Recent News

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Gov. Hochul Halts Congestion Pricing in a Stunning 11th-Hour Shift

Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York announced on Wednesday that she was shelving the long-awaited tolling plan known as congestion pricing, just weeks before it was to go into effect.

“After careful consideration I have come to the difficult decision that implementing the planned congestion pricing system risks too many unintended consequences,” Ms. Hochul said, adding: “I have directed the M.T.A. to indefinitely pause the program.”

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Members Overwhelmingly Ratify New Contract

Local 300 members overwhelmingly ratified the new contract by 629 to 3. President James Golden said the votes were counted on Oct. 10.

Protect Yourself From Tax Scams

Tax season is here again and with it, new and creative ways for scammers to take advantage of honest taxpayers. The following are some of the most popular scams this year and tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.

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Union Notified of Payout Dates for Raises, Retro $, and Bonus

Oct. 31, 2023 - Local 300 was notified that all members in Mayoral Agencies and the Department of Education (DOE) will receive their Ratification Bonus on Nov. 24, 2023. Raises and retro money will be received on Dec. 8, 2023.

Housing Authority (HA) members will receive their Ratification Bonus on Nov. 16, 2023. The Union is still waiting to hear from the Housing Authority on a payout date for raises and retro money.

Health+Hospitals Corp. (HHC) has not confirmed any payout dates as of yet.

Local 300 has no more information other than what's detailed above. All payout dates are determined solely by the City, DOE, HA, and HHC. Our union has no input on payout dates. We will post another update as soon as we have more information.

Workers Want Unions: How States Have Strengthened Worker Power in 2023

Nov. 1, 2023 - americanprogress.org

Unions and collective bargaining increase workers’ democratic voice; raise wages and build wealth; and improve conditions for all workers. It should be no surprise that nearly 70 percent of Americans support unions, and support is especially high among younger generations. Despite the fact that workers want and need unions, decades of weakened labor law has eroded workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Yet, states have significant authority to build power for working people.

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A Labor Day Like No Other

Sept. 4, 2023 - portside.org

Labor Day 2023 isn’t like Labor Day 2022. It isn’t like any Labor Day of the past half-century.

The reason is simple: Labor law has changed.

Two Fridays ago, the National Labor Relations Board restored a good deal of labor law to its original purpose of enabling workers to bargain collectively for better pay and working conditions.

In its decision in the Cemex case, the Board ruled that when a majority of workers at a company or worksite affiliate with a union (something they could do by signing affiliation cards), the employer could either recognize that union voluntarily or request that the Board hold an election. If, during the run-up to the election or the election itself, the employer committed an unfair labor practice (ULP), the Board would immediately declare the union recognized and order the employer to begin bargaining with it.

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Treasury Department Releases First-Of-Its-Kind Report on Benefits of Unions to the U.S. Economy

8.28.23 - The Treasury Department just released its most comprehensive-ever look at the role labor unions play in the American economy with a new report by the Department’s Office of Economic Policy. The report represents one of the more than 70 actions implemented by the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, chaired by Vice President Harris. The report finds that unions play an important role in addressing longstanding challenges faced by the middle class – including stagnant wages, high housing costs, and reduced intergenerational mobility. In doing so, unions contribute to a more robust and resilient economy.

4 Tips to Protect Yourself from Scams

Summer is here, which means cybercriminals are ramping up their efforts to trick you into sharing your personal information. Here are four ways to protect yourself. Click Here to Read More >

NLRB Ruling Makes It Easier for Unions to Organize

It's about to get harder for bosses to use illegal union busting to try to stall worker organizing. In a new ruling, the National Labor Relations Board outlined what will happen now if employers try illegal union-busting activity. If workers want a union, and employers use illegal tactics in the run-up to a union election that could compromise the election — like firing union organizers, or retaliating against workers engaging in protected union activities — the new rules say workers no longer have to hold a fresh election. Workers will instead automatically get their union and employers will have to bargain with them. 

Read More Here >

Uterine Cancer Now a Covered 9/11-Related Condition


Uterine cancer is now recognized as a 9/11-related cancer, giving affected women access to World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and Victim Compensation Fund benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced.

The decision follows more than a year of research, discussion, and opportunities for public comment. It makes uterine cancer the 69th 9/11-related cancer — and the first to be added to the 9/11 registry in nearly a decade.

Despite evidence linking the disease to 9/11 toxins, uterine cancer had been the only cancer that wasn’t covered.
The final rule takes effect immediately, allowing the WTC Health Program — a federal program that provides no-cost medical monitoring and treatment for certified WTC-related health conditions — to begin covering treatment services as soon as possible for patients with certified WTC-related uterine cancers. The program, administered by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, is authorized for the next 67 years (through 2090).

Hundreds of women currently enrolled in the program have uterine cancer — a number that is expected to increase as women who don’t have another qualifying 9/11-related illness become eligible to enroll. Families of those who have died of 9/11-related uterine cancer are also eligible to seek compensation.

In the past few years, lawmakers, 9/11 survivors and responders, and advocacy groups have advocated for the addition of uterine cancer to the list of covered conditions. After extensive efforts and a recognition of the scientific data which supports the link between exposure to 9/11 toxins and uterine cancer, on Jan. 18, 2023, the WTCHP took the necessary step of adding uterine cancer as a 9/11-related condition. As such, 9/11 toxin exposure victims who are either experiencing symptoms of uterine cancer or have already been diagnosed with this condition, can seek medical monitoring and treatment funded by the WTCHP.

Prior to the WTCHP announcement, uterine cancer was the only cancer type that was not considered to be a 9/11-related health condition because early on, most 9/11 first responders who participated in research studies were males. Unfortunately, uterine cancer was not on the radar screen until the past five-to-10 years.
Now that the WTCHP covers all cancer types, no 9/11 survivor or responder who is suffering from uterine cancer – or any other cancer – should be denied medical benefits under the WTCHP.

The two-decade delay in recognizing 9/11-related uterine cancer has been costly for affected women who have had to pay for expensive treatments. Now that uterine cancer is on the list of 9/11-related health conditions, qualifying individuals who file claims with the WTCHP to seek medical benefits may also be eligible to seek and obtain compensation under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) that provides financial compensation to responders and survivors who have suffered extensively because of their conditions.

Some individuals with 9/11-related conditions cannot work, thus leaving a financial hole that may not otherwise exist (absent the diagnosis of a 9/11-related health condition). Moreover, the physical and mental pain and suffering associated with a 9/11-related condition warrants an award of financial compensation The families of those who died from 9/11 related uterine cancer can now seek compensation for their losses as well.

A statement from the WTCHP last May on the proposed rule change explained that exclusion of this particular cancer was due to “insufficient evidence” to support adding it to the list of covered conditions. However, an advisory committee this past November unanimously approved the recommendation to add uterine cancer to the list of diseases covered by the program for first responders and those close to the attacks.

Anyone seeking more information or a program application should go to www.cdc.gov/wtc/application.html

Updates on Medicare Advantage

8.11.23 - Judge Frank issued an order in the case brought by certain retirees challenging the implementation of the Aetna Medicare Advantage Plan. As you will recall, the Judge had previously issued a preliminary injunction preventing the plan from moving forward. There had been some concern about whether the City could appeal directly from the issuance of a preliminary injunction.

As indicated in his decision, the City’s lawyers obtained the agreement of the retiree group to have the Court issue a final order without any further briefing or proceeding to expedite the matter. The Court made no new findings. This decision allows the City to move forward with an appeal more expeditiously. In essence, this decision does not substantively change the status of Medicare Advantage. The City has indicated its intention to move quickly to appeal.

1.04.23 - The New York City Council has introduced legislation (Int 0874-2023) to amend the Administrative Code that would allow for choice in retiree health care plans and is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Unless this legislation passes, the arbitrator's binding decision to make the Medicare Advantage Plus Plan the one and only plan for retirees will take effect in July of this year. By passing the legislation, the Municipal Labor Committee can negotiate the rights of retirees to choose a plan from various plans that meets their needs.

12.15.22 -  Arbitrator Martin Scheinman issued a decision regarding ongoing health matters. In light of the delay in implementing the Medicare Advantage Plan and the hastening drawdown of the Stabilization Fund, the City had applied to Scheinman to enforce the 2018 Health Agreement. In the award, Scheinman finds that the Stabilization Fund has effectively run out of money and that the City and MLC should proceed to negotiate appropriate terms for an MA plan with Aetna within the next 25 days. Assuming terms are agreed upon, he directs that the MLC put that agreement to a vote.

Updates on Student Loan Forgiveness

U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Plan
6.30.23 - The U.S Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, blocked the Biden Administration's plan to cancel $430 billion in student loan debt that would have benefitted up to 44 million Americans. The decision favored the court's conservatives and was written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

The court sided with six conservative-leaning states - Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina - that objected to the Biden Administration student loan forgiveness program.

"Today's decision has closed one path. Now we're going to pursue another," Biden said at the White House, announcing steps being taken under a law called the Higher Education Act.

Under the plan, up to $10,000 would have been forgiven to Americans with federal student debt making under $125,000 who obtained loans to pay for college and other post-secondary education and $20,000 for recipients of Pell grants to students from lower-income families.

The administration said the plan was authorized under a 2003 federal law called the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, or HEROES Act, which lets the education secretary "waive or modify" student financial assistance during war or national emergencies.

Starting Sept. 1, after a 3-1/2-year break from repayments and interest accrual, both will resume, followed by the first debt repayments in October. While those are the most important dates to know, there are many more, including when you can enroll in President Joe Biden’s new payment plans and by when you need to enroll in autopay.


The Student Loan Payment Pause Has Reached Its Final Extension
Payments on student loan debt will resume 60 days after June 30, 2023, meaning all federal student loan borrowers will be expected to start making payments after Aug. 29. Loans will start accruing interest then as well.

This decision is part of the federal government's deal to avoid a historic government debt default by raising the nation's debt ceiling for two years. As part of this bipartisan compromise, the legislation includes the provision to restart student loan payments. The debt deal prohibits the education secretary from extending the pause on federal student loan payments without congressional approval. The end of this pause will affect some 43 million borrowers who, collectively, owe over a trillion dollars in student loan debt.

It does not, however, touch on another highly-watched issue for borrowers: President Biden's plan to erase up to $20,000 of debt for anyone who received a Pell Grant to attend college and up to $10,000 for borrowers earning less than $125,000. The fate of that broader plan still rests in the hands of the Supreme Court.

What is the World Trade Center Presumption Law?

The World Trade Center Presumption Law provides a presumption to eligible NYSLRS members and retirees who become permanently disabled and are unable to do their jobs due to certain conditions, that they can claim their permanent disabilities are the result of participation in World Trade Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations. The presumption will apply unless it’s proven the condition was the result of other factors.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, the presumption allows you to:

  • File for an accidental disability retirement in the future;
  • Have an existing disability retirement benefit reclassified as an accidental disability retirement benefit; or
  • Leave your beneficiaries an accidental death benefit.

    Your disability or death must be due to one of the qualifying conditions specified in the law.

Who should file?

You must file an Application for World Trade Center Notice (RS6047-N) prior to submitting an Application for World Trade Center Accidental Disability Presumption (RS6047-W)Even if you do not currently suffer one of the qualifying conditions, filing this notice will protect your right — and the right of your beneficiaries — to apply for benefits in the future.

Once you file a notice with NYSLRS, there is no subsequent deadline to file for an accidental disability retirement or retirement reclassification should the need arise.

For more information, Click Here >> 

In Other News

June 19, 2022 - thecity.nyc
New York City’s years-long effort to shift retired city workers to a cost-cutting health care plan was dealt a major blow Monday when the insurer in charge of running the plan announced that it is withdrawing from the deal.

The plan — which the city and municipal unions hoped would save $600 million a year in health care costs — would have been run by the Retiree Health Alliance, a partnership between health insurance companies Elevance Health, previously known as Anthem, and Empire BlueCross BlueShield. Read More >>

Juneteenth will be a paid city holiday for New York City workers beginning this year (2022).
Juneteenth is recognized as the effective end of slavery in the United States and is considered as the longest-running African American holiday. It became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, becoming the 12th federal holiday and first new one since Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As Juneteenth falls on a Sunday, city employees will be provided a paid holiday on Monday, June 20. 

Paid Family Leave (PFL) is now available to eligible employees of the City of New York. Local 300 members in HHC, Housing Authority, Department of Education, and CUNY should contact their Personnel Departments if they need to use this benefit. This PDF >> has more information on the Paid Family Leave, who is eligible, and how it works.

In a broad reaching development, medical billing practices and abuses of same were addressed by federal legislation called the "No Surprises Act" which went into effect Jan. 1, 2022. This new law establishes protections from so-called "surprise medical bills", which arise when consumers inadvertently receive care from out-of-network hospitals, doctors or other providers they did not choose. 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>.

The Civil Service Forum, Local 300 Newsletters

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