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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.

Temporary Suspension of the 30-Day Filing Requirement

*** Up-date ***

At the May 20th MTA Board Meeting the filing waiver was extended to June 7, 2020.


This is to announce that MTA Senior Management has agreed to implement the principles of the Governor’s Executive Order 202.18, issued April 16, 2020, allowing for immediate service retirements in the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS). This means that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Defined Benefit Pension Plan (MTA DB) provisions requiring a member to file their retirement application at least 30 days in advance of retirement, will be waived for the period April 16, 2020 through May 16, 2020. If the waiver period is extended by the Governor or the State Comptroller, the MTA DB Plan will extend the waiver for the concurrent period.

The effect of the waiver is to allow a member to file a completed application, and retire the next day or a date in the future. The intent of the waiver is to recognize the immediate health circumstances affecting our members during the pandemic crisis. To further assist members and their families, they will allow completed applications to be filed by paper application, or by email to MTADBPlan@mtahq.org, as long as the original hard copy is mailed to the Consolidated Pension Office.

Donate COVID-19 Plasma

If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Because you fought the infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies. These antibodies provided one way for your immune system to fight the virus when you were sick, so your plasma may be able to be used to help others fight off the disease

Transit Workers Eligible for State's Covid-19 Antibody Testing

We are pleased to inform you that the MTA is expanding their antibody testing program to include Northwell Health-GoHealth and BioReference Laboratories.

Beginning Monday, May 18th, you will be able to get a free test at 52 Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care facilities in the New York metropolitan region. You can schedule your test beginning today at www.gohealthuc.com/nyc or by calling 718-987-4893. Northwell Health-GoHealth facilities are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. on weekends.

BioReference Laboratories, which has been testing employees at various MTA locations, will continue to do so. To register for the tests, visit https://www.bioreference-appointments.com/mta. and select an available time slot at one of the identified testing locations. You must use Chrome, Safari or Firefox browsers to access this website.

Since April 29th, BioReference has tested approximately 7,800 MTA employees.
Individuals currently exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, dry cough, shortness of breath, etc.) cannot receive antibody testing. The antibody test provides the most accurate results when done 21 to 28 days after exposure to COVID-19. This is the time the body needs to make antibodies in the blood after exposure to the disease. All other asymptomatic employees who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 are eligible for testing.

All test results will be shared with the MTA and kept confidential, unless declined by the employee.  The Union is encouraging thier member to share this important information with the MTA to help guide their reopening decisions.

A message from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Regarding COVID-19 Exposure

*** Legislative Update ***

In the NYS Assembly and Senate our good friends Peter Abbate, Jessica Ramos and Andrew Gounandes, are sponsoring legislation that would make any COVID-19 related illness suffered by our members presumed be to an on the job injury. 


The attached document outlines the things you must know and do if you believed you were exposed to the Coronavirus in the workplace. You can contact their offices for any questions or need additional guidance.

The NYS AFL-CIO and the TWU International are leading the effort to get the NYS Worker Compensation Board to recognize that for tranist employees contracting and exposure to COVID-19 is an occupational disease.  Every members should contact the NYS Workers Compensation Board and tell let them know!

NYCERS POA Form

OA Pension POA Form

Citi Bike Critical Workforce Membership Program Extension

Lyft announced that Citi and Mastercard have partnered to commit $1 million to significantly grow the Citi Bike Critical Workforce Membership Program, making memberships longer and available to more workers.

More than 5,500 first-responder, healthcare, and transit workers have joined the program since it began offering a free month of Citi Bike rides in March. Now, the program will include full-year annual memberships and expand its benefits to include workers at critical food-related non-profits, as well as essential City of New York employees. The deadline for joining this new program has also been extended from April 30 to May 31.

To sign up for a free Citi Bike membership, follow these instructions by May 31:

  • Enter program code: P3F4PZ7D
  • Complete remaining steps to sign up. You will still need to put a credit card on file in case of any extra time fees incurred or lost bike fees
  • Verify your work email address
  • Click the link we send to your email to verify. (needs to be work email)
  • You can ride immediately using the Citi Bike mobile app to unlock a bike
  • You can also ride using the Lyft app by linking your new Citi Bike account within your Lyft rider profile

Union Reaches Agreement with MTA on $500K Death Benefit to Families of Transit Workers Killed in Pandemic

APRIL 14 -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, TSO Local 106 and the Transport Workers Union of America, have reached an agreement establishing a COVID-19 death benefit for members who died after being infected. Under the agreement, the MTA will pay $500,000 in a lump sum to the spouse, beneficiary or estate of each deceased member who was in active service on or after February 1, 2020.
 
"New York wouldn't have a fighting chance against this virus if transit workers weren't getting the blue collar heroes of this pandemic  - nurses, paramedics, food service workers   - to the front lines of the battle  all across the metropolitan region," TWU International President John Samuelsen said. "This COVID-19 death benefit is a recognition of the incredible contributions and sacrifices our workforce has made."

 
We would like to thank our International President, John Samuelsen for leading the effort to secure this benefit for the families of our fallen heroes during this unprecidented pandemic.
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