Thursday, June 12, 2014
for Special Membership Meeting
Hilton New York JFK Airport Hotel, Queens, NY
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.
UFA Election Ballot Mailed
Ballots were mailed to each member's residence by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) on Friday, May 30th, and must be returned to the AAA by 5PM on Monday, June 23rd. Any member who has not received a ballot is directed to call AAA directly at (800) 529-5218, M-F 9am to 5pm, or email to Sacha Ulerio firstname.lastname@example.org, and give the correct residence address (and actual assigned unit - not their detail assignment). A ballot will be mailed to your home that same day. Military members serving active duty may vote via the internet in accordance with the UFA Constitution and the above time requirements (see item #3 below).
Ballot Count Date
Ballots will be counted on Tuesday, June 24 commencing at 10am. 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, which is listed on the UFA website. Election results will be announced via 65-2 Fax the same day ballots are counted. Winners take office effective August 1, 2014 for a 3-year term.
Active Military Members May E-vote
Military members serving active duty any time between 05/30/14 and 06/23/14 (and unable to reside at their NY residence) may vote via the internet in accordance with the UFA Constitution and above time requirements. Any activated military member wishing to e-vote must insure your e-mail address on record at the UFA is current in order to receive an e-ballot. If not, immediately prepare a 'SBF Change of Address Form' noting your email address, sign and mail it to the UFA, Attn: LeRoy McGinnis, Recording Secretary. Forms can be obtained from your Delegate, the UFA website or by calling the UFA SBF at 212-683-4723. Any Delegate with an activated military member assigned to his company is asked to reach out to the family to obtain an email address, if the member is using email while overseas. Provide this info to UFA Recording Secretary LeRoy McGinnis at lmcginnis@UFANYC.org. The information will be verified prior to emailing a ballot.
The UFA has submitted a formal request to continue negotiations with the OLR commissioner Bob Linn, we expect to confirm dates for late June or Early July.
City Council Briefing
On Thursday May 29th , the UFA Executive Board met with NYC Council Members and staff to distribute a An Insider's Guide about the First Responders to all New Yorkers* booklet. UFA President Steve Cassidy & Vice President Jim Slevin led the presentation and will update the membership.
On Friday May 30th, the UFA stood with NYC Council Members, along with other union heads including the UFOA, EMS & Fire Alarm Dispatchers at a press conference and later at hearings held by Council Person Elizabeth Crowley, calling on the Mayor to change the current UCT system, and return the interrogation of the caller back to the Fire Alarm dispatchers. Go HERE to view video coverage of the press conference.
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 were submitted to the Board of Collective Bargaining on April 14, 2014, and we are presently awaiting the Board's calendaring of its decision.
UFA Financial Statement
UFA Treasurer Bob Straub reports that the UFA Financial Statement & Bi-annual Financial Statement was mailed on May 2nd to all Firehouses and Delegate home addresses. Bob will answer any questions concerning the statements.
UFA Legislative Director Jim Slevin reports that one of the UFA priority bills introduced in this Legislative session is: Memorandum in Support of NYC Firefighter Disability Benefits S7736(Golden)/A9975(Abbate), an act to amend the general municipal law and the retirement and social security law, in relation to increasing certain special accidental disability benefits and adding presumptive disability benefits for Tier III/VI members. UFA Vice President Jim Slevin will update the membership. Please see attached NY Post article concerning the PBA bill.
Reminder: The UFA will be calling in the Battalion Advisory Committee prior to this year's election cycle.
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.
Improper Practice Case: UFA vs. Department and Bronx
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 June 13, 2014.
The Health & Safety Office would like to remind all members of the importance of ongoing hydration as the summer months approach. Please remember that "rehab" needs to begin before a fire. It is important to drink plenty of non-caffeinated beverages throughout your tour and before your tour in order to prevent dehydration. By arriving at a fire scene even mildly dehydrated, the stress on your heart will increase significantly. The Health & Safety Office has a "Rehab" handout that you should familiarize yourself with. If you have any questions about this or any other health and safety issue, please contact our office at 212-545-6965.
Heat Index for Signal 10-51
The summer heat will be upon us soon. When the Heat Index ('Feels Like' or 'Real Feel' temperature) is 105 degrees or more, a Signal 10-51 is mandated, in accordance with Fire Prevention Manual Chapter 3, Addendum 2. The Heat Index is reported by the National Weather Service (NWS) hourly and is also regularly reported in the media as 'Feels Like' or 'Real Feel' temperature. Exact current 'Feels Like' temperatures (Heat Index and also Wind Chill Index) can be found on the NWS web site at www.srh.noaa.gov/zipcity.php by entering your zip code. The bottom of the UFA website home page also has a weather link to obtain this info. Your On-Duty Officer is responsible to make immediate notifications to the Battalion whenever the 'Feels Like' temperature warrants a signal 10-51 and it is not given over the teleprinter.
Stephen J. Cassidy