We are happy to report to you that SB 471 was signed into law today. As you will recall, in addition to the COVID-19 presumptive language that was signed a few months ago, we also introduced emergency legislation that would allow those members that are on Public Employee Disability Act (PEDA) to have a 60 day extension if their rehab or minor surgeries were interrupted due to the pandemic. Below is the exact language that the General Assembly passed and Governor Pritzker signed into law today. As always, please contact your AFFI District Legislative Representative if you have questions.

PEDA Extension Language

In Solidarity,
AFFI Legislative Committee
Richard, Jeff, Steve and Chuck

Dear AFFI Members,

The AFFI continues to monitor evolving issues and support our local affiliates with resources regarding the Coronavirus pandemic.  We have noted a significant increase in cases of AFFI members testing positive for the virus and others being quarantined over the past few weeks.

As you may be aware, some municipalities and counties are advising to self-quarantine after travel to so called “hot spots” in the US and abroad. We have become aware of some fire departments contemplating similar plans to quarantine their firefighters who travel. We do know of a couple of instances recently that involved direct transmission within our firehouses, possibly related to previous out of state travel. The AFFI, along with attorney Margaret Angelucci, has created two documents to assist your local with any discussions relating to travel that may arise with your employer.

You can access the COVID-19 Travel Information Document here.

You can access the Bargaining information regarding travel here.

This pandemic and issues related to it will continue for the foreseeable future.  As a reminder if you have any questions or require support please contact your District Vice President for assistance.

In Solidarity,
Chuck Sullivan, President
Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois

Here is information on another program available to municipalities.  Please make sure your city is aware of it.

Apply Today: COVID-19 Reimbursement Available under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program

Virtual applicant briefings will guide local governments, nonprofits and houses of worship through reimbursement process

SPRINGFIELD – To assist local governments, nonprofits and religious organizations recoup funds expended during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), and local emergency managers throughout the state, is encouraging entities to attend the scheduled virtual briefings to begin the reimbursement application process to receive federal funds.

“There are more than 1,328 known eligible applicants in the State of Illinois, yet only 159 have applied for reimbursement to date. We do not want anyone to be left behind in the recovery process,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “This funding mechanism is an economic lifeline for communities large and small. Costs eligible for reimbursement include, but are not limited to, overtime costs associated with the COVID-19 response, the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), testing supplies and equipment, housing assistance, purchase and distribution of food, and more. If you have questions about eligibility, we urge you to contact your county emergency management office today.”

Public Assistance (PA) is available in all 102 counties in Illinois where COVID-19 cases have been reported. Under the guidelines of the PA program, local jurisdictions can be reimbursed up to 75 percent of eligible costs for emergency protective measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to note that the Public Assistance program does not reimburse for lost wages or revenue as a result of the pandemic.

Additionally, the Public Assistance program is not for individuals or business owners affected by the pandemic. The State of Illinois filed for federal Individual Assistance; however, that request is still pending with the federal government.  In the meantime, the U.S. Small Business Administration has made resources available for individuals and businesses.  To learn more, visit the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunitywebsite.

This week (July 6-10), applicant briefings will be conducted virtually for potential applicants. These applicant briefings provide an overview of the program requirements and instructions for completing the required application forms.  Previous webinars can be found on the IEMA website to help guide applicants that are unable to attend one of the scheduled briefings.  For more information, visit the Illinois Emergency Management Agency website.

 

Attachments

The AFFI PAC has had three masks designed. With a voluntary contribution of $20 we will send you your choice of an AFFI mask. With a voluntary contribution of $75 you will receive an assortment of four specially designed AFFI Masks. With a voluntary contribution of $150 you will receive an assortment of 10 specially designed masks.

 

Please email office@affi-iaff.org to place an order.

Below is a press release from the Governor’s office regarding money for local municipalities for COVID related expenses. Please follow up with your local government employer to apply for these funds.

Illinois e-News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 30, 2020

PRITZKER ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES $250 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL RELIEF TO ASSIST COMMUNITIES WITH COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE

State will disburse federal funding to communities seeking reimbursement for emergency costs beginning in July

SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced the State will expedite a portion of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars designated for local governments by the federal CARES Act. Through the Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (Local CURE) Support Program, the State will take steps to deploy $250 million to local governments in the coming months. The additional state relief funds will help local governments secure reimbursement on eligible costs associated with the emergency response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

We know that Illinois municipalities, counties, and local health departments have stepped up to take on significant costs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – costs no one could have planned or budgeted for,” said Governor Pritzker. “From the beginning of this crisis, my administration has worked steadfastly to provide assistance and support to the communities hit hardest by this virus. While there’s no question that more federal funds are needed to support vital local services like education, the Local CURE Program will provide much-needed relief for Illinois communities until an agreement is reached.”

In the coming weeks, DCEO will administer funds from the Local CURE program to reimburse units of local governments in nearly 100 counties across the state. In rules filed with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, DCEO has developed a per capita and needs-based formula for allocating the Local CURE funding.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted budgets for communities and businesses across our state—forcing many local governments to choose between making community investments and doing what needs to be done to sustain an emergency response,” said Michael Negron, Acting Director of DCEO. “Over the next several weeks, we will establish a rigorous process to ensure this critical funding is distributed equitably and expeditiously, helping those communities hit hardest by the virus sustain their response.”

More than eighty-five percent of the Local CURE Program’s funding will be distributed to municipalities, county governments, and certified local public health departments. Remaining funds will be released by application to other units of local government. The application-based allotment will prioritize local governments serving disproportionately impacted areas, or DIAs, low-income zip codes that have had a significant number of cases of COVID 19 among residents.

In addition to Local CURE funds, DIA communities will also receive additional assistance as part of recently launched community assistance programs, including the $540 million Business Interruption Grants (BIG) and $25 million Rebuild Distressed Communities programs.

Costs eligible for reimbursement are defined by the US Treasuryand are those incurred due to the public health emergency response to the COVID–19 pandemic. These costs include public safety, public health, PPE materials, and more. In the coming weeks, DCEO will release a detailed process for local governments to submit eligible costs for review. Costs must be incurred since March 1, 2020 and may not be accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020.

“The local government response to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated unanticipated and significant expenditures to provide essential public health and safety services to protect Illinois residents,” said Joe McCoy, Executive Director of the Illinois State Association of Counties. “Local officials throughout the state greatly appreciate the work of the General Assembly and Pritzker Administration to provide significant funding through the Local CURES program. These critical funds are badly needed to help offset the costs to local governments associated with the emergency response.”

Only local governments outside Chicago-Cook and the collar counties will be eligible for Local CURES funding; Cook, DuPage, Will, Kane, and Lake counties have already received direct allocations Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars under the federal CARES Act.

“We appreciate the Governor and his Administration’s ongoing support during these unprecedented times for deploying programs from the Federal Cares Act to help those affected by the COVID,” said Jason Ashmore, President of the Southern Illinois Mayors Association and Mayor of Sesser. “We will continue to work with the Governor and his administration to address the economic shortcomings our communities and businesses have endured as a result from the COVID-19 virus.”

In a process that will begin as early as July, local governments will be able to make their claims and receive reimbursement on eligible expenses. Municipalities, counties, and local public health department allotments will be determined in rules. All other units of local government are being encouraged to review and submit for an application that will be made available on July 1 on DCEO’s website.

“As president of the Southwestern Illinois council of mayors we appreciate the work that governor Pritzker and the DCEO Are doing, to work with local municipalities throughout the state, to provide funding and reimbursement for cost incurred due to COVID-19,” said Mark Kupsky, President of the Southwestern Council of Mayors and Mayor of Fairview Heights. “As a local Mayor, all of our cities have incurred unplanned expenses Related to fighting this pandemic, so the funds provided by the cure allotment will help us with reimbursement of expenditures that our Cities have incurred.”

Since March, communities across Illinois have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19. A May 2020 report by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimates that local government revenues are down by $1.3 billion over last year. The Pritzker administration has worked over the past several weeks to marshal hundreds of millions for communities and businesses hit hardest by the crisis.

For more information on the statewide COVID-19 response, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov

Dear President,

First let me thank you for your ongoing support of our Executive Board and staff as we work through these unprecedented times. I also want to personally thank you for the support and faith in me as your President that was shown during our 43rd Biennial Convention last week. I promise to continue to work hard and advocate for every one of our 15,000 members across the state.

While we are speaking about the convention, I think it is important to note that many of our Executive Board members and staff, led by Secretary/Treasurer Tom Roate, put in an extraordinary amount of time and effort to produce a one of its kind virtual convention. I know that we are all very appreciative of their tremendous behind the scenes work and persistence to provide us with a forum to conduct business during this moment in time.

We know that this pandemic has wreaked havoc on each of you personally and professionally. Please know that the AFFI is here for you in any way that we can assist. Our COVID-19 committee continues to keep up with directives, provide guidance and do research on the latest information. On a side note, be sure your members are aware of the AFFI face coverings we are offering as a $20 contribution to AFFI PAC. We have placed another order and they should be arriving at the office in the next week or so.

We know that our local government employers have lost revenue over the last four months and the fiscal outlook could be bleak as we move through the year(s). We have provided educational links on our website.  In addition, to ensure your employer is applying for every grant or stimulus dollar available, you can visit the IAFF Preparing for a COVID-19 Economy page to find best practices.   We have also bolstered our data department within the AFFI to provide you and your District Vice President with multiple data sets and research in order to better assist you if/when you are called to the bargaining table.

I know your District Vice Presidents are in constant contact with you. They are your first line of communication to the AFFI and each one of them takes great pride in their district and their members. I have witnessed first-hand how hard they work on a daily basis. Please use them and never hesitate to contact them.

I also want to extend the offer to attend one of your union meetings, either in person or virtually, along with your District VP and Leg Rep as our schedules allow. Please know that this AFFI is here for you and we will continue to do everything in our power to represent your best interests.

Lastly, you will soon be receiving correspondence from me concerning AFFI committee appointments so please be on the lookout for it, and share it with your membership.

In Solidarity,
Chuck

AFFI LEGISLATIVE ALERT
Governor JB Pritzker signs HB2455

During the General Assembly’s three-day emergency session, the AFFI legislative team added all COVID-19 related illnesses to the list of rebuttable presumptions covered under the Workers Compensation Act. This includes a waiver of the five-year employment threshold for our newest members.

Description: An agreed bill as a result of negotiations between business and labor to address the unemployment insurance system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amends the Unemployment Insurance Act to allow the Illinois Department of Employment Security to capture 100% federal funding for extended benefits, continue the suspension of the waiting week, make non-instructional educational staff eligible for unemployment benefits during the summer months and academic vacation weeks, and amend existing rest stops for 2022. Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to allow the Illinois Works Review Panel to hold its initial meeting no later than 45 days after the effective date, allow payments of duty death benefits to surviving spouses of Chicago police and firefighters who die from contracting COVID-19 between March 2020 and December 2020, revise eligibility for workers compensation to include disease or injury from COVID-19 for first responders or frontline workers, and make changes to unemployment payments.

Action: Signed

Effective: Immediately

Dear Local Officer,

On behalf of the AFFI Executive Board and Staff I hope this communication finds you and your members safe and healthy.

As we continue to work through the global pandemic we are beginning to face new challenges.  Many municipalities are starting to feel budget constraints as this crisis evolves and are now looking to your membership to help mitigate these issues.

The AFFI is here to support our members and Local leadership through various resources including expertise in bargaining via your District Vice President, data exhibits, legislative efforts, and education.

We have created and posted new educational videos to assist you with concession bargaining, municipal financial analysis, exposures to Covid-19, and communications strategies.

We are also launching 2 new webinar sessions to provide further insights on the impacts of the pandemic in a broader spectrum.

Session 1 will feature Ralph Martire from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.  Mr. Martire will discuss budget impacts on a broad scale due to the pandemic.  There are 2 available sessions that you may choose to participate in:

Thursday, May 14th at 10:00am and Thursday, May 21st at 10:00am.

Session 2 will feature Professor Bob Bruno with the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations.  Professor Bruno will be discussing how essential workers are important to a vibrant economy.  There are also 2 available sessions to participate in on this topic:

Tuesday, May 19th at 10:30am and Tuesday, May 26th at 10:30am.

If you would like you to participate in either of these seminars please email the AFFI Office with your name, local, and which session(s) you would like to participate in.  You will receive a confirmation email with the link to join the session or sessions you signed up for.

Please stay tuned as we develop further educational resources for you to engage in over the following weeks.  Thank you for what you do on the frontlines in your community and stay safe!

Fraternally,
Luke Howieson, AFFI VP at Large

Check out our latest online education 

We are proud to announce 5 new online seminars. Newly added topics include Concession Bargaining, Financial Analysis, COVID-19 Exposures & Social Media Education.

 

When the call comes in about the next emergency, we are in immediate motion. From structure fires to vehicle accidents to medical emergencies, our firefighters and emergency medical technicians are often the first on the scene.

The coronavirus crisis doesn’t change our members’ desire to put their lives on the line to help others. It’s what we take an oath to do. But it does make everyone think twice as they head to the scene.

What if this patient is unconscious or there is a language barrier? How will we know if we are exposing ourselves and our families to this deadly virus?

In Chicago and other Illinois communities, there is a debate about providing first responders notice if a residential address we are responding to has someone who is COVID-19-positive. The reason is obvious: If we know the disease is present when we respond, we can prepare and wear extra protective gear.

Our association has urged its more than 15,000 members in 224 communities to treat each patient as having COVID-19, to protect themselves. But we agree with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul: Each community has the authority under Illinois law to institute these necessary protective protocols, and firefighters and emergency medical services personnel should receive these patient notifications.

The more information we have as we prepare to respond, the better the outcome for all involved. When someone calls 911 for help, we want to be able to administer the best care possible and keep everyone safe and healthy. We always have and always will respect everyone’s privacy. It’s one of the reasons why our profession is consistently rated as one of the most trusted and ethical in America.

 

— Chuck Sullivan, president, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, Springfield