April 17, 2014
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International Association of Fire Fighters State Association

--Always on the Front Line Protecting "New Jersey's Bravest"--
--Established 1929--

Member of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO

Welcome to the home page of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, proudly representing the interests and concerns of New Jersey's Bravest and their loved ones.

We encourage our membership to periodically, if not several times daily, review the contents of this web site and it's various departments, in order to remain up to date and conversant on the issues facing our profession in the 21st century.

In the event you need more specific or additional information, we further encourage you to submit your inquiry or commentary via e-mail to pfanj@pfanj.org. We will endeavor to provide any needed information or address any concern in a timely manner.



Make Your Voice Heard:

What's New at the PFANJ:

IAFF Briefing on Interoperability and Communications Issues
One of the most important pieces of safety equipment is a functioning, mission-critical-voice portable radio. Effective and reliable two-way voice communications is essential for both overall fire ground operations and for individual fire fighter safety.

Over the past several years, the IAFF has worked diligently on issues ranging from interoperability, to spectrum, to improving the reliability of portable radios. This union has consistently maintained that the most important function in emergency communications is ensuring basic operability on the scene. While the IAFF supports efforts to improve interoperability and data communications, nothing supersedes mission critical voice capability in terms of importance.

The IAFF's efforts have succeeded in obtaining a large block of spectrum real estate known as "D" Block, which is dedicated for public safety use. However, the passage of this legislation created some negative unintended consequences, the most notable of which is a threat to large cities operating on the T-Band spectrum for voice communication.

A quasi-public entity known as FirstNet was established to manage this new range of “D” Block spectrum and construct an interoperable system for digital (data) communication. Unfortunately, this effort has led to a great deal of confusion about the First Net, the new “D” Block Spectrum and moving public safety from the T-Band to the “D” Block.

It is important that IAFF members understand the advantages, threats and challenges associated with these developments. The IAFF has prepared a Briefing on Interoperability and Communications Issues and FirstNet to provide a primer on overall communications issues. Click here to download this document.


Christie Calls for Assembly Approval of Arbitration Cap


The Truth About Arbitration
Many politicians, local and state, want everyone to believe that binding arbitration is the reason local property taxes are high, when this simply is not true.  Not daunted by the truth, the Governor and his allies are pushing for changes to binding arbitration that will reduce public safety, that will end innovative and cooperative approaches and will not save money nor preserve public safety and it certainly will not reduce your property taxes.

The truth is that arbitration is rarely used in the firefighter world as approximately 10% of the firefighter contracts over the last five years have been arbitrated and not negotiated.   The truth is that binding arbitration exists because firefighters are not permitted by law to strike.  When management and the bargaining group cannot agree on a contract, they must resort to binding arbitration, which is expensive for both management and labor.  If these changes were instituted, more contracts would end in arbitration.  This would increase the cost to local taxpayers not decrease it. 

The push for these changes is a way to change the subject when the unpleasant truth is that the Governor is balancing the State’s budget on the backs of local property taxpayers by reducing aid to municipalities and school districts by more than $1.2 billion dollars in the current budget year.  These cuts, and not arbitration, will raise your taxes and reduce your safety and quality of life.


Monday, March 31, 2014

To All PFANJ Members,

The existing arbitration law will expire as of midnight tonight.  The Governor vetoed the compromised bill minutes after it was put on his desk.  The Senate agreed with his CV and voted to approve the changes in the bill.  The Assembly as of this point has not agreed and does not plan on taking up the Governors CV.

 Here is what is at stake:

  • The new law would have changed the process of choosing an arbitrator from a random to each party submitting three names of arbitrators from the special panel and if none of the names submitted were the same, the random process would then be used. If more than one name were the same the commission would then randomly choose from those names.  THE GOVERNOR REMOVED THIS LANGUAGE AND REVERTED BACK TO THE RANDOM PROCESS

  • The new law would have changed the “base” salary meaning to not include non-salary economic issues, pension and health and medical insurance costs.  THE GOVERNOR REMOVED THIS LANGUAGE AND REVERTED BACK TO THE OLD MEANING.

  • The new law would have included in the base salary the savings’ realized by a public employer as of result of: (1) increased employee contributions toward health and medical insurance premiums occurring in the fourth year, except if the increase in the employee contributions toward health and medical insurance premiums are not in the fourth year at the time of the new collective bargaining agreement, base salary shall include the savings realized in the most recent year of implementation of increased employee contributions toward health and medical insurance premiums; and (2) a reduction in force which occurred prior to the expiration of the collective negotiations agreement.  In the case of savings realized by a public employer under paragraphs (1) or (2) of this subsection, an arbitrator may render an award which increases base salary items by more than 2.0 percent, but not more than 3.0 percent.  THE GOVERNOR REMOVED THIS LANGUAGE AND REVERTED BACK TO THE OLD MEANING!

  • THE GOVERNOR INSERTED LANGUAGE TO ESTABLISH “ANOTHER” TASK FORCE TO DO ANOTHER STUDY!

  • The new law would have exempted those contracts that otherwise meet the criteria set forth in the old law from the provisions of the new law when negotiating a future contract. THE GOVERNOR REMOVED THIS LANGUAGE AND REVERTED BACK TO THE OLD LAW WHICH WOULD KEEP IN FORCE THE 2% CAP.

Respectfully,

Dominick Marino
President



Professional Firefighters
Association of New Jersey
IAFF, AFL-CIO-CLC
&
New Jersey State Fraternal
Order of Police
DOMINICK MARINO
President
(609) 396-9766
 
EDWARD R . BRANNIGAN
President
(609) 599-9182
 

April 13, 2014

FIRST RESPONDERS’ OPEN MESSAGE TO OUR LEGISLATORS

As police officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers, we go to work to protect and serve the citizens and visitors of New Jersey. Our safety and the safety of those that we protect are of utmost concern to us as first responders. Each and every time we leave our families to go to work, we know the possibility exists that we may not return home. Not only are we real clear of the hazards of our profession, our families know it too and yet, they support what we do.

Governor Chris Christie describes our benefits as entitlements. The fact is these benefits are the result of a fair, negotiated contract that provide comfort to our families taking in account for what is one of the toughest, dangerous jobs in this society. The ability to negotiate fair compensation and benefits is essential in retaining and recruiting quality individuals as first responders. You, as legislators worked on an arbitration bill that you felt was fair for both sides. You did not draw up this bill overnight. Your work on the compromise bill was inclusive bringing all parties to the table: the Arbitration Task Force, municipal leaders, and police and fire unions as you crafted language that would give all interested parties an equal playing field. The Governor’s CV of S-1869 is a slap in the face to every first responder in New Jersey and every legislator who directly worked to have a bill before the existing arbitration law expired. Governor Christie’s ‘way or the highway’ approach has got to stop! He needs to stop dictating! This is America; a democracy. Our State’s Legislative Branch deserves to have laws signed that reflect their voices even if the Executive Branch must give a little.

We have seen your support of first responders in the past. As legislators, you have stood with us at ceremonial events on special holidays and valor recognition occasions as our brothers and sisters are honored for acts of courage. We have seen your support during devastating times of a fallen police officer or firefighter. And, we so appreciate your support in both the happy and the sad moments.

However, it is during moments like these when we need your support the most as the very statutory process of negotiating our rights and benefits are being threatened by Governor Christie.

As the leaders of thousands of New Jersey police and firefighters, we implore you to buck the Governor on this issue so that we can continue to recruit and train good men and women for the critical job of protecting our New Jersey citizens. We have been in the burning buildings with our firefighters. We have walked the beats with our police. We have visited injured first responders in hospitals and sat with their families. And, we have looked at the pain in many families’ eyes when the
eulogies are over, when the salutes are done, when the folded flags are presented and all the goodbyes are said knowing that the officer or firefighter will never return home again.

We do not have a normal, everyday job. As legislators, you demand experienced and well trained first responders to come to your aid and the aid of the citizens that you represent. But, we are asking you to demand a fair and equitable negotiation process for your first responders!

The Governor’s fear tactic is reprehensible. He wants everyone to believe that there are no local municipal leaders capable of negotiating their own contracts with their employees. He wants to dictate from the top. The municipalities have always voiced their opinion and objected when things are mandated from Trenton. Yet, when it comes to negotiating with their employees, they want to hide behind Trenton. For the League of Municipalities to scare residents by making a callous statement about “deep cuts” is another desperate attempt to mislead the public and you as
lawmakers.

S1869/A3067 is a FAIR compromise to the process. It still favors the employer, but it gives the employees a little more areas to negotiate. First responders, all of them, are taxpayers too! You have supported first responders in the past. We ask that you will stand up and support us again.

Oppose the Governor’s CV and demand that he get off his pedestal and do what is right for all interested parties involved.

We applaud Assembly Speaker Prieto and all the legislators who are standing behind the negotiated compromised legislation. We ask that you, too, will support the bill.


Sincerely,

Dominick Marino
President, PFANJ
Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey,
I.A.F.F. - AFL-CIO-CLC
www.pfanj.org
(609) 396-9766
dmarino@pfanj.org

 





Edward R. Brannigan
President, NJ FOP
Fraternal Order of Police -
New Jersey State Lodge
www.njfop.org
(609) 599-9182
njfoppreserb@aol.com


TIME TO STOP BULLYING POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS!
(Trenton) Governor Christie continues to poke this State’s public employees in the eye on a variety of issues ranging from pensions, working conditions, and overall attacks on their integrity.


SOLIDARITY ALERT

‘DROP THE CHARGES’ RALLY

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
9:30 a.m.
State Ethics Commission
28 E. State Street, Trenton

Dear affiliates:

For more than five years, our brother Dudley Burdge of the CWA has been fighting a bogus ethics charge leveled against him for nothing more than simply doing his job.

In February 2009, as the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Public Employee Committee representative on the State Health Benefits Commission, Dudley was standing up for workers concerned about identity theft when he looked into an unannounced mailing being sent to public employees from an out-of-state address and asking them for personal information. He made one phone call to the number listed, identified his position, and learned that the mailing was part of an audit being conducted by the state’s third-party health benefits advisor. That’s it.

And what happened?
Unbelievably, an ethics violation was lodged against Dudley for doing his job and looking out for public employees.

Earlier this year, a state judge recommended the charge against Dudley be dropped.
But, the State Ethics Commission’s lawyers are still pushing the case, and have scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, April 22.


IAFF Ernest A. "Buddy" Mass Human Relations Conference


Support the Federal Fire Fighter Flexibility and Fairness Act

The IAFF’s federal fire fighters are engaged in a big push to garner support and co-sponsors for HR 1141 (Representative Sarbanes (D-MD).

This cost-neutral federal legislation, also known as the Federal Firefighter Flexibility and Fairness Act, resolves trade time inequities for our nation’s federal fire fighters. Specifically, the bill ensures that federal fire fighters have trade time parameters similar to those provided for municipal fire fighters under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations.

Currently, 34 members of Congress have signed on to HR 1141 as co-sponsors, but more are needed in order to keep this bill alive and moving this year. To make this happen, federal fire fighters need your help!

Click here

Please take a moment to send your congressional member an email urging them to support and cosponsor HR 1141 - CLICK HERE or click the button above to take action!



It is with deepest regret and sorrow to report the line-of-duty deaths of
Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh, Jr., 43, and Fire Fighter Michael R. Kennedy, 33, of IAFF Local 718 - Boston, Massachusetts who both passed away on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 while operating at an apartment fire.

The Lieutenant Walsh-Fire Fighter Kennedy Memorial Fund has been established at the Boston Fire Boston Firefighters Credit Union. Click here to make a donation or mail checks to:

Lieutenant Walsh - Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund
Boston Firefighters Credit Union
60 Hallet Street
Dorchester, MA 02124

For additional information, look for updates on the Boston Firefighters Local 718 website and Facebook pageestablished in memory of Walsh and Kennedy.


Fraud Alert!!!

ALERT: The below sponsored post has been popping on many user's walls. They first used the name of one of our pages fraudulently to sell the item. Obviously, they are trying to take advantage of the families of grieving firefighters by selling a scam shirt. We were able to have an earlier campaign selling this shirt shut down, but then they started selling this one when Teespring's offices closed. Please share. 






PFANJ Annual Convention &
Affiliate Leader Training Seminar

(Agenda Updated 2/25/2014)
May 27 - 30, 2014
Golden Nugget Atlantic City
1 Castle Blvd
Atlantic City, NJ 08401


PFANJ’s Bravest Annual Golf Invitational

May 27, 2014
Atlantic City Country Club
One Leo Fraser Drive
Northfield, NJ 08225
-Proceeds Benefit NJPF Bravest Emergency Relief Fund
-
-Sponsorships Available-



Final Report of the Police and Fire Public Interest Arbitration Impact Task Force to the Governor and Legislature


LODD Captain Gregory Barnas

It is with Deep Regret that we Announce the LODD of Captain Gregory Barnas.

The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey offers our sincere condolences to the Barnas family in their time of grief and offer our support during this most difficult time. 

Captain Barnas is survived by his wife Patty and his sons Kevin and John. Kevin was recently appointed to the Jersey City Fire Department in June 2013, and John is an aspirant to the same profession to which his father had so honorably dedicated himself to.


Start a Change in 2014

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  • You already qualify for a 43 percent tuition reduction
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Get started today.
Call 866.583.6765 (Toll Free) or visit www.iaff.kaplan.edu.

Kaplan University is a part of Kaplan Higher Education LLC, which is a subsidiary of  Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company.

For comprehensive consumer information, visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu/student-consumer-information.aspx.

* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.

† Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm. Data are 2012 averages for persons age 25 and over. Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers. National salary figures may not reflect local salary conditions and are not a guarantee of any particular salary.

‡ May not be combined with other Kaplan University scholarships, military tuition reductions, tuition vouchers, or other discounts.

§ Classes count toward a degree if satisfactorily completed. No credits are earned if the student withdraws during the introductory period (3 weeks for undergraduate students), which begins day one of the first term. Students who choose to continue their studies at the University will need to meet specific requirements. Graduate programs not included. Additional terms may apply to international and non-U.S. citizen students.



Update on Lawsuit on Health Care Cost and Final Compensation Determination 2/4/2014

To all members:

The following is an update on our lawsuit against the state with respect to P.L. 2010,c.2:

On January 31, 2014, the Appellate Division issued a decision in Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, Teamsters Local 97, NJ Fraternal Order of Police, NJ State PBA, FMBA and the NJEA v. State of New Jersey, et. als. These cases challenged Judge Feinberg’s January 20, 2011 decision granting the State’s motion to dismiss the Complaints challenging the imposition of P.L. 2010 c.1,2 and 3; 1.5% contribution for Health Care, change in definition of final compensation for pension purposes

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s decision and dismissed the Complaints.

Our next available avenue for appeal is to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  The New Jersey Supreme Court only hears a small number of cases each year.  It can, and does, refuse to hear most cases that are brought before it.  We will be evaluating with Teamster Local 97 President, whether or not we should appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  We will keep you updated.

Respectfully,

Dominick Marino
President


Update on COLA Court Case - 1/28/2014

Today James Mets ESQ. appeared as counsel for PFANJ in challenging the cessation of COLA before the Appellate Division in Berg v. State. Because of the large number of attorneys involved in this matter, the primary responsibility for presenting the argument rested on Kenneth Nowak of Zazzali Fagella and Ira Mintz of Weisman and Mintz. The parties agreed that presenting redundant arguments would only serve to annoy the Appellate Division Judges. In this regard, we intended to present only supplemental argument to what Mr. Mintz and Mr. Nowak presented if necessary.

The Judges made it very clear at the argument today that after Mr. Mintz and Mr. Nowak argued on behalf of all the union plaintiffs, no additional argument was necessary or needed. Based on the demeanor of the judges and the fact that any argument we could have made would have been cumulative rather than supplemental, our attorney elected to rely on what was presented as well as what was contained in the briefs presented on behalf of all union plaintiffs. (Indeed, the Judges did get annoyed when an attorney for the interveners insisted on presenting argument that was cumulative and cut off the argument rather quickly.)

The Judges were very interested in our arguments regarding whether the elimination of the COLA by Chapter 78 violates the Contracts Clause of the Federal and State Constitutions. This issue was never addressed at the trial court level, because the trial court Judge decided the case on other constitutional grounds. It is the attorneys’ opinion that based on the Judges questioning and interest in this issue, it is likely for the Judges to issue a decision remanding this matter back to the trial court for consideration of the Contracts Clause issue.

In addition, the Court requested that the parties submit supplemental briefs regarding the issue of whether or not the COLA amendments of 1997 have any relationship to the Internal Revenue Code. Our attorney will submit a brief on behalf of the PFANJ and Teamsters Local 97 (President John Gerow). Our brief is due two weeks from today. The State’s opposition brief is due two weeks from the day our brief is due. While our attorney cannot predict, it is his hope that the Appellate Division issues a quick decision after it receives the supplemental briefs.

Respectfully,

Dominick Marino


January 14, 2014

To all PFANJ Members,

If you were not able to watch or listen to the Governors state of the state address today, here are the bullet points that affect you and your family. 

  • Not allowing Interest Arbitration Reform to Sunset this April.
  • Shared Services and Consolidation Reforms
  • Civil Service Reforms
  • Eliminate Sick Leave Payout
  • Pension Disability Reform
  • No User Fee's
  • Skip Payment to Pension System 
  • Additional Pension Reform

It is obvious from his speech, demeanor and his tone that he has no intention of letting up on his attacks on public servants.  The fact that he continues to attack your pensions and earned compensation to balance the state budget is disgusting.  Even though he signed into law legislation that requires his administration to make specific pension payments, he has the nerve to say that he doesn’t want to make the payment so he can fund other programs.  The battle lines are definitely clear.  Enough is enough.  You have done your part, you have seen your pension payments raised and your paychecks and compensation reduced.  We will not sit back and allow this governor to demonize and attack our members and our profession without a fight.  We have always negotiated fairly.  He has never negotiated fairly!  Shortly we will be meeting with legislative leadership and they will be told that the line in the sand that the Governor has drawn is it.  They need to stand up for you and your family, the working middle class now and tell this governor that he is wrong and not allow him to continue in the manor he is.  As things progress or digress, it will be posted on our website and Facebook page and emailed.    

Respectfully,

Dominick Marino, President
Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey


Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey
IAFF, AFL-CIO-CLC
&
New Jersey State Fraternal
Order of Police
Dominick Marino
President
 
Edward R. Brannigan
President

January 14, 2014

In a collaborative lobbying effort by the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police and the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, families of fallen police officers, firefighters, emergency medical responders and correctional officers will receive some assistance to help cover funeral costs.  On January 13, 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed Senate bill 512/Assembly bill1399 into law which takes effect immediately.  Funeral reimbursement will be up to $10,000.

Both NJFOP and PFANJ thank our bill sponsors Senators Donald Norcross and Fred Madden along with Assemblyman Gilbert "Whip" L. Wilson for pushing this legislation that gives our members' families some relief during a very tragic time in their lives.

NJFOP President Ed Brannigan says, "This is long overdue for the brave men and women in public safety who lay down their lives and make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty."  

He continues, "There is no speech or ceremony that can ease the pain of a lost one.  This is only a small token that will reduce the burden placed on the survivors."

PFANJ President Dominick Marino points out, "As firefighters and emergency medical workers, we go to work to protect and serve the citizens of New Jersey.  Each and every time we leave our families to go to work, there is always the possibility that we may not return."

Marino says, "The very knowledge that funeral expenses would not be a burden on the widow and the family would give them some solace."

This new law passed both houses of the Legislature with bi-partisan support.          


Dominick Marino, President
Professional Firefighters Association
of New Jersey, I.A.F.F. - AFL-CIO
www.pfanj.org



Edward R. Brannigan, President
Fraternal Order of Police -
New Jersey State Lodge
www.njfop.org


Wilson, Singleton, Coughlin & Riley Bill to Pay Funeral Expenses for Public Safety Personnel Lost on the Line of Duty Now Law

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Gilbert "Whip" L. Wilson, Troy Singleton, Craig J. Coughlin and Celeste M. Riley that would make funeral payments for public safety personnel has been signed into law.

The law (A-1399) authorizes a state contribution to the funeral expenses of police officers, firefighters, first aid, ambulance and rescue squad members, and correctional officers whose lives are lost in the line of duty.

The sponsors note the intention of the law is to provide a token of public appreciation to the survivors of the brave men and women who risk their lives daily to protect the residents of the State.

"These are our first responders and heroes in times of crisis. Extending support to their families in the greatest time of need is the right thing to do to honor their dedication to our communities," said Wilson (D-Camden, Gloucester).

"Our public safety personnel are called upon to handle some of the toughest situations we could ever imagine. It is only fitting to honor their service by easing some of the burden for their families if anything happens to them while on duty," said Singleton (D-Burlington).

"These are individuals who place their lives on the line every day. This law extends a small token of appreciation to those who selflessly serve and protect our communities," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex).

"We have seen them in action during Hurricane Sandy and other moments where we were in need of their skills. They are our communities' heroes and deserve this gesture for their daily sacrifice," said Riley (D-Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem).

Under the law's provisions, the state treasurer is required to reimburse the actual funeral expenses of these public safety officers in an amount not to exceed $10,000. The law provides that the reimbursement would be reduced by any amount payable for funeral expenses from worker's compensation.


January 10, 2014

Affiliate Leaders,

We have published the first in a series of summary "primers" on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affects IAFF members.

Download "The Affordable Care Act and the IAFF."

Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to provide communications, reference materials, tools and support to our affiliates and members, explaining in detail the provisions of the new law and how they affect our members.

Fraternally,

http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4049/images/HAS%20Signature.jpg

Harold A. Schaitberger
General President


Planning for Your Healthcare
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federal statute signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. 

The law is widely viewed as the most historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system since the inception of Medicare and Medicaid.

While the law’s primary goal is to increase the number of insured Americans, there are other provisions within the law that also have implications for IAFF members. 

In order to help IAFF members better understand the law the IAFF has developed a What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act online resource of information, including an overview of the Affordable Care Act, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), an educational video about the ACA, strategies on negotiating health care and links to both government and industry sources such Healthcare.gov, the AFL-CIO and the Kaiser Family Foundation.


To All Members:

The City of Brigantine NJ has a serious union issue now.

The City is planning to not replace retired firefighters and will not be hiring any new EMT/ Firefighters.

You may see advertised statewide that the City is offering part time per diem
EMT/Firefighter positions.  

These jobs would be in direct conflict with our union work.

The Jobs offer no Health Benefits, No Pension, and no Job Security. There are plenty of cities that hire Firefighter/EMTs legitimately and with benefits and there are many areas where these types of opportunities are available with no conflict to our union work.

The PFANJ and it's Executive Board are requesting that no PFANJ member, family member, or PFANJ supporter seek employment with the City of Brigantine or any city for that matter who attempt to cut firefighter positions with part-time per diem employees. 

Please help us protect our Brother and Sister's jobs in Brigantine and statewide.
 
Please pass this message to as many friends and family as possible.


November 18, 2013

From the beginning of the national debate on healthcare reform, the IAFF has been very clear about our position -- do no harm to our members, the fire fighters and paramedics who protect communities throughout this nation daily and when disaster strikes.

And from the beginning of the debate over what should and shouldn’t be in the new healthcare law, we made our position very clear to our members, to other unions, and to members of Congress from both parties, and we made our position very clear to the Obama administration – over and over again.


WATCH VIDEO



Ultimately, after just about every segment of the population, industry, corporation and interest group in this entire country weighed in on the bill, in March of 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- also known as Obamacare -- was passed and signed into law.

The law is massive, cumbersome, complex and very confusing.

On one hand, it’s important to note that the law has some elements that are good and important for our members – your coverage can’t be dropped when you or a member of your family is sick; insurance must cover the full cost of preventive care, including annual physicals and immunizations; you can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions; your children can stay on your plan until the age of 26, if needed; and there are no lifetime limits on benefits, among other things. These are all positive improvements for the healthcare of all consumers, including IAFF members and their families.

However, as everyone knows, there are also considerable, structural and long-term problems with Obamacare that extend well beyond the epic failure of the launch of the federal healthcare exchange web site.

Because the law was passed in such a dramatic, high profile and partisan fashion – supported by Democrats, while Republicans voiced loud opposition – there are a lot of half-truths, much misinformation and some outright lies being spouted by the talking heads on both sides of the issue.

To be clear and on the record once again, here’s where the IAFF stands on the elements of the ACA that we know will most affect our members’ healthcare today and going forward.

First, the promise President Obama made to the American people that, “if you like your healthcare you can keep it,” is not true.

In addition, while the president claimed during his press conference on November 14 that when he made that declaration he was thinking about the 95 percent of people who are covered by employer-based insurance plans (like most union members) and those with Medicare, the problem is that it is not true for those groups, either.

While many pundits claim that only those with substandard coverage are losing their health insurance, the truth is that certain provisions of the ACA will impact the plan design and, ultimately, the survival of high-quality employer sponsored and union negotiated plans – including many of our members’ plans.

Clearly, the new law will force changes in virtually every insurance plan on the market today – whether you hold an individual policy or are in a group plan like most IAFF members. Things are going to change. The only questions that remain to be answered fully are: How much change will there be? When will the changes occur? And how much will the changes help or hurt our members?

Because of the dramatic effects of the law, many IAFF members can expect insurance carriers to notify you of changes in your policies, including span of coverage, benefits offered within the plans and the amount of out-of-pocket costs you will pay. Some of these changes will have to be negotiated with your local, particularly in jurisdictions where healthcare is a subject of bargaining. But in many cases, members can just expect to be notified by insurance carriers or employers of increases in costs and changes to benefits.

The IAFF is working with a coalition in labor, with other stakeholders and with our friends in Congress to amend the law to eliminate or lessen the negative effects of the ACA on your healthcare plans.

The most dramatic and long range threat is the excise or “Cadillac” tax that will impose a 40 percent tax on high value plans beginning in 2018. This excise tax will apply to plans that charge premiums of $10,200 or more for single coverage or $27,500 or more for families. The tax will apply to amounts in excess of the thresholds. The tax will be imposed on the insurance companies that sell the plans, rather than on the plan participants. However, we expect that insurers will simply either stop offering high-quality plans, causing a reduction in benefits, or they will pass the cost on to our members.

The law also creates many problems for our self-funded/union-administered plans going forward, which will affect our members and their benefits. Your union remains at the forefront in trying to significantly change or repeal these portions of the law to protect your interests. Over the coming months and years, we will need to engage our grassroots network and communications efforts to win these battles.

The IAFF continues to believe that reform of the healthcare system in the United States is necessary to control the rising costs that plagued our members even prior to passage of the ACA. However, we promise to continue fighting on your behalf to fix the many problems that exist in the current law.

Over the coming weeks and months, the IAFF will be providing extensive communication, reference materials, tools and support to our affiliates and members, explaining in detail the provisions of the new law and help you develop and implement strategies for dealing with the ACA in bargaining or when talking with local decision makers, because there are many ways we can work to mitigate the negative effects that the new law will bring.

Stay tuned to www.iaff.org and watch your email for future updates.

Fraternally,

http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4049/images/HAS%20Signature.jpg

Harold A. Schaitberger
General President


State Health Benefits Program Information (SHBP)

Medical Plan Summaries of Benefits and Coverage - Plan Year 2014

Monthly Rates - For Plan Year 2014

Links to the NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits Health Benefits Handbooks may be found here

In the NJ Direct Handbook those preventative services which are mandated by the National Health Reform to be covered without co-payment are listed on pages 76, 77, and 81.

Page fourteen of the Prescription Drug Handbook has a chart of those preventative medications that are now provided without co-payment.

NJ State Health Benefits Mobile Phone Applications
Aetna, CIGNA, and Horizon have developed applications for the iPhone, smartphones, and other web-enabled mobile devices to provide State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) members with plan information "on the go."

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. has also developed the Medco Pharmacy mobile app for its Prescription Plan, now available at no cost on BlackBerry® and Android™ smartphones using the Verizon Wireless network.

CHAPTER 330 RETIREES

Chapter 330 Medical Plan Summaries of Benefits and Coverage - Plan Year 2014

Chapter 330 Monthly Rates - Plan Year 2014

SPECIAL NOTE FOR CHAPTER 330 RETIREES

Below is a link to the State Health Benefits Website and a printable change form.

Chapter 330 Coverage Change Form
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epbam/exhibits/pdf/hr0809.pdf

Link to State Health Benefits Website
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/


CSC Rule Change - Banding

To all members: 

Some of you may or may not have been aware that there was a “public” hearing yesterday at the Civil Service Commission.  This hearing was to take testimony on the proposed CSC rule change to “band” job titles together.  What this would mean is that related job titles throughout State, County and Municipal government will be placed into “broad bands”.  Instead of promotions, management would select who would “advance” in title through the broad bands.  

The 96 page proposal is not a clear definitive document.  There are many questions that need to be answered and resolved prior to this rule change going into effect.   

On behalf of the PFANJ, I testified at the public hearing against this broad measure to circumvent the civil service testing process.  I went into this hearing prepared to ask specific questions to the commission with respect to this proposal and how it would affect firefighters, EMS and police officers.  Unfortunately, there were NO members of the Commission present.  There was just a hearing officer and a tape recorder.  The hearing officer was just there to hear the testimony and was not there to answer ANY questions.   

For the CSC to hold only ONE public hearing in a very small room, at 3pm on a work day and with no member of the commission present tells us that this hearing was just a formality, a sham and the CSC does not appear to be concerned nor willing to discuss the proposal with the unions.   

Subsequently I have learned that the CSC commissioner has stated, in writing, that the “banding” will not affect every title, and it will NOT affect fire and police titles. 
Although the titles in fire and police are not affected, at this time, we will be very much involved in the process with our brothers and sisters from the other unions who are going to be adversely affected. 

Dominick Marino, President
Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey


High-Rise Fire Study Results Support Need for Larger Crew Sizes

April 10, 2013 –Results were released today of a new federal government study conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that scientifically documents the effects of crew size in responding to fires in high-rise buildings.

Information and materials are now available online to help affiliates better understand the study and potential ways to use it with local press and decision makers based on their jurisdiction and situation. The toolkit includes sample press releases and sample op-ed that can be modified/customized to submit to local newspapers, radio stations and television stations.

Click here for the affiliate toolkit.

Whether your jurisdiction is contemplating cuts to crew sizes or you need additional evidence to document why crew sizes need to be increased for public safety and fire fighter safety, this groundbreaking study is an invaluable resource for IAFF affiliates to use to educate policy and decision makers about why having too few fire fighters on each apparatus can cost lives and property in high-rise building fires.

Additional information, including a video description of this landmark high-rise fire study is available here.


Firemen Still Not in Christie's Corner
A recent news article entitled “From jeers to cheers: Gov. Christie suddenly applauded by N.J. firemen’s group,” that ran September 14 is deeply misleading. The story leads readers to believe that all firefighters support the governor. That is false.

Firefighters represented by the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey strongly disagree with the governor’s agenda and his decisions because they threaten public safety.

The governor failed to take advantage of a federal grant program that would improve public safety and create jobs.

While the governor argues forcefully that he is doing what’s best for New Jersey residents, the reality is that he continues to do what’s best for himself, using his so-called reforms to promote himself on a national stage.

He also is spreading misinformation.

In his speech last week, the governor took credit for the improved funding level of the Police and Firemen Retirement System in New Jersey. But the reason the PFRS pension fund is doing better is because local municipalities are finally meeting their financial obligations and paying what they are required to pay into the system – just as the firefighters in this state have always done.

He also inferred that when the state pension funds reach 80 percent a state-established board of government officials and firefighters can vote to raise annual cost of living adjustments to pensions. While that’s technically possible – and would be a welcome change – it has not happened, and benefits won’t increase until harsh restrictions on the state board are loosened.

The governor shouldn't take credit for something he didn't’t do, but that hasn't’t stopped him in the past. Once again, the governor’s statements need careful fact-checking. Once again, his credibility has been damaged because he has climbed atop his bully pulpit to spread falsehoods.

He is not our state’s savior. He is merely a politician angling for his next job in public office – and he has a public employee pension, too.

Rather than constantly oppose public employees or hammer away at our rights and benefits, the governor should sit down with us to discuss public safety and the wages, rights and benefits of those sworn to protect communities throughout our state. But to this day the governor still has not met with the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey.

And that’s no lie.

NJTV Interview with PFANJ President Marino -
October 2, 2012

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Grant Applicants: Get Bid Specifications Ready Early
Review your grant application's requirements and get your bid specifications ready now. If you receive an award, this early preparation will help you to implement your grant as soon as possible and help ensure you are able to complete your project within the period of performance.
1.

Start to draft a bid solicitation that encourages competition by not using proprietary vendor specifications. By avoiding the use of proprietary vendor specifications, you encourage competition, which may decrease your overall costs. For example, you can request bids for a new pumper and specify that it have an "independent front suspension." But specifying that the pumper have a particular name-brand independent front suspension would be a proprietary specification that would limit competition to those vendors that build trucks containing those particular items.

2.

Avoid any real or apparent conflicts of interest in your procurements. Remember that no employee, officer, or agent of your organization, who has a real or even apparent conflict of interest (potential for personal gain), may participate in the selection of the contractor or vendor that will supply the grant-funded items or services. They cannot accept gifts, favors, or anything of monetary value from potential contractors.

3. Maintain written procurement procedures. Become familiar with and keep on file the written procurement procedures and standards for your organization. If you are unsure, check with your local or state government for procedures. All grantees must have procurement procedures that follow local or state procurement procedures AND meet Federal procurement law as outlined in 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 13.36.
4.

Have a record system set up for the grant. Make sure that you have system established that will maintain your grant records accurately and securely while still being accessible. All Federal awards are subject to a possible audit or desk review.


To All IAFF Local Leaders:
Contact Information for IAFF 1st District Vice President William Romaka:

(631) 893-9116 (Office)
(917) 834-1414 (Cell)
bromaka@iaff.org


Talking points with respect to S1913 and A3074:

The biggest point is that the legislature should reverse the Richardson Case from 2007. This case changed the criteria for what constitutes an accidental disability thus opening the door for a much easier avenue for members of a pension system to claim a job related disability.

If this were to be repealed, it would go a long way to correcting the issues with the disability pensions.

Other areas of issue:

1. A committee of 26 will not get anything done! Each system already has a board that oversees the system, there is no need to add an additional board.

2. Each system should be responsible for themselves. PERS should not be determining a disability pension for PFRS and likewise.

3. Any reference to Social Security Benefits must be removed, since Firefighters do not pay into social security therefore are not eligible to receive social security benefits.

4. Changing the eligibility years from 4 to 10 for an ordinary disability does a disservice to the firefighter workforce. If a member suffers an injury with prior to completing 10 years and it is not a traumatic injury that member would get no pension. Our profession puts us at harms way every time we go to work. The legislation should not change the number of years.

5. Reducing the disability pension of a firefighter who is no longer able to perform firefighting duties because he or she was able to supplement their income in other ways is disrespectful and unwarranted. It's a slap in the face to those dedicated firefighters who were injured while serving the public because this legislation would decrease their disability pension if they were to go out and get extra income to provide for their families.

6. The one size fits all about the legislation is wrong. A firefighter or EMS workers level of risk is much greater than a teacher or office worker. The Pension systems must be treated different and separate. If our job functions weren't different, there wouldn't be different systems.

Financial Balance
From Our Corporate Partner - C & A Financial Group

 


To NJ PERC Constituents, Labor Relations Professionals and Interested Parties:
PERC has modified the Unfair Practice Charge Form, and asks parties to utilize the new form immediately.  The changes to the form include hyperlinks, space for a second respondent, and details about the status of negotiations, if any.   Additionally, the form seeks more specific information about matters at PERC or other forums that are based upon the same facts alleged in the charge.  We hope the new form will expedite processing of charges.

The form may be found at:
http://www.state.nj.us/perc/NJ_PERC_Unfair_Practice_Charge_2011.08.19.pdf

Breaking News:
  • Study: Chris Christie's New Jersey Least Economically Solvent State in U.S.

  • Feds Will Probe Post-Sandy TV Ads That Starred Christie, Lawmaker Says

  • Gov. Chris Christie's Office Knew What Was Coming In GWB Traffic Controversy, Emails Show

  • Washington Bridge Scandal

  • Union Petitions EMS Outsourcing After N.J. Firefighter Layoffs

  • Hey, New Jersey: You People Wanted Him, You People Got Him

  • NIOSH Study Reinforces Link Between Fire Fighting and Cancer

  • Governor Christie Eliminates Survivor Tuition Benefit Program

  • Update to Existing PFANJ Lawsuits

  • New Jersey Fire Fighters Call on Governor Christie to Restore Survivor Tuition Benefit Program to Budget

  • New Jersey Firefighters Question Veto of Important Public Safety Measure

  • Memo from PFANJ Attorneys Mets Schiro & McGovern, LLP Regarding Challenges to P.L. 2010, c. 2 and P.L. 2011, c. 78

  • World Trade Center Health Program Enrollment for Pentagon, Shanksville Responders

  • Judge Upholds Suspension of Pension Increases for N.J. Public Employees

  • Feds Consider Expanding Cancer Coverage for WTC Workers

  • The Truth About Arbitration

  • Sep 11th Victim Compensation Fund Begins Accepting Claims

  • Support the Program that Supports the Fund of Our Widows and Children

  • You Could Be Eligible for Benefits Under the Zadroga Bill

  • The Unspoken Truth About Pensions

  • The IAFF is Fighting Back

  • Trenton’s Un-Truth about Police and Fire Pensions

  • Christie Campaign Letter Promised 'No Harm' to Police, Firefighter Pensions

  • Democratic Governors Must Defend Labor, or Lose an Ally

  • Gov. Christie Recants Campaign Promise of Not Altering N.J. Firefighters' Pensions

  • NJ Governor's Current Attack on Firefighters and Labor!

  • Gov. Christie Falsely Blames Public Employees for New Jersey’s Fiscal Problems

  • New Video Shows Negative Media Coverage of Fire Fighters and their Pensions

  • NIST Report Shows Crew Size Matters

  • Attention Potential IAFF
    EMS Members!

    Click here for a downloadable and printable IAFF document
    "Showing and Demonstration of Interest"
    for those individuals wishing to learn more about
    and affiliate with the International Association of Fire Fighters...

    Kindly fill out the form and then mail it to the
    State Association Office ASAP!


    YOUR MEDIA...

    Professional Pension Benefit & Retirement Consultation
    for PFANJ Members
    Click Here
    for Information

    Attention PFANJ Members...
    Click here
    to join our e-mail list!

    Upcoming Events:

    PFANJ State Delegate Meeting
    May 14, 2014
    Middlesex County Fire Academy
    1001 Fire Academy Drive Sayreville, NJ 08872

    PFANJ Annual Golf Outing
    May 27, 2014
    Atlantic City Country Club
    One Leo Fraser Drive
    Northfield, NJ 08225

    PFANJ Annual Convention & Affiliate Leader Training Seminar
    May 27 - 30, 2014
    Golden Nugget Atlantic City
    1 Castle Blvd
    Atlantic City, NJ 08401
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    The PFANJ Proudly Supports Our Troops

    PFANJ Members Serving in the Armed Forces

    Any Soldier, Inc.

     

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