details will be mailed shortly. NOTE: Lectures and classes addressing many important topics will be presented to help Delegates take care of their members' needs. All Delegates are required to attend this education seminar, in accordance with the UFA Constitution.


10-51 Guideline Reminder

    WEATHER FACTORS REQUIRING THE SUSPENSION OF OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES
  • Temperature
    Wind Chill Index (WCI) 15 or less. Heat Index (HI) 105 or higher.
  • Rain
    Heavy rain coupled with high winds. Snow Accumulations which have an impact on traffic, curbside parking, or the ability of Fire Department units to respond.
    A: Light snow with little accumulation would not normally be a factor in canceling activities.
    B: Lingering accumulations would have to be evaluated for impact.
  • Ice
    Hazardous road conditions caused by icy roads. For more info refer to BISP Manual Ch. 3, Add. 3.


UFA Calendar Correction
There is a correction to be made for the date of December 16, 2015. The 9x6 should read "(2)-(3)-4*-5-6-7" and for 6x9 it should read, "17*-18*-19-20-21-22". Please make the necessary changes.


10th Annual MDA $1 per Member per Meal Program
During the week of February 15th -21st the UFA will once again be asking 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. All donations can be sent to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Western Long Island District Office- 3231, 5 Dakota Drive # 101, Lake Success, NY 11042. MDA packets will be available at today's Union meeting.


2014 W-2: Verifying Annual LODI Tax Deductions
Current IRS regulations provide favorable tax treatment of wages during approved periods of Line-of-Duty Injury (LODI). Wages will be treated on a pre-tax basis. The Department 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 16, 2013 and December 14, 2014 and reduces gross wages for all calendar days an employee was out on LODI medical leave (not light duty). The Daily Rate equals annual base, longevity, night shift & holiday pay, divided by 365 days, except during leap years, which are divided by 366 days. This is the Department's standard formula used to determine your per diem deduction for LODI medical leave. It is based on calendar days, not the days you missed tours. To verify that proper deductions were taken by Payroll on your W-2 statement, see the FDNY Salary Chart package, distributed at your borough Trustee Table. Refer to the chart that applies to your grade and dates that you were out on LODI.


Social Security Wage Base Increases To $118,500
In 2015 The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the 2015 social security wage base will be $118,500, an increase of $1,500 from the 2014 wage base of $117,000. As in prior years there is no limit to the wages subject to the Medicare tax; therefore all covered wages are still subject to the 1.45% tax. As in 2014, wages paid in excess of $200,000 in 2015 will be subject to an extra 0.9% Medicare tax that will only be withheld from employees' wages. Employers will not pay the extra tax. The FICA tax rate, which is the combined social security tax rate of 6.2% and the Medicare tax rate of 1.45%, will be 7.65% for 2015 up to the social security wage base. The maximum social security tax employees and employers will each pay in 2015 is $7,347. This will be an increase of $93 for employees and employers.


Social Security Deduction - Tax Year 2015 Full FICA deductions are made up of two different deductions

  • 1. Medicare @ 1.45% (covering the medical insurance portion)
  • 2. Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance @ 6.20% The maximum wage base and deduction for 2015: An employee subject to full FICA at 7.65% would pay $9,065.25 on $118,500. The Medicare Tax Rate increase to 2.35% only applies to wages in excess of $200,000 regardless of the individual's filing status.


2015 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial
The 2015 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Service will be held Saturday, September 19, 2015. 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.

Notify the UFA no later than May 15th 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 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 fire fighters that would like to attend are permitted.


March Union Meeting Reminder
Next month's Union Meeting will fall on March 5th, which is the first Thursday of the month.


Update Your Address, Email, Phone #s with the UFA
Members and Delegates wishing to receive important information or notifications from the UFA should insure that their residence addresses, email addresses, home and cell phone numbers on file with the UFA are updated and accurate. In order to do this, you must prepare and sign a 'SBF Change of Address Form' and mail to the UFA, Attn: SBF. Forms can be obtained from your Delegate, who can assist you, or you can call the UFA SBF at 212-683-4723, or visit the Forms Section of the UFA web site. Additionally, members wishing to receive e-mails from the UFA should add the UFA e-mail address, UFA@ufanyc.org, to their contacts.


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.

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Cassidy
President