65-2 #23 April 21, 2006

Union Issues - Events, Help, Fundraisers & Benefits

Events, Help, Fundraisers & Benefits:

    UFA Financial Report

    The financial report for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2005 was presented and explained by UFA Treasurer Bob Straub at the April Union Meeting. Copies of this report were mailed to each Delegate's residence and firehouse for posting.

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    Battalion Delegates Meeting re: 2006 Contract

    The Battalion Advisory Committee (Battalion Delegates) meeting took place to discuss future contract matters and other important issues on Wednesday, April 19th at the UFA. Company Delegates should contact their Battalion Delegates to familiarize themselves with the content of the meeting. The topics will be covered in detail during President Cassidy's "State of the Union" address at the Delegate Educational Seminar.

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    UFA Endorses Senator Hillary Clinton for Re-Election

    On Wednesday April 19, the UFA endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton in her re-election bid for U.S. Senate. President Steve Cassidy touted how Senator Clinton has proven herself to be a friend and supporter of NYC Firefighters, stating "Politicians have to earn our support and she has done just that." She has secured millions of dollars in funding for NYC firefighters who responded to the WTC attacks for medical monitoring, testing, treatment, mental health, Project Liberty and much more. In addition, she has been a leading proponent of threat based formulation of allocation of Homeland Security Funds, which is critical for helping NYC Firefighters better prepare for any future possible terrorist attacks. Clinton added, "I am deeply honored to have the support of the brave men and women of New York City's fire unions. I look forward to continue to serve with them to keep New York safe."

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    Problem Rigs: UFA Testifies Before City Council

    UFA President Steve Cassidy testified before City Council on April 4 regarding the Department's growing problem with rigs that do not work properly. He reported that many rigs continue to be returned to service only to go out of service shortly thereafter with the same problems. He provided examples of incidents where aerial ladders failed to raise at fires and when a FF was ejected from a rig while responding to an alarm. UFA Health & Safety Officer Bill Romaka reminds you that members are under no obligation to compromise or jeopardize their safety when assigned a spare apparatus. The chauffeur and officer are to go over the rig and identify any problems with it so they may be addressed to your satisfaction. Do not hesitate to contact the UFA Health & Safety Office (or Trustee-on-duty) if you believe your health or safety is jeopardized. The UFA City Council testimony & resulting media clips were distributed at the April.

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    Delegate Educational Seminar: Get Info from Your Delegate

    The 2006 Seminar is May 2nd thru 5th, where your Delegate is immersed in courses that are designed to help each and every member of your company. If you need info or want to learn about any topic listed, ask your Delegate ASAP, so they can choose from the many workshops that address your needs. Topics include: Firehouse & Medical Office Issues, State of the Union, UFA Media & PR strategies, finding info in Delegate Manual, Safe Apparatus Response, Firefighter legislation, political action, Lobby Day, elected officials, new protective gear, WTC Illness Bill forms & pension planning by FDNY Pension Unit, Scholarship Fund, UFA Life Insurance benefits, UFA Criminal Counsel, WTC medical care & monitoring, Documenting OOS Companies, Compensation Accrual Fund (your annuity investing), Deferred Compensation, Disability Pensions, Retirement planning, UFA Dental/Optical/Prescription Drug plans, Grievances/Improper Practices, Being an Effective Delegate, Financial: 50% Indicator/pension loans/ITHP, Roth IRAs, NYS College Savings Program, Health & Safety issues and more. In addition, many Exhibitors/Sponsors from health care companies, mortgage companies, financial advisors and others will be distributing literature. Almost half of our members have 5 years or less on the job. Make sure you take advantage of the efforts and time investments your Delegate makes on a regular basis!

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    Union Meeting - May 5th

    The Union meeting will take place on the last day (Friday, May 5th) of the Delegate Education Seminar. The normal 6 hour Delegate release time is in effect only for this meeting date. See Delegate Manual 'Delegate & Battalion Delegate Booklet', page 13 for excusal time info. It excerpts Dept policy for your officers to be guided by.

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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. 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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    Retro Uniform Allowance

    FDNY Payroll reports that all members who were eligible and received uniform maintenance allowance in December 2005 received $91.67 in retroactive uniform allowance in the April 7th Paycheck. The uniform maintenance allowance increased by $100 annually effective August 1, 2005 in accordance with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The retroactive money covers the 11 months from August 1, 2005 thru June 30, 2006 fiscal year, which is consistent with how this allowance is paid each December. Uniform Payroll 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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    WTC Memorial Concerns

    Many WTC Memorial issues have yet to be resolved. Besides speaking at a rally joining the 9-11 families and an opinion article in the N.Y. Post in February, President Cassidy published a follow-up "Opinion" article in the N.Y. Post on April 3 regarding proper placement of rescue workers' names. The article written by President Cassidy on behalf of the UFA was distributed to all Delegates at the April Union Meeting. All articles / op-ed pieces written by President Cassidy pertaining to this issue are available on the UFA website, www.ufanyc.org.

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    Medical Leave Lifts Hearings Begin

    Recording Secretary Joe Miccio reports that at the February arbitration hearing, the Dept testified for the record that Dr. Kelly and BHS medical staff had nothing to do with evaluating members' conditions and injuries with respect to the transfers. Although we were able to gain this significant acknowledgment, the UFA plans to review the records which the Department reviewed in considering the lifts. However, the Dept will provide these documents only with a release signed by the member. Whether testifying or not, the UFA needs all lifted members to return the release forms (even if already sent back to original companies). 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. Next hearings are June 12, 13 and 27, which will include testimony from both officers and firefighters. Forms and an update letter were mailed to all lifted members.

    UFA Group Life Insurance: Improving Options

    The open enrollment period for the UFA Group Life Insurance Program is from March 15 through May 31. The UFA is offering improved coverage options. A comprehensive info/form package was mailed in March to each member's residence explaining the program. Also, AIG/American General will be making a presentation at the Delegate Seminar in May. Beneficiary update checklists of all insurances available via the FDNY, City of NY and UFA were distributed to all Delegates at the March Union Meeting. Delegates are asked to remind all fellow company members to keep their beneficiaries current & coverage adequate. Reps from AIG were also at the April Union Meeting

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    FDNY Decontamination Procedures

    Members should not go back into service until both the apparatus and firefighters are properly decontaminated in accordance with Dept policy and Federal Standards. If your request to decontaminate is refused, politely remind your officer of the policy and your health concerns—and do not go back into service until properly decontaminated. You cannot be ordered to do something that will endanger your health or safety. Immediately notify the UFA Health & Safety Officer or UFA Trustee-on-Duty if you are not permitted to follow proper procedures. Refer to FDNY CFR-D Manual Chapters 2 & 3 for this and additional decontamination and Personal Protection Equipment info. Also, Appendix A to CFR-D Manual Chapter 3 provides guidelines for what action to take with specific equipment items. The Officer on duty shall ensure that equipment and clothing with minor contamination of blood or other body fluids are spot cleaned as soon as practical by a member trained to perform proper decontamination.

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    Mutual Aid Drills with Volunteer Fire Depts

    On April 2nd the Dept conducted a mutual aid drill with L.I. volunteer fire companies. Members were advised by the UFA not to follow orders from anyone other than FDNY officers and were reminded that they should not be held responsible for teaching Long Island FFs how to do the job of a NYC Firefighter, noting that operating unfamiliar equipment poses a safety risk to those involved. Members were also reminded to follow all orders of FDNY officers, but advised to take a mark and notify the UFA through their Delegates should they be ordered to operate above and beyond their normal duties. The UFA supports increasing our preparedness by providing the citizens of New York with proper fire protection. The best way to accomplish this is the immediate re-opening of closed fire companies and placing 5 firefighters on all Engine Companies at all times. NOTE: Any UFA member found to take part in a joint exercise as a member of a Volunteer Company will be in violation of Article XVI, Section 3 of the UFA Constitution and be subject to expulsion from the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

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    Bronx D.A. Robert Johnson Presses Charges re FF Deaths

    The UFA published the following statement from President Cassidy on March 29 regarding the unnecessary deaths and severe injuries suffered by NYC Firefighters and Officers who were forced to jump out of windows at the tragic Bronx fire: "We applaud Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson for the strong prosecutorial actions of his office. This should be a shot across the bow for every landlord in New York City that does illegal renovations that can endanger the lives of firefighters and the civilians we are sworn to protect."

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    Ladder 39 Firehouse "Beyond Repair" says FDNY

    First Deputy Fire Commissioner Frank Cruthers told members of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services in March that engineers had declared the Woodlawn firehouse deteriorated beyond repair. As a result, he testified that it will be moved to the quarters of Engine 63 in Wakefield. The required 45-day notice from the City was given the week of April 10th to Woodlawn's representatives. Rev. Richard Gorman, chairman of local Community Board 12 has staunchly opposed Ladder 39's move, and City Councilman Oliver Koppell, whose district includes Woodlawn, said he intends to push for building a new firehouse in Woodlawn if the Fire Department goes through with its closing plans. The UFA has voiced its opposition to permanently closing this firehouse.

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    UFA Lobby Day in Albany on June 6th

    Reminder: All UFA members are invited to travel up to Albany and lobby our state legislators on the important issues that affect us. UFA V.P. and Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin will be providing each participating member with a copy of our agenda and important information on how to effectively lobby. The UFA will provide round-trip transportation via bus and depending on demand can have them leave from various locations. We will also be setting up appointments with high ranking elected officials. At the end of the day a reception will be held and all of the legislators are invited. Further details will be provided as it gets closer to the event. Everyone who participated last year had a great time. Shortly thereafter, our WTC Presumptive Illness Bill was signed into law. The Stroke Bill will be lobbied heavily by the members at this event.

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    UFA Scholarship Fund re: Autism

    The UFA Scholarship Fund received a donation last year, as announced last June, to be used to help support active UFA families who have children with Autism. Members seeking assistance should send a letter describing the particular situation and type of support needed. Documentation of your child's diagnosis is also required. All info will be kept in strict confidence. Mail to Ed Burke, UFA Scholarship Fund Chairman, 204 East 23rd Street, NY, NY 10010. Questions? Call Ed at 212-683-4832.

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    Hepatitis ‘A' Booster re: New Orleans UFA Members

    Sergeant-at-Arms/Health / Safety Officer Bill Romaka wishes to urges members who served in New Orleans to get their Hepatitis "A" booster shots at their next FDNY Medicals. Your records at the Medical office should indicate if you require a booster, though this message is a reminder to ensure it is not missed.

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    AFLAC Claim Documentation

    According to AFLAC administrators and claim consultants, the PCR (or Ambulance report) is not required to be submitted to AFLAC to receive your transportation benefit. This information has usually been garnered from the CD-72 or hospital discharge papers submitted. Questions? Call AFLAC's Customer Service line 800-366-3436.

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    AFLAC Cancer Benefits Improve

    AFLAC has improved its available Cancer Indemnity Plan benefits and coverage for UFA members. It is a documented fact that firefighters have a greater risk of developing many types of cancer than the general public. Many UFA members have benefitted from AFLAC coverage over the years. AFLAC representatives have been at recent UFA Union Meetings and will also be sponsoring and exhibiting at the UFA Delegate Educational Seminar May 3rd & 4th. Ask your Delegate to pick up literature for you, or call AFLAC's Customer Service line 800-366-3436 , or visit www.aflacny.com. Ask for literature on Personal Cancer Indemnity Plan Specified-Disease Policy # NY-75200.

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    Colin Quinn Headlines 7th Annual NY's Bravest Night of Comedy

    Thurs. April 27th beginning at 8 PM at Queensboro College Performing Arts Center, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside. Tix are $25. Hosted by Ray Garvey and including FDNY's Bravest Comics. For more info or tix please call 718 - 631-6390. You can bid to have Colin Quinn tell your joke! Go to ebay.com and type in the search function "Colin Quinn tells your joke."

    1st Annual FF Mike Carlo Motorcycle Run

    Sun April 30th beginning and ending at 55-61 58th Street, Maspeth Queens. Registration from 8 AM - 10 AM, Ride starts at 11 AM. Full NYPD escorted ride through Queens and Brooklyn, past Engine 230 where Mike worked. Free BBQ and live entertainment after the ride. $20 donation with proceeds benefitting the NYC Fireriders Scholarship Fund. 1st 200 people receive free
    T-shirts. For info call Fireriders hotline at 718-229-7765.

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    FDNY 9-11 Memorial Golf Outing

    Formerly known as the "Ronaldson Outing," this is the largest golf outing in the country and is taking place May 21-24 in Myrtle Beach, SC. Packages are available by visiting www.fdnygolf.com.

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    5th Haskell Brothers Golf Outing / Dinner Dance

    Taking place 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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    America's 9-11 Ride - Scholarship Applications

    The annual ride from the Pentagon to the WTC provides the means for children of ALL 1st responders to be eligible for scholarships to help pay for college. This year's deadline is April 30th. All necessary info is provided at www.americas911ride.org. Candidates need to download forms and return them to the provided address by April 30th to qualify.

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    Engine 201 4th Annual Vegas Night

    Taking place Sat. May 6th from 7 PM - 1 AM at OLPH Notre Dame Hall, 60th St & 6th Ave, Brooklyn. $40 at the door will be exchanged for $500 in chips. Food and beverage included. Night includes 50/50, raffles, door prizes and Texas Hold em' Tourney. Proceeds raised benefit Engine 201 Memorial Fund and Thomas Elsasser Scholarship Fund. In addition a raffle will take place for a 2006 Dodge Charger ($100 per ticket). For info on the night or to purchase a raffle ticket for the car contact FF Tommy Immello or FF Tommy Reno at 718-965-8201, or Jimmy Brown at 718-965-1369, 917-596-4787.

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    Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation – Angels for Autism Dinner / Dance

    Fri. May 19th, Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation will hold the 3rd Annual Dinner Dance at North Hill Country Club, Manhasset. Event raises money for the Jack Fanning Foundation, which makes an immediate difference in the lives of those affected by autism. A number of sponsorship or advertising opportunities are available for the event. For info on attendance, advertising or sponsoring, please call Eileen Vogel at 516-489-8773

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    Lt. John Clancy—FF Jimmy O'Shea Golf Outing & Scholarships

    Taking place May 25th at Middle Island Country Club, shotgun start at 9:30am. Included breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments on the course. Registration limited. $140/golfer, $60 for reception only, $100 hole sponsor. The earlier the better!! Contact Rich Berkhout E298/L127, 718-476-6298 to register. The event will award ten (10) $1000 scholarships at the event dinner to student children of FDNY members. For a scholarship application, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope ASAP to:

    FF Rich Berkhout - E298

    153-11 Hillside Avenue

    Jamaica, NY 11432