Friday, May 16, 2008
for General Membership Meeting
Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, NJ
1. Delegate Seminar Concludes
On behalf of the entire UFA Executive Board I'd like to personally thank each and every Delegate and Alternate who sacrificed their valuable time and made the effort to participate this week. It is our objective that the comprehensive training received while here will be of great assistance when helping your members and their families regarding the many issues they face. The agenda and course titles are also posted on the UFA website. Besides the time you spend at our Educational Seminar, we realize you invest considerable time throughout the year in order to educate yourself on issues of importance to your members. We'd like to once again thank you for all you do and the leadership role you take. It does make a difference!
2. Rescheduled June Union Meeting
The June 12th Union Meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 19th. Please insure that this date is adjusted on all your personal and firehouse calendars.
3. Lobby Day in Albany June 10th
Firefighters once again will be traveling to Albany in support of various UFA Bills. All members will be receiving a legislative packet at home in the coming weeks. They will also receive a form that they are asked to fax back to the UFA regarding their participation in Lobby Day or they can register on the UFA website. Delegates should be compiling a list of those members that will be attending. It is essential that we once again have a large turnout to help advance the UFA legislative agenda.
4. Contract update
The Battalion Delegates met with the UFA Executive Board, to discuss the upcoming round of contract negotiations, on April 17th. Communications have begun with the City Labor Commissioner, James Hanley, regarding this round of contract negotiations. The Board is preparing to meet with the City on Monday, May 21st. President Cassidy addressed the Delegate Body on Thursday morning with a contract update during his State of the Union presentation.
5. FDNY Medal Day
Once again the Fire Commissioner Scoppetta and Chief of Department Cassano have acted unilaterally and trampled on one of FDNY's finest traditions. Their combination of Firefighter and EMS personnel Medal Ceremonies detracts from the sacrifices both organizations provide for the City. The UFA Executive Board will continue to lobby the Fire Department to rectify this misguided policy.
6. UFA Financial Statement
Bob Straub reports that the UFA Financial Statement was mailed to FDNY Firehouses and Delegate home addresses last week.
7. CFR-D: Opting Out Update
The CFR-D Agreement, which was signed by the City and the UFA in 1995, contains the following language: "Opting Out: The FD will consider requests by FFs to opt-out of the CFR-D program upon expiration of the FFs CFR-D certification. When practicable, the FD will facilitate transfers for those who wish to be reassigned to a ladder or engine company." Chief Cassano stated to the UFA at the March 7 Labor-Management Meeting that he has never approved any requests to opt out. He also said that all members who were previously CFR-D certified will have to get recertified, but that those who were never certified will not be required to become certified. Members who wish to opt out are still advised to submit such requests in writing to their Officers. NOTE: You are entitled to written (and signed) approvals or denials, when submitting formal written requests through channels. It is the UFA's position that you do not have to take the CFR-D refresher course until you receive a written and signed response to your request. Any members who still have copies of previous written approvals, or recent disapprovals, should fax them to UFA Recording Secretary Joe Miccio at 212-683-4359.
8. Grievance/Arbitration Update
UFA Recording Secretary Joe Miccio and UFA Labor Attorney Mike Axelrod report the following:
- CSU Referrals Improper Practice/Scope of Bargaining - Pending before the Board of Collective Bargaining (BCB): The UFA filed an IP case against the Dept for its inappropriate referrals of members without their consent to the CSU by BITs. The UFA maintains this is a direct violation of a members' right to privacy, and is subject to negotiation. The UFA filed its reply to the City's papers in August. Conference has been held and we are awaiting a decision.
- Light Duty Details Improper Practice - Pending before the BCB: The Dept violated the Collective Bargaining agreement by unilaterally assigning light duty members to work schedules that deviate from the Dept's prior existing practices. OCB directed the case to the grievance process. We are awaiting the appointment of an arbitrator.
- Random Drug Testing Cases - Pending before the BCB: The last conference took place on 10/22 at the Office of Collective Bargaining. The OCB has been holding the cases up because of a court appeal from a successful police union grievance (handled by Michael Axelrod) against the Police Department for switching to hair follicle testing. Our supplemental briefs are due at the end of May.
- Reasonable Suspicion Testing Cases - Pending before the BCB: The last hearing took place in January at the Office of Collective Bargaining. Final Briefs, because of a court appeal involving the Police Department, are due at the end of May.
- Increased AFID (3rd Day) - Improper Practice Filed: The Dept failed to negotiate with the UFA regarding the impact of the increased hours of AFID. After submission of our papers, a hearing was ordered which will be scheduled for September. We are awaiting discovery as well as assistance from the membership to be discussed later.
- Medical Leave Lifts: This case is still pending at OCB
- Raid & Drug Testing at S.I. Firehouse E168 - Grievance filed: Step III Hearing took place last week. Dept raided and placed company OOS for drug testing after the company reported finding what appeared to be a controlled substance packaging with residue, which occurred shortly after a visitor who presented official ID left quarters. Awaiting appointment of an arbitrator.
Stephen J. Cassidy,