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PFFNH and Berlin IAFF #1088 Proud to Receive Much Needed SAFER Act Grant

PFFNH Logo (Concord/Berlin, NH)- The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, along with the IAFF Berlin Professional Fire Fighters Local #1088 are proud to announce that the Berlin Fire Department has received a 2015 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act Grant. This federal grant, issued through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Agency, enables the city of Berlin to hire 4 additional full time fire fighters to the department.

In 2013, the city of Berlin left four fire fighter positions unfilled. This has caused years of dangerous staffing levels. With this grant, the department will be able to run four shifts of five fire fighters. This level of staffing will maintain that the “two in-two out” rule under OSHA regulations is in compliance. Berlin is the only full time fire department in all of Coos County, and serves the needs of almost 10,000 residents. This SAFER Act Grant pays for the hiring of 4 full time fire fighters in the city of Berlin for a total of two years, or three if they choose to hire a veteran.

“I’m pleased that with this federal grant, our department will be able to safely and effectively continue to serve the city of Berlin. For too long we were operating at dangerous staffing levels, but with four additional fire fighters we are able to provide the level of service our citizens deserve,” stated Roland Berthiaume, President Berlin L#1088.

The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, and Berlin Professional Fire Fighters L#1088 are grateful that the city of Berlin will see an increase in public safety and thank Governor Hassan, North Country Elected officials, and the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation for all of their efforts in making this grant possible.

Professional Fire Fighters of NH Endorse Carol Shea-Porter for Congress

Carol Shea-Porter_Official.2010-300x288CONCORD – The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire back Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (CD1) in her re-election campaign. The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire represent over 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics across the state. Congressional District one has 23 out of 43 PFFNH locals.

“Congresswoman Shea-Porter has always stood up for middle class families. It is very clear from her history and her voting record, that her priorities are to the people on Main Street, not the people on Wall Street. She has always been a friend to fire fighters, and knows that keeping the public safe is not just a talking point, but a responsibility that she takes seriously,” said Dave Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of NH.

“I am honored to receive the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire endorsement in the general election. I thank President David Lang and the firefighters for this prestigious endorsement. Firefighters put their lives on the line constantly to protect others, and they are deeply respected by our citizens. I promise to continue working hard for fire fighters and for everyone else in New Hampshire,” stated Shea-Porter.

Local Government Center Rhetoric Does Not Match Reality

An emergency board meeting of the Local Government Center was held last week in regards to dealing with the implementation of the Hearings Officer’s Order (Final Order) in the matter of the “State of NH vs. Local Government Center et. el”.  A statement from the Executive Director was issued post meeting.

The Executive Director claims (LGC ED Message) that the requirement to purchase reinsurance will add $5 million to the rates. A look at the financials suggests otherwise. Page 5 of the 2011 financials (2011 Audited Financials ) notes two things, first that there are no claims over $1million dollars (minimizing the cost of reinsurance) and second an actual cost of ½% of contributions for reinsurance . Based on the current health insurance contribution of 400 million dollars, this equals a cost of approximately $2 million, not $5 million as overstated by the Executive Director.

“Here is where the rhetoric falls far short of the reality. Just look and compare the financials 2010 to 2011, it appears the LGC reduced the amount of dollars for reserve by 18% from the previous year, and then they further collected 4% more in contributions while experiencing an increase in claims cost of only 1%*. What does this mean to those paying the bills? The LGC kept more money, while their net assets (surplus) grew by 19% or $20.5 million,” stated Dave Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of NH.

“The management of the Local Government Center would have us all believe that in order to save us $2 million or $5 million for that matter in our rates they need to keep $106,155,206 the 2011 net asset balance. NH citizens expect a level of transparency when it comes to their local governments. These repeated actions by the Local Government Center defy on all accounts that expectation,” continued Lang.

An excerpt found on page 5 of the 2011 Financials

LGC HealthTrust purchased stop loss excess coverage to help defer the impact of large claims. LGC HealthTrust retained the first $1,000,000 of each claim through June 30, 2010; the stop loss carrier reimburses amounts above that level. LGC HealthTrust paid .5% of contributions for reinsurance. HealthTrust eliminated the purchase of stop loss reinsurance as of July 1, 2010. The Board asked the actuary to assess the risk of the elimination of this coverage. The actuary’s opinion noted HealthTrust had not sustained a claim over $1,000,000. The actuary also noted HealthTrust’s level of Risk Based Capital and size gave it the ability to eliminate this coverage and the resulting cost of purchasing reinsurance. Eliminating the purchase of reinsurance reduces the cost of coverage to member groups.

*A calculated explanation of President Lang’s explanation with page references found in the 2011 Financials (web link provided above):

A Special Message From PFFNH and Upper Valley Firefighters

Upper Valley Firefighters

Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

Friends of Firefighters is a non-profit established in the days after 9-11-2001 to help our brother and sister firefighters in time of need.  They are located in an old firehouse in Brooklyn, NY and they themselves were affected by this storm as well.  The Hanover and Lebanon Fire Departments are establishing a donation drive in an effort to help out fellow firefighters of FDNY who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Many of these men and women were out helping others as their own homes burned or were washed away by the rising floodwaters.  Clean up efforts are underway and much help is still needed.

A small contingent of firefighters from Hanover and Lebanon will be heading down to Brooklyn, NY on Sunday 25 NOV 2012 to spend a few days volunteering.  We are also hoping to fill a moving truck full of donations to take with us.  I have included a list of items they have specified a need for.   Unfortunately, we will only be able to accept items from this list.  The items are as small as plastic utensils to as large as a boiler to help rebuild Friends of Firefighters business space.  Please look over the included list and consider donating to our help our effort.   The donations can be dropped off at either the Hanover or Lebanon Fire Depts from now until Saturday 24 NOV 2012.

Please feel free to contact us at either of the avenues listed below with any questions or visit their website at www.FriendsofFirefighters.org for more info about their organization.  Thank you for your consideration in donating items and we look forward to sharing how this effort made an impact in helping others’ lives.  Stay safe.


Eric James                                               TroyLeatherman

Lebanon Fire Dept                                 Hanover Fire Dept

603.727.8552                                          802.683.7324

Taken from PFFNH Web/Facebook Page

NH Labor News 9/2/12: PFF-NH Ride in Honor of Sarah Fox, New Jobs in NH, Unions Have Been Fighting For Workers For Many Years, Northern Pass Protests, and more

Remembering Sarah: Riders honor former Portsmouth firefighter’s fight with cancer – Fosters: “ringing awareness and support together in one huge effort, bikers, firefighters, friends and law enforcement came out to remember late Portsmouth firefighter Sarah Fox, who passed away last December after battling cancer.

“It was easy to get involved with this,” Al Coutois, owner of Seacoast Harley-Davidson, said. Riders came from the stores three locations including North Hampton, Rochester and Everett, Mass., entering the parking lot in one massive parade of bikes around 12:30 p.m.

“The how and why was easy. We got to know Sarah when she was here,” Coutois said. Fox had attended the event herself just last year.”

N.H. future bright for job seekers: State officials see promise in manufacturing, health care, tourism within next several years – Fosters: “DOVER — For job seekers in New Hampshire, advanced manufacturing, health care and tourism are among the industries that hold promise within the next several years, according to state officials.

Manufacturing, in particular, has become a major focus in the state, which is poised to add hundreds of new jobs in the field of advanced manufacturing in coming years.

However, securing those jobs will likely require a higher degree of training and education than the manufacturing jobs of the past, according to Michael Power, of the state’s Office of Workforce Opportunity.

“That’s our key,” Power said. “That’s our economic strength. Manufacturing pays the highest wage … and it’s huge. It’s a career path.””

For many in NH,1 job is not enough | New Hampshire NEWS02: “New Hampshire has averaged 84,500 residents considered underemployed monthly — including 35,300 working part time but wanting full-time work, according to federal figures for the year ending in June.

“That’s a sign of how difficult this economic downturn has been for everybody,” said Dennis Delay, an economist at the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies in Concord.

“Frankly, employers are still somewhat reluctant in certain sectors of the economy to hire people,” Delay said. “If someone is working for you part time, as an employer, you’re not obligated to pay for their health care.””

Erica Bryant: Brave local workers fought for your rights | Democrat and Chronicle | democratandchronicle.com: “I can’t tell you the names of the men wearing the gas masks in this 1933 photograph. Or the men who joined them unprotected, even though their demonstration of support for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was likely to be met with chemical weapons.

The photo was taken toward the end of that union’s long war against sweatshop conditions and starvation wages in Rochester’s garment factories. By that time, just two factories were holding out against recognizing the union and its demands for a 40-hour work week and increased wages.”

Hundreds protest Northern Pass | New Hampshire NEWS06: “More than 200 demonstrators gathered in the park across from Colebrook Town Hall to sing protest songs, listen to political speakers and make their views known.

The $1.1 billion project, being proposed by Northeast Utilities and Hydro-Quebec, would run a high-power transmission line across 180 miles of land from Pittsburg to Deerfield. It would use 140 miles of existing rights of way owned by Public Service of New Hampshire and 40 miles of new rights of way. ”

Garry Rayno’s State House Dome: Bill eyed to prevent failures that led to hepatitis C spread | New Hampshire NEWS0604: “COMMUTER RAIL: The Business and Industry Association will host a forum on commuter rail Sept. 17 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.

In partnership with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and the New Hampshire Economic Development Association, the forum is titled “Commuter Rail in New Hampshire — Economic Catalyst or Multi-Million Dollar Mistake?”

Voter ID won’t stop your vote | SeacoastOnline.com: “As Rep. Donna Schlachman, D-Exeter, said: “If just one person does not show up to vote due to confusion over Voter ID requirements, this law has done harm. In a country noted for low voter turnout, the last thing we need is the perception that it will be harder to cast a ballot in 2012.””

Annual NH Labor Day breakfast features Lynch, national union official: “New Hampshire’s AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast will feature Gov. John Lynch and the organization’s national secretary-treasurer.

National AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler will be the keynote speaker at Monday’s breakfast. She will recognize contributions by New Hampshire workers and emphasize the labor movement’s commitment to creating good jobs. She also will discuss the choices posed by the upcoming election.

Besides Lynch and Shuler, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and congressional candidates Ann Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter are scheduled to attend.

The breakfast is at 9 a.m. at the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester.”

Remember the Bread and Roses

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