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Uniformed Firefighters Association Union Calls On Mayor To Reverse Bloomberg 'Mistake,’ An Alleged Union-Busting Maneuver Preventing First Responders From Answering Calls For Help As Quickly As Possible

Published Thursday, March 3, 2016
by Joe Maniscalco/

(NEW YORK CITY) - An alleged Union-Busting Maneuver undertaken under the old Bloomberg Administration is preventing First Responders from answering calls for help as quickly as possible, according to a new report - and the Union representing City Firefighters is calling on Mayor de Blasio to reverse the decision, pronto

Before he finally left office after three terms and more than 10 years at the post, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped see to it that 911 phone operators took over duties that were previously left to Fire Alarm Dispatchers.  That move was a mistake, according to Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) President Steve Cassidy, one that has resulted in unnecessary time being wasted before vital information can be relayed to First Responders. 

“Here we are, two years into the new administration, and I think the ‘first thing they need to do’ is ‘go back to the old system,’” Cassidy told LaborPress this week. 

The last decade has been the busiest in the FDNY’s storied 150-year history.

Last year alone, the Department responded to 581,981 calls for help - a 12% surge over the year prior. 

“Those are ‘startling’ numbers,” Cassidy said. “They are ‘straining’ the Department’s ‘ability to get to you when you need our assistance in a timely manner.’  And there ‘needs to be a discussion’ about how we deal with that going forward.”

This week, the UFA released a new report finding the City of New York is dramatically underreporting average Firefighter response times throughout the five boroughs - in some cases, by as much as an uncanny 92%. 

Public Advocate Letitia James issued a statement in response to the report calling it “deeply troubling” and a “real danger to all New Yorkers.”  “Our city ‘not only deserves quick response times,’ but ‘must be able to trust that our government is disseminating truthful information.’  Such ‘large discrepancies’ between reported response times and factual response times ‘can truly be a matter of life and death,’” she said.

A spokesperson for the FDNY, meanwhile, issued a statement stating there is “nothing misleading about the city’s transparent and detailed reporting on response times for emergencies, broken down by seven different categories to account for each component in what is known as ‘end-to-end’ response time.” 

Be that as it may, Cassidy insists that response times can be significantly reduced by going back to the old system of dispatching 911 calls and allocating more resources to first responders. 

“Now that they’re counting ‘end-to-end’ response time, we should have a discussion about how we ‘resolve that,’” the Union president said. “And the ‘first step’ is transfer the calls to the Fire Department quickly and you will ‘lower the total response times without making any changes.’”

The average response time to structural fires in town is four minutes, 11 seconds, according to the city.  But the UFA report finds the average response time to structural fires is actually five full minutes - just meeting the nationally accepted standard of five minutes or less. 

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