Press Releases

For Release November 19, 2014

FDNY Firefighters Decry $27 Disability Pension for Injured Bravest - Should NEW Firefighters Be Forced to Risk Their Lives & Health for $27/ Day?

UFA President Steve Cassidy together with New York City Firefighters and City Councilmembers denounced the abysmal $27/day disability pension that newer FDNY members are forced to exist on, if they become seriously injured or permanently disabled on the job.

Firefighters, councilmembers and the union are demanding The New York City Council take immediate action by passing a home rule message to fix to this urgent public safety crisis for New York City’s first responders, so they have the same disability protections as others across the State of New York.

“Except for the U.S. Military, being a New York City Firefighter is the most dangerous profession in the world. No other job has lost so many of its members to line of duty death and disability, all in the service of keeping New York safe,” said Mr. Cassidy. “Actions speak louder than words. New York City Firefighters are calling on the New York City Council Speaker and the Mayor to take swift and decisive action to correct this public safety crisis with an immediate home rule message.”

Since January 2013, after the FDNY was permitted by a federal judge to again begin hiring firefighter candidates, more than 1,150 FDNY Firefighters were sworn in. 280 took the oath of office yesterday and another 300 will enter the Fire Academy in about six weeks. Should any of these approximately 1,450 new FDNY members suffer a career ending disability in the line of duty, the limited disability pension protection they are entitled to equals about $27/day.

“New York City Firefighters have proven that we will do anything to protect life, but how can we truthfully tell a young firefighter with a family that they will be protected, when we know that is a lie,” asked Mr. Cassidy.

Since Governor David Paterson vetoed New York City firefighter and police Tier II pension disability protections in 2009 thousands of new city firefighters and cops lack critical health and safety protections every other professional firefighter and cop in the state has.

This has had a dramatically negative impact in 2014 as several NYPD members have been seriously hurt in the line of duty:

  • In April, Police Officers Rosa Rodriquez a mother or four nearly died in a NYCHA building fire in Coney Island. Her partner, Officer Dennis Guerra died three days later.
  • In October two NYPD officers were attacked by a man wielding a hatchet. One was struck in the arm and the other struck in the head.
  • This past Friday, November 14 a probationary FDNY firefighter went into cardiac arrest, was hospitalized and in a coma for three days while fighting a Bronx fire. While currently recovering -- since the Tier II veto went into effect -- he and other newer FDNY firefighters are not covered by either the heart, lung or cancer bills in place to protect all other professional firefighters and police across New York State.

On Wednesday the UFA ran full page advertisements in several New York daily newspapers, pointing to the unfortunate lack of determination by City Hall leaders to stand up and protect the Big Apple’s first responders who keep them safe.

The ad reads: “It’s all about New York City’s priorities. This week the New York City Council holds a public hearing to debate the merits of raising taxes on plastic grocery bags…While THEY REFUSE to hold public hearings as to why DISABLED NEW YORK CITY FIREFIGHTERS ARE FORCED TO SURVIVE ON JUST $27 A DAY.” The ad then goes on to ask: “Would you risk your life and health for $27 a day? Call your New York City Council member 212.788.7100 & say you support New York’s Bravest. Your life may depend on it!”

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