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Don’t Lose Your Tax Break! Enroll in FSA Before It’s Too Late


It’s that time again – when the FSA enrollment period rolls around and you should start thinking about your eligible expenses.

Sponsored by the MTA, the FSA is a pre-tax benefit plan that enables workers to save federal, state and social security (FICA) taxes on money used to pay for medical and certain other expenses and dependent or elder care. The bottom line is that by using an FSA, you get your tax break upfront, parceled out over the year in the form of lower tax withholdings on each paycheck.

What: An FSA allows you to set aside funds for medical and dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis, thereby reducing your taxable income and increasing your take-home pay. The MTA sets up its account through the P&A Group and you can begin spending your entire year’s allocation on January 1, 2019. The MTA recovers any money you spend through 24 payroll deductions during the calendar year. There are no deductions withholdings for the first and last paychecks in the calendar year.

When: Open enrollment begins on November 1 and continues through December 15. Now is a good time for you to review the FSA guidelines (click here for a copy of the new FSA Enrollment Guide) and think about how much money you want to set aside for your additional expenses. You can set up either or both types of accounts, depending on your needs. The maximum is now $2,600 for Medical Expense Reimbursement FSAs and $5,000 for a Dependent Care Assistance account. The $2,600 maximum for Medical Expense Reimbursement is new for 2019.

What’s covered? Here are some typical expenses for which you can use your Medical Expense Reimbursement account: Co-payments for physicians’ visits, prescription drugs, glasses, contact lenses, and dental expenses that aren’t covered by your medical or dental insurance. To see what other expenses are eligible, check the list on the P&A website or call 800-688-2611 to ask a P&A customer service representative.

You can also set up a Dependent Care FSA to set aside money to pay for qualified child care and babysitting (when you’re at work), or for dependent care – such as for your parents or other eligible dependents in your family.

How do I use it? To make accessing your accounts even easier, P&A Group will provide you with a special MasterCard that works like a debit card and which you can use to pay for qualified expenses. If you have been participating in the FSA for the last three years, your card will expire and you’ll get a new card in the mail from the P&A Group.

A very important caveat: Because of IRS Regulations, FSA accounts are use-it-or lose-it, which means that any money left in your account after June 30, 2020 will be forfeited. Expenses incurred from January 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020 are eligible and you have until June 30, 2020 to submit them to the P&A. It doesn’t take a lot of bookkeeping to ensure that you don’t forfeit your money.

How can I track my usage? You can access your account balance at any time on the P&A website. You can also provide them with your email address and you’ll get an email every time you use your card or submit a claim. The email will also show your current account balance.

Remember: Open enrollment for FSAs for 2019 begins on November 1 and continues through midnight, December 15, 2018. If you are currently enrolled in this benefit program and want to continue, you must re-enroll. You can complete your enrollment online at or call the P&A Group at 1-800-688-2611.

Career and Salary Contract Agreement

I am happy to announce that the tentative agreement on the 2009-2017 Career and Salary Contract was ratified by the members on Friday, March 20th.

The contract will now go to the  March 25th MTA Board meeting for final approval.  When approved we will post more information regarding the implementation of the agreement.

  • RWA for Active and In-Active employees will be paid on June 18th on a separate pay check
  • All RWA deferrals must be done through the BSC Self Service Portal

RWA pay details will be available on the self service portal and will be posted the week of the RWA payments.

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Lawmakers’ Pension Overhaul


MAY 8, 2015 - Published by the NY Times

CHICAGO — The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday rejected changes that legislators made to fix a deeply troubled public pension system, leaving the state where it had started — with a significant budget crisis, a vastly underfunded pension program and no plan in sight.

All seven members of the state’s highest court found that a pension overhaul lawmakers had agreed to almost a year and a half ago violated the Illinois Constitution. The changes would have curtailed future cost-of-living adjustments for workers, raised the age of retirement for some and put a cap on pensions for those with the highest salaries. But under the state Constitution, benefits promised as part of a pension system for public workers “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

“Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law,” Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier wrote in an opinion. “It is a summons to defend it.”

Anthem/Empire BCBS Hit by Hackers

*** UPDATE ***

Anthem, Inc., the parent company of Empire BlueCross BlueShield, issued a press release today announcing that in the coming weeks a letter will be mailed to all current and former members, reaching back to 2004. The letter includes updated information on the cyber attack and advises members that they will be automatically enrolled in an identity repair program at no cost for two years as well as instructions on how to enroll in additional services, including a credit monitoring program, also at no cost for two years. Members can immediately enroll in this service by going online via or calling the vendor 877-263-7995.  Phone lines will be open from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday, and will be open 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET Monday to Saturday.  Spanish-speaking members may access information at, or receive assistance in Spanish at 877-263-7995.

Anthem’s Updated FAQ

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield warns of scam emails targeting Empire members. These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem (Empire’s parent company), and the emails include a “click here” link supposedly for credit monitoring. These emails are NOT from Anthem or Empire.
If you receive such an email:

• DO NOT click on any links in the email.
• DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.
• DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you have mistakenly clicked on a link in the email.
• DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with the email.

Empire also is NOT calling members regarding the cyber attack and is NOT asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.  Empire says it will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring. Empire has announced that affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services.

OA/CRT - TA Contract Implementation Update

****  UPDATE 3/6/2015****

Commuter Pass Applications have been mailed to eligible members.

If you have not received an application please call the office.

Below are the dates for the General Wage Increases (GWI), Retroactive Wage Adjustment (RWA), and Deferral Option deadline:

RWA pay details will be available through the self service portal and will be posted the week of the RWA payments.

We will post more information as it becomes available.

On Thursday, January 22nd the...

MTA Board Approved the OA &  TA Contracts

We will post information on the wage increase and retroactive payment dates as soon as that information is available.

On Friday, January 16th the...

OA/CRT Contract was ratified by over 90% of the vote

223 to 21

TA Queens Contract was ratified by over 95% of the vote

54 to 2

We would like to thank everyone who participated in the vote.

The contract will now go to the MTA Board on Thursday, January 22nd for final approval.  Once the contract is approved by the Board we will begin discussions on improvements to our dental and vision plans.

2013 - 2018 OA Agreement

2013 - 2018 TA Agreement

Arbitrator Restores 8 Hour Rule for Supervisors

Arbitrator, Howard Edelman recently issued a decision agreeing with the Union's position and restored how the Authority applies the eight hour rule to Dispatcher.  In February of this year the Authority unilaterally changed the way they applied the eight hour rule to Dispatchers and we filed a grievance.  After many Authority adjournments and delays the grievance was finally heard by Howard Edelman, and on November 6th he issued his award.  If there are any members who believe they were denied overtime because of the misapplication of the eight hour rule, please contact your Chairperson and let them know.

If you would like a copy of the award, please contact the Union office.

House approves bill to allow multiemployer pension plan benefit cuts

Trustees of financially distressed multiemployer pension plans would be allowed to cut participants' benefits to prevent the plans from becoming insolvent under legislation narrowly approved by the House of Representatives Thursday night.

Benefits could be cut if a plan is projected to become insolvent during a current plan year or any of the next 14 years, or any of the next 19 years if the plan's ratio of inactive participants to active participants exceeds 2-to-1 or if the plan is less than 80% funded.

OA & TA Tentative Contract Agreements

On behalf of our negotiating team (Thomas Burke, Dennis Bottomley, Phil Valenti), I am happy to announce that we have reached tentative agreements with the Authority on our 2013 through 2018 contracts.  For your convenience, I have listed below some of the Contract highlights. 

  • Wage increases in every year of the contract with full retroactivity back to June 8, 2013.
  • Reduction in the 10-year member eligibility period for NYSHIP medical benefits to five years for current and future members.
  • Maintained current members’ health benefits contributions.
  • Dental and Vision Improvements.
  • All members will now be enrolled in the same Supplemental Dental and Vision Plans.
  • Increases in the Life Insurance benefit from $5,000 to $25,000.
  • Guaranteed 12-day sick advancement every May 1st.
  • Changes in the current OA lay-off language from time of hire to time in supervisor title.
  • Option of cashing-out up to five weeks of vacation at the time of retirement.
  • LIRR or Metro North commuter passes for members living outside of the five boroughs.
  • Members with less than 50% of their potential may now be eligible for a sick leave cash-out at the time of their separation (Pilot Program).
  • Increase the AVA and OTO caps.
  • Death in Family to include Step Children.
  • Discipline Reduction Language that provides for the removal of certain disciplinary actions from your record.

We believe this is a fair and balanced agreement that addresses our members’ priorities, concerns, and needs.  This agreement also corrects some longstanding contract terms that were unfair and inequitable to some of our members.  If you have any questions on the tentative agreement, please contact your Chairperson, or the Union Office.

Complete OA MOU

Complete Queens MOU

Maximum Award To Mechanic’s Survivors Due to Diesel Fumes

By SARAH DORSEY | Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 5:15 pm

A former Bus Mechanic’s death from lung cancer was deemed by a Judge to be related to his 28 years working amid heavy diesel fumes in a Metropolitan Transportation Authority garage, in what his widow’s attorneys believe is the first legal case to establish a link between occupational exposure to diesel emissions and cancer.

Ebola Guidance

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), has released a three-page guidance document on Ebola Virus Disease and how workers can protect themselves. We recently met with management to discuss the MTA's readiness plan.  MTA has released the following information and guidance.

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