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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:

High Court Upholds Minimum Staffing Decision For Allentown, PA Firefighters

The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Allentown firefighters, finding that their union can negotiate the minimum number of firefighters on a shift because it has a direct impact on safety.

In a recent unanimous decision that affects municipalities with professional fire departments across Pennsylvania, the court rejected Allentown's argument that shift staffing was an issue for managers to decide because of its impact on city finances.

The court found that the city had not presented convincing evidence that an arbitrator's award setting the minimum number of firefighters per shift at 25 unduly infringed on its managerial responsibilities.


The Latest Edition of the PFANJ Online Newsletter

"The PFANJ Plug"

Is Available NOW
Volume 17 - Issue 7
March 28, 2017


House Bills Seek To Make PA. A Right-To-Work State

Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania are set to reintroduce a series of seven bills that would make Pennsylvania a "right-to-work" state. The bills are part of the Pennsylvania "Open Workforce Initiative" which seeks to eliminate mandatory dues to unions for state employees. ​

Right-to-work states are increasing in the country, with 28 now. These laws prohibit union security agreements, meaning if an employee does not wish to be part of a union, he or she would not have to pay union dues. The bills are being pitched by advocating for an "end to compulsory unionism," however, by law that is already illegal. Compulsory unionism, or "closed shops" where employees must remain members of a union to retain employment, have been illegal since the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. However, in non-right-to work states, non-union employees can still have to pay a fee for receiving union coverage.


Will N.J. Police, Firefighters Get Control Of Their Pensions? It's Now Up To Christie

Police and firefighters would gain control of their now-state-run pension fund under a measure that won final approval in the Assembly.

The bill (S3040) transfers management of the $26 billion pension fund to an independent panel overseeing investments and benefits. Police and fire union leaders seeking the change said the state wasted their money on costly hedge funds and underfunded the system by billions of dollars.

The Police and Firemen's Retirement System, while healthier than its counterparts, is $11 billion short of what it would cost to pay for promised benefits, according to actuary reports.


PFANJ Statement on S3040 – Pension Take-Over Legislation:

On March 13, 2017, Senate Bill 3040 passed in the Senate.  While the PFANJ is still opposed to the passage of this bill, we were successful in getting an amendment into the bill before its passage in essence a “backup” plan was added.  If the “new” system is not performing as the legislation intended it to, the system could revert back to the State of New Jersey. 

This is just ONE amendment of many that are needed in order to protect the pensions of all PFANJ active and retired members of the PFRS.  Until such time that all our concerns are addressed in the Assembly, the PFANJ will oppose the change in the Pension system.


PFANJ Sends Opposition Letter to All NJ Senators Regarding Senate Bill 3040 - "Transfers Management of PFRS to Board of Trustees of PFRS"


The PFANJ, in Conjunction with our Law Enforcement Partners at the NJFOP, Strongly Oppose the NJFMBA/PBA Notion that the “Unions” Should be in Control of the Administration of the Fire and Police Pension System.

The defined-benefit pension is the single most important benefit a fire fighter and police officer have



The PFANJ & IAFF release video that takes in-depth look at the proposed legislation allowing the "Unions" to take over the New Jersey Police and Fireman's Retirement System (PFRS).



AC Law-Firm Bills In: 'Looks Like We Just Got Robbed,' Says GOP Official
Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Chiesa, who negotiated a retention agreement that covers his entire law firm when he was appointed by the state to oversee Atlantic City, has submitted more than $287,000 worth of bills for the firm since November.

About $80,000 of that has been billed by Chiesa himself, who bills at a rate of $400 an hour, said Lisa Ryan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Community Affairs, which has broad authority over Atlantic City under a state takeover.

She said the invoices cover the period from November through January.


Atlantic City Cops, Firefighters Vow to Fight Court-Approved Salary, Benefits Cuts
Judge’s ruling that state can set aside current collective-bargaining agreement raises ire of Atlantic City mayor, firefighters, and police.


State Can Break Atlantic City Fire Contract, Judge Rules

Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez recently ruled that the state can proceed with plans to slash pay and benefits for city firefighters.

The judge’s ruling means the state is allowed to cut salaries, eliminate benefits, increase work hours and switch firefighters to a new health care plan, among other unilateral contract changes that take effect Monday, March 20, 2017.

The ruling came minutes before union leaders kicked off a campaign against public-safety cuts. Union leaders, Mayor Don Guardian and police Officer Joshlee Vadell, who was shot in the head in the line of duty, spoke out against the state’s plans.

The cuts amount to a 25 percent loss of compensation for firefighters, according to the lawsuit filed by the union, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 198.


Contact Your Legislators

Don't Gamble on Safety AC

Atlantic City is visited by over 27 million people every year, but the city is protected by Fire and Police departments already strained by budget cuts. Now the bureaucrats in charge of the state takeover of Atlantic City are ready to impose even more drastic budget cuts that will reduce the Firefighter force from 225 to 125, the smallest firefighting force in the history of Atlantic City. The police force is facing a reduction to 250, losing over 100 officers since 2010. This would be the smallest police force in the City since gambling was legalized in the early 1970's. This reduction of first responder positions will result in unsafe staffing levels and longer response times, putting the lives of the residents and visitors to Atlantic City at risk.

New Jersey Assembly Bill A4556 will ensure that public safety staffing in Atlantic City will be maintained at proper and safe levels. Please contact your Assembly people and tell them that they should put safety first.

Keep Atlantic City Safe



CONGRESSMAN BILL PASCRELL, JR.
NAMED 2016 CFSI LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR
 

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) is proud to announce that Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9) has been selected as the 2016 CFSI Legislator of the Year.  



From the New Jersey AFL-CIO...

Christie Tells It Like He Wants It to Be

Gov. Christie didn’t let facts get in the way during this month’s State-of-the-State speech. While he devoted 11-and-a-half minutes to union bashing, the New Jersey AFL-CIO deconstructed the lies and “Tell It Like It Really Is” in just over a minute.


Chris Christie and His Lies!


The IAFF, along with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, the Congressional Fire Services Institute and the International Fire Service Training Association, have updated and released the 3rd Edition of the Fire-Based EMS Toolkit.

Updates to the online toolkit include up-to-date information on Fire-Based Community Healthcare Providers (FBCHP) - or “communityparamedicine” - and a new section on responding to violence, including resources for active shooter response.






State Health Benefits Program Information (SHBP)

**UPDATED 10/25/2016**
For those Departments that are in the State Health Benefits Program:

We have been advised that open enrollment has been extended to November 11 for changes in plan options for the State Health Benefit Plan.

Medical Plan Summaries of Benefits and Coverage - Plan Year 2017

Percentage of Premium Calculators and Worksheets - Revised for the new medical plans and rates effective in Plan Year 2017.

Monthly Rates - For Plan Year 2017

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.

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 2017

Chapter 330 Monthly Rates - For Plan Year 2017

Retiree Dental Rates - For Plan Year 2017

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/

New program for those in the SHBP & SEHBP - Direct Primary Care is Here! R-Health Up and Running Now

Direct Primary Care-- We Need Your Help to Build It    
Direct Primary Care is here.

One provider of Direct Primary Care services, R-Health, signed a contract with Horizon earlier this month and has been signing up members for two weeks.

A second firm, Paladena Health, is expected to sign a contract with Horizon within weeks and will be opening doctor's offices by the Spring.  Paladena will operate in North Jersey and Mercer County.

For now, R-Health has three locations - Haddonfield, Moorestown, and Washington Crossing.   A brand new site, Ewing, will open in January.  

R-Health's information piece and update may be found HERE.

A quick reminder,  Direct Primary Care Medical Homes feature no co-pays, same day/next day appointments, 24/7 access to your doctor, and simply a lot more and better care.

Direct Primary Care is an union initiative for our members. Only we can make it succeed by informing and motivating our members.


Important Information on Supreme Court Health Care Decision

As many of you are aware, recently the Supreme Court handed down another landmark decision addressing the president’s controversial health care law known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the case of King v. Burwell, the court was charged with determining if individuals purchasing health care through the federal exchange were permitted to receive tax subsidies.   Since the court’s ruling, we have received numerous questions regarding the impact of the ruling on our members and their health plans. Generally speaking, there is no immediate effect on IAFF members or their plans. To help our IAFF members to better understand the ruling, we have prepared the following supplemental materials:

Regardless how the Supreme Court ruled, we have a major concern over the portion of the ACA which imposes a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans beginning in 2018. The IAFF has taken a leading role in a coalition of labor and corporate interests in trying to repeal the excise tax.  Current legislation (H.R. 2050) to repeal the tax has been introduced by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT), a bipartisan bill with more than115 co-sponsors. We will continue our fight to repeal this provision of the ACA and work to ensure that the benefits our members and their families enjoy will not be diminished. I hope the information proves helpful.  As always, I appreciate your hard work and leadership.

Fraternally,

Harold A. Schaitberger
General President 



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.


Available for Download HERE for Apple and iPad Devices

Available for Download HERE for Android Devices


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.


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.


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



To All IAFF Local Leaders:
Contact Information for IAFF 1st District Vice President James Slevin:

jslevin@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.

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

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  • Death Of NJ Firefighter Inspires Push For Measure That Would Ensure Health Insurance Coverage For Families Of First Responders

  • What Chris Christie Didn't Tell N.J. About Pension Payments: Opinion

  • Opinion: Christie Broke Promises To Police, Firefighters, N.J. Voters

  • Time to Stop Bulling Police and Firefighters!

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

  • The Truth About Arbitration

  • The Unspoken Truth About Pensions

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

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

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

  • 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

    Upcoming Events:

    PFANJ State Delegate Meeting
    April 12, 2017
    Middlesex County Fire Academy
    1001 Fire Academy Drive Sayreville, NJ 08872

    "BRAVEST of the BRAVE”
    Annual Valor Awards Dinner

    April 20, 2017
    The Gramercy at Lakeside Manor
    410 Highway 36
    Hazlet, NJ


    IAFF Communications Training Academy
    May 15-19, 2017
    Silver Spring, MD


    PFANJ Annual Convention Leadership and Affiliate Leadership Seminar
    May 30-June 2, 2017

    Tropicana Casino & Resort
    Atlantic City, New Jersey

    PFANJ Annual Golf Invitational
    -Benefiting the NJPF Bravest Emergency Relief Fund
    -
    May 30, 2017

    Atlantic City Country Club

    The 4th Annual
    5 Alarm 5K Run/Walk

    June 13, 2017

    Asbury Park, New Jersey
    Our Corporate Partners:
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    The PFANJ Proudly Supports Our Troops

    PFANJ Members Serving in the Armed Forces

    Any Soldier, Inc.

     

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