Union Issues, Events, Fundraisers & Benefits1. UFA Contract Update
The UFA Executive Board and Labor Attorney Mike Axelrod met with the City on Wednesday, September 13th in a negotiation session. Steve Cassidy Gave an update to the Delegates and members present at the September 14th union meeting. See your Delegate.
2. Continuing Apparatus Problems
We have had several reports where rigs were returned into service after being in the shops for repairs-only to have the same problems reoccur shortly thereafter. Members should ask the Officer to fill out an unusual occurrence report each time a rig fails to operate properly at a box-and take a mark in the company journal. We must document these instances to help us continue to lobby for new and better apparatus. Members are also asked to remind their officers that loaner rigs should NOT be placed OOS and stripped down prior to inspecting your rig upon its return from the shops to insure it is functioning properly. Verify that the shop has in-fact repaired your rig BEFORE going OOS to transfer tools, hoses and equipment!
3. Borough Memo Retracted
In response to UFA objections, a memo circulated in August regarding certain light duty scheduling has been retracted by the Department. Light duty scheduling policy has not changed from current protocol. Steve Cassidy discussed this matter with the Delegates and members present at the September 14th union meeting.
4. UFA Prescription Drug Cap Increases to $6500
The UFA Executive Board has recently voted to increase the Annual Drug Cap for active members and widows and/or eligible dependents of our members who are lost in the line of duty. The current cap was raised from $5000 to $6500 effective August 1, 2006 in order to better assist our families with the escalating cost of drugs. This was made possible through savings generated by our new Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) as well as additional resources provided in our last contract agreement.
5. Queens Summer Blackout: FDNY Insufficient Staffing
The UFA sent an official communication to Commissioner Scoppetta chastising the Dept for not adding additional engine companies to the borough until 8 days after the emergency began. Commissioner Scoppetta never responded. See attached letter.
6. Governor Pataki Signs Stroke Presumption Bill
UFA VP Jim Slevin is happy to announce that Governor Pataki signed the Stroke Presumption Bill for NYC Firefighters. This was the number one priority on the UFA 's legislative agenda. Despite fierce opposition from the Mayor, the UFA prevailed in its argument that Firefighters who suffer from strokes are entitled to accidental disability benefits due to the higher rate of strokes amongst Firefighters. The IAFF provided medical evidence to help the UFA prove this fact. It retroactively covers members going back to 1/1/02, and is expected to provide LODI pensions to four UFA members who suffered strokes since then. More info on this bill will follow in the next issue of Fire Lines and on the UFA Web site at www.UFANYC.org. Other pending UFA bills, including the Terminal Leave Bill, were discussed at the September union meeting by V.P. Slevin. The UFA will continue its lobbying efforts in order to fight for these and other important issues that affect NYC Firefighters.
7. WTC Death Benefits Bill Signed by Governor Pataki
UFA Vice President and Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin discussed and answered questions at the September union meeting regarding bills aimed at covering the health costs and pensions of 9/11 responders that were signed into law in August by Governor Pataki. Surviving beneficiaries of Firefighters who die from a 9/11 related disease will now receive line-of-duty death benefits even if the member is already retired. If the survivor is a spouse, the benefit is paid until the spouse dies; if it is a child, benefits continue until the child reaches 18. Refer to 65-2 Fax #46 for more details.
8. Governor Pataki Signs WTC Clarification Bill Covering Members Previously Retired with Disability Pensions
Governor Pataki signed a bill clarifying the WTC Presumptive Disability Bill, which will now allow Firefighters who are retired from service or from ordinary disability to reapply at any time for Accidental Disability if he/she develops a WTC-related disease-but ONLY if the 'Notice of Participation' form was previously filed as noted above.
9. WTC Presumptive Illness 'Notice of Participation' Form
FDNY Pension Directors addressed the Delegates and answered questions at the UFA Delegate Education Seminar. Delegates were walked through preparation of the form, many of which were submitted at the conclusion of the session. All members should return the form ASAP with the dates or date range you best recall-even if you are not yet able to document the actual dates you participated. The Dept conducts its own verification process and will notify you if additional clarification is required. Make sure you submit them certified return receipt. Get your forms in now! Preserve your rights & protect your family!
*As excerpted from the form: "This form must be submitted to the Fire Department, Pension Fund Subchapter II, by June 14, 2007. The form is for notification purposes only and does NOT constitute an application for retirement or reclassification pursuant to Chapter 93 of the Laws of 2005. In order to apply for retirement benefits, a separate application must be completed. If you have any questions, please call (718) 999-7041, or (718) 999-0148. All correspondence should be mailed to the Bureau of Uniformed Payroll and Pension at the above address." UFA NOTE: The 'WTC Disability Applications' and also the 'Notice of Participation Forms' are both available on the Homepage of the UFA Web site at: www.UFANYC.org. See your company delegate for preparation instructions. FDNY Pension Bureau has advised the UFA that it expects a letter of confirmation to mail out in a couple of weeks to anyone who was verified by the Dept. However, the Pension Bureau also advised that members who have submitted the WTC form but whom the Dept is unable to verify will not receive a letter at this time.
10. PD - FD Rollover WTC Verification
FDNY Pension Bureau has informed the UFA that PD rollover members must send the FD Participation Form as per above instructions, and attach PD documentation to the form. PD documentation could include, but is not limited to, a copy of their PD memo book cover and entries from the memo book indicating they were working at any of the qualifying sites; any rosters or command log entries indicating they were working at any of the qualifying sites. Any other PD documentation that would substantiate their dates worked should be attached. Once FDNY receives the notarized FD WTC Participation Form with attached PD documentation, FD will forward it all to the PD, which will then confirm the information with the PD's records. Once confirmed, PD will send FDNY written sign-off of their verification, and then FDNY will enter the member in the FDNY WTC database as verified.
11. WTC Lung and Other Illness Media Coverage
The UFA issued a press release on August 1st regarding the alarming data produced by the FDNY and Mt. Sinai documenting the significant debilitating health impact that exposure to Trade Center air has had on NYC Firefighters. The media has recently been covering this matter extensively and the UFA continues to press this issue with legislators and elected officials with the objective of getting improved medical monitoring and coverage for any medical costs associated with WTC related illnesses. Recent TV video clips from FOX, CBS, NBC and NY-1 of the UFA addressing this issue can be played by visiting the UFA website home page. Members can also read numerous press clips as well.
12. WTC Respiratory Injuries and Lawsuits
UFA General Counsel Mike Block and his firm, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C., remain available to answer any questions firefighters have about respiratory injuries resulting from the response to the World Trade Center attacks. They are currently representing firefighters in individual lawsuits seeking compensation for WTC-related respiratory injuries. The U.S. District Court supervising the cases has appointed them co-liaison counsel for the respiratory injury cases. Their work on the cases continues, and they are expecting an important ruling from the Court shortly. They are happy to answer your questions at no charge. If you have any questions about the illnesses or the lawsuits or think that you may be eligible to join the suits, please contact Michael Block or Andrew Carboy at 212-732-9000 or 1-800-962-9954.
13. Military Housing Benefits Package Resolution Hearing
UFA Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin reports that City Council has a resolution pending calling upon the Mayor to exclude the value of housing and food when calculating military pay pursuant to Operation Enduring Freedom Extended Benefits Package. Its purpose is to relieve members of the obligation to reimburse the City for housing and food pay received from the military. Members wishing to show their support should appear at the hearing, which will take place on Monday, September 25 at 1pm at City Hall in the Committee Room. (This info was previously faxed to all FHs on 9/21.) The UFA will keep the members informed re progress.
14. Company OOS Faxes Having an Impact
V.P. Jim Slevin and Recording Secretary Joe Miccio report that members who are faxing the forms have been effective with City Council & Community Boards in generating calls to and placing pressure on FDNY HQ, the Mayor's Office and City Coucil. In addition, a Fire & Criminal Justice Committee meeting has been scheduled next month regarding this specific issue.
15. NIMS Training and Testing on OT
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has mandated that all members be trained and become aware of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) National Response Plan. The Department had intended to administer these courses and required tests during MUD. The Dept agreed with our position that this must be done on OT. All such courses and tests are now scheduled for 3 hours OT at the end of a tour. Refer to 65-2 #47 dated August 23 for additional info.
16. Pension & VSF DROP Statements
The Dept recently distributed each member's pension statement to firehouses for your Officer to provide you. Any dollar amount or value provided is based on the estimated value on December 31, 2005. However, beneficiary info reflects the most recent changes processed after December 31, 2005. Detailed explanations of terminology are also provided on Supplement #50 to Dept Order 72 dated Sept 6th. Make sure you review your statement and keep it with your pension planning records. Pursuant to meetings with the UFA and UFOA last year, statements now include Variable Supplement DROP dollar values accrued for members with over 20 years of service. VSF Payments are $11,500 for 2006 and will be $12,000 in 2007 and each year thereafter, in accordance with the NYC Code. Refer to Delegate Manual Chapter 'FF Laws & Definitions' for the complete text of the code, and also the chapter 'FDNY Pension Manual' for additional info re the VSF.
17. Grievance/Arbitration Update
UFA Recording Secretary Joe Miccio and UFA Labor Attorney Mike Axelrod report that the last E75/L33 Involuntary Transfers hearing took place on August 1st at the Office of Labor Relations before Arbitrator Maurice Benowitz. The next hearing date is in the process of being scheduled. The next Medical Leave Lifts hearings will be on September 27 and October 6th before Arbitrator Al Viani.
18. Open Cases/Grievances/Labor-Management Issues
In addition to the Medical Leave Lift Grievance noted above, UFA Recording Secretary Joe Miccio and UFA Labor Attorney Mike Axelrod report the following cases are actively being pursued by the UFA: Meal Period Improper Practice, Random Drug Testing Improper Practices (Challenge of changes to reasonable suspicion AUC, Challenge to Random Drug Testing procedure, Challenge to exclusion of the UFA rep during the selection process of companies to be randomly tested), and Board Member exclusion from apparatus meetings at HQ Improper Practice. This is in addition to the various issues that are addressed in Labor-Management meetings with the Dept. Many issues that are not resolved in Labor-Management are later addressed via grievance or other legal channels by the UFA . Current Labor-Management agenda includes: BITs ordering members to Counseling Services Unit (CSU), FD-PD interagency issues, LODI prescription fulfillment and payment, member arrest dismissals and rescinding Dept penalties as a result, unfair and severe disciplinary penalties to members, proper chauffeur training certifications, member medical leave & SMLP issues, medical office issues, improper billing members for LODI treatment, HEAT Index / 10-51 safety issues, firehouse parking problems, OT issues, firehouse heating/AC/Nederman problems, gear bags, training issues, Safety Bulletin #7, light duty issues, military member issues, FDNY Grants, CFR-D response assignments, and more. The next Labor Management meeting is scheduled for September 26th at HQ.
19. EEO & Drug Raids, Random tests
In addition to its Random Drug Testing visits, the Department continues to 'raid' (surprise inspection) firehouses. It is also conducting EEO inspection visits. Members are advised to notify the UFA whenever a 'raid' (which is different than a Random Drug Test visit) or EEO visit occurs. The following companies recently reported being 'raided' with negative results: E-301 on 9/16, E-299 on 9/19 & E-304 of 9/20.
20. UFA Financial Statements
In accordance with the UFA Constitution, UFA financial statements for the six months ended January 31, 2006 were mailed to each firehouse on August 30th. Treasurer Bob Straub discussed and answered questions regarding this report at the Sept 14 Union Meeting.
21. Delegate Education Seminar Location and Dates
In accordance with the UFA Constitution, Atlantic City was chosen by an overwhelming majority vote of the Delegate body. Company Delegates participate in extensive training sessions regarding matters of significant importance to all NYC Firefighters. It will take place once again at Trump Taj Mahal from Tuesday, May 1, 2007 thru Friday, May 4, 2007.
22. Scholarship Fund Deadline for Application
Deadline to submit is Monday, October 2nd. Each scholarship will be $600, which is a $100 increase from last year. Applications and information pertaining to the UFA Scholarship Fund were distributed to all Delegates and members in attendance at the September 14 Union Meeting and are also available on the UFA Website home page, http://www.ufanyc.org/pdf_files/sfundapp2006.pdf. Hurry and file. Time is running out!
23. FDNY Exam Filing
Per DO #55, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) plans to administer the Open Competitive Examination for Firefighter, Examination No. 6019, on January 20, 2007. Filing for the exam shall take place from August 2, 2006, through October 13, 2006. For applications and further information, visit the DCAS website at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcas/html/employment/ocexams.shtml.
24. City Health/Medical Plan Transfer Period
Active members may transfer to another City Health/Medical Plan or Add/Drop an Optional Rider. The transfer period for active Firefighters is from October 15, 2006 thru November 17, 2006. Late changes will not be accepted by the City!!! All active member changes will become effective the first day of the first full payroll period in January 2007. Retiree transfer period is November 1 thru November 30 (will become effective January 1, 2007). City Health/Medical Plan vendors will be present at the October 12th Union Meeting to answer your questions and distribute literature. Make sure you get the info you need to best protect your family!!!
25. Lt. Howard Carpluk Memorial Fund
Persons wishing to contribute to the fund can send contributions to: PO Box 1124 , Morris Heights Station, Bronx , NY 10453 . For further info contact Dominic Dimino at 718-430-0242.
26. 5th Annual Jeff Giordano L-3 Memorial Run
Sun., Oct 1st at Mount Loretto MIV Retreat Center on Hylan Blvd near Cunningham Rd , Staten Island . Race time 10am sharp. Entry fee $20. Proceeds benefit the Firefighter Jeff Giordano Children's Playroom at the Cornell Burn Center.
27. BC Thomas P. Deangelis Scholarship
Deadline: October 27, 2006. Applicants must be current full-time college students (minimum of 12 credits) in an accredited college and children of an active FDNY FF or Officer. The winner will be drawn from a lottery supervised by the children of Chief DeAngelis. FFs who are parents of children should submit (through the bag) the child's name, age, name of college, grade level, academic major or area of interest to: Victor Herbert, FDNY Dean of Instruction, Building 401-B, Fort Totten, Bayside, NY 11359 or e-mail at: email@example.com. Direct questions to Victor Herbert at 718-281-8462. Submit separate forms for each college student in the family. FFs should identify themselves and include current work assignment, number of years on the job, work and home addresses, telephone, e-mail and fax if possible. The parent of the winning student selected at random will be required to provide official documentation from a college registrar verifying full-time enrollment.
28. Blood Drive for FF Roy Chelsen E28
Mon, Oct 1st, E-28, L-11, 222 East 2nd St, NY, NY 10009, 9am - 8pm. Drive is for FF Roy Chelsen E-28 who has been diagnosed with cancer. A second blood drive will be held Oct 14th, 9am - 2:30pm, Zion Lutheran Church , Watchogue Road , SI. For more info call 212-570-4228.
29. Benefit Dinner for FF John Walters
Sat, Sept 30th, 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm at the Atlantic Hook and Ladder Company, 25 Carlton Ave , Port Washington . To benefit FF John Walters, who lost his right leg when a taxi slammed into the back of his fire truck on the Upper West Side . Rescue Co 1, to help renovate parts of Walters' home to make it more accessible to him. Tkts $20 adults, $10 children under 12. Donations can be mailed to "The John Walters Fund," c/o Port Washington FD, 423 Port Washington Blvd. , Port Washington , NY 11050 .
30. FDNY Emerald Society Pitch & Putt Golf Outing
Fri, Oct 13, 8:30-9am Breakfast & Check-In, Golf & BBQ to follow. $50 to Gold & BBQ, $40 for BBQ only. Make checks Payable to: FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drums. For info contact John Xuereb 917-837-6092 or L161/E245 at 718-965-8245.
31. Emerald Society 50th Anniversary Dinner Dance
Fri, Nov 3rd, 7:30pm, Tkts $75 at the Original Antun's, 96-43 Springfield Blvd , Queens Village , NY . Music by Black Velvet Band. For info call Dance Chairman Artie Evans (H) 718-447-3220 (W) 718-494-4279 or Co-Chair Bill Treanor at 718-885-0648.
32. Hoods/T-Shirts for the Troops
Asking all companies to set up a box in their firehouse to collect new, used, and spare hoods to be donated to our troops overseas to be used in the dust storms in Iraq and Afghanistan . Please have them washed and placed in individual plastic bags for easy shipping. Send or drop off packages to: E167/L87, C/O John Colon or Craig Chille, 345 Annandale Rd , SI , NY 10312 . Info: 917-716-1597. If you know anyone serving in the military and would like to include their contact information for the mailing list, e-mail John Colon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
33. NY FF Burn Center Fdn. Benefit by Adams Angels
Thurs., Sept 21, 6-10pm by Adam's Angels to benefit The Children's Burn Camp Program of the NY Firefighters Burn Center Foundation at Saloon, 1584 York Ave (84th & 85th Sts). Advance tkts $15, FF tkts $5.. Purchase tkts at: email@example.com. For info visit: www.adamsangels.org/burncampfundraiser.html
34. 3rd Annual Capt. Vinny Giammona Memorial 5K Fun Run
Sun., Oct. 15, 9:30 am at St. Francis Prep HS, 6100 Francis Lewis Blvd , Fresh Meadows, Queens . For info: Linda Giammona (718) 423-8810 x 324 or e-mail at: Lgiammona@sfponline.org.
35. N.Y. Sports Club $39/Month Memberships for FDNY!!!
FDNY "GET FIT" PROGRAM: The FDNY Health & Fitness Unit and New York Sports Club have a great membership offer for FDNY members and their spouses or life partners. The regular Passport Membership is over $70.00 per month and entitles you to use any of the over 100 clubs throughout the NYC area. This special offer is $39.00 per month, with a one time processing fee of $49.00. The processing/conversion fee is only $39 for FFs who are already NYSC members if their initial year commitment has passed. This offer is only available by phone. For info call the NYSC at 1-800-611-9833, ask for Kristen.
36. Thomas Elsasser One Pitch Tournament
Wed, Oct. 4, 10am, Cunningham Park , Fresh Meadows, 73rd Ave & Francis Lewis Blvd , Queens . E-221/L-104 host annual tournament for the Thomas Elsasser Fund for non-line of duty deaths to benefit widows and children. For info call Ken Butler or Rich Sweeney at E-221/L-104 at 718-965-8221.
37. FDNY Hockey Team Tryouts
From 11:00 am - 1:00 pm at the Freeport Recreation Center , 130 E. Merrick Rd , Freeport , NY on the following dates: Thursdays, Sept 28th, October 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th. For more info call Bill Kammerer at 516-897-0449 or go to http://www.fdnyhockey.com/index206.htm
38. FDNY Volleyball Recruiting for Australia Competition
Going to Australia in March for the World Police & Fire Games and looking for new players. Previously represented the FDNY proudly in Barcelona , Stockholm , Indianapolis & Quebec City . The teams travel to participate in regional, national and international tournaments and also play in local leagues with both the 'A' and 'B' teams throughout the year. Some previous volleyball experience is required. Practices will begin taking place Tuesday nights in early October at Queens College Gym. Contact Mike Ward L-135, 718-476-6286 or 516-650-9519 if you would like to join.
39. Bus for NYC Marathon Participants
Any member running in this year's Marathon on Sun, Nov 5 who would like to use the FDNY's bus are asked to call the Health & Fitness Unit at 212-360-4451 to reserve a seat. A limited number of seats are available to all the runners and their families. The bus will be leaving from Park Central Hotel, 57th St & Park Ave at 6:30am.
40. FF Appreciation Discount: Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
Firefighters, family & friends get 50% discounted admission at the wax museum. To redeem offer, present badge or ID at the admissions desk. Madame Tussauds NY , 234 West 42nd St (bet 7th & 8th Aves). For info 800-246-8872 or www.nycwax.com. Open daily 10:00 am.
41. Support Group For Parents of Children with Special Needs
Wednesdays, 11:30am-1pm starting Oct 4th, the Counseling Service Unit of the FDNY will be hosting a Support Group for Parents of Children with Special Needs. Come share stories, support, and resources with other active and retired FDNY parents with similar experiences. For info or to register contact Lisa Zurndorfer or Bonnie Gang at 212-570-1693 or e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
42. Need Volunteers: Community Mayors at the Zoo & Aquarium
For Children with Special Needs, Wed, Oct 4th, 8:30am at New York Aquarium and Mon, Oct 16th, 8:30 am at Bronx Zoo. For info call 718-439-3401 or visit www.communitymayors.org.
Stephen J. Cassidy
Joseph A. Miccio