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MTA Announces Free Flu Shot (Seasonal Influenza) Locations

MTA/NYCT will be administering free flu shots to all active employees at locations across the five boroughs. Click here for locations.

New TSO Dental Plan Implementation

*** UP-DATE - September 16th ***

THE DENTAL CHANGE FORM IS AVAILABLE BELOW

The new Cigna Dental Plans are scheduled to go into effect on October 1st.

Member can click here the look-up Cigna in-network dentists in our area.

Choose Cigna DPPO Advantage plan if you are mapped to the PPO plan

Choose  Cigna Dental Care Access plan if you are mapped to the DHMO plan

All members and retirees should have received the introductory letter the BSC mailed out last week. You should also receive an additional mailing from Cigna by early next week. Members who are currently in MetLife or the Dental Shop PPO/Fee for Service plans will be "mapped" or automatically enrolled in the new Cigna PPO plan.  If would like to remain in the PPO plan then you DO NOT need to do anything.  Members currently enrolled in Healthplex or American Dental DHMO plans will be "mapped" or automatically enrolled the Cigna DHMO plan.  All members mapped to the new Cigna DHMO plan WILL HAVE TO CHOOSE a primary care Dentist in the new plan.  Information on how to do this will be included in the Cigna information kit.  Cigna will set up a dedicated 800 number to assist our members during the transition.

The Union is suggesting that anyone currently or being mapped to the PPO plan should consider enrolling in the new DHMO plan.  There are no annual maximums and implants are fully covered under the new DHMO plan.

Click here for the CHANGE Form.  The form is also available through the portal.

Any member who would like to change the type of plan they are being "mapped" to (PPO to DHMO or DHMO to PPO) needs to submit the change form to the BSC by September 18th. 

We will post additional information as it becomes available.

*Members currently enrolled in the Hi-option dental plan (Emblem) will not receive the above mailings.  The Union has filed a grievance over the Authority's refusal to allow our members who are enrolled in the hi-option dental to enroll in the enhanced Supervisors Dental Plan.  We should have a decision from the arbitrator on this by September 21st.


2020 Election Information

The 2020 elections are less than two months away – with early and absentee voting starting as soon as the end of this month in some states. This will be a unique election for all of us. Social distancing will make getting out the vote look very different than usual. We’ve all adjusted to the new day-to-day of these challenges and we have learned best practices that we can apply to planning when, how, and where we will vote. Whether you are getting your ballot delivered to you through the United States Postal Service or you are planning to safely go to the polls, we want you to be prepared and ready to cast your ballot under these extreme circumstances.

Please click HERE for help navigating your way through this election:

The MTA Is Facing A Five Alarm Fire

The below appeared in the NY Times Op-ed by Patrick J. Foye and John Samuelsen on Sept. 1, 2020

As chief executive of North America’s largest transportation system, and as president of the country’s biggest transit workers’ union, we have had our fair share of disputes. But we agree on this: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing a five-alarm-fire — and the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate seems content to sit back and do nothing while it burns.

This isn’t hyperbole. The numbers are staggering: a $16 billion deficit through 2024, with $200 million in revenue losses every week. The pandemic has caused precipitous declines in ridership, fare revenues, tolls and subsidies. Pandemic-related expenses, like the cleaning and disinfecting of train cars, have soared.

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.

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.

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

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.

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