NYC’s LABOR PARADE RETURNS to FIFTH AVENUE on SATURDAY SEPT. 10
You’re invited to the Workers Leading, Workers Rising Labor Day Parade and March on Saturday, September 10 with Grand Marshal U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. The parade kicks off from Fifth Avenue and East 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan. DC 37 and its locals will assemble on East 46th St. between Fifth and Vanderbilt Avenues and will march at 12 noon. Wear your DC 37 green t-shirt. Members should register to march at the following link: www.mobilize.us/afscmedc37/event/487871. Let’s show New York City that we demand a new contract NOW!
We encourage anyone seeking seated accommodations to join us at the Grand Stand located at East 63rd & Fifth Avenue.
NOW AVAILABLE: HEALTH CARE WORKER BONUS
DC 37 fought to create a fund for essential pay for members on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York State Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus covers the vesting period from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2024. The program pays bonuses of up to $3,000 to eligible full and part-time employees, temporary and contracted workers. Read more about the bonus program HERE.
Employers must submit an application on behalf of eligible employees. Bonuses will be paid in December 2022. The union cannot answer any questions about specific titles at this time. For program details, please contact the Health Care Worker Bonus (HWB) Call Center at 866-682-0077.
The state has indicated that the program will expand to Education sector employers in October.
DC 37 will continue fighting at the bargaining table for essential pay for all members who have continuously worked during the pandemic.
WHAT’S AHEAD FOR CITY PARKS WEBINAR, SEPT. 16
You are invite to attend a special webinar hosted by DC 37, the parks advocacy group Play Fair Coalition and City Council Parks Committee Chair Shekar Krishnan on Friday, Sept. 16 from 4 to 5 PM on Zoom. The webinar will feature NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, who will discuss the NYC Parks Department’s vision for parks as critical infrastructure and the 2023 NYC Parks budget. Also Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, will discuss the New York State $4.2 billion Clean Water Clean Air Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act.
New York State has had two primary elections in the last two months, and most of our endorsed candidates won their races. THANK YOU to all of our members who helped us phone bank and door knock, as well as everyone who voted! But we aren’t done: The NYS general election will be held Tuesday, Nov 8. Never volunteered before? No worries! Volunteering is easy and rewarding. We’ll make sure you have everything you need for a great experience. Sign up today, click HERE!
HEALTH and WELLNESS
COVID-19 INFORMATION, COVID-19 ADVISORY, and VACCINE MANDATE UPDATE
DC 37 wants to help members stay safe in Year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is still present and we must work together to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants, including Omicron and BA-5, the sub-variant driving the most recent COVID-19 surge.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, DOHMH, recently shared an advisory that recommends indoor masking citywide to lessen COVID-19 spread. DOHMH urges people over 50 to get the second COVID-19 vaccine booster. DOHMH advises individuals to continue to follow precautions and do their part to help stop the spread:
Wear a high-quality mask indoors and in crowds outdoors
Get vaccinated and boosted
Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
If you feel sick stay home
If you test positive, consult your healthcare provider
City employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors in public spaces, but it is not mandated. Read the advisory HERE. For questions please call the DC 37 COVID-19 hotline at 212-815-1100. For information on COVID-19 protocols for City employees, including the DCAS Commissioner Directive for Face Coverings, COVID-19 vaccine mandate, COVID testing sites for City employees, NYS worker’s compensation and short-term disability, and FEMA COVID-19 burial assistance, click HERE.
MONKEYPOX: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The World Health Organization, WHO, recently declared the Monkeypox outbreak a global health crisis. New York City is the epicenter for Monkeypox with the highest number of cases in the U.S. Mayor Adams and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan declared the rise in Monkeypox transmissions in NYC a public health state of emergency. In August the federal government followed suite, which will increase funding and services.
Monkeypox, or Orthopoxvirus, is a rare viral disease that does not occur naturally in the U.S. Cases in this country have been associated with international travel or importation of animals from areas where the disease is more common.
Transmission is through direct contact with the sores or rash of someone infected with Monkeypox. The risk of exposure through intimate contact is increasing. It can also spread by contact with bedding, clothing and other items, as well as by respiratory droplets during face-to-face contact with someone with the virus.
Symptoms generally appear within two weeks but as long as 21 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. The most common symptoms are rashes and sores that appear on the face, inside the mouth, on hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus. Most cases result in mild symptoms. Even with mild illness, the rash and sores can be itchy and painful and can last for two to four weeks.
If you are experiencing symptoms, isolate immediately and consult your healthcare provider. If you do not have a health care provider, you can contact NYC Health and Hospitals for services. Only a healthcare provider can conduct testing.
The JYNNEOS vaccine is available by appointment and supplies are limited.
The City opened Monkeypox vaccination clinics in the boroughs:
Bushwick Education: 440 Irving Avenue in Brooklyn
Aviation High School: 45-30 36th Street in Queens
Bronx High School of Science: 75 W 205th Street in the Bronx
The Livonia, 506 Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn
The Jefferson: 1300 Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn
Long Island City: 5-17 46th Road in Queens
Kings County Hospital: 686 New York Avenue in Brooklyn
Gotham Health, Gouverneur Hospital: 227 Madison Street in Manhattan
DOHMH will also be adding a clinic at Times Square (136 W. 42nd Street).
New Yorkers can text the word “MONKEYPOX” to 692692 to receive updates on vaccine
appointment availability, call 877-VAX-4NYC. Two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart are recommended. For more information, click HERE.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that grows in warm water. It cannot be spread or transmitted by person-to-person contact. Legionnaires’ is spread by breathing in the water vapor (mist) from cooling towers, saunas, and hot tubs. Drinking cold water from the faucet does not transmit Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ causes flu-like symptoms that are treated with antibiotics. There is no vaccine available. The outbreak in Highbridge, Bronx, resulted in two fatalities and 24 cases. DOHMH contained the outbreak that ended on June 18, 2022. For information click HERE.
FREE FLU SHOTS for CITY EMPLOYEES
The City and its unions offer free flu shots to municipal employees and their families. All employees, dependents, and pre-Medicare retirees eligible for New York City health benefits are covered to receive a flu vaccination at no-cost. For more information, and to book your flu shot at a WorkWell NYC clinic, visit on.nyc.gov/wwnycflu.
DC 37 COMMITTEE EVENTS
All District Council 37 Committees will resume meetings in September. Please check the meeting schedule in Upcoming Events at www.dc37.net.
DC 37 LATINO HERITAGE VIRTUAL OPENING NIGHT, SEPT. 9
The newly renovated DC 37 Dental Center at 115 Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan is a 30-seat facility that offers advanced dental and periodontal care and full-service dental care to members, retirees, and their dependents. The center accepts appointments Mon. to Fri., 8 AM to 6 PM and Sat., 8 AM to 5 PM. To schedule a visit, please call 212-766-4440.
SEPTEMBER is MSK CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
DC 37 is concerned about your and your family’s health and wants to ensure you and your family have the resources to navigate cancer treatment. MSK has the largest pediatric program in the country, MSK Kids. MSK Kids offers unparalleled expertise and treatment approaches for children, teenagers, and young adults with cancer, immune deficiencies, and blood disorders, often not available anywhere else. With MSK Direct, you have access to care for your whole family, including MSK Kids whose sole focus is caring for children, teenagers, and young adults with cancer and related diseases.
To read a MSK Direct partner’s experience with MSK Kids when his child was diagnosed with cancer, click HERE.
DC 37 and Memorial Sloan Kettering have partnered to help union members and their loved ones screen for cancer and receive care. You can contact an MSK Direct care advisor through the DC 37 dedicated phone line at 833-786-3365. For personalized screening recommendations, resources and tips on how to lower your risk for cancer, click HERE. If you or a family member are impacted by cancer and would like to discuss treatment options, please visit the MSK webpage or call 833-786-3365.
MELS MEDICAID PLANNING WEBINAR, SEPT. 21
MELS, the Municipal Employees Legal Services, will host a webinar, Basic Introduction to Medicaid Planning, on Wednesday, September 21 at 5:30 PM.
Medicaid is the largest public health insurance program in the U.S. and it pays for over half of all long-term care services provided to seniors. For many individuals who require long-term care at home or in a nursing home, the Medicaid program has become the equivalent of instant long-term care insurance.
Elder law attorney Douglas J. Chu will walk through the steps necessary to become eligible for Medicaid, the basic income and resource rules, how the application process works, options for protecting your assets from Medicaid estate recovery and the new transfer penalty rules for home care services. To attend, please register at www.dc37mels.com or call 212-815-1111.
UPDATE: BIDEN CANCELS UP to $20K in STUDENT LOAN DEBT and EXTENDS FORBEARANCE to JAN. 1, 2023
President Joe Biden announced on Aug. 24 an income-based student debt relief program that forgives up to $20,000 in student loan debt. He also extended the CARES Act student loan forbearance through Jan. 1, 2023.
The U.S. Department of Education will forgive up to $20,000 in outstanding student debt for borrowers who received Pell Grants and up to $10,000 in student debt for those who did not receive Pell Grants. Loan forgiveness will not be treated as taxable income.
Individuals who earn less than $125,000 and couples who earn up to $250,000, in years 2020 and 2021 only, qualify for student debt relief. The U.S. Department of Education has income information on file for about 8 million borrowers who may qualify to have their college debts canceled automatically. Other borrowers will have to apply using a new, simplified application on the Department of Education’s website that should be ready to accept applications for student debt relief in December 2022. For more details click HERE.
The pause on direct student loan payments, interest accrual and collection activity on direct student loans in default will remain in place through Jan. 1, 2023, when payments will resume. The administration indicated this would be the final payment pause extension.
Members with questions about the extension and the student loan forgiveness program are encouraged to contact the DC 37 MELS Screening and Intake office at 212-815-1111 to speak with an attorney.
On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education temporarily waived a number of the requirements borrowers who qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) must meet. The waiver period expires on October 31, 2022. Required steps must be completed prior to that date in order to take advantage of the benefits of the waiver.
To take advantage of the temporary waiver (see below), borrowers who are employed full-time in public service who have indirect student loans (FFEL; Perkins) or who have been in repayment on non-qualifying repayment plans, or both, must consolidate their indirect loans, select an income-driven repayment plan, and submit the PSLF Employer Certification form by October 31, 2022. Doing so will allow the borrower to receive credit for prior payments made toward PSLF on non-qualifying repayment plans.
Use the 20-minute Help Tool at studentaid.gov/ to see if you are eligible for loan forgiveness, or visit PSLF.nyc to join a webinar or find one-on-one help.
WAIVER of the QUALIFYING REPAYMENT PLAN RULE
Under the traditional rules, to qualify for PSLF a borrower working full-time in qualified employment was required to make 120 payments toward their direct federal student loan debt pursuant to one of the four income-driven repayment (IDR) plan options: PAYE, RE-PAYE, Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment. Borrower’s switching to a qualifying plan received no credit for their prior payments. During the waiver period, prior payments made on non-qualifying plans will count toward the required 120 PSLF payments provided borrowers complete the steps set forth above prior to the deadline.
BORROWERS with FFEL and PERKINS LOANS
Borrowers with FFEL and Perkins loans (indirect loans) have an improved pathway to PSLF. Under the traditional rules, only direct federal student loans qualified for PSLF. Borrowers with FFEL loans and Perkins loans had to consolidate to a direct consolidated federal loan in order to qualify for PSLF. Payments made prior to consolidation did not count toward PSLF. During the waiver period, borrowers must still consolidate. However, provided a borrower consolidates during the waiver period and switches to a qualifying IDR plan, payments made prior to consolidation, will count toward PSLF.
For information on the appropriate steps to take, affected members and their eligible family members can call MELS at 212-815-1111 to speak with an attorney.
CHILD CARE SUBSIDIES AVAILABLE
The income thresholds for Child Care Facilitated Enrollment have increased to 300% of Federal Poverty Levels (FPL) and now have much lower co-pays. The increase means more DC 37 members may be eligible for subsidized day care programs for working families in New York City and Long Island.
The increased FPL for the Child Care Facilitated Enrollment Project is retroactive to April. On June 1, the cap on parental co-pays was lowered to one percent from 10% of a family’s income over the FPL.
The New York State Paid Family Leave benefit is 12 weeks. The maximum weekly paid benefit is $971.61 or $1,943 bi-weekly. This union-negotiated benefit is available to nearly all DC 37 members, including members in the six nonprofit and private sector locals. For details about the PFL benefit, please contact your union representative. To access the 2022 PFL benefits calculator, visit: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/PFLbenefitscalculator2022. For information on childcare and other programs for New York City residents, click HERE.
DC 37 EDUCATION FUND
REGISTRATION for FALL SEMESTER IS STILL OPEN
Registration for the FALL 2022 semester with the Education Fund is now available on the DC 37 website. For more information on classes still accepting applications, current schedules or to register for a program, click HERE.
EDUCATION AND CAREER COUNSELING
Do you need guidance selecting a class from our offerings, updating a resume or need assistance reaching a career or educational goal? To contact an Ed Fund counselor, click here to schedule a virtual appointment.
Expert advisors offer FREE one-on-one phone sessions on: academic requirements for specific jobs; choosing a CUNY campus and major; applying to and financing a CUNY degree; certificate and non-credit options at CUNY, transferring previous credits, and more. Each session is free and catered to your specific goals and needs.
Since January 2022, the High School Equivalency exam is the GED again. However, there are changes to the exam and the way you schedule your test. There are four subtests. In addition to Mathematical Reasoning, Social Studies, and Science, the Reading and Writing are combined in a subtest called Reasoning Through Language Arts. The good news is that passing scores from the tests taken between 2002 and 2021 count towards earning your diploma.
The main change is you must create your own GED account to schedule an exam. Information about the GED exam can be found at https://www.ged.com. The exams are primarily offered online and must be taken at an official GED testing center. DC 37 offers prep classes for eligible members online, in person and hybrid through our partner colleges. To register for a class, click here: https://ged.com/. For additional information, or to schedule an appointment with an Educational Counselor, email Patty Punch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET CERTIFIED AS A CNA OR EKG/PHLEBOTOMY TECHNICIAN
In conjunction with Hostos Community College, the Education Fund is offering classes to prepare members to become licensed Certified Nursing Assistants as well as licensed EKG and Phlebotomy technicians. Both programs have prerequisites (CNA requires a high school diploma while EKG/Phlebotomy requires a current and active CNA license). For more information and to register for the CNA program, click HERE. For more information and to register for the EKG/Phlebotomy program, click HERE.
CPA REVIEW CLASSES TO PREPARE FOR THE CPA EXAM
In conjunction with Monroe College, the Education Fund offers review sessions to help members who plan to take the Certified Public Accountant exam. This Fall, the review sessions will cover the Regulations section of the exam. Interested members will be required to submit undergraduate transcripts or other documents as a prerequisite for the course. All applicants must have 150 college credits, qualify to sit for the CPA Exam and have a bachelor’s or master’s degree to enter the program. For more information and to register, click HERE.
EARN A CISCO OR COMPTIA+ CERTIFICATION
In conjunction with Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), the Education Fund is offering courses that prepare members to sit for the following certification exams: CISCO CCNA, CompTIA A+, Network+, Linux+ and Security+. These courses will mostly be offered virtually with a handful of classes taking place at BMCC’s learning lab located at 25 Broadway in lower Manhattan. There are stringent requirements for this course including a recommendation letter, technical assessment and interview. For more information and to register, click HERE.
COMPUTER CLASSES OFFERED VIRTUALLY
The Education Fund offers various computer classes:
Introduction to Computers (click HERE to register and for more information)
Microsoft Excel (click HERE to register and for more information)
Microsoft Office Certification (click HERE to register and for more information)
Microsoft PowerPoint (click HERE to register and for more information)
Microsoft Word (click HERE to register and for more information)
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