For Release June 5, 2015
Statement from Steve Cassidy on Mayor’s Revised “Alternative” Disability Plan for New York City Firefighters and Police Officers
“On June 4th, the UFA met with the mayor about the public safety crisis for newer FDNY Firefighters who lack real disability protections, should they be permanently disabled in the line of duty. The administration introduced its latest “alternative” disability plan, which again falls far short, because it lacks the necessary protections to address the incredibly dangerous job that firefighters perform in a toxic environment.
Medical and scientific research conclusively finds that firefighters are exposed to thousands of different chemical agents and carcinogens throughout their career, resulting in a significant increase of cancer, lung disease, strokes and heart attacks. The mayor’s “alternative” disability plan overlooks all of this and the impact of cumulative physical workplace injuries. It instead wants to define disability by a Social Security Administration guideline, as opposed to a medical determination of a firefighters’ ability to continue performing their duties.
This illustrates the administration still fails to comprehend the dangers and risks we take to protect the city, yet it still expects firefighters to run into harm’s way, without consideration. For over a year firefighters, police officers and even our state’s legislature have waited patiently. We are down to the final days of the Albany session and still 1,400 newer firefighters and more than 8,000 police officers lack real disability protections if permanently disabled in the line of duty.
One week ago New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced he too supported firefighters and police and characterized providing disability protections as, “fundamental to safety and the long-term fiscal health of the city.” Public Advocate Tish James said, “We need equality for all firefighters and all police officers, regardless of when they were hired.” We have the overwhelming support of the city council and key elected officials throughout the state. It’s time for the Mayor and the Speaker to allow us a home rule vote.”
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