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NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan
November 2 Election
Labor Loses Longtime AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
New York Gets New Governor

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The NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan (PPO) 

The NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan (PPO) includes many health resources and benefits that Original Medicare does not offer, like:

A $0 copay for an Annual Wellness visit    .    National Access Plus, which allows you to see any doctor or hospital who accepts Medicare. You’re not tied to a provider network, and you pay the same copay or coinsurance percentage whether you provider is in- or out-of-network.   .     Access to SilverSneakers, LiveHealth Online and Special Offers from partners.     .     Please visit www.empireblue.com/nyc-ma-plus for more information, or call the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus 

NOVEMBER 2
GENERAL ELECTION INFORMATION

Registered voters do not need to show ID to vote, unless they did not provide identification with their registration. First-time voters must provide identification either on or with their voter registration application. If you have not provided ID by Election Day, you are still allowed to vote by affidavit ballot, but not using the poll site scanner.

  • Early Voting: Saturday, Oct. 23 – Sunday, Oct. 31    
          CLICK HERE > for Early Voting times by day
  • Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 2
          Polls Open 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

5 Statewide Proposals on the Ballot

  • Amending the Apportionment and Redistricting Process

    Would freeze the number of state senators at 63 and amend the process for the counting of the state’s population.

  • Right to Clean Air, Clean Water, and a Healthful Environment

    Will give every New Yorker the constitutional right to clean air and water, and will provide the tools for government to make sure it happens

  • Where Do I Vote? >>         |          Understanding the Ballot >>
  • Eliminating Ten-Day-Advance Voter Registration Requirement

    Would remove the current requirement that citizens be registered to vote at least 10 days before an election, which basically translates to same-day registration that is already permissible in many other states

  • Authorizing No-Excuse Absentee Ballot Voting

    Would remove the current provision on absentee ballots that requires voters to list a reason for requesting an absentee ballot, thus allowing New York to join 34 other states that already have no restriction absentee ballot voting

  • Increasing the Jurisdiction of the New York City Civil Court

    Would increase the New York City Civil Court’s jurisdiction by allowing it to hear and decide claims for up to $50,000 instead of the current jurisdictional limit of $25,000.

In Other News

Richard Trumka, the powerful president of the AFL-CIO who rose from the coal mines of Pennsylvania to preside over one of the largest labor organizations in the world, died Aug. 5, 2021, at the age of 72. Trumka led the AFL-CIO since 2009, overseeing a federation with more than 12.5 million members. Before that, he was secretary-treasurer of the organization for 14 years. But labor was in his blood from an early age. He grew up in a coal mining town in southwestern Pennsylvania. He was the son and grandson of coal miners and worked in the mines as well before and while attending college and law school. In 1982, at age 33, he was elected the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America, pledging that the then-troubled union “shall rise again.”

Trumka, while at the United Mine Workers, led a successful strike against the Pittston Coal Company, which tried to avoid paying into an industry-wide health and pension fund. Trumka never shied away from controversy in order to get results. In 1993, he led a nationwide strike against Peabody Coal. While he will be remembered for myriad contributions he made during his tenure, ironically, in one of his final acts, Trumka appeared on video at a rally in support of striking coal miners at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama. Workers there had been striking since April 1 for better pay and benefits. On Aug. 4, about 2,000 people attended a rally in support, at which time Trumka said, "I stand with my brothers and sisters at Warrior Met. I stand with you today. I stand with you tomorrow. And I'll stand with you for as long as it takes to win a fair contract." One day later, Richard Trumka passed away. His current term as AFL-CIO president was set to expire this year. While some reports say his retirement was widely expected, he had not announced his plans.

Liz Shuler, then AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, was elected as President and Fred Redmond as secretary-treasurer, becoming the first female to lead the labor federation and the first African American to serve as its second-in-command. 


August 24, 2021
Makes History As First Female Leads the State
Former Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was sworn in as New York’s first female governor at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, becoming the 57th governor to lead the state. She takes over mid-term for Andrew Cuomo who resigned amidst a sexual harassment scandal that surfaced last year and came to a head with a report released by State Attorney General Letitia James. When Hochul made her first formal address as governor later that day, she laid out her priorities, including a mask mandate and a vaccine requirement for all school personnel, along "with an option to test out weekly, at least for now." Other pressing issues included the state's eviction moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of the month, as well as reforming the state's slow-moving $2.7 billion rental relief fund and its $2.1 billion worker relief fund, as well as reforms to sexual harassment and ethics training procedures and policies for state employees. Read more here or here.

July 06, 2021
After weeks of waiting for the Ranked-Choice Voting system to run its course, and for 125,000 absentee ballots to be returned, Eric Adams has been declared the winner of the NYC Mayoral Primary and will now appear on the November ballot. Preliminary results released by the New York City Board of Elections showed Adams with a 1 percentage point lead over Kathryn Garcia, the former New York City sanitation commissioner, in the final round of ranked-choice voting. Garcia has not yet conceded, however. Read More

The SEIU LOCAL 300 CIVIL SERVICE FORUM EMPLOYEES WELFARE FUNDS now are covering Active and Retiree Members’ dependent children up to age 26. “In times when so many younger adults are having difficulty finding jobs that provide benefits, this additional benefit for our members will enable them to further assist their children in transitioning to the working world,” said James Golden, Local 300 President and Welfare Fund Chair. “Through years of prudent fiscal management by our Fund Trustees, we now are able to provide this extension from the previous age of 19.”

In order to be covered, members must have a birth certificate on file with the Fund Office for each child before any claims can be submitted. If you are unsure whether you have all necessary birth certificates on file, you can email the Fund Office your name, title, cell phone number, and personal email address, and we will verify if we have the necessary documents. This benefit started March 1, 2021, and is retroactive to that date for any expenses occurred beginning March 1. The extended age pertains to all benefits provided to members’ and retirees’ eligible dependents up to age 26 as defined in the SEIU Local 300 Civil Service Forum Employees Welfare Funds Books>.

June, 2021
After months of negotiations and a massive effort by labor to get the Early Retirement Incentive passed, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officially has said "NO" to opting in, leaving thousands of municipal workers up in arms. The disappointing decision comes after the mayor supported the legislation, which would have gone a long way toward helping prevent future talks of layoffs. For months, union leaders worked with the mayor during the pandemic to make sure the city survived fiscally, including an agreement that allowed delay contributions to union benefits funds. In exchange, the deal removed talks of layoffs.

During the pandemic, de Blasio repeatedly praised the city's essential workforce, telling the media that the city would not have survived without their dedication. Now that it comes time to make a commitment to these same essential workers, and give them the opportunity for early retirement, he has changed his mind. This reversal speaks volumes about NYC elected officials who should be recognizing the contributions of essential workers instead of making promises they cannot keep. We are more than disheartened about his decision, especially as the city tries to rebound from the fiscal crisis caused by the pandemic.

April 2021

The State Legislature passed the Early Retirement Incentive (ERI) in early April and Governor Cuomo signed it into law on April 19. The ERI would allow certain employees covered by NYCERS, TRS, and BERS to retire by increasing their pension benefits either by crediting them with extra years worked or eliminating the pension reduction usually taken when an employee retires before age 55 with 25 years of service. Chapter 59 of the Laws of 2021 provides the City of New York and the NYC Department of Education (DOE), the option to elect an ERI. Eligible members may not file for the ERI until the two entities have elected to participate, established an Open Enrollment Period, and the Open Enrollment begins.

The ERI law contains two retirement options, Part A and Part B. The Mayor, however, can deny the ERI to any individual or title deemed “critical” for revenue or public safety reasons. According to NYCERS, if Part A is elected, the Mayor and/or Chancellor will define what titles are eligible to apply.

With Part A, eligible members are given additional qualifying service credit for up to three years. With Part B, eligible members may retire without early retirement reduction factors and are not given additional service credit. Members can apply for only one, and must be in continuous active service (being on the payroll, on leave with pay, or on leave without pay for less than 12 weeks) preceding the Open Enrollment Period.

Eligible members choosing Part A must be eligible for service retirement, 50+ years old with 10+ years of service if not otherwise eligible to retire, or in a plan that allows for retirement at 25 years of service, regardless of age. In this case, the additional service credit provided by Part A of the ERI may be used to reach the required 25 years.

Eligible members choosing Part B must be at least 55 years old and have 25+ years of creditable service.

The NYCERS website defines the ERI benefit for Part A as one month of additional service credit per year of pension service with a maximum additional service credit of three years. Early retirement age reduction factors will apply differently based on a member’s tier, with age reductions prorated for partial years.

Tier 1: 5% per year prior to age 55
Tier 2:
Members 55 or older with 30 or more years of service: no reduction
55/25: 5% per year prior to age 55. Members with more than 25 years of service in a physically taxing title: no reduction
Basic Tier 2 62/5: 6% reduction for each year of the two years prior to age 62; additional 3% each year prior to age 60. Members with 30 or more years of service: 5% reduction for each year prior to age 55
Tier 4:
62/5: 6% reduction for each year of the two years prior to age 62; additional 3% each year prior to age 60. Members with 30 or more years of service: 5% reduction for each year prior to age 55
57/5: 1/30 for first two years prior to age 57; additional 1/20 per year prior to age 55. Members with more than 25 years of service in a physically taxing title: no reduction
55/25: 5% per year prior to age 55. Members with more than 25 years of service in a physically taxing title: no reduction

With the Part B option, eligible members can retire with an unreduced benefit. Part B does not provide additional service credit.

If approved by the Mayor, the ERI in NYCERS cannot start before June 30, 2021, and cannot end later than Oct. 31, 2021. The ERI in TRS cannot start before April 1, 2021, and end no later than Aug. 3, 2021. The open application period for both is expected to be 90 days, with a mandatory 14 day notification from members. All pension members would retire under the rules of their current tier and plan.

New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana, Tying Move to Racial Equity

After years of stalled attempts, New York State has legalized the use of recreational marijuana, enacting a robust program that will reinvest millions of dollars of tax revenues from cannabis in minority communities ravaged by the decades-long war on drugs. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the cannabis legislation on Wednesday, a day after the State Legislature passed the bill following hours of debate among lawmakers in Albany. READ MORE>

The SEIU Local 300 Scholarship Fund offers two $1,000 scholarships to either college-bound students or students already in their first year of college to help them pursue their academic goals. A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to one female and one male applicant.

Download> information and application.

Local 300 threw its support behind a New York State bill that would fully repeal the 100% rebate for the Stock Transfer Tax and keep the funds for the state, thereby raising up to $16 billion annually if actually collected. Local 300 joins dozens of other labor Locals backing the legislation at a time when the state is in a significant financial crisis caused by the pandemic that has devastated the economy.

President James Golden said that, from 1905 to 1981, New York State imposed a tax on the sale of stocks. However, the State began rebating the tax in 1979, and since 1981, the tax is now 100% rebated back to Wall Street. In the past 10 years alone, the total given back to stockbrokers is more than $100 billion. That’s why Local 300 signed on to a letter sent to the Governor and Legislative leaders letting them know that austerity measures like laying off 22,000 City workers are unacceptable when the state has alternative measures of securing an economic future.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. is sponsoring the bill in the Senate. He said revenues from the Stock Transfer Tax are generated by the volume and frequency of trades, with the tax ranging from 1.25 cents to 5 cents per transaction. For example, the tax raised on a $1,000 trade would be $2.50.

“This is a tax that would not impact the pockets of the average everyday investor because very few people have investments that trade with high enough frequency for this to make a difference,” Golden said. “Most of the general population who invests in the stock market does so for long-term gain, and does not play the stock market for daily gains.”

Sanders said it is Wall Street speculators who will be the most impacted and pay the vast bulk of the tax. When Wall Street was suffering years ago during the market collapse, New Yorkers bailed it out. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, and it’s the average New Yorker who is suffering during the pandemic while Wall Street is reaping in the rewards, the wealthiest 1% are crying poverty. The top 10% of American households, as defined by total wealth, owned 84% of all stocks in 2016, with 94% of the very rich reporting significant stock holdings of $10,000 or more in shares. That compares to only 27% of the middle class.

Rumors that Wall Street will leave New York State if the tax rebate is repealed are a myth. The New York Stock Exchange never relocated while the Stock Transfer Tax was collected in the state from 1905-1981. Additionally, the NYSE already has lower transaction fees than other markets.

The City has new dose 1 appointments available for currently eligible City Employees at the Queens and Staten Island vaccination workforce sites, both of which are ADA accessible. To sign up for an appointment to these City sites, click here:

Queens
John Adams High School
101-01 Rockaway Blvd, Queens, NY 11417
Hours of Operation: Monday-Sunday, 12 PM - 8 PM

Staten Island
Susan E. Wagner High School
1200 Manor Rd, Staten Island, NY 10314
Hours of Operation: Monday-Sunday, 12 PM - 8 PM

Proof of Eligibility
· All City staff must bring proof of City employment if visiting a City Workforce site. This can include an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or a pay stub.

· City staff who are eligible by virtue of underlying conditions or comorbidities will also be asked to provide proof of NYC residence and will be asked to sign a certification attesting to their condition during the appointment process or provide a doctor’s letter or medical information evidencing comorbidity

· City staff who are eligible by virtue of age will also be asked to provide proof of NYC residence and proof of age.
Please note that the City has implemented a Time and Leave Policy to ensure getting a COVID-19 vaccine is as easy as possible (full policy attached for reference):

· The policy provides up to two hours of excused leave per dose during work hours for travel (to and from) and administration of the vaccine

· Upon successfully completing both doses, the employee is eligible for three hours of comp time

· Once the employee receives each vaccination, if they experience a reaction they are allowed Excused Absence 

DC 37 negotiated to have the NYS Paid Family Leave (PFL) Law include all members covered by the 2017-2021 economic agreement. The provisions of the law also cover members in the non-profit and private sector Locals. The PFL benefit provides a way for union members to care for their families without jeopardizing their job security or health insurance.

In 2021, the PFL benefit increases from 10 weeks to 12 weeks. The maximum weekly paid benefit increases to $971.61 or $1,943 bi-weekly. PFL pays 67% of the employee’s average weekly wage up to the cap at 67% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage of $1,450.

The benefit also can be used while bonding with an adopted or fostered child, caring for a spouse, domestic partner, child/stepchild, parent/step-parent, in-law, grandparent, or grandchild(ren), or helping when a spouse, partner, child, or parent is deployed abroad for active military service. While on Paid Family Leave, the member can receive a partial salary, based on a statewide formula, outlined above, and continued health insurance. They are guaranteed the same, or a comparable, job after their leave ends.

The 2021 maximum annual employee contribution is $385.34 per employee. It is based on gross bi-weekly wages including overtime and may fluctuate from paycheck to paycheck. Employees earning less than $75,408 a year will not reach the maximum contribution, which is scaled to income. The rate is based on members’ utilization of PFL along with the scheduled benefit increase. This is an insurance based plan. All employees are in the plan in case they may, at some time in the future, need to use the benefit. Only employees who know they will work for less than 175 days, such as summer seasonal employees, will not have a deduction as long as they fill out a waiver form.

The benefit can be used at once, or by incremental full days, over a 12-month period. Full-time employees, who work a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week, are eligible for PFL after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees, who work a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week, are eligible for PFL after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.

The Civil Service Forum, Local 300 Newsletters

September 2019
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June 2019
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March 2019
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