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News & Information

COVID-19 Updates

As you know, there are a number of wage replacement programs available to you including, administrative leave, (CARES) EPSLA, and the NY State NYSCPSL.  These programs were implemented on different dates with slightly different eligibility requirements and rates of wage replacement.  This has caused some confusion amongst our members and in some instances has been misapplied by the Authority.  If you have been quarantined and/or contracted COVID-19 and were forced to use your accrued leave to cover the absence we ask that you contact your chairperson so that we can verify that you were paid correctly.

We have filed a grievance regarding the MTA’s application of the 10-day paid administrative leave for members who have been quarantined more than once due to their close contact with an employee who has tested position of COVID-19.  The Authority is taking the position that administrative leave for this purpose only applies once to each employee.  We disagree with their position.  An arbitration hearing was held and at the direction of the arbitrator the parties are currently trying to come to an agreement on this issue.  If you have been quarantined more than once for being in close contact with an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 and were forced to use your accrued leave balances to cover your quarantine please contact your chairperson immediately.

It has been our position that any member who has contracted COVID-19 and was currently working before they tested positive for the virus the presumption is that you contract it on the job and is therefore a work-related illness. Any members who have tested positive for COVID-19 should contact Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano to discuss their case.

In April we signed an agreement with the Authority that included our members in the 500k line of duty death benefit.  In May the Governor signed into law the COVID-19 Death Benefit legislation granting new accidental death benefits to the beneficiaries of members who died after contracting COVID-19. In July these benefits were added to the OA Pension Plan and the MTA DB Pension Plan.

New TSO Dental Plans Approved

After years of negotiations and persistence the MTA Board finally approved our enhanced dental plans at the June 24th Board Meeting. 

As part of the selection committee and with the help of our consulting team we were able to negotiate a far superior plan design for both the PPO and DHMO plans, increase the annual individual and family maximums, include coverage for dependent children up to age 26 regardless of their educational status, and include dental implant coverage.  We are the first group of employees to have dental implant coverage as part of our no cost to the member dental insurance.

We are very excited to have Cigna as both our PPO and DHMO provider.  Cigna has a vastly greater national network of providers for both plans.  This will provide greater access to in-network dentists for our members and retirees who live outside the metropolitan area.  Greater access and maximizing the number of dentist overlap from the current providers to our new plan providers was our top priority and made Cigna our number one choice.

We are working with Employees Benefits and Cigna on how the member enrollment will be implemented and hope to have the new plans in place by October 1st.

We will update this webpage as more information becomes available.

MTA Forces Union to File for Impasse

Our pre-pandemic bargaining position was that we were going to combine the current 28-month (2018 - 2020) contract with the then recently settled Local 100 four-year agreement.  But in early March with the pandemic just taking root in NYC and not knowing the potential financial impact it might have on the MTA budget, we abandoned the 76-month strategy and focused on the 28-month contract.  However, in May labor relations notified us that due to the financial calamity the MTA was facing, they were “reevaluating” their bargaining position with all the unions who were currently without a contract agreement in place.  

 

Since that time, I have sent numerous correspondences to the MTA Chairman and appeared before the MTA Board in both June and July.  We have been trying to convince them that the two pattern raises in our 28-month contract have already been budgeted and accounted for in the 2018 and 2019 MTA budgets.  In both those fiscal years, the MTA ended up with year-end cash surpluses that were carried over to the following budget years.  These raises predate the pandemic and the financial calamity it has caused on the 2020 and 2021 MTA budgets.

 

This is the same position the MTA took in 2011 in the aftermath of the "2008 Great Recession."  At that time, the MTA argued that due to the financial impact caused by the Great Recession they didn’t have the ability to pay the wage increases set by Local 100 and shouldn't be bound by pattern bargaining.  This triggered three very long and costly interest arbitration proceedings, which in the end resulted in the MTA losing each and every arbitration decision. In all the decisions, the arbitrators upheld the longstanding and fundamental doctrine of pattern bargaining and rejected the MTA’s arguments on their ability to pay the raises set by Local 100.  As the late great arbitrator George Nicolau opined in the ATU 726 award, “…it’s the ability to pay, not the desire to pay.”

Therefore, even though the MTA may not have the desire to use the funding mechanisms available to them to pay these wage increases in the 2018 – 2020 contracts, we believe there is no question that the MTA does have the ability to pay for the raises.

 

At this time, the MTA is still refusing to bargain with us in good faith, leaving us no other choice but to again file for impasse for the OA/TA Queens and MTA Bus contracts.  We will update the website as additional information becomes available.

IRS issues changes that affect Flexible Spending Account (FSA) elections

Due to the impact of COVID-19, participants may change their Health Care FSA and Dependent Care FSA elections for the rest of the 2020 plan year without needing to provide a reason to do so.  Options include  revoking an election so that no further salary reduction contributions will be required, changing the annual election amount and making a new election when none was made during open enrollment.

FSA Notice

Form 052

Form 052a

Former TSO President Michael Collins Passes Away

Former TSO President, Michael Collins passes away at age 87.

Mike lead the TSO from 1976 to 1997.  He was responsible for organizing the TA Queens Unit, Career and Salary Unit, Coin Retriever Technicians and the Station Supervisor Level II Unit.  He was the first modern day TSO President to organize TA employees and greatly expanded our membership.  Our most heartfelt condolences go out to his family.

NYC Announces Universal COVID Testing

What to Know

  • The city has announced universal COVID-19 testing for all New Yorkers, courtesy of the Test & Trace Corps initiative
  • The initiative, which launched Monday, will allow New York City to safely care for those who test positive for the virus, and then rapidly track, assess, and quarantine anyone they came into contact with and may have infected
  • New York City contact tracers hired to contain the spread of the coronavirus reached out to all of the roughly 600 people who tested positive for the virus citywide on Monday, the first day of the program, and succeeded in reaching more than half of them, officials said Tuesday

The city has announced universal COVID-19 testing for all New Yorkers, courtesy of the Test & Trace Corps initiative.  The initiative, which launched Monday, will allow New York City to safely care for those who test positive for the virus, and then rapidly track, assess, and quarantine anyone they came into contact with and may have infected. 

Any New Yorker can now get tested at one of the over 150 testing sites citywide.  New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/CovidTest or call 311 to find the sites nearest them. 

Additionally, to ensure the Corps can meet the diverse needs of New Yorkers from all backgrounds, 40 distinct languages are spoken by tracers across the Corps.

Govenor Cuomo Signs Covid-19 Death Benefit Bill

Legislation granting new accidental death benefits to public workers who died after contracting COVID-19 was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo today.

The pension legislation enables a beneficiary to receive half-salary payments for life. That could be much more advantageous than the other applicable option in New York State pension law: up to three years’ pay in one lump sum. Both options are in addition to the $500,000 per transit family that the TWU secured in negotiations with the MTA.

 

We would like to thank Assemblyman Peter Abbate and Sen. Andrew Gounardes for introducing the accidental death benefit legislation in the state Assembly and Senate.
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