65-2 #27 May 18, 2006

Union Issues - Events, Help, Fundraisers & Benefits

  • Contract Update
  • UFA Lobby Day Update for June 6th
  • 2006-07 Legislative Update
  • UFA Reviews All FDNY’s Medical Leave Lift Records
  • WTC Presumptive Illness 'Notice of Participation' Form
  • WTC Bill Death Legislation Pushed by UFA
  • Open Cases/Grievances/Labor-Management Issues
  • Fire Marshal Staffing Level Questioned after 10-Alarm Fire
  • UFA Supports Increased Physical FDNY Hiring Standards
  • GPS Tracking Units in Rigs
  • Infectious Disease Flowchart
  • WTC Memorial
  • FDNY Memorial at WTC Firehouse
  • UFA Group Life Insurance Upgrade Period Ends May 31
  • FDNY Error: EMS Bills to FFs Injured Line-of-Duty
  • Holiday Retro
  • EEO Survey of Members
  • Delegate Education Guide: Get Info You Need!

Events, Help, Fundraisers & Benefits:

  • Help for Members With Autistic Children
  • 2nd Annual Carl Bini Golf Outing
  • Lt. John Clancy / FF Jimmy O'Shea Golf Outing
  • 5th Haskell Brothers Golf Outing / Dinner Dance
  • Paddy Skeehill's All-Stars Softball Tourney
  • Firefighter John Hannon Memorial Gaelic Football Games
  • 15th Annual Lt. Williams Volleyball Tournament
  • FDNY Baseball vs NYPD Baseball
  • 9/11 Family Liaisons Luncheon

    Contract Update

    President Cassidy addressed the Delegate Body during the Delegate Education Seminar on May 3rd during his State of the Union presentation. The Battalion Delegates met and unanimously agreed with the Executive Board to begin negotiations before the existing contract expires on July 31, 2006. Our labor attorney Mike Axelrod sent formal notification the City Labor Commissioner James Hanley in April. Preliminary contract communications have begun.

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    UFA Lobby Day Update for June 6th

    The UFA is making preparations for Lobby Day, which is taking place on Tuesday, June 6, 2006. Company Delegates should have compiled a list of those members who will be joining us in Albany. Members planning on attending must be available to depart as early as 8 AM on the 6th and should not expect to return home before 10 PM. Appointments will be set up with Governor George Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. A reception will be held at the end of the day where all legislators will be invited to attend. The UFA will provide busses, and depending on demand, can have them leave from every borough, Long Island, as well as upstate. Final details and departure locations for the busses will be set shortly. The Stroke Bill will be lobbied heavily. ALL NAMES MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE UFA BY MAY 19TH: Please fax the names of those planning to attend as well as the locations they will depart from to 212-683-0710 - Attention: UFA LOBBY DAY. All members attending should look up their state legislators so that appointments can be made with them. A complete list is available on the UFA website - www.ufanyc.org - under the "Political Action" section.

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    2006-07 Legislative Update

    VP/Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin addressed the Delegate Body during the Delegate Education Seminar on May 4th during his 2006-07 legislative presentation, which includes WTC Death Benefits, the Stroke Bill, Taylor Law reform, and more. Several representatives from Albany made presentations as well. See your Delegate to review the comprehensive package that VP Slevin prepared and distributed. It includes numerous bills the UFA is supporting, a list of candidates (and $$ amounts) UFA PAC funds have been used to support, and more.

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    UFA Reviews All FDNY’s Medical Leave Lift Records

    The Dept lifted 7 additional members in May and returned only 1. The next arbitration hearing dates are June 11, 12 and 27—which will include testimony from both officers and firefighters. During the month prior to the hearings, Recording Secretary Joe Miccio and the UFA legal team will be reviewing all records the Dept reviewed in considering the lifts. However, the Dept will not provide these documents without a release signed by each member. Whether testifying or not, the UFA needs all lifted members to return the release forms IMMEDIATELY (even if already sent back to original companies)—otherwise we will not be able to review the data in time. A letter and forms were sent several times to all lifted (and returned) members. Delegates are strongly urged to personally request each lifted or previously lifted member to have the form notarized and returned immediately. 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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    WTC Presumptive Illness 'Notice of Participation' Form

    FDNY Pension Directors addressed the Delegates and answered questions at the UFA Delegate Education Seminar this 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!

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    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 benefits. The line-of-duty 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 retire with a disability pension as a result of ailments they developed from their 9/11-related work, but then later die because of those ailments. 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 Mr. 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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    Open Cases/Grievances/Labor-Management Issues

    In addition to the Medical Leave Lift Grievance noted in item #4, 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), Board Member exclusion from apparatus meetings at HQ Improper Practice, and E-75 / L-33 Lifts Grievance. 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, ICS Protocol, 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, military member issues, FDNY Grants, CFR-D response assignments, Holiday Pay retro, and more. The May 11th Labor Management meeting was cancelled by the Dept on the day prior to the meeting.

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    Fire Marshal Staffing Level Questioned after 10-Alarm Fire

    After the huge suspected arson in Brooklyn this month, the N.Y. Post quoted on May 9th: "The Bureau of Fire Investigation is not adequately staffed to respond to the average workload due to staffing cuts," said Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy. "Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta has an obligation to restore to the FDNY the ability to ensure the public safety of the citizens of New York." The article also reported, "Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday he has asked FDNY Chief Peter Hayden to see if the department needs more marshals." Though he continued "On the other hand, we only have so much money. Do you want another firefighter or another fire marshal? Or you have to make a decision—do you want another firefighter or a teacher? We're always making those kinds of decisions given you have limited resources."

    The UFA will continue to press this issue and highlight incidents that endanger the safety of firefighters and all citizens of NYC due to lack of adequate fire marshal staffing and investigation.

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    UFA Supports Increased Physical FDNY Hiring Standards

    President Steve Cassidy testified at City Council this month strongly urging the FDNY to increase its physical standards for the entrance exam: This week's Chief reported from President Cassidy's testimony: "Increased dedication to health, Mr. Cassidy argued, is crucial to surviving an ever-evolving job that now includes counter-terrorism and hazardous material responsibilities. Even the modern technology that has been such a boon to the science of firefighting has a significant drawback: every improved piece of equipment issued adds more weight onto already heavy loads firefighters must heft on long stairway treks that are part of the territory in a vertical city. Basic bunker gear, including a six-pound helmet, weighs 59 pounds, and firefighters dispatched to do outside ventilation carry extra Halligan hooks that add about another 20 pounds. Firefighters who work as the "Can Man" - who carries a fire extinguisher - pack gear weighing up to 96 pounds, and a firefighter heading for the roof travels with 130 pounds of additional weight."

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    GPS Tracking Units in Rigs

    After concluding its FD pilot program in Staten Island, the Dept has announced it will be installing the 'Automated Vehicle Location' (AVL) GPS system on all FDNY emergency vehicles by the end of the summer. Units will eventually have on-screen GPS map icons of all firehouses, precincts, hospitals, schools, subways, etc. GPS tracking systems are also reported to have the ability to record the speed vehicles travel at. Cost estimated per unit is $2000, plus $10k -12k per unit that has outdated non-compatible MDT to replace. Total cost of the entire program is reported to be nearly $50 million. The City plans to install this system in all agency vehicles, not just FDNY. As always, chauffeurs are reminded to obey all traffic laws while responding to alarms.

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    nfectious Disease Flowchart

    UFA Health and Safety Officer / Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Romaka, in conjunction with Dr. Kelly at FDNY BHS, has 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. Bill handed these out at the UFA Seminar. 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. Anyone who did not receive a copy can call the UFA Health & Safety Office at 212-683-4832 to request a flowchart.

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    WTC Memorial

    Many WTC Memorial issues have yet to be resolved. The UFA has consistently maintained and will continue to lobby officials to have our members listed together.

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    FDNY Memorial at WTC Firehouse

    On June 10,2006 the Firefighter Memorial will be unveiled. It is located on the side of the quarters of Engine 10 and Ladder 10. This bronze plaque commemorates the events of September 11, 2001 and honors the Fire Department heroes who perished that day.

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    UFA Group Life Insurance Upgrade Period Ends May 31

    AIG, the UFA Group Life Insurance provider, made several presentations and answered all questions during he Delegate Education Seminar. Members are asked to speak with their Company Delegate with questions or to contact Maria Zingone at the UFA. Make sure you keep your beneficiaries current & coverage adequate. The UFA is offering improved coverage options. Hurry, you only have a few more weeks!!!

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    FDNY Error: EMS Bills to FFs Injured Line-of-Duty

    Pursuant to an issue raised by the UFA at Labor-Management meetings, the Dept advised there was an administrative problem that has since been corrected. Per UFA request, DO # 35 was published as follows, "Any member, who has received an ambulance bill from FDNY for a transport that resulted from a line of duty injury, may contact the FDNY Bureau of Revenue Management, Emma Rivera, by e-mail at riveraeb@fdny.nyc.gov, or by mail to 9 Metrotech, Room 5E-8, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please provide as much information as possible, including name, date of FDNY ambulance transport, and account number on bill."

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    Holiday Retro

    Uniform Payroll has advised the UFA that NYC OLR has not yet released a date when holiday pay retroactive money will be paid. All other retroactive monies, including any OT, have already been paid. Members who believe there has been an error in their paychecks should submit a payroll inquiry (include all proper documentation) with the assistance of your officer.

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    EEO Survey of Members

    Per DO #36, certain members will receive EEO evaluation surveys from the City or the FD. The City has not yet provided a copy of this survey to the UFA for review. Members are advised not to prepare ANY survey without specific communication from the UFA informing the membership that it is not detrimental to do so.

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    Delegate Education Guide: Get Info You Need!

    Your Delegate participated during the first week in May in immersion courses during the Delegate Education Seminar designed to help each and every member of your company. A kitchen/housewatch copy of the Seminar Program Guide is being mailed to each firehouse. It contains a listing of all classes, exhibitors, sponsors and an extremely informative and interesting summary of the UFA history and accomplishments since its inception in 1917. Your Delegate can answer questions regarding courses taken and service provider exhibits visited. Literature was distributed at the seminar to answer member questions. A section of contact info for exhibitors is listed for member use, which includes many important service providers used by UFA members and families. Please insure you review the Seminar Guide!!!

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    Help For Members With Autistic Children

    The UFA Scholarship Fund has received funding to assist our members who have a child or children suffering from Autism. The funding is only available to ACTIVE members at this time. In order to determine a fair disbursement, the UFA needs information from all those seeking to obtain funds. Those who are interested in this program should send a letter outlining your particular situation and support needed, along with documentation of your child's diagnosis. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. Letters and info should be sent to: UFA Scholarship Fund, c/o Ed Burke, 204 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010.

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    2nd Annual Carl Bini Golf Outing

    The 2nd Annual Carl Vincent Bini Memorial Golf Outing is taking place June 12th at South Shore Country Club, Staten Island. The day features contests, prizes, 50/50, raffles and more. Registration at 11 AM with putting contest and 1 PM shotgun start. For complete details on pricing, sponsorships and registration call (718)317-8507).

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    Lt. John Clancy / FF Jimmy O'Shea Golf Outing

    Thurs. May 25th at Middle Island Country Club. Registration limited. The earlier the better!! The event will award ten (10) $1000 scholarships to student children of FDNY members. Contact Rich Berkhout, E298 / L127 to register 718-476-6298. For an application, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: FF Rich Berkhout - E298, 153-11 Hillside Avenue Jamaica, NY 11432.

    5th Haskell Brothers Golf Outing / Dinner Dance

    Thurs. May 25th at Lido Beach Golf Club, Lido Beach, NY. Dedicated to the memory of brothers Timothy and Thomas Haskell who gave their lives in the performance of duty on 9/11. This year the event is raising funds for the FF Transport Foundation and the Honor Legion. The event sells out quickly each year. For more info on the event please call Steve Mendelsohn at 718-520-2581 or Dawn Haskell Carbone at 516-396-2943.

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    Paddy Skeehill's All-Stars Softball Tourney

    Sat. June 3rd the 11th and final tourney in memory of FF Paddy Skeehill E40 / L35 taking place at Van Cortlandt Parade Grounds (25th Street and Broadway) beginning at 9 AM. Post tournament reception held at Gaelic Park (240th and Byway). Entry fee is $250 per team. Deadline is 5/27/06. For more info call 718-543-8854

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    Firefighter John Hannon Memorial Gaelic Football Games

    Sun June 11th 2 PM at Paddy's Field, E.238th Street and Van Cortlandt Park East, Bronx. For more info please contact Pete Hannon, Engine Co. 95, group 8, 212-570-4295.

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    15th Annual Lt. Williams Volleyball Tournament

    Wed. June 14th 9AM – 7 PM at Riverside Blvd on the Beach in Long Beach. Cost is $30 per person and money raised goes to Lt. Williams Fund. Tank tops and food will be provided. For more info call Bill Quick at H: 516-889-4833 or C: 516-650-3081.

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    FDNY Baseball vs NYPD Baseball

    Saturday June 17 at Keyspan Park Coney Island 7PM. $10.00 admission benefits the Thomas Elsasser Widows & Children Fund. Contact Scott Miller at E263 or 917-225-7872. Purchase on website at www.nyfiredup.com.

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    9/11 Family Liaisons Luncheon

    Fri. September 8th for all 9/11 family liaisons, CSU Peers, Bag Pipe Members, Ceremonial Unit members after 9/11. Taking place at Sequoia Restaurant in the South Street Seaport at 11:30 AM. Firehouse members are asked to contact all retired members from your company that helped out. For info contact Phil Duncan at FDNY-CSU: 917-468-5151.

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    Stephen J. Cassidy

    Joseph A. Miccio
    Recording Secretary