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The Bravest

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE

UNIFORMED FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER NEW YORK

WWW.UFANYC.ORG

VOL. XLVII NO. 1, 2011

PHOTO CREDIT: STEPHEN N SYMBOLIK III

UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell and City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley joined the UFA in this year’s 250th St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

President’s Message by Stephen J. Cassidy

The language of paragraph 11 of our Stipulation of Agreement known as the Roster Staffing n February 1st, the Fire Department lowered Agreement clearly states the obligations of the City firefighter staffing from C+60 to C-0. Simply and UFA if there are to be any changes in staffing: put, every Engine Company is now staffed with 4 Firefighters at the start of the tour, and after “By entering into this Stipulation of Settlement, that, as manpower is depleted, the Department staffs in the Union agrees to waive its right to file any litigation the deficit according to AUC 287. Immediately prior to or grievance regarding the Department Roster Staffing the implementation, we filed an improper practice and program as set forth in the case docketed with then scope of bargaining petition based on the collective Office of Collective Bargaining as BCB-1265-90, or bargaining law and safety impact. We sought injunc- with regard to the practical impact of this agreement tive relief but were denied by the Board of Collective until January 31, 2006. Should a court of competent Bargaining by a vote of 4 to 2, with one recusal. This jurisdiction or any other administrative entity, except decision only affected whether our manning would be for enforcement purposes, grant the right to initiate immediately restored, not whether the case goes for- any such litigation or grievance within that time, this ward. agreement will be terminated immediately. Should lit-

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NO. 1 2011

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Continued from page 1 igation or a grievance commence, this agreement or any portion thereof shall not be admissible in any court proceeding or other administrative forum. After the expiration of this Agreement, January 31, 2006, the City in view of factors including, but not limited to changes in technology, structural and non-structural fires, and response times, may wish to change staffing levels. In the event the City plans to make such changes, the parties will negotiate to the extent required by the New York City Collective Bargaining Law. Should differences between the parties arise, it is the intent of the parties to work expeditiously to resolve them.” The UFA and UFOA are jointly moving forward with the Roster Staffing case. The City has sent a clear message to every member of the Fire Department, they are only concerned about the bottom line and not firefighter safety. These 60 engine companies not only were able to operate independently to stretch their own line, as every engine company in the city should, they keep the Department - after the start of the tour - from operating with 4-man trucks and 3man engines. No matter what the Department does, less firefighters on the fire ground quickly endangers everyone. On March 29th we had a pre-hearing confer-

The UFA began the 1995 arbitration case again based on safety impact and the Roster Staffing agreement was made. In 2005, we extended the agreement 5 years and staffing was increased with the addition of 4 more engines. Our members deserve the proper tools and staffing to do our jobs. It can make the difference between life and death. Be sure to respond and operate with an extra degree of caution because the City’s actions have increased the risks of injury and death to us and to the public we serve. As spring begins, the City Hall ritual of firehouse closings is in full swing. The Mayor continues to claim that this year’s budget will absolutely require that firehouses be closed. In the past few years, the City Council has restored the funding to keep firehouses from being closed. The UFA Executive Board continues to lobby all elected officials about the importance of the continued operation of their community firehouses. The UFA, in conjunction with the PBA, has formed the New York City Police & Fire Public Safety Alliance. Our first battle was to fight the Mayor’s attempted theft of the VSF. Our campaign has been very effective and it appears City Hall is backing away from their plan. We will continue to work together with the PBA on other initiatives and to combat the current attacks on firefighters and police officers. Visit ence at the Office of Collective Bargaining where spe- the UFA Web site www.ufanyc.com for updates as they cific claims in the case were discussed. This is an occur. As always, stay safe! expansive case that revolves around the City’s obligation to bargain as described in paragraph 11 above and the City’s claim the agreement has sunset at its conclusion. Safety impact will also be presented in modern day terms, considering all the additional burdens placed upon today’s Firefighters. The UFA brought an improper practice/scope of bargaining safety impact petition in 1989. At that time the Roster Staffing program was deemed safe by the trial examiner and 96hrs roster staffing overtime was agreed to so the program could staff itself. AUC 287 made provisions for different levels of staffing of which C-0 was the minimum. It is clear that at that time the Department did not think they would be staffing at the minimum. The Program designers wanted B level attained which, at that time, would have given every single-housed engine in the City staffing of 5 firefighters at the start of the tour. This was rarely attained and the program mutated to C0 or C+ ? depending on the number of firefighters reporting to work on a given tour.

UFA

DELEGATE EDUCATION

SEMINAR

MAY 3-6, 2011

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ

www.ufanyc.org


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Legislative Update

By James M. Slevin, Vice President

T

he UFA is pleased to report that after many years of lobbying, Congress has passed and the President has signed The James Zadroga 9/11Health and Compensation Act of 2010. It went down to the final hours of the 2010 Congress and it looked like it was dead. In what has been hailed as to the “Christmas Miracle,” the bill was passed just prior to recess and signed by President Obama just after New Year’s. This important legislation will provide funding for health screening and treatment for firefighters that responded to the 9/11 terrorists attacks. In addition, it re-opens the Victim’s Compensation Fund for firefighters that have suffered an injury and for the families of firefighters that have succumbed to those injuries. Further information as to the implementation, and how to participate, will be made available to our members as we receive it. The list of people that helped get this passed is numerous. It would be hard to list everyone, but I must mention Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, Rep. Maloney, King, Weiner, Crowley, the entire NY Congressional Delegation, the AFL-CIO, IAFF, UFOA and Fire Union Leaders from around the country that were putting the pressure on their local congressional leaders. Finally, this bill would not have passed without the hard work of members of the UFA Executive Board and both the active and retired UFA members that made numerous trips to Washington to lobby for its passage. For the fiscal year 2012 NYC budget, we are once again looking at drastic cuts to the Fire Department. Mayor Bloomberg has again failed to put the restoration of the 20 firehouse closings in his proposed budget. This year the City Council has stated that they will not restore the money to save the firehouses as they have done in previous years. The position of the Council is that the Mayor will have to come up with the funding to prevent the closings. In the previous two budgets they used money from other areas in the budget to restore funding of the firehouses. The Department has yet to release a list of proposed closings and the City Council is demanding to see it before deciding on the budget. The UFA is launching an online campaign to educate the public about the dangers of closing firehouses. In addition, look for more print and radio advertising to further educate the public and the NYC Council about the dangers of firehouse closings. As the budget process moves forward watch for press conferences and rallies to save the

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firehouses. We need you to turn out and make your voice heard. On March 27th the Governor and Legislature announced a deal on a new budget for NYS. This budget restores some of the funding cuts that were proposed for NYC however Mayor Bloomberg is still claiming that it doesn’t go far enough and further cuts will be necessary in the NYC budget to make up that shortfall. One of his proposed cuts has been the elimination of the Variable Supplement Fund. As soon as the UFA became aware of this proposed cut we went into action to kill this outrageous proposal. An alliance was formed with the NYC PBA to educate the legislature and public about the History of the VSF and how NYC has reaped billions of dollars in savings from the deal that converted it to a defined benefit. Numerous meetings have been held with Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver, Majority Leader Skelos, Speaker Quinn, and other members of the NYS and NYC Legislature. Additionally, numerous ads have been running in newspapers from Albany to NYC to refute the lies being told by Mayor Bloomberg. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to check out www.ufanyc.org and click on the “Action Alert” tab to contact your legislators to protect the VSF. Hundreds of our members have already done so and it only takes a few minutes of your time. We will not stop fighting the elimination of the VSF until the legislature goes home for the year. We have early indications that the proposal will not go anywhere but Mayor Bloomberg continues to lobby for it. The attacks that we have come under are not unique to NYC Firefighters. It is impossible to open a newspaper, or turn on a radio or TV without being inundated with some sort of attack on public employees. Collective bargaining rights are being stripped in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Florida and Maine and there are proposals in numerous other states. While firefighters have not been the main focus of the attacks, do not think that those attacks will not come to NY and put NYC Firefighters in the spotlight. Now more than ever it is extremely important that we support the politicians that have stood shoulder to shoulder with us. If you are interested in getting involved in the fight please send your name and contact info to PAC@ufanyc.org We will put you on the volunteer list and contact you to turn out for rallies and other political action events.

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PHOTO CREDIT: STEPHEN N SYMBOLIK III

In the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, firefighters carry 343 flags as they march up 5th Avenue to honor the memory

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Congratulations to Steven Tagliani who was elected UFA Fire Marshal Representative on February 1, 2011. Steven joined the FDNY in July 2001 and was first assigned to E160, after which he was assigned to E168 where he also served as a UFA Delegate for four years. He became a Fire Marshal in August 2009 and was assigned to the Brooklyn base where he served until his election in Febraury.

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Register Now for the 2011 World Police & Fire Games

R

egistration for the 2011 World Police & Fire Games (WPFG) opened on January 6. In the first forty-eight hours that registration was opened more than 3,000 athletes registered to compete in the Games. Many sports have limits on the number of athletes that are allowed to register for that sport. Any FDNY athlete that is planning to compete in the Games should register as soon as possible so as not to miss this great event. Online registration is available at the 2011 WPFG website, www.2011wpfg.org. A link to the Registration Book, which contains all of the information that an athlete needs to register, can be found near the top of the homepage. There is also a link to the Online Registration System for the Games, where competitors can register and pay for their events online. The 2011 WPFG will run from August 26 through September 5 of this year. Register now so that you don’t miss the excitement of competing with firefighters and police officers from throughout the world! For those who are not athletes there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for the Games. The Games need volunteers at every level. More than 5,000 volunteers will be required to produce and staff the Games. Help is still needed in the planning and coordination of some sporting events. If you have interest in a particular sport and would like to help

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with that sport please contact us. Anyone with organizational, computer or office skills would be welcome now to help part-time. There are also opportunities to get involved during the course of the Games in one of our support staff roles. If you are interested in volunteering for the Games go to our website, www.2011wpfg.org, and click on the VOLUNTEER link on the left side of the homepage. You can also call the 2011 World Police & Fire Games office at 718-281-3335 for more information about volunteer opportunities.

FDNY Lacrosse players receive their gold medals at the 2009 Games in British Columbia.

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Michael C. Axelrod, Esq. UFA Loses Great Friend & Advocate by Joseph A. Miccio, Recording Secretary The UFA is extremely saddened to report the loss of prominent labor law attorney, Michael C. Axelrod, who passed away on January 7th. Mike, who was 63, diligently carried on his case and contract workload for the UFA despite battling lung cancer for more than two years. Mike went through a long, difficult battle with cancer, yet up until the very end always preferred talking about improving safety and staffing levels for the Firefighters he represented for so much of his life. Mike Axelrod’s death was a sad day for the UFA. Mike, as he was commonly known to Delegates and members attending union meetings, was a great friend and advocate of the UFA. He was a driv-

ing force behind many successful UFA arbitration cases, improper practice hearings and collective bargaining agreements for the UFA and its membership. Mike was a partner with the law firm Certilman Balin for 15 years, and primarily represented unions for thousands of firefighters and police officers throughout the metropolitan area. Mike was a terrific lawyer, highly experienced, and extremely knowledgeable in the many nuances of New York’s voluminous labor laws, which he acquired over a broad career that spanned four decades. He was educated at the University of Miami, New York University, and the New England School of Law. Steve Cassidy captured the sentiment of the entire UFA Executive Board when he said, “Mike would work night and day, 24/7, on behalf of our members. He was a very dear friend and trusted counsel—and will be sorely missed.”

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Engine Company 273 Flushing, Queens Anual number of responses: 1967 - 998 annual responses

2010 - 4,460 annual responses

Engine Co. 273 has had a huge increase in their annual responses over the years. The reason for this is twofold: #1 Two adjoning engine companies have been closed down over the years. Engine 272 formerly located at 38th Avenue near Main Street in Flushing was closed in 1974. Engine 296 formerly located at 125th Street near 18th Avenue in College Point was closed in 1961. #2 A very large increase in population. During the years that City Hall closed Engine 272 and Engine 296, the populations of Flushing and College Certilman Balin proudly represents the New York Point skyrocketed and City Uniformed Firefighters Association and many this sharp upward trend other organizations in the metropolitan area. We continues today. Move have a solid track record in representing union people in...then move members in their personal litigation and life plans. Call Paul Linzer or Jennifer Bentley at fire protection out is (516) 296-7000 to resolve your personal legal the deadly policy that matters with confidence. City Hall continues to practive today!

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Presorted First Class Mail US Postage PA I D Farmingdale, NY Permit #125

Uniformed Firefighters Association 204 EAST 23rd STREET, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10010-9998 Tel (212) 683-4832 • Fax (212) 683-0710 www.ufanyc.org

STEPHEN J. CASSIDY President ENG 236

JAMES M. SLEVIN Vice President ROBERT STRAUB Treasurer

LAD 7 ENG 45

JOHN G. KELLY, JR Trustee-Brooklyn ENG 201 Chairman, Board of Trustees EDWARD BROWN Trustee-Bronx LEROY C. MCGINNIS Trustee-Queens

STEPHEN J. CASSIDY Editor-In-Chief

LAD 48 ENG 266

JOSEPH A. MICCIO Recording Secretary

ENG 295

WILLIAM ROMAKA Health & Safety Officer Sergeant-at-Arms

ENG 238

DONALD RULAND Trustee-Staten Island

ENG 157

DANIEL MURPHY Trustee-Manhattan

ENG 74

STEVEN TAGLIANI Fire Marshal Representative

BFI

STEPHEN N. SYMBOLIK III Managing Editor

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The Fire Lines - April 2011