The UFA successfully led the battle for increased pensions of widows and retired men.
- A 40-hour work week mandated by referendum.
- 1/60th pension benefit secured for all firefighters.
- Four paid holidays successfully negotiated, as well as emergency overtime paid in cash.
- UFA abolished three-platoon system both legislatively at the state level and by voter referendum in NYC.
- Equalized vacations for all first-grade FFs established.
- Residency restrictions liberalized.
- Paid holidays increased to six.
- Dues check-off inaugurated.
- Prior to this time, all dues had been collected by delegates.
- Ten paid holidays secured.
- A two and one-half percent reduction in pension rate achieved.
- Improved 1/60th bill for Article 1 members.
- Half final pay for Article 1 B members established.
Honor Emergency Death Benefit increased.
- UFA’s Security Benefit Fund established.
- Paid holidays increased to 11 annually.
- Dental and Optical Plans added to UFA Security Benefit Fund.
- 965 Members and families given choice of health plans.
- Death Gamble provided.
- Payment of time-and-a-half for OT gained.
- First-grade FF earned $8,483 base pay.
- Pension contributions reduced by 5%.
- Longevity established.
- Pension escalation for disability retirements and service retirements after age 62.
- Personal leave day granted.
The UFA successfully gets the “no strike” clause eliminated from the IAFF Constitution, then seeks approval of the membership to order a strike. This was prompted by the city’s foot dragging in negotiating a new contract. Threats lead to negotiations and a contract within two months. UFA and the City reach agreement on a new benefit for members who retire after 20 years of service-the Variable Supplements Fund (VSF). (Legislation is signed by the Governor in 1970, and the first payments are made in 1973.)
- First-grade FF base pay reaches $10,325.
- Union name is changed from the “Uniformed Firemen’s Association” to the “Uniformed Firefighters Association”.
- Permanent “Lung Bill” was signed into law by Gov. Rockefeller.
- The Heart Bill signed into law (was an original goal of the UFA, beginning with its first President Albert E. Guinness).
- UFA achieves vested pension option for members after 15 years of service.
- Through negotiations, the UFA obtains overtime pay for ordered overtime work, as well as night differential.
- City agrees to increase companies and manning, creating one new Division, five battalions and eight companies. Manning increases to 11,891 Firefighters.
- UFA-sponsored “one-man, one vote” resolution is adopted by the IAFF, giving New York City’s Local 94 greater representation in the international.
- Contract demands again fall on deaf ears at City Hall, prompting yet another strike threat from the UFA.
- $25,000 line-of-duty death benefit achieved for New York City Firefighters.
- A new contract guaranteed five-man manning on all apparatus.
- Night differential increased from 5% to 10%.
- Portal-to-portal & “clean-up” pay secured.
- Number of FFs reaches its highest-12,500.
- The Rand Corporation retained by the City to study the fire service; recommends closing six companies and relocating seven others. The plan is implemented and the UFA responds by holding mass rallies and filing a lawsuit.
After several threats over the past few years to hold a job action in response to the City’s unwillingness to negotiate a new contract, the UFA goes on strike. Members walk out at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 6, but return to work five-and-a-half hours later after Supreme Court Justice Sidney A. Fine ordered the City to negotiate with the union.
By December, the union had reached an agreement with the City on a one-year contract.
- The UFA wins an increase in compulsory insurance (compensation insurance) coverage for active Firefighters from $2,000 to $5,000.
- The City disbanded eight companies citing fiscal crisis. The UFA unsuccessfully sued to stop the closings.
- Base pay of a first-grade FF increased to $17,458.
The City’s fiscal problems worsen; more than 40,000 city workers are laid off, including 1,600 firefighters. However, 700 are hired back within three days. The UFA continues to provide health, hospital and dental care to these members and their families. The union also is instrumental in getting Federal jobs for 250 brothers and in having another 300 hired in temporary jobs as bus drivers for the Transit Authority.
The City reneges on minimum manning provisions, reducing to 42 the number of five-man engines. (By 1982, the number of engines riding with five firefighters is increased to about 140, leaving 71 four-man engines.
- The UFA establishes a Security Benefit Fund for retired members.
Federal legislation passed providing assistance to the family of a LODD Firefighter, $50,000 to surviving dependents.
- The first annual Delegates Seminar is held.
As the number of fires soared in the mid-1970s and the fiscal crisis began to abate, the City agreed to restore five-man manning on 20 engines. By this time, all firefighters who had been laid off and wanted to return were rehired by the FDNY.
- New programs created by UFA included free legal consultation and voluntary group life insurance program.
- UFA achieved increase in pensions for line-of-duty widows through legislative actions signed by Gov. Carey.
- Union negotiated increases in compulsory insurance coverage for active firefighters from $5,000 to $7,500, retired firefighters from $2,000 to $4,000.
- UFA plays key role with Uniformed Forces Coalition, two-year contract, salary raises of 9% and 8% and no give- backs.
- Members vote to end the union’s 63-year affiliation with the IAFF
Problems at the medical office, which had been brewing for years, came to a head, the UFA and 1,000 Firefighters rallied outside the Medical Office to protest mistreatment and improper care rendered. The protest led to the appointment of a special panel by Mayor Koch which recommended several operational changes at the Bureau.
- UFA filed for a court injunction to halt the retest of women who failed the FD physical.
After many years of struggle, a supplemental cost-of-living increase was passed by the state legislature, providing pension increases of 3 % to 29% for retirees.
Unified, more than 10,000 firefighters, police officers and correction officers marched on City Hall. Negotiating once again under the umbrella Uniformed Forces Coalition, several months a two-year contract of 8% per year, one-percent higher than the civilian coalition.
The UFA secured law for FFs laid off in 1975 and later rehired the right to buy back time for pension credit. Affected about 950 firefighters.
Back wages deferred as a result of the mid-70s fiscal crisis were negotiated by the UFA.
Union sued to bring five-firefighter minimum manning level to the remaining 71 engine companies still riding with four firefighters.
UFA lobbying resulted in a $5.2 million boost in the FDNY budget, including the creation of two new engine companies, two truck companies, one battalion and the Haz Mat unit.
A negotiated contract is rejected by the Executive Board and the delegates. The sticking point is the City’s offer to restore five-firefighter manning to only six additional engine companies, out of 73 that still have four-firefighter manning. Membership rejected two negotiated agreements. UFA forced into an arbitration. The City’s Office of Collective Bargaining “scoped out” several key provisions, including minimum manning, vacation, the group chart and the firefighter’s job description. It would take several years and several negotiated contracts to win back some of these important provisions.
Calling it unsafe for firefighters and citizens, the UFA urged the City’s Office of Collective Bargaining to eliminate the Fire Department’s roster manning program, which, despite promises to the contrary, had failed to provide promised manning levels on engines (five firefighters) the majority of the time.
- The UFA launches a political action committee, Fire PAC, to fund effective lobbying efforts in City Hall, Albany and Washington, DC.
- The union purchased a five-story building in Manhattan as its new Headquarters.
- Proposed draconian cuts of 10% of the FDNY budget-including firehouse closings-are avoided due to intense UFA lobbying efforts. The department takes only a $1.3 million budget hit, out of a proposed $57 million cut.
A pilot CPR program begins in Brooklyn, where Firefighters respond to medical emergencies. The program, established without union input due to the loss of the firefighter’s job description in the ’87-90 arbitration, is expanded a year later to include the use of defibrillators.
The Cancer Bill, allowing for line-of-duty pensions for members disabled by six different types of cancer was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo, capping an eight-year struggle to protect firefighters and officers.
- UFA settles Roster Staffing hearings restoring five-man manning to 61 engine companies. In conjunction, 96 hours of RSOT is guaranteed for every firefighter.
- Members vote 2-1 to re-affiliate with IAFF.
- First Legislative Day in Albany sponsored by UFA. attended by several dozen members.
- Major UFA victory is won with the elimination of the Home Visitation and PMLA programs through a federal lawsuit.
- The Compensation Accrual Fund (CAF), or annuity, is converted into a self- directed plan. Members have direct control over their investment funds.
- UFA negotiates five-year contract which includes chauffeur pay and restoration of several key provisions lost in disastrous 1987-90 arbitration decision:
- 39 hours vacation leave, increased longevity and annuity pay. In addition, the contract included provision for a Safety Committee comprised of department and union officials, which resulted in additional five-man engine companies, bringing UFA-negotiated number up to 66 five-man engines. UFA negotiates and members ratify CFR-D agreement, including a 3% pay differential, retroactive pay, training for ladder company members, and a voluntary feature that ultimately makes the program optional for all firefighters. Unfortunately, the civilian pattern that included two years of zero, was part of the deal.
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