Mayor de Blasio Announces Disability Pension Agreements with Firefighters, Sanitation Workers and Correction Officers

June 6, 2016

Agreements will provide three-quarters of salary in the event of disability through employee contributions – protecting both NYC workers and taxpayers

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced his administration has reached agreements with unions representing firefighters, sanitation workers and correction officers regarding enhancements to the disability pension for Tier 6 employees. These agreements, which will provide three-quarters of a worker’s salary in the event of accidental disability through employee payroll contributions, will protect both employees and taxpayers. As a result of these employee contributions, there will be no cost to the City associated with the sanitation and corrections agreements; the City’s share of the agreement with the firefighters will be $6 million in FY2017, and to $12.6 million in FY2021. Details of each of the agreements reached can be found below.

“Protecting our workforce – while also protecting taxpayers – has been a pillar of this administration and one we are proud to continue today. With these agreements, we are confident that New York City’s bravest, strongest and boldest can go to work feeling secure that they have the support of the City behind them. Protection of our workers is a top priority and productive collaboration with our uniformed workers has once again led to strong results,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Today’s deal began with the UFA contract resolution last year. It will restore the disability protections that were lost when Governor David Paterson vetoed Tier II in 2009. New York City Firefighters risk their lives every day and need to know that they, as well as their families, will be protected if seriously injured in the line of duty. The UFA has always believed that every firefighter should never have to worry about who will take care of their family if they are seriously injured in the performance of duty. This bill will resolve that for over 2,000 current New York City Firefighters who don’t have disability protections and for all future firefighters,” said Steve Cassidy, President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

“I would like to thank the Mayor and this administration for sitting down and negotiating this agreement,” said Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831 IBT. “All New Yorkers know and understand the hazardous work my members perform every day. We also understand that when someone is injured while doing their job their pension status should not affect our obligation to help sustain them and their families. With this agreement Mayor de Blasio recognizes and fulfills this obligation.”

“On behalf of the 9,000 Corrections Officers who put their lives on the line every day, I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and this administration for their efforts in reaching this agreement,” said Norman Seabrook, President of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association. “Like our uniformed brothers and sisters who protect New Yorkers, ours is dangerous work, and all too often our members suffer career ending injuries. They and their families should not suffer financial hardship based on date they were hired. This agreement assures our members will be protected.”

About the Agreements
Firefighters: The City will support State legislation that would include an Accidental Disability Benefit of three-quarters of salary, as well as the following key provisions:

  • 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, as is the case under current law.
  • The social security offset will be eliminated.
  • Tier 6 Firefighters will pay a payroll contribution of 2 percent of salary for this enhanced benefit, which can rise as high as 3 percent of salary based on usage and other actuarial factors.
  • The City will share the cost with employees; the total cost to the City will be $6.1 million in FY2017, growing to $12.6 million in FY2021.

Sanitation Workers: The City will agree to provide an enhanced benefit under an alternative mechanism under Section 1320 of the State Retirement and Social Security Law that does not require separate State Legislation, since the benefit will be fully funded by employee contributions. The enhanced benefit will include the following elements:

  • An Accidental Disability Retirement Benefit providing the Member, yearly, with 75 percent of his or her Final Average Salary.
  • 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, as is the case under current law.
  • The social security offset will be eliminated.
  • The Cost of Living Adjustment which covers Tier 4 Uniformed Sanitation employees will be restored.
  • Tier 6 Sanitation members will pay an additional contribution of 1.3 percent of pay to fully fund the benefit, which will be adjusted every three years through an actuarial review in order to maintain full funding.
  • There is no cost to the City for this agreement.

Correction Officers: The City will agree to provide a fully-funded enhanced benefit under the same mechanism as Sanitation. The enhanced benefit will include the following elements:

  • A Performance-of-Duty Disability Retirement Benefit providing a Correction Officer disabled by the act of an inmate, yearly, with 75 percent of his or her Final Average Salary.
  • 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, as is the case under current law.
  • The social security offset will be eliminated.
  • The Cost of Living Adjustment which covers Tier 3 Uniformed Correction employees will be restored.
  • Tier 6 Correction members will pay an additional contribution of 0.9 percent of pay to fully fund the benefit, which will be adjusted every three years through an actuarial review in order to maintain full funding.
  • There is no cost to the City for this agreement.
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