Mayor de Blasio Announces Tentative Contract Agreement With Uniformed Firefighters Association, Agreement on Disability Pension Legislation

August 6, 2015

UFA marks 11th uniformed union to reach agreement based on pattern, brings 83 percent of workforce under contract agreement

City, UFA to jointly support new disability pension legislation to ensure uniformed workers receive fair coverage and City taxpayers are protected

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the City of New York has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA), which covers over 8,000 firefighters and other FDNY personnel across the city. This agreement, which conforms to the uniformed pattern established last year, marks the eleventh uniformed union to reach a contract agreement with the City, and brings 83 percent of the workforce under contract agreement.

The City and the UFA are also jointly supporting new disability pension legislation that will ensure uniformed workers receive the fair coverage they need and deserve in the event of disability, while protecting city taxpayers. The total cost to the City of this new legislation will be approximately $125 million through FY2019, as the legislation will require an additional three percent employee contribution.

The City and the UFA have also agreed to settle longstanding litigation that dates back to the prior administration, related to the 2011 expiration of the Roster Staffing Agreement.

“Our firefighters keep this city safe every single day. Today’s agreement means that these brave men and women will receive the fair wages and disability protections they need and deserve, while ensuring New York City’s taxpayers are protected,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re proud that 83 percent of our workforce is now under contract agreement – including 11 uniformed unions – reflecting the productive and respectful dynamic we’ve reestablished between the City and our employees.”

“Today the UFA settled our expired contract, resolved a longstanding engine company staffing fight and reached an agreement that will restore real disability benefits for all firefighters hired after July 1, 2009,” said UFA President Steve Cassidy. “The UFA has always believed that every firefighter should never worry about who will take care of their family if they are seriously injured in the performance of duty. This agreement settles three important issues for our membership at once.” 

“This is a great deal for everyone involved,” said FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro. “Our members receive improved benefits for what is a very difficult and dangerous job – one that they perform better than anyone each and every day. The Department can now continue to effectively operate and manage our resources. Adding these additional firefighters to the busiest fire companies means we can put even more resources where they are needed most. This deal also helps improve the schedule of training for our members, specifically CFR-D training, which is training that deals with medical response. Last year, FDNY responded to more than 1.6 million incidents, and the bulk of that work is medical calls, so the training our firefighters receive to respond to serious medical emergencies is more important now than ever before. I want to thank everyone involved – Mayor de Blasio and everyone from City Hall and the Office of Management and Budget, my team at the Fire Department, and Steve Cassidy and his team at the UFA. Together we came to a mutually beneficial agreement that is both fiscally sound and enhances the safety of our members as well as the safety of the millions of New Yorkers our members bravely serve.”

LABOR AGREEMENT

This agreement conforms to the uniformed pattern established in December 2014 with the City’s agreement with the Uniformed Superior Officers Coalition, which represents eight uniformed unions spanning all four of the uniformed agencies – Police, Fire, Sanitation, and Correction. Since then, the City has also reached agreements with the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association. The agreement also incorporates the unprecedented health care savings agreed upon with the Municipal Labor Committee, ensuring that these raises are affordable and responsible for the City and its taxpayers.

The proposed contract provides for 11 percent in raises over seven years.

For most UFA employees, the contract would begin, retroactively, on August 1, 2010 and expire on July 31, 2017.

For the small collective bargaining unit representing pilots and marine engineers, the contract would begin, retroactively, on August 8, 2011 and expire on July 27, 2018.

The UFA also funded additional benefits as part of the agreement, including providing firefighters the option of a lump sum payment for terminal leave (identical to the benefit agreed to with the Uniformed Superior Officers’ Coalition). These were funded through a reduction in the City’s welfare fund contribution by $200 per employee and retiree, and an agreement that training for the Certified First Responder program and eight hours of other training will occur on straight-time as opposed to overtime.

In total, the Municipal Labor Committee and the City have agreed to secure $3.4 billion in health care savings through Fiscal Year 2018 (starting with $400 million in FY 2015 and building up to $1.3 million in FY 2018), and $1.3 billion in recurring savings every year thereafter. These savings are focused on cost-cutting measures that, for the first time, will bend the curve of rising health care costs. The City has met its target of $400 million in savings for FY15 and is on track to meet the FY16 target of $700 million. These savings are guaranteed and enforceable by arbitration.
 
Fair Wages

The tentative contract agreement is consistent with the established uniformed pattern. Wage increases will constitute 11 percent over seven years.

For firefighters, fire marshals, and wipers:
August 1, 2010 – 1.00%
September 1, 2011 – 1.00%
October 1, 2012 – 1.00%
November 1, 2013 – 1.00%
December 1, 2014 – 1.50%
December 1, 2015 – 2.50%
December 1, 2016 – 3.00%

For pilots and marine engineers:
August 8, 2011 – 1.00%
August 28, 2012 – 1.00%
September 28, 2013 – 1.00%
October 28, 2014 – 1.00%
November 28, 2015 – 1.50%
November 28, 2016 – 2.50%
November 27, 2017 – 3.00%

Affordable Costs

The cost of today’s tentative agreement across the Financial Plan (through FY 2019) is consistent with the cost of the other uniformed settlements reached so far:

Gross Cost: $691.1 million
Health Savings and Stabilization Fund: ($131.1 million)
Net Cost: $559.9 million

DISABILITY PENSION AGREEMENT

The City and the UFA have agreed to jointly support new State legislation that would provide income replacement for members who become disabled, while also protecting City taxpayers.

The cost to the City of this new legislation, when applied to all uniformed forces, will be approximately $125 million through FY2019.

Today’s agreement stipulates that all Tier 3/6 members will contribute an additional three percent of their salary to offset the City’s cost, bringing the gross cost of approximately $250 million down to approximately $125 million.

The original union legislation would have cost the City approximately $400 million through FY2019. The original City legislation would have cost the City approximately $105 million through FY2019.

The key provisions of the legislation are as follows:

  • Employees who receive Accidental Disability Retirement will receive 75 percent of their pay benefit.
  • Existing presumptions under Tier 2 will be restored.
  • The less expensive Tier 2 Cost of Living Adjustment will be restored.
  • The final average salary will be based on five years, and no single year can exceed the prior four years by more than 10 percent.
  • The social security offset will be eliminated.
  • Members will contribute an additional three percent of their salary to offset the City’s cost.

ROSTER STAFFING SETTLEMENT

The City and the UFA have also settled longstanding litigation that dates back to the prior administration, related to the 2011 expiration of the Roster Staffing Agreement.

Among other terms, the prior agreement required the FDNY to staff 60 Engine Companies with five firefighters each.

Under today’s agreement, the FDNY will staff 20 Engine Companies with five firefighters each by February 2019, adding the fifth firefighter to five companies each year beginning in 2016.

This settlement avoids a potentially greater liability to the City, while achieving a key FDNY objective. The total cost of this settlement is $21 million through FY2019.

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