The Union Office will be closed on Monday, May 30th for Memorial Day. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 31st at 8am. Have a safe Memorial Day!!
Contribute to Local 2 PAC now - PAC Authorization Form
The Commissary's new address is 3616 S. Halsted - 773-475-6410
Local 2's hours are 8am-3:30pm Monday thru Friday
Brothers and Sisters,
Retiree Healthcare Update:
As we inch closer to the year 2017, Local 2 continues to prepare for the plan by the city of Chicago to discontinue paying all subsidies toward current Retiree healthcare coverage. It appears that the City will be “getting out of the Retiree Healthcare Business” altogether, as they have repeatedly stated they would do since the expiration of the Korshak agreement. If the City does, in fact, stop paying the subsidy, the Fireman’s Annuity and Benefit Fund (FABF) will also be forced by law to discontinue their subsidy as well. This move would require that any retired Chicago Firefighter or Paramedic that did not retire under the Age 55 or Age 60 benefit provided in our contract will now be responsible for purchasing their own Healthcare insurance beginning in 2017.
While there still remains an ongoing legal challenge to this move by the City, all indications are that city of Chicago Retirees will be on their own when it comes to securing health insurance by 2017. Local 2 was not going to wait around to see what happened with this issue on the outside chance that the City is remanded by the Court to continue providing subsidies for Retiree Healthcare. We have been actively seeking a viable healthcare option for our Retired Members for nearly two years.
With the help of Jack Byrnes of Source 1 Benefits, we have successfully negotiated a future healthcare plan for our Medicare-eligible members with Aetna Insurance Company which will feature similar coverage to what they have now at a competitive price. This Medicare offering will give the members 3 plans to choose from with the same Rx benefit for all participants. The Rx benefit will be as comprehensive as your current plan with no gap in coverage or “donut hole”. This Rx plan cannot be purchased on the public market and is exclusive to Local 2 retirees. The Medicare participants will be able to payroll deduct from their pension check and take advantage of the $3000 HELPS Tax Deduction for Retired Public Safety Officers. Any plans purchased and paid for on the Public Market that is not payroll deducted from pension check will not be able to take advantage of this Tax Deduction.
Unfortunately, we have not had the same success with finding a healthcare solution with our non-Medicare eligible Local 2 members and spouses. Insurance rates for those individuals (ages 55-64) have increased dramatically over the past several years and we have been unable to find much financial relief for these affected individuals. While there are cheaper policies out there, most have high deductibles that come with far fewer benefits. Even though the price of City-based coverage for non-Medicare members has skyrocketed in recent years, the benefits (drug coverage, lower deductible, etc) of our current City plan still far surpass those of any other insurance product available today on the open market.
Source 1 Benefits and Aetna will continue to work on a “group” plan, but cannot offer a dedicated plan for our non-Medicare eligible members. Source 1 Benefits has pledged to help our members find a plan that will best suit their particular personal insurance needs. This process may include access to a “private exchange” and call center. This will give each affected member a menu of plans that fits their financial and medical needs. Some members could also qualify for a subsidy through “the Affordable Care Act”. We will continue to work on a solution prior to the rollout.
We anticipate beginning a rollout of information on the new 2017 Local 2 Retiree Healthcare program in early summer 2016. This will give our members plenty of time to digest the new program and decide if it is right for them. There are still some legal and logistic issues to work out and we strongly urge all members to update their contact information with Local 2 to insure we are able to send along important information and updates on this new program.
Thomas E. Ryan, Jr.
If you are approaching Medicare age (65), make sure you and your spouse get any dental work or eyeglasses before the first day of the month in which you turn 65.
You become Medicare eligible the first day of the month of your 65th birthday. Once you become Medicare eligible you lose your dental and vision coverage, and the City will not pay those bills.
Employee Assistance Department
The Local 2 Employee Assistance Department (EAP) now has a confidential direct line: 773-358-3473
The uniformed members active and retired friends of Bill W are invited to the "What about us?" meeting every Monday evening at 7:30 p.m at the Union Office located at 440 W. 43rd St., enter through the front door.
Chicago Fire Fighters Local No. 2 History
Prior to the Civil War, the volunteer fire company was a private service in most American cities. The early "fire society" or "fire brigade" was an association of local citizens banded together for the purpose of protecting community lives and property. In 1831 the Illinois Legislature required any incorporated city or town to have a volunteer department. Chicago's first volunteer company was organized in 1835.
Firefighting soon became an established municipal service manned by a paid ful-time work crew. But this new organization also depended upon the generosity of local politicians for jobs, salaries, and working conditions. A civil service system did not exist. Firefighters were often dismissed when a new political boss gained control of the city. Firefighting jobs were treated as political gifts and men were not always hired for their skills, but for their political contributions at election time.
Like other labor groups, Firefighters contested with management over wages, hours and conditions. But because of their unique status and the community's dependence upon them, their opportunities to press for change were often severely constricted.
Firefighter History Link
Install and Maintain Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors warn you of fire in time to let you escape. Install them on each level of your home and outside of each sleeping area. Follow the manufacturer's directions, and test once a week. Replace batteries twice a year, or when the detector chirps to signal that the battery is dead. Don't ever take the battery out for other uses!
Plan and Practice Your escape
If fire breaks out in your home, you must get out fast. With your family, plan two ways out of every room. Fire escape routes must not include elevators, which might take you right to the fire! Choose a meeting place outside where everyone should gather. Once you are out, stay out! Have the whole family practice the escape plan at least twice a year.
Space Heaters Need space
Keep portable space heaters at least 3 feet (1 meter) from paper, curtains, furniture, clothing, bedding, or anything else that can burn. Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed, and keep children and pets well away from them.