65-2 #37 June 23, 2006

Union Issues

  1. Contract Update
  2. UFA Lobby Day in Albany a Success
  3. 2006-07 Legislative & Stroke Bill Update
  4. WTC Bill Death Legislation Pushed by UFA
  5. WTC Presumptive Illness 'Notice of Participation' Form
  6. Medical Leave Lift Grievance
  7. UFA Awarded Health & Safety Grants
  8. Infectious Disease Flowchart
  9. Holiday Retro
  10. New Firehouse & Field Operations Delegate Manual Booklet
  11. New Phone System Enhances Member Service
  12. New UFA Website Upgrades
  13. EEO Survey of Members: Do Not Prepare
  14. WTC Memorial

Events, Help, Fundraisers & Benefits:

  1. Fundraiser for Firefighter Steve McDade
  2. Splish Splash Water Park Discount Tickets Available
  3. Putnam County: Bone Marrow Registry/Blood Drive
  4. 6th Annual FDNY Night at Keyspan Park
  5. 5th Annual Lt. Steve Harrell "Hangdown Jam"
  6. Philly Firefighters Invite FDNY: Mets vs. Phillies

    1. Contract Update

    President Cassidy discussed upcoming contract issues with the Delegate Body at the June 8th General Membership Meeting. The existing contract expires on July 31, 2006. The UFA is the first uniformed union to begin contract negotiations in this round. The UFA Executive Board and labor attorney Mike Axelrod had its first formal sit-down contract negotiation session with the City on June 20th. Follow-up sessions are expected during the summer. A report regarding progress will be presented to the members at the September Union Meeting.

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    2. UFA Lobby Day in Albany a Success

    On June 6th many UFA members traveled to Albany to assist UFA Vice President and Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin in lobbying for legislation that is important to NYC Firefighters. Members spent the day meeting with their respective legislators and discussing the UFA legislative agenda. Most importantly, the members pushed hard for passage of the Stroke Bill. Firefighters attended many meetings with legislators who are influential in advancing the UFA's legislative agenda. The importance of passing the WTC Presumption Bill new Death Provisions as well as the Stroke Presumption Bill were stressed at these meetings. The day was concluded with a reception where many of the legislators and their staff attended. Firefighters were further able to push our agenda in an informal setting. UFA Vice-President Jim Slevin would like to thank all the members who participated and helped make it a success. We look forward to future Lobby Days and look to increase the number of firefighters who attend.

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    3. 2006-07 Legislative & Stroke Bill Update

    VP/Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin discussed at the June 8th General Membership Meeting the important UFA 2006-07 legislative issues, which include WTC Death Benefits (see below), the Stroke Bill, Terminal Leave, Taylor Law reform, and more. Delegates were provided at the Delegate Seminar the comprehensive package that includes numerous bills the UFA is supporting, a list of candidates (and $$ amounts) that UFA PAC funds have been used to support, and more. Due to the outpouring of support by the UFA Membership and their families, we were successful in placing the Stroke Bill and Terminal Leave Bill on the City Council June Agenda, where they received Home Rule approval. They were also approved in Albany this week by the State Senate and Assembly. The final hurdle is for the governor to sign the bills. The UFA Executive Board thanks you for your continued support in the political arena. Members can check the UFA website-www.ufanyc.org-under the 'Political Action' & 'Legislative' sections for ongoing updates on all pending bills.

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    4. WTC Bill Death Legislation Pushed by UFA

    UFA VP Jim Slevin reports that State Legislature has introduced a bill amending a state pension law to give line-of-duty death benefits to public employees who die from 9/11-related illnesses. The current law awards disability pensions to members who fall ill due to their recovery work at numerous sites related to Ground Zero, but doesn't provide line-of-duty death benefits. The line-of-duty death bill has the support of both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. It would grant line-of-duty death benefits to members who later die as a result of ailments they developed from their 9/11-related work, even if they are already retired at time of death. The bill would officially recognize that the deaths of these workers were directly related to their efforts at Ground Zero. If approved in both houses and signed into law by Governor Pataki, members of the UFA (and certain uniform unions) who die due to criteria established under the 2005 WTC Presumptive Illness Law would be eligible for full death benefits, including a monthly tax-free payment based on 100% of salary earned the last year worked.

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    5. WTC Presumptive Illness 'Notice of Participation' Form

    FDNY Pension Directors addressed the Delegates and answered questions at the UFA Delegate Education Seminar last month. Delegates were walked through preparation of the form, many of which were submitted at the conclusion of the session. It was highly stressed that all members 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. Forms can be downloaded from the home page of the UFA site at www.UFANYC.org. Get your forms in now!!! Preserve your rights and protect your family!

    • Roll-Over Members: While the Legal Division has not come down with an official policy regarding FDNY members who roll over from other agencies that are covered under the WTC Bill, the FDNY Pension Bureau is requiring that those rollover members who previously worked at the sites get documentation of days worked from their former employers and attach to the FDNY WTC form, and submit within required time lines and FDNY policy. This other agency documentation should include as much as possible, such as timesheets, copies of journal entries, etc. These items must also include a notarized statement from his/her superior officer from the other agency stating that the documents are copies of official Dept records. If the member can get a notarized statement from a superior officer who can attest to the member being ordered to the site for at least 40 hrs during the time period, or anything like that, it would be beneficial.

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    6. Medical Leave Lift Grievance

    The next arbitration hearing date is June 27-which will include testimony from both officers and firefighters. More testimony dates are expected after June. Recording Secretary Joe Miccio and the UFA legal team led by Mike Axelrod will be reviewing all records the Dept reviewed in considering the lifts. This is not just about those it impacts now. The UFA believes this practice by the Department is a deceptive way of punishing firefighters for aggressively doing their jobs. Our objective is to end to this practice-now and for every firefighter in the future! The UFA will never back down in its efforts to defend our members' rights.

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    7. UFA Awarded Health & Safety Grants

    The UFA Health & Safety Officer / Sergeant-at-Arms, Bill Romaka, is pleased to notify members of the following:

    • The NYS Department of Labor Hazard Abatement Board has awarded the UFA a grant of $65,444. This grant will begin on August 1, 2006 and continue through July 31, 2007. During the years 1990 through mid 2004 this grant previously provided for the purchase of training materials and salary for Health & Safety Office Staff. Current plans also include training that will take place on-site at firehouses as well as at the UFA Office.
    • A $5,000 September 11th Recovery Grant has been awarded to the UFA from the American Red Cross Liberty Fund. This grant will be used to produce WTC Medical Monitoring Outreach materials (posters, flyers and mailings) to inform the membership about the benefits of the program and the treatment options.

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    8. Infectious Disease Flowchart

    UFA Health and Safety Officer / Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Romaka, in conjunction with Dr. Kelly at FDNY BHS, have compiled an easy to use flowchart which outlines various infectious diseases. It is designed to take the guesswork out of what to do if exposure occurs. The chart lists important info on a number of diseases and explains the transmission route, medical care required, and what steps to take at BHS in the event of exposure, among other things. It should be used as a reminder to ALL members to wear your PPE and proceed cautiously when entering an area of possible exposure. It is to be POSTED IN ALL FIREHOUSES. This chart was distributed to all Delegates at the May Delegate Education Seminar and June Union Meeting. Contact the UFA Health & Safety Office or visit the home page of the UFA website for copies of the flow-chart.

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    9. Holiday Retro

    Uniform Payroll has advised the UFA that NYC Office of Payroll Administration has still not confirmed a date when holiday retroactive money will be paid, though they report is expected to be very soon. The UFA discussed this matter at a meeting on May 26th with the Chief of Dept and Chief of Operations, and pressed this issue again with the Director of Payroll this week. The UFA will notify the membership as soon as the payment date is confirmed. All other retroactive monies, including any OT, have already been paid. Members who believe there has been an error in their paycheck should submit a payroll inquiry (include all proper documentation) with the assistance of your officer.

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    10. New Firehouse & Field Operations Delegate Manual Booklet

    Draft review copies of this chapter were distributed to all Delegates in attendance at the Delegate Education Seminar in May and at the June Union Meeting. It includes a wealth of guidance for issues such as: Firehouse Conditions, 10-51/Heat Index, Going OOS, Manning, Injuries, Hazardous Exposure, Protective Gear, Chauffeur Issues, CFR-D issues, Inter-agency, R&R Time, Administrative, Safety, Calling Sick, Firehouse Parking, Meal Period, Arson Notifications, Side-Job EDE, Decontamination, and much more. Please review and contact UFA Recording Secretary Joe Miccio at the UFA or RecordingSecretary@UFANYC.org with any questions, feedback or suggestions while this chapter is in its pre-release stage of development. Your experience and help is greatly appreciated while we work to make the FDNY a safer and more financially rewarding workplace for you and each of your members.

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    11. New Phone System Enhances Member Service

    UFA Recording Secretary & Information Technology Chairman Joe Miccio reports that a new telephone system which improves member services has been designed and installed at the UFA and the Security Benefits Fund. The new system still allows members to immediately speak with our operator by pressing "0", and also allows you the choice to directly reach UFA employees and UFA Departments via the greeting message options. As always, Board Members can be reached via the operator during business hours or via the answering service for after hours emergencies.

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    12. New UFA Website Upgrades

    The UFA has engaged the services of a new web design and maintenance company. In the near future, the members will be seeing a more modern website with enhanced member service capabilities-and simplified ease of use. The new webmaster is providing comprehensive advertising program services on a day-to-day basis towards achieving and maintaining these objectives. The new provider also provides legal guidance and representation for all web planning and content, which has become an increasing liability concern in general for all organizations that host websites. Members with suggestions and recommendations regarding the upgraded site can contact UFA Recording Secretary & Information Technology Chairman Joe Miccio at Recording Secretary@UFANYC.org.

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    13. EEO Survey of Members: Do Not Prepare

    Certain members have received EEO Mayoral Employee Survey from the Equal Employment Practices Commission, which the Dept has informed the UFA is voluntary-not mandatory-to prepare. The UFA strongly advises members not to fill out or return this survey, or ANY survey without specific communication from the UFA.

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    14. WTC Memorial

    Many WTC Memorial issues have yet to be resolved, and continue to get worse, with several upper level officials resigning. The UFA has consistently maintained and will continue to lobby officials to have our members listed together.

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    15. Fundraiser for Firefighter Steve McDade

    Steve McDade of L172, a 15-year veteran and father of three small children is currently undergoing treatment for an advanced form of throat cancer. As a result the medical bills are mounting. Members of E330 / L172 are holding a fundraiser for him on Sat. Aug 26th from 6-11 PM at St. Athanasius Church, 6120 Bay Parkway btw 61st and 62nd Streets, Brooklyn. Cost is $25 and includes door prize, food, drink and music. Chinese auction will also be held. For more info contact FF Chris Bruno 718-965-8330.

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    16. Splish Splash Water Park Discount Tickets Available

    Long Island's Waterpark located at Exit 72 West, Long Island Expressway, Riverhead, NY (631) 727-3600, www.splishsplashlongisland.com. 18 water slides, wavepool, lazy river, kiddie area and more! General admission price is $25.00 (you save $5.99), Under 48" and Seniors admission price is $19.00 (you save $3.99). Children 3 and under are free. For further info, please contact Amy Sullivan at 212-683-4832. Tickets must be purchased at UFA offices. Any unused tickets that are purchased thru the UFA can be refunded if tickets are returned by September 6th.

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    17. Putnam County Members - Bone Marrow Registry / Blood Drive

    Members of the FDNY will be hosting a Blood Drive and Bone Marrow Registry on Saturday, July 1st, at the O'Brien VFW Hall, Rt.52 Carmel, NY, from 2:30 till 8:00. Walk-ins welcome. Food and refreshments will be on hand. Any questions please call Paul DeLeo L41, tom Burke L41 718-430-0290, Paul Zenir L37 718-430-0279, Denis Hanrahan 845-225-3048.

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    18. 6th Annual FDNY Night at Keyspan Park

    Fri. August 4th beginning at 630 PM. Brooklyn Cyclones vs. Valley Cats at 7PM. Tickets $15 Grandstand, $10 Bleacher. Price increase benefits UFA Scholarship Fund. Post Game firework show. For more info contact Fire Marshal Bob Cashman 718-999-0740.

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    19. 5th Annual Lt. Steve Harrell "Hangdown Jam"

    Sun August 13th, 12-6 PM at Nansen's Park, 3465 Victory Blvd. Staten Island. 5 live bands, children's activities, rides and special guest Maria Milito of Q104.3 FM. Adults $35, children ages 6 -14 $10, under 6 free. Proceeds benefit Harrell Family, Thomas Elsasser Funds, Fire Family Transport Foundation and Dominick Laforgia Fund. Rain or shine. For info call Kevin Kelly 917-533-4500.

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    20. Philly Firefighters Invite FDNY: Mets vs. Phillies

    Philadelphia FD Local 22 is hosting a day at Citizens Bank Park on Aug. 17th to watch the Phillies take on the New York Mets. There are 300 tickets available. $35.00 per person includes: 100 Level Seat, Phillies/Fire Dept. T-shirt, Prizes. Contact Stosh Visack Phone # 267-974-4307 if interested.

    Fraternally,

    Stephen J. Cassidy
    President

    Joseph A,. Miccio
    Recording Secretary