1917 FF Albert Guinness (pictured right) formed the Uniformed Firemen's Association of the FDNY, which became Local 94 of the International Association of Firefighters the following year. Firemen were working "continuous duty," seven days with only 3 hours off each day. Annual salary was $1,500.
1920 UFA won a 27% increase to a more livable annual salary of $1,900.
1921 The Honor Emergency Fund was created to provide financial assistance to active/retired Firefighters and their families due to death, illness or injury.
1922 UFA pressure resulted in a two-platoon system of 84 hours per week.
1927 Due in large part to the lobbying efforts of the UFA, "Right of Appeal Law" legislation was passed, then granting civil service employees the right to appear before legislative bodies to express grievances. Previous to the enactment of this particular measure, civil service employees could be denied the right by departmental edict.
1928 The UFA won the right for referendum vote raising annual salary to $3,000.
As the Great Depression was taking hold, Mayor Jimmy Walker pressured city workers to take a "payless furlough," claiming the city was on the verge of bankruptcy.
1930's The UFA was the only group to refuse to submit. Mayor LaGuardia had a bill passed reducing the salaries of all city employees. The UFA fought the measure until it was rescinded.
1936 The UFA succeeded in achieving the three-platoon system (or eight-hour day) through a referendum of the voters during the general election.
1936 Passage of a local law granting a disability pension for Firemen with line-of-duty injuries.
1937 The UFA inserted a provision in the state Constitution, making public employee pensions a contractual requirement of the state.
1939 Voters then passed a UFA-sponsored resolution in 1939 reducing a Fireman's work week from 84 to 50 hours.
1940 Two major pension systems were installed in 1940: Article 1, whereby members appointed prior to April 1940 were to pay 5% or 6% of their salaries and Article 1B under which new appointees were required to contribute 9% to 14% on an actuarial basis.
1943 The UFA and FDNY established the Medal of Supreme Sacrifice. Some 1,800 members of the Fire Department served in the armed forces during World War II.
1944 The three-platoon system was suspended and the remaining members worked 84 hours per week.
1946 The workweek gradually reduced to 60 hours per week. First grade FF earns $3,900 per year.
1947 A 28-day vacation for Firefighters and numerous pension improvements went into effect.
1948 The UFA negotiated a 20-year retirement and a return to the two-platoon system, although the City had the right to keep the three-platoon system. (More improvements came on this in the 1960s.)
1950 First grade Firefighter earned $4,400 a year.
1953 The Mayor's Management Survey Committee recommended the elimination of 52 fire houses. The UFA opposed the plan and it was disapproved.
1953 46-hour work week won.
1953 Uniform allowance
1953 UFA starts its 1st Political Action program.
1957 A Constitutional Convention came up for approval by the voters, the UFA campaigned against it, and the Convention was defeated. The intention was to invalidate the contractual obligations on pensions.
The UFA successfully led the battle for increased pensions of widows and retired men.
1961 A 40-hour work week mandated by referendum
1961 1/60th pension benefit secured for all Firefighters.
1961 Four paid holidays successfully negotiated, as well as emergency overtime paid in cash.
1961 UFA has abolished three-platoon system both legislatively at the state level and by voter referendum in NYC.
1962 Equalized vacations for all first-grade Firefighters.
1962 Residency restrictions liberalized. Paid holidays increased to six.
1962 Dues check-off inaugurated. Prior to that, all dues had been collected by delegates.
1963 Ten paid holidays secured.
1963 A two and one-half percent reduction in pension rate achieved.
1963 Improved 1/60th bill for Article 1 members.
1963 Half final pay for Article 1B members.
1963 Honor Emergency Death Benefit increased.
1963 UFA's Security Benefit Fund established.
1965 Paid holidays increased to 11 annually.
1965 Dental and Optical Plans added to UFA Security Benefit Fund.
1965 Members and families given choice of health plans.
1965 Death Gamble provided.
1965 Payment of time-and-a-half for OT gained.
1965 First-grade FF earns $8,483 base pay.
1967 Pension contributions reduced by 5%.
1967 Longevity established.
1967 Pension escalation for disability retirements and service retirements after age 62.
1967 Personal leave day granted.
1968 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.
1968 UFA and the City reach agreement on a new benefit for members who retire after 20 years of service - the Variable Supplement Fund (VSF). (Legislation is signed by the Governor in 1970, and the first payments are made in 1973.)
1968 First-grade FF base pay reaches $10,325.
1968 Union name is changed from the "Uniformed Firemen's Association" to the "Uniformed Firefighters Association".
1969 Permanent "Lung Bill" was signed into law by Gov. Rockefeller.
1969 Heart Bill. The Heart Bill signed into law (was an original goal of the UFA, beginning with its first President Albert E. Guinness)
1969 UFA achieves vested pension option for members after 15 years of service.
1969 Through negotiations, the UFA obtains overtime pay for ordered overtime work, as well as night differential.
1970 City agrees to increase companies and manning, creating one new Division, five battalions and eight companies. Manning increases to 11,891 Firefighters.
1970 UFA-sponsored "one-man, one vote" resolution is adopted by the IAFF, giving New York City's Local 94 greater representation in the International.
1970 Contract demands again fall on deaf ears at City Hall, prompting yet another strike threat from the UFA.
1970 $25,000 line-of-duty death benefit achieved for New York City Firefighters.
1972 A new contract guaranteed five-man manning on all apparatus.
1972 Night differential increased from 5% to 10%.
1972 Portal-to-portal & "clean-up" pay secured.
1972 Number of FFs reaches its highest-12,500.
1972 The Rand Corporation retained by the City to study the fire service, recommends closing six companies and relocation of seven others. The plan is implemented, and the UFA responds by holding mass rallies and filing a lawsuit.
1973 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.
1973 By December, the union had reached an agreement with the city on a one-year contract.
1973 The UFA wins an increase in compulsory insurance (compensation insurance) coverage for active Firefighters from $2,000 to $5,000.
1974 The City's fiscal crisis citing financial problems, disbanded eight companies. The UFA unsuccessfully sued to stop the closings.
1974 Base pay of a first-grade Firefighter increased to $17,458.
1975-7 The City's fiscal problems worsen, more than 40,000 city workers are laid off, including 1,600 Firefighters, although 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.
1975-7 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.)
1976 The UFA establishes a Security Benefit Fund for retired members.
1976 Federal legislation passed providing assistance to the family of a LODD Firefighter, $50,000 to surviving dependents.
1976 The first annual Delegate Education Seminar is held.
1977-8 As the number of fires soared in the mid-1970's, 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.
1977-8 New programs created by UFA includes free legal consultation and voluntary group life insurance program.
1977-8 UFA achieves increase in pensions for line-of-duty widows through legislative actions signed by Gov. Carey.
1977-8 Union negotiates increases in compulsory insurance coverage for active Firefighters from $5,000 to $7,500, retired Firefighters from $2,000 to $4,000.
1980 UFA plays key role with Uniformed Forces Coalition, two-year contract, salary raises of 9% and 8% and no give- backs.
1980 Members vote to end the union's 63-year affiliation with the IAFF
1980 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.
1980 UFA filed for a court injunction to halt the retest of women who failed the FD physical.
1981 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.
1980-82 9% and 8% compounded wage increases plus 3% in supplemental improvements with no concessions.
1982 The Article 1B Fire Department Pension Fund was on the verge of insolvency. At that time benefits were being paid by liquidating monies from the fund principal. The UFA resolved a $1.2 billion deficit. Through negotiations, the City agreed to add additional monies to the system over the next 35 years to ensure fiscal solvency. This funding agreement is ongoing until 2015.
1982 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 later a two-year contract of 8% per year, one-percent higher than the civilian coalition.
1983-4 The UFA secures law for FFs laid off in 1975 and later rehired the right to buy back time for pension credit. Affected about 950 Firefighters.
1983-4 Back wages deferred as a result of the mid-70's fiscal crisis were negotiated by the UFA.
1983-4 Union sues to bring five-Firefighter minimum-manning level to the remaining 71 engine companies still riding with four Firefighters.
1983-4 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.
1985-89 A negotiated contract is rejected by the Executive Board and the delegates. The sticking point is the city's offer to restore 5-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.
1990-91 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.
1991 The UFA launches a political action committee, Fire PAC, to fund effective lobbying efforts in City Hall, Albany and Washington, DC.
1991 The union purchased a five-story building in Manhattan as its new Headquarters.
1991 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.
1993 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.
1994 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.
1995 UFA settles Roster Staffing hearings restoring five-man manning to 61 engine companies. In conjunction, 96 hours of RSOT is guaranteed for every firefighter.
1995 Members vote 2-1 to re-affiliate with IAFF.
1995 First Legislative Day in Albany sponsored by UFA. Attended by several dozen members.
1996 Major UFA victory is won with the elimination of the Home Visitation and PMLA programs through a federal lawsuit.
1996 The Compensation Accrual Fund (CAF), or annuity, is converted into a self-directed plan. Members have direct control over their investment funds.
1997-98 UFA negotiates 5-year contract which includes chauffeur pay and restoration of several key provisions lost in disastrous 1987-90 arbitration decision: 39 hours vacation leave, and increased longevity and annuity pay. In addition, the contract included provision for Safety Committee comprised of Department and union officials which results in an additional five 5-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 which included two years of zero, was part of the deal.
2000 to the present
2001 Terrorist attack World Trade Center. The UFA in partnership with the IAFF established the 9/11 Fund, and dispensed millions to our families in need.
2001 The years of persistence through political efforts and the courts wins the UFA and PBA the absolute right to arbitrate impasse contracts through state PERB--removing us forever from the City's tilted system.
2002 A LOD Funeral Fund was established to provide for members to travel to Firefighter memorial and funeral services nationwide.
2002 Unified, more than 10,000 firefighters & police rally in sweltering summer heat at Time Square, which resulted in contracts that eliminated 6 months of zeroes.
2002 Historic first PERB award granted to PBA. Leveraging that award, the UFA negotiated a contract which exceeded the uniform coalition pattern established by civilian unions.
2002-3 UFA harnesses the newest communication technology. Launches instantaneous telephone, fax and e-mail broadcast systems to firehouses, Delegates and entire membership, providing instantaneous info to the field. UFA website enhanced to include the most up-to-date information about union initiatives.
2003 Major UFA legislative win to expand the Cancer Bill to include cancers involving the neurological, breast and reproductive systems as presumed LODI.
2003 UFA efforts through public rallies and successful lobbying stopped the closing of 2 of the 8 firehouses Mayor Bloomberg had on chopping block.
2004 Pension loans legislative win allows retiring members to borrow up to 90% of contributions.
2005 UFA reactivates legislative/lobby day program in Albany with bus loads of FFs to push for WTC Presumptive Illness Bill's passage.
2005 WTC Presumptive Bill signed into law on June 15, 2005. This landmark bill, which was secured because of the tireless lobbying efforts of the UFA and its members of Fire PAC, allows for firefighters who become injured as a result of the work performed at the attacks and later on, the clean-up, at the World Trade Center to be eligible for accidental disability pension, even if already retired.
2005 In December a new contract was overwhelmingly ratified by the membership. Four-year contract is retroactive to 2002 and provides a compounded 17.5% raise for NYC Firefighters. Civilians agreed to 4% over 3 years.
2005 The contract extends the roster staffing agreement another 5 years and increases the number of engines operating citywide with 5-firefighters, a critical win for New York's firefighters.
2006 Stroke Bill Signed by Governor Pataki. UFA is successful in its lobbying efforts of the State Assembly, Senate and Governor's office. UFA members who suffer from strokes are protected with LODI pensions. The Bill retroactively covers 4 members.
2006 WTC LOD Death Pension. UFA is successful in getting this bill signed into law. Families of members who die as a result of a WTC presumed illness will now receive full LOD pensions--even if the death occurs after the member is retired. This law retroactively applies to families of all members who died prior to its signing into law.
2006 WTC LODI Prescription Drug Card approved. UFA is successful in convincing the City to provide LODI drug cards for all members who are ill as a result of exposure at WTC. Members no longer use UFA SBF money, or cash out of their own pockets.
2007 The UFA led the Uniformed Unions in setting the CBA pattern by settling its contract first. For the first time ever, the contract contained reopener language for the current and previous contracts. This contract was groundbreaking because it secured a 12% increase in the base pay for special assignment duty to Haz-tech companies, the Squads, and Rescue Companies (a total of 17 Companies). This increase was at no cost to our members. The contract also eliminated Extra-Departmental Employment filing requirements.
2008 Contract Reopened -- The UFA was successful in getting the 2004-06 contract reopened and increased by 3.48% retroactively the base salary of all first-grade firefighters. The reopener was achieved due to unique language the UFA negotiated in the 2006-08 contract in order to maintain parity with the PBA if the PERB arbitration award exceeded the UFA agreement for the same period. Thus, the parity that has existed between firefighters and police for 140 years remains.
2008-10 Contract two 4% raises over 24 months, with additional benefits, including a longevity escalator, with automatic increases and compounding of all existing longevity steps. For the first time ever, firefighter longevity pay will increase and compound at the same percent rate as all future base salary increases.
2011 After many years of lobbying by the UFA, Congress passed and the President signed The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. This important legislation will provide funding for health screening and treatment for firefighters that responded to the 9/11 terrorists attacks. In addition, it re-opens the Victim's Compensation Fund for firefighters who have suffered an injury and for the families of firefighters that have succumbed to those injuries.
2011 Albany passed the Pension Protection Bill --This is the first time firefighters are guaranteed to not lose their pensions as a result of a disciplinary matter unless convicted of a felony.
2011 On June 3rd, 15,000 firefighters and supporters, protesting the threatened closing of 20 firehouses, were led by the UFA across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall Park. The UFA was joined by the General President of the IAFF Harold Schaitberger, as well as dozens of federal, state, and city politicians supporting us. This was a turning point in convincing the Bloomberg Administration that closing firehouses was a mistake.
2011 Memorials for the 10th Anniversary of the 911 Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center were observed at the Firefighters Monument and throughout the City. Crowds were understandably large with thousands of firefighters from across the country and the world joining the UFA in honoring the memories of our 343 fallen brothers and those who have died subsequent to the attacks.
Stephen J. Cassidy
Joseph A. Miccio
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