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

There were 57 applicants for the AFFI scholarships this year.  All of the candidates were very strong.  Congratulations to our winners.  The AFFI wishes the very best to each candidate as they continue their education.

 

$1000 Winner Parent Local
Michelle Cano Eric Hall Bloomington #49
Ashlyn Klecka Gary Klecka Elmhurst #3541
Nicholas Minnito Dominic Minnito Joliet #44
$500 Winner Parent Local
Alexis Darby John Darby Danville #429
Michael Morris Robert Morris Chicago #2
Carl Reina Carl Reina Berwyn #506
Morgan Ruden Eric Ruden East Alton #2333

 

Resolution #2018-12, resolved:  that a fund be established to provide a $1000 scholarship to dependents of our fallen as they graduate high school and enter an accredited post high school College, Vocational, or Trade School.  Andrew Capuano, dependent of Daniel Capuano from Chicago Local 2 will receive $1000.  Daniel gave his life on 12/14/2015 while battling a warehouse fire.

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

The General Assembly has continued to meet over the last 4 days to prepare and pass emergency legislation as well as a budget while operating in very austere conditions.

I am extremely proud to report to you that HB 2455 Senate Amendment 2 has passed both chambers and is expected to be signed by Governor Pritzker. With the passage of this amendment our AFFI members, as well as all other first responders and essential workers in Illinois, will have COVID-19 specifically listed as a rebuttable presumption illness within the Worker’s Occupational Diseases Act. Just as importantly, members with less than 5 years of employment are also covered for this specific virus.

Also within HB 2455, Chicago firefighters (who are not covered by work comp and instead have contractual language) were provided a benefit that a member’s COVID-19 related death is rebuttably presumed to have been duty related and the beneficiary will be entitled to 75% of the deceased member’s annuity.

Your AFFI has also been successful in extending the Public Employee Disability Act (SB 471 House Amendment 3) time frame by 60 additional days for those members whose rehabilitation/physical therapy was suspended temporarily by the COVID pandemic, thus limiting their ability to become fit for duty and return to work. The Governor is expected to sign this bill as well.

The AFFI worked closely with Leaders Jay Hoffman and Kathy Willis as well as the Illinois AFL-CO and others to ensure our voice was heard.

As always, if you have questions or concerns please contact your AFFI District Legislative Representative.

Northern District Legislative Representative Eddy Crews
1(815) 353-8175

Central District Legislative Representative Jeff Maher
1(309) 313-4899

Southern District Legislative Representative Richard Martin
1(618) 791-9245

In Solidarity,

Chuck Sullivan, President
Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois