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MILFORD PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS
LOCAL944 organized 1947
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Union Meeting

Next Union Meeting

Tuesday

20 September 2016

East Side

1730hrs

New Union Officers

President - Todd Ricci

Vice-President -Jeff Luciano

Secretary - Arthur Murphy

Treasurer - Dave Heenan

Executive Board - Marty Halprin

Executive Board - Brian Connelly

Executive Board - Wesley Eisenhandler

Day Executive Board - Anthony Fino

Pension Board - Frank Murphy

Alternate Pension Board - Jeff Maurutis


What's New at IAFF 944
Hartford FF's at the Capitol
A link to New Haven Firefighters President Ricci speaking at the Capitol on behalf of all Connecticut FF's. http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/pt/2016/03/hartford-ct-firefighters-protest-mayor-s-plan-to-change-union-contracts. Read More...
Zadroga Passes
Victory! Zadroga Reauthorization Passes Congress As part of a large omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2016, Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. The bill passed the House by a vote of 316-113, and the Senate 65-33. Read More...
IAFF Strikes Important Win as Congress Passes Two-Year Delay of Cadillac Tax
IAFF Strikes Important Win as Congress Passes Two-Year Delay of Cadillac Tax

In a major victory for the IAFF, as part of an omnibus spending package to fund the government through next year, Congress approved a two-year delay of the Cadillac tax: a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans that was scheduled to take effect in 2018.   

In addition to the two-year delay, several other tweaks to the tax were added, including an inflation adjusted increase in the premium caps, a GAO study on the feasibility of the health plan used by government workers as a benchmark for the law’s age and gender adjustments and the ability for employers to deduct excise tax payments.

While Congress did not fully repeal the tax at this time, delaying this onerous tax is a major victory. Since its enactment as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the IAFF and its members have been the leading advocate on Capitol Hill opposing this tax. 

When discussions started early last January on taking action to repeal the tax, and Congress was silent on the issue, it was the IAFF that helped lead the charge. In just 10 short months, efforts at the local and national levels yielded tremendous legislative results. Dozens of labor, business and advocacy groups joined the call to take action and demand that the tax be fully repealed.  

Bi-partisan bills were introduced with more than 340 co-sponsors, 90 senators voted to fully repeal the tax in early December and every major presidential candidate on both sides of the aisle have come out against this damaging policy. 

Whether it was lobbying members during the IAFF’s Legislative Conference or making calls and attending in-district meetings with key congressional staff, fire fighters across the country have made this issue a top priority, and today’s vote is a reward for those hard-fought efforts. 

While the IAFF and its allies have won the battle, the war for protecting workers’ health care is not over. Speaking on today’s vote, General President Harold Schaitberger said, “The move by Congress today is certainly a step in the right direction, but in no way does it offer the type of relief that [our members] and workers deserve." He added,  “The IAFF and its members will continue to pursue full repeal of this ill-conceived law.”

Congress will now adjourn for the year and head home for Christmas break, but this union will not stop fighting. When the New Year begins and Congress returns to Washington for work, the IAFF and its members will pick up where they left off with one goal in mind – to fully repeal the Cadillac tax.

The two-year delay extends into 2017 with a new presidential administration and Congress. All major candidates running for president in 2016 support a full repeal of the tax.

Zadroga, Cadillac Tax Included in Final Legislative Package
Zadroga, Cadillac Tax Included in Final Legislative Package

In its final act before recessing for the holidays, Congress released a massive legislative package extending the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and delays the Cadillac tax on fire fighters’ health plans. The bill also funds the federal government through the remainder of Fiscal Year 2016, providing additional funding for the Staffing for Adequate for and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant programs, Urban Search and Rescue teams and other IAFF priority programs.

The IAFF worked with leadership from the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Local 94, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) Local 854 and other state and local affiliates to put pressure on congressional lawmakers to get these critically important bills passed.

“Today, the work of fire fighters from across this great nation, countless IAFF locals and state affiliates and IAFF staff has resulted in victory," says General President Schaitberger. "Today, Congress recognizes the sacrifices and commitment of the tens of thousands of fire fighters and other patriots who responded after 9/11 by ensuring they will always receive the health care they need and deserve. Similarly, the two-year delay of the Cadillac Tax marks a much-needed, though temporary, fix to bad tax policy. This delay will provide the time we need to fully repeal this unfair tax.”

Among its many provisions, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes:

  • Extension of the 9/11 Health program through 2090, effectively making the program permanent
  • Extension of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) for an additional five years and an additional $4.6 billion to pay claims
  • Delay of the excise tax on employer-provided health care plans by two years to 2020
  • $345 million each for the SAFER and FIRE Act grant programs, an increase of $5 million for each program over Fiscal Year 2015
  • $35.18 million for the Urban Search and Rescue Response System

The bill also excludes several harmful provisions the IAFF had lobbied against, including a proposal allowing public employers to replace traditional defined benefit pension plans with insurance annuities and a proposal that would have permanently underfunded wildfire suppression accounts by more than 30 percent. 

The House is expected to pass the package Thursday, with the Senate following shortly thereafter. 

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