November 18, 2010
for Special Membership Meeting
International JFK Airport Hotel, Queens, NY
- 2011 UFA Workchart Calendar Distributed Today (See Item #16)
Calendars for each company are at your Borough Trustee Table today, packaged 25 per box compliments of Mike Block! Please take ONLY enough calendars for each member to have one, and a few extra for firehouse posting. There are a limited number of calendars.
- Free Flu Inoculations Today (See Item #21)
UFA Health & Safety Officer/Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Romaka worked with BHS Dr. Kelly & Dr. Prezant to schedule free flu shots for all members attending today's meeting.
- Healthplex Dental Benefits Provider Table Today (See Item #19)
Healthplex administrator professionals have a table today to provide info, literature and answer questions about UFA Dental Plan options during this rollover period.
- Catastrophic Insurance Help Table Today (See Item #20)
Matt Arvanites from Marsh Catastrophic Insurance is present at a member service table today.
- 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.
- Quartermaster List Distributed to Battalion Delegates (See Item #13)
Battalion Delegates, please pick up your package at the Health & Safety table today.
1. SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS: Proposed Constitution Amendment Today
The proposed UFA Constitution amendments will be discussed and voted upon today. The Constitution Committee will present its recommendations. Also, the Executive Board's vote and recommendations will be presented. The complete text of the proposed amendments is contained in 65-2 #57 of 2010, which was mailed to all FHs and Delegate residences, and is also attached to this report.
2. Do Not Volunteer if Jeopardizing Professional FF Careers
We have been informed by the NYS Professional Firefighters Association that the Newburgh FD local is facing a difficult battle with impending layoffs. We have been asked to request our members not to participate in any fire department related activities in and around the city of Newburgh. UFA and IAFF members are reminded that, in accordance with both the IAFF and UFA Constitutions and Bye-laws, members who volunteer as a Firefighter or EMT where such status "jeopardizes an IAFF affiliate" may be declared a "member not in good standing." Members who volunteer in a department that responds to Newburgh via mutual aid are in violation.
3. Roster Staffing Agreement
The City has contacted the UFA regarding the Roster Staffing Agreement. A meeting has been scheduled for November 23 at the Office of Labor Relations. Delegates are reminded that the complete language of the 1996 Roster Staffing Agreement, its history and FAQs are in the Contracts & Agreements Chapter of the Delegate Manual. Steve Cassidy will update the membership today.
4. Modified Response Queens Pilot
As previously discussed, the Dept says its Modified Response protocol was created to reduce apparatus accidents. However, it is clear that this pilot-along with the misleading response time numbers fabricated under Unified Call Taker-is nothing more than a dangerous strategy to produce misleading data to support its objective of closing many firehouses in 2011. Please insure you continue to drive safely under all circumstances and conditions!
5. Budget Cuts: FDNY Possible Impact
The UFA has received information that the City is looking to resurrect its firehouse night closing program this January, in 20 companies. The UFA will continue to support the City Council's efforts to keep their firehouses open and communities safe.
6. Election Day Results
The UFA thanks all members who turned out to support the UFA's GOTV (Get-Out-The-Vote) operations leading into the election, and for volunteering on Election Day. Currently there are three races in the State Senate that have not been decided. We await the results of absentee ballot counting and ensuing Court Challenges to decide who will be in control of the NYS Senate. In addition to all the State Assembly and Senate candidates we supported, newly elected NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli expressed their sincere gratitude to our membership for our support, which was critically important in these two very close races. Mayor Bloomberg endorsed and helped fund their opponents' campaigns. Our objective is always to support candidates who support legislation and issues that are important to our members. In addition to these races, our long time friend Rep. Pete King was re-elected-and with the Republicans regaining the majority in Congress, he will resume his role as Chairman on the Homeland Security Committee.
7. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act Update
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act legislation in September. The Senate has reconvened for the lame-duck session before the new Congress takes office in 2011. At this point it is still unclear if there is enough support in the Senate to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and to pass it in a brief lame duck session. The UFA was in Washington D.C. on Tuesday with Mayor Bloomberg and both our Senators for a press conference and to lobby other U.S. Senators, urging their support to pass the bill.
8. Proposed Settlement of WTC Respiratory Cases
The proposed settlement of the claims of approximately 10,000 individuals who have become ill from 9/11 exposures, required that at least 95% of the claimants agree to the settlement in order for it to become effective. The deadline for reaching that 95% figure was November 16, 2010. We are awaiting an announcement from the Federal Judge overseeing the case as to whether the settlement has been approved. If it has, a Court appointed neutral arbiter will now begin evaluating the claims to specify a monetary award for each individual claimant. That process is expected to take up to 1 year.
9. Governor Vetoes Pension Protection Bill
The Pension Protection Bill was recently vetoed by Governor Patterson. The Bill would have provided that after a member reaches the 20th year anniversary, he/she shall not be precluded from any rights otherwise entitled to, nor upon retirement shall his/her benefits be in any way diminished as a result of a discharge or dismissal. The UFA fought a long and successful battle to get this bill passed in legislature and is extremely disappointed in the Governor's decision. The UFA had explained to the governor that it is a matter of equity and fairness with all other public employees in the state. Fire Commissioner Cassano and Mayor Bloomberg both lobbied against the bill. The UFA is reviewing the governor's veto explanation, for possible revision of the bill.
10. Accurate CD-72s for all LOD Injuries
Steve Cassidy, V.P. Jim Slevin, Treasurer Bob Straub and Brooklyn Trustee John Kelly, who sit on the FDNY Pension Board, remind all members that the CD-72 is a primary document which is carefully reviewed by the Pension Board when making disability pension determinations. Make sure your members prepare them accurately, and seek UFA guidance when uncertain.
11. Medical Leave Controls
Supplement #42 to Dept Order #59 states that members who report an injury/illness/fatigue/exhaustion "may be directed to report to the BHS" when requesting Medical Leave during a tour, even if after BHS normal hours. The contract says ill or injured members who are ordered to stay while waiting for a doctor are to be paid OT. Accordingly, your Officer should submit a TPR mark for OT if you are ordered to stay beyond the end of your tour to see a Dept doctor. Make a Company Journal entry if your Officer informs you that he/she was ordered not to submit an OT TPR mark, and notify the UFA. If the inquiry is denied (or your Officer does not give you a mark) forward a copy of the denial (or company Journal entry) to UFA Recording Secretary Joe Miccio at fax #212-683-4359 or email to RecordingSecretary@UFANYC.org.
12. Uniform Maintenance Non-Taxability Affidavit
It is extremely important that each member file the form with their Officer. Per Dept Orders, "failure to properly complete and file an affidavit may result in the issuance of a corrected W-2 form that includes the Uniform Cleaning Allowance as taxable earnings." Affidavits and instructions may also be obtained by accessing the Department's Intranet. Audits will be conducted to ensure that affidavits are being completed and filed. See your Officer if you have any questions regarding this issue.
13. Quartermaster Report 2010
At the request of the UFA's Health & Safety Office, the FDNY Quartermaster provided the UFA with the annual list of members who have not been seen by the Quartermaster this year. Each list is broken down for Battalion Delegates. The list is available to each Battalion Delegate at your Trustee Table today. Members who have not visited the Quartermaster this year should try to be seen by the Quartermaster before the end of this year. If you are unable to find your Battalion list, please contact the Health & Safety Office at 212-545-6965 or email email@example.com.
14. UFA Financial Statement
UFA Treasurer Bob Straub reports that the UFA 6-Month Financial Statement was mailed to FDNY Firehouses and Delegate home addresses last week.
15. Deferred Compensation Plan Fees
If you have invested into the City of New York Deferred Compensation Plan, you probably received a letter recently from Deferred Compensation explaining certain fees. The issues outlined in the letter impact all NYC employees, not just UFA members.
16. 2011 UFA Workchart Calendar-Packed with Good Info!
The UFA would like to thank Mike Block and his firm, Sullivan, Papain, Block, McGrath & Cannavo, P.C., for covering the entire cost of printing the 2011 UFA Workchart Calendar. Calendars for each company are at your Borough Trustee Table today, packaged 25 per box. Please take ONLY enough calendars for each member and a few extra for the firehouse. It is designed to give members better access to UFA info and other services. The inside front cover includes phone numbers of all companies, battalions & divisions-noting which share quarters. The flow chart on the rear cover, 'Getting Your Problems Solved with UFA Help', makes it easy to get help. Important phone numbers, faxes or email addresses are also included on the back cover for health care providers, the UFA SBF, Medical Office, Insurances, Legal, FDNY HQ, the UFA and much more. The Medical Office section includes phone numbers and the proper address to give to medical care providers if injured on duty to insure YOU do not receive the bills. It includes lots of good information. Keep a copy handy!
17. 2010 UFA Parking Placards
Your 2010 Parking Placards expire on February 1, 2011. The new 2011 Parking Placards will be distributed at the January Union Meeting by each Borough Trustee, to Company Delegates only.
18. Random Drug Testing Quarterly Reports
The FDNY reports that the following units were tested randomly between 7/1/10 to 9/30/10. A total of 77 units were tested: 35 Engines, 28 Ladders, 7 Battalions, 1 Marine Unit, 1 Medical Officers Unit, 1 Squad, 1 SOC Unit, 1 SOC Battalion, 1 Hazmat Unit, 1 Hazmat Battalion, and 9 Fire Marshals. Reports listing each company tested and individual dates are attached. Reports listing each company tested and individual dates are attached. Reports are sorted by both company and chronologically.
19. UFA Dental Plan Transfer Period
Healthplex, which manages the UFA Dentcare program (no out-of-pocket) & UFA Family Plan (pay & reimbursement and also no out-of-pocket plan), has a table today in the lobby to distribute literature and answer questions. The Dental Transfer Period for active and retired members, where members may roll over between plans, ends December 31. Changes become effective on January 1, 2011. Pick up your transfer forms, fee schedules and literature today, or call the UFA SBF office. The UFA SBF Booklet (for your Delegate Manual), which explains your dental coverage options, is available at your Trustee table today. Additional dental information is also available at the SBF and Healthplex tables today. Make sure you pick up for your firehouse the updated information, transfer forms and other dental info today.
20. Catastrophic Insurance Here Today
Matt Arvanites from Marsh Catastrophic Insurance will be present at a member service table today. Members with open issues or questions can receive assistance. For many years the UFA has been highly recommending that members consider coverage under this affordable catastrophic policy. The catastrophic plan can help cover many expenses not normally covered by your City Plan.
21. Flu Vaccinations Available Today
UFA Sergeant-at-Arms / Health & Safety Officer, William Romaka, has arranged with FDNY BHS to have Flu Shots administered during today's meeting. It is recommended that all members avail themselves of this opportunity. This is the BEST way for members to protect themselves and their families. Flu Shots will be administered by BHS today, prior to and during the meeting.
22. Prostate Awareness
Baseball announcer Ed Randall will discuss prostate awareness with the membership at today's meeting.
23. City Health/Medical Plan Transfer Period Ends 11/30/10
The Health Benefits Transfer Period is taking place between November 1 and November 30. During this annual transfer period, active and retired members are allowed to transfer from their current health plan to any other plan for which they are eligible, add or drop Optional Rider coverage or add or drop dependent(s). This is the only time changes can be made outside of a qualifying event. This year, members will be able to make changes to their health coverage online via Employee Self Service (ESS) eBenefits at www.nyc.gov/ess. Changes can also be made by contacting the Health Benefits Unit at 718-999-2196 between November 1, 2010 and November 30, 2010. There are two different Health Plan Transfer Forms--one for active members and another for retirees. Submitting an incorrect form may result in failure of your requested changes to be implemented. Late changes will not be accepted!!! Health plan changes requested during the Transfer Period will be effective the first day of the first full payroll period in January 2011.
24. Health Plan Buy-Out Waiver Program
To elect the Buy-Out Waiver Program or change health premium contribution tax status, you must fill out a Medical Spending Conversion Enrollment/Change Form. Members who waive their City health benefits, will lose their PICA drug coverage. This form is available at www.nyc.gov/olr or by contacting the Health Benefits Unit at 718-999-2196. This form must be completed and returned to the Health Benefits Unit by Friday, November 19, 2010.
25. Affordable Care Act: Coverage Under Age 26
The new health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), contains a provision that extends coverage for young adults up to age 26. 'Children' are now allowed to remain on their parents' health plans well into adulthood. Health plans are required to cover these young adults regardless of whether they are full-time students or if they are married. As of July 2011 coverage for young adults up to the age of 26 will be available through the City of New York Health Benefits Program.
26. Pre-Tax Flexible Spending Accounts for Health Care & Dependent Care
Open enrollment period (for HCFSA & DeCAP) runs through November 19. These 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. These programs are known as the Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) and the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DeCAP). To enroll, you must submit an FSA Enrollment/Change Form for Plan Year 2011, which is available on line at www.nyc.gov/olr or by contacting the FDNY Health Benefits Unit at 718-999-2196. See Dept Order #82 for more info. Any member currently enrolled will automatically receive the Plan Year 2011 FSA Program Brochure and Enrollment/Change Form in the mail.
27. Change of Beneficiary/Address Checklists
Change of Beneficiary and Change of Address Checklists are available inside the following three Delegate Manual Chapters/Booklets: 'Security Benefits Fund', 'NYC Health Plans', and also 'Insurances & Free Benefits.' These booklets include contact information for making changes. Refer to your Delegate Manual.
28. Update Your Address, Email, Phone #s with the UFA
Members and Delegates wishing to receive important health benefit 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 website.
Stephen J. Cassidy,