65-2 #13 February 14, 2006

Union Issues -Events, Help, Fundraisers & Benefits

  • EMS in your Firehouse!!
  • Busiest Year in FDNY History
  • Delegate Educational Seminar Registration
  • New and Improved Firelines
  • Verification of Member Paychecks
  • Holiday and Uniform Retro
  • Retiree Retro Checks & Finalization
  • Probation Extension for LODI
  • Deferred Comp, 401K, ITHP, 50% Indicator
  • Lodi Tax
  • Medical Leave Lifts Hearings
  • WTC Bill Update
  • New Fire and Criminal Justice Chair
  • Coordination of Health Benefits Saves $
  • Member Voting Lists re: Contract
  • Injectable and Chemotherapy Medications

Events, Help, Fundraisers & Benefits:

  • UFA Day at the Circus Cancelled
  • MDA Week Update
  • Ladder 43 / Engine 53 Thanks You
  • Education Requirement For Promotion
  • BC DeAngelis Scholarship
  • FDNY / NYPD Basketball Game
  • FDNY Soccer Team Tryouts
  • Bravest Football Tryouts
  • FD / PD Hockey Game Change of Date
  • King of the Ice Registration
  • FDNY Boxing Smoker
  • Memorial Blood Drive
  • NYC FF Golf Tour
  • FDNY / MIA Patches
  • Family Wellness Weekend

EMS In Your Firehouse!!!

The Executive Board met with Commissioner Scoppetta on January 24th to address the issue of reassigning EMS personnel from Queens Mt. Sinai Hospital into Queens firehouses. Mt. Sinai Hospital announced last week that it cancelled its plans to close its facility that houses 5 FDNY EMS Units. As a result, the Dept's plans to house EMS personnel from Mt. Sinai into E262, or other FDNY facilities, has been indefinitely suspended. President Cassidy updated your Delegate at the February 9 Union Meeting regarding the meeting with the Commissioner and this issue. See media clips by clicking HERE .

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Busiest Year in FDNY History

2005 was the busiest year ever in the history of the FDNY-exceeding even the peaks of the 70s 'War Years'. The UFA recently published a press release identifying the categories tracked by the Dept, which clearly support, at a minimum, sustaining the current number of companies protecting NYC. As a direct result, the NY Post picked up and covered the issue. See UFA press release and media clips, which were distributed to all Delegates at the February Union Meeting. The UFA strongly advises members to continue faxing Community Boards and Councilpersons whenever your company is relocated or taken out of service, which also helps document to local communities the contributing reasons for increased response times at a time of increased workload.

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Delegate Educational Seminar Registration

The 2006 Seminar takes place once again at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, May 2nd - 5th. Seminar Registration Packages mailed January 30th to all Delegate residences. Delegates must return registration forms and payment to the UFA no later then March 31 or lose the special hotel discounted rate. The UFA can only accept Seminar Registration Forms with a check via US Mail (not by phone). If you are a new Delegate, this is an extremely important seminar that will help educate you on many matters of importance to your members and their families, including workers' rights, health, safety, work issues & financial matters. So hurry up. Delegates must return their registration forms in the prepaid envelope before March 31st-to save $$!!! Mail it early as possible to insure it arrives on time. Questions? Did not receive your registration package? Delegates should call or email the Recording Secretary's office ASAP.

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New & Improved Firelines Launched!

The UFA's Firelines has undergone a significant transformation and improvement. The former broadsheet style has been redesigned into a newsletter size format that supports multiple uses in print and electronically. The previous 50-50 advertising split has been replaced with an editorial content that now exceeds 70%. Readers no longer have to jump to multiple places to read an article. It is less expensive to produce and mail. Pages can be easily downloaded and printed as PDFs from the UFA website and complete issues can be maintained for quick reference in a firehouse binder. The new format/glossy issue mailed to all FF and retiree homes several weeks ago. For more information or questions, please email the editor at firelines@ufanyc.org Black and white PDF copies with binder holes for easy placement of important articles into your Delegate's Manual, or a firehouse binder, were distributed at the February Union Meeting.

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Verification of Member Paychecks

The UFA maintains that the current paystub explanation format, which is used for all City agencies, does not itemize in sufficient detail. Checks are processed, printed and mailed by the City's Office of Payroll Administration (OPA)-not the FDNY. The City declined the UFA's request, as it did in 2003, to audit a select/random group of member paychecks to verify accuracy. However, it will verify, and correct if appropriate, specifically documented problems if sufficient documentation is provided. Members claiming a payroll discrepancy must submit a Payroll Inquiry Form, paystub and corresponding TPR copy identifying the specific period. Dept Orders define the specific time periods for which OT is reflected in each paycheck. Insure you check the corresponding DOs prior to submitting an inquiry. In the case of your retro checks, the charts provided at the January Union Meeting give hourly OT rates for each retro year. This can be used to help you to determine the amount of retro OT $$ that is due to you in each check. NOTE: the UFA actuaries will be auditing a select group of paychecks to verify accuracy.

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Holiday and Uniform Retro

The Dept has not yet announced the dated this retro will be paid.

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Retiree Retro Checks & Finalization

FDNY Payroll informed the UFA that members who retired after June 1, 2002 will receive retroactive payments and an increase in pensions. The amounts will vary depending on retirement dates. All members who retired after June 1, 2002 and who are affected by the contract will have their back pay for pension retro money and finalization calculated together, beginning with those who retired in June 02 and working up to the present. The calculation process will not begin until early April and will take in excess of one year to complete. However, retiree retro pay for salary earned while working as an active FF will mail (in 4 separate checks) to retiree residences within one to two weeks after each of the 4 active retro checks are paid, in accordance with the charts and criteria distributed at the January Union Meeting. (The first check has already mailed.) Retired members are not eligible to place any of retro money into 457 or 401k plans.

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Probation Extension for LODI Must Be Paid 5th Grade Increase

In accordance with attachment "T" of the 2000-02 UFA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was renewed under the 2002-06 Contract, "a probationary FF who sustains an injury in the Line-of-Duty and is unable to perform his or her duties may at the Dept's discretion have their probationary period extended but will receive their salary increase on their anniversary date." Members who have not received their 5th grade salary increase due to LODI should submit a payroll inquiry noting the above information. This information is also in the UFA Delegate Manual, "Your Rights Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement" chapter.

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Deferred Compensation (457), 401k. ITHP and 50% Indicator

Deferred Compensation (457 & 401k) enrollment, with direct deductions taken from your paycheck, reduces your taxes as a result of the contributions made, while contributions and the earnings will accumulate tax-deferred. Deadlines have just about passed to adjust your Deferred Comp payroll deductions for the last retro checks. As of the date this 65-2 pushed, members wishing to set up or adjust deductions for the March 10th retro paycheck, only have 2 days to make this change (by February 17). For those who missed making adjustments to retro checks, refer to Deferred Compensation, ITHP Waiver & 50% Indicator Special 65-2 #s 4 & 5 for info on how you can still significantly benefit tax-wise by increasing Deferred Comp & taking ITHP deductions from all paychecks for the remainder of 2006.

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LODI Tax Deductions

Current IRS regulations provide favorable tax treatment of your wages during the approved period of Line-of-Duty Injury (LODI). Wages will be treated on a pre-tax basis. The Dept computes your LODI medical leave days automatically and deducts the dollar amount from your taxable income. The UFA has inquired with the City Office of Labor Relations (OLR), FDNY Payroll and our tax professionals regarding LODI retroactive deduction status for members who were on LODI medical leave during the tax years they were earning less then they should have under the new contract terms. The Department informed us that it cannot include retroactive deduction calculations in your 2006 retro paychecks for prior LODI injury medical leave. This is an IRS regulation issue, and not an issue that may be decided by the Dept or the UFA, as was determined when UFA accountants investigated the 2000-02 retro money in 2003. See Special 2005 Tax Year 65-2, which was distributed to all Delegates at the February Union Meeting and mailed to all FHs. It includes a per diem salary rate chart to verify the Dept's calculations. It also includes much more info re your paycheck deductions and tax calculations.

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Medical Leave Lifts Hearings Begin

The UFA Executive Board met on January 5th and February 7th with Chief of Dept Peter Hayden and Chief Cassano regarding the Involuntary Medical Leave Lifts program. They informed us that 27 members remain on the program. They are currently reviewing records to determine if additional lifts or returns are warranted. The Grievance hearings commenced last week on February 2nd. The UFA presented its opening statements, introduction of documents and evidence of framing of issues at the preliminary hearing before Arbitrator Alan Viani. A comprehensive package of evidence will be presented at subsequent hearings (tentatively June 12, 13 & 27) with the objective of demonstrating how the City violated the 1996 Federal Lawsuit SMLP agreement, PA/ID 2-95 (Chronic Absence) and PA/ID 3-96 (SMLP). The UFA intends to subpoena Chief Cassano and Chief Hayden to testify, and also many involved members and their officers. This is not just about those it impacts now. The UFA believes this practice by the Dept is a deceptive way of punishing firefighters for aggressively doing their jobs. The UFA will never back down in its efforts to defend our members' rights. See copy of the letter that was sent to all affected members, which is attached the February Union Meeting President's Report.

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WTC Bill Update

UFA V.P./Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin reminds all members to check out the latest issue of Firelines for important information on the WTC Bill that will answer most of your questions. If you have not filed the registration statement yet you are urged to do so. There will be no extension of the deadline. If you are not sure if you are eligible, the UFA urges you to fill it out anyway. We are awaiting final appointments to the WTC Task Force so that they can make recommendations to make technical corrections and improve the WTC Bill. The UFA will have a seat on this task force and no changes can be made until they are approved by the task force. We will keep you updated as new developments occur. Members needing applications can download it from the home page, by clicking HERE, or by calling the Dept at 718-999-0148 or 7041. See the Chief article for more comprehensive info, which was distributed to all Delegates at the February Union Meeting.

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New Fire & Criminal Justice Committee Chair Selected

UFA V.P./Legislative Chairman Jim Slevin reports that the City Council has appointed a new chairperson of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, Miguel Martinez. The UFA was highly supportive of Councilman Martinez's appointment and is looking forward to working with him to improve protection for the people of New York City and all NYC FFs. See medial clips which were distributed to all Delegates at the February Union Meeting.

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Coordination of Health Benefits Saves Families $$

When both you and your spouse have your own health plans, Coordinated Benefits allow the secondary plan to pick up costs after the primary plan coverage reaches its limits. It saves you money by combining both spouses' plans to cover up to 100% of a charge, but in no event shall payments exceed 100% of a charge. A UFA SBF Coordinated Benefits Form was mailed to each active and retired member. All eligible members are encouraged to take advantage and start saving by returning the form to the UFA. Additional info regarding both the UFA SBF and the City Health Plans Coordinated Benefits can be found in the Health Book, chapters 1 & 2, of the UFA Delegate Manual. Additional forms for copying & insertion into your Delegate's Manual Forms Chapter were distributed the February Union Meeting.

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Member Voting Lists re Contract

Delegates who have not received the list of members in their Company whose ballot was not received at the American Arbitration Association for the contract vote should contact Denise Keeley at the Recording Secretary's Office. The list will be sent to your residence.

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Injectable and Chemotherapy Medications

Effective January 1, 2006, there is an annual deductible of $150 per person for Injectable and Chemotherapy medications under the former PICA program. This deductible is independent of any other deductible. Information regarding this matter was previously mailed to each active and retired members home.

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UFA Family Day at the Circus Cancelled

The 2006 UFA Family Day at the Circus, scheduled for March 19th, 2006 has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict with Nassau Coliseum. The event will return in 2007. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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MDA Week Update

A big thank you goes out to all the members and companies who participated in the 1st ever UFA / UFOA MDA Week. Collections are currently being tallied by the MDA. When the final count becomes available, we will notify the membership of the total. ALL DELEGATES ARE REMINDED TO SEND YOUR COLLECTION ENVELOPES TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO ALREADY:

MDA
PO Box 3178
Grand Central Station
New York, NY 10163

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L-43 E-53 Thanks You

The Delegates, Firefighters and Officers of L-43 E-53 extend their sincerest of thanks all FDNY members for their tremendous outpour of caring support, blood donations, meals, cards and other donations on behalf of FF Matthew Long.

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Education Requirement For Promotion

All candidates for promotion submitting college credits earned at a foreign college or university need to have the credits evaluated. The promotion desk has a list of approved foreign education evaluation services that will evaluate these credits This evaluation must be performed before the promotion desk can verify if the candidate has the necessary college credits needed for promotion. To obtain the list of approved foreign education evaluation services, please call Debbie Croskey-Smith at 718-999-1181.

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BC DeAngelis Scholarship

Applicants must be current full-time college students (minimum of 12 credits) in an accredited college and children of an active FDNY Firefighter or Officer. Interested firefighters who are parents should write a letter naming the college, the child, indicate age, grade level, academic major or area of interest. Please provide a separate letter for each college student in the family. In addition, the firefighters should identify themselves including current work assignment, number of years on the job and both home and work address with telephone, e-mail and fax if available. The letter of nomination should be sent (through the bag) to the following address or e-mailed to herberv@fdny.nyc.gov:Victor Herbert, FDNY Dean of Instruction, 401 Murray Avenue, Fort Totten, NY 11359. Deadline for receipt of the letters is February 28, 2006.

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FDNY vs. NYPD Basketball Game

Friday Feb 24th at 730 PM the FDNY Basketball Team will be taking on the NYPD Team at St. Francis DeSales, 129-16 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway, Queens. Admission is $10 for adults, kids free, and includes refreshments and hot dogs.

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FDNY Soccer Team Tryouts

The FDNY Soccer Team will be holding tryouts on 2/20 & 2/27) from 9:45 AM until 12 noon at the Paerdegat Indoor Soccer Club 1510 Paerdegat Avenue, North Brooklyn (Off Exit 13 on the Belt Parkway). E-mail FDNYSOCCER@aol.com or call 917-929-8654 for more info.

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Bravest Football Tryouts
2/20 & 2/28 at Sport Time in Lynbrook, LI. For more info log on to www.bravestfootball.com or call Mike Stackpole at 516-659-0333.

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FD-PD Hockey Game Change of Date

The Annual FDNY / NYPD Hockey Game is on Sat April 8th at 1pm at Nassau Coliseum. For more info, log on to www.fdnyhockey.com.

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King of the Ice Registration

Registration forms are available for this year's “King of the Ice” tournament at www.fdnyhockey.com. Teams wishing to participate in the tournament should register as soon as possible. Questions? Call Pat Cleary at
516-650-7719.

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FDNY Boxing Smoker

Fri April 21st at 8pm the FDNY Boxing Bravest will host a smoker at Christ the King High School, 69-02 Metropolitan Avenue, Middle Village, Queens. Tickets: $20 for General Admission. 1/2 of proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. For more info log on to www.FDNYBOXING.com.

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Memorial Blood Drive

Sat. Feb 25 at St. Charles Church / School, located at 200 Penn Ave @ corner of Clawson Ave., Staten Island, NY, being held in memory of Retired FF Bill O'Connor Ladder 84, and his son Brendan, who both recently passed away. Both Bill and Brendan received a number of blood transfusions while battling their illnesses. Members are encouraged to give blood.

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NYC Firefighters Golf Tour

The second year of the NYC FF Golf Tour is closely approaching and recruitment is currently taking place for both active and retired members. There will be tournaments, prizes and competition at all levels of play across the tri-state area. Anyone interested can visit www.nycffgolftour.golfreg.com for more info on registration.

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FDNY - MIA Patches / Flags Available

FDNY / MIA shoulder patches and flags are currently available for ordering. The design features a FF in the shadow of the World Trade Center and is available in a number of sizes, including 2 Ft X 3 Ft Flags, shoulder patches, antenna flags and window decals. For more info on ordering and pricing contact Bob Piser L54 at FDNYMIA@AOL.COM. Money raised is donated to FDNY Widows Charities.

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Family Wellness Weekend

Taking place March 10-12 at Rocking Horse Ranch in Mid-Hudson Valley. Sponsored by Friends of Firefighters. Cost of the weekend is free, but reserved 15 families on 1st come, 1st serve basis. For more info on the weekend or to reserve a space please call 718-643-0980

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Fraternally,

Stephen J. Cassidy
President

Joseph A. Miccio
Recording Secretary