Uniformed Firefighters Association
of Greater New York
The Public Relations Society of America’s 2016’s PR Campaign of the Year was set in motion as result of an inadvertent gubernatorial veto in June 2009 that left new FDNY firefighters with just $27/day in total disability protections if they are paralyzed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
Starting in 2013, after a multi-year FDNY hiring freeze, City of New York began hiring over 2,300 new FDNY Firefighters, approximately half of whom are black, Latino, Asian or female. The Uniformed Firefighters Association engaged Butler Associates, which has represented the FDNY union for 20 years, to create and lead a highly visible 2015 campaign to restore full disability protections for all new and future FDNY Firefighters.
A strategy was developed to detail and spotlight how the lack of disability protection would negatively affect public safety along with new firefighters. Private interviews were conducted with more than three dozen impacted minority firefighters, as well as senior firefighters, whose stories were chronicled in an educational booklet Butler Associates created titled, “Correct FDNY’s Discriminatory Employment Practices” as well as two 60-second videos “$27 A Day” and “Recruiting Lies.”
The UFA held multiple high-profile press conferences and rallies including one with over 10,000 participants that shut down Broadway’s Canyon of Heroes another at the New York State Capitol featuring Governor Andrew Cuomo as keynote speaker. A #standwithbravest social media campaign served as a visual aid and call to action, with tens of thousands of supporters taking action including signing petitions.
More than 200 print, digital and broadcast earned media stories chronicled the dynamic UFA $27/day disability protection campaign. Some notable earned media outlets include: the New York Post Editorial Page, CBS News-NY, New York 1 News, Associated Press, New York Daily News, Politico New York, Newsday, Crain’s New York Business, Amsterdam News, El Diario and many more.
The campaign gained wide support of leading stakeholders including clergy, prominent political leaders and columnists. Over 100 key city and state elected officials also added to the continuous momentum of this campaign, via our #standwithbravest messaging.
The $27/day disability protection campaign created such momentum that the Mayor of the City of New York pledged to restore full disability protections for 2,300 New York City firefighters and all future firefighters. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in September 2016.
The campaign was named Best Business Outcome and Best Public Affairs Campaign of the year by the Public Relations Society of America – New York, as well as best in Public Affairs by PR-News.
2016 Best Business and Best Public Affairs Campaign - Public Relations Society of America (NY)
2016 Best Campaign - PRNews
Highly successful PR campaign resulted in legislation that restored full disability protections for all new and future FDNY Firefighters
$27/day disability protection campaign gained gubernatorial and mayoral support
High-profile press conferences and rallies included Governor Andrew Cuomo as keynote speaker and one with 10,000+ participants that shut down Broadway's Canon of Heroes