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Are you and your family all set to participate in the 2024 elections? You may register to vote online HERE or check the status of your voter registration HERE.

NYS Election Calendar >>
NYS Voter Registration Deadlines >>

Beginning with classes, courses and workshops taken on or after January 1, 2024, eligible DC 37 members can now be reimbursed up to $1,500 by the DC 37 Education Fund as long as the requirements for reimbursement are met. Additionally, tuition reimbursement applications can now be submitted completely online.

For more information on the changes to the reimbursement benefit, please click HERE.

The next Lillian Roberts Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA) cohort will begin in March. This training program is designed to support and develop women who desire to assume leadership positions within their profession, union or community. Courses will be held on Saturdays, Mar. 2 to May 18.

To register for the next cohort, please click HERE.

The DC37 Education Fund is happy to announce the Green Jobs Training Expansion Program, a grant-funded training program for eligible DC 37 members to receive free, hands-on instruction in areas of need within the green economy and energy sector.

Training courses include Energy Auditing, Multifamily and Commercial Building Analyst, Carbon Accounting, LEED Green Associate, Energy Benchmarking and Construction Management. These courses and more will prepare members for certifications and licenses offered and recognized by the Building Performance Institute, Urban Green Council and Association of Energy Engineers.

If you are interested in more information on these courses and what this training can provide for you, please click HERE.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, a special election will be held for two legislative seats in our area. The DC 37 membership is supporting Tom Suozzi to replace expelled Congressmember George Santos in the 3rd congressional district. We need your help to elect a pro-worker candidate in this district! Can you join us for phone banking or door-knocking to spread the word about this important election? Sign up to volunteer HERE.

You can find your polling site for the special elections in the 3rd C.D. by clicking HERE.

Finding affordable housing in NYC can be challenging. Let the DC 37 Municipal Employees Housing Program help! We are proud to offer you our first Affordable Housing Webinar in partnership with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). We will be joined by guest speakers Ana Ramirez and Shaheem Taylor, HPD’s Marketing Outreach Coordinators, as we discuss how to navigate the NYC Housing Connect portal, register an account, and submit an application to open housing lotteries. We hope to see you there!

Saturday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m.
Register HERE.

Are you thinking of buying your first home but don’t know where to begin? The DC 37 Municipal Employees Housing Program is pleased to offer a virtual First-Time Homebuyer Workshop twice this month. Allow us to assist you on your journey to homeownership as we discuss the mortgage process, pre-approvals, debt-to-income ratios, PMI, FHA loans, conventional loans, and much more! Bring your questions and we’ll provide the answers. We hope to see you there!

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at 11 a.m.
Register HERE.

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 at 11 a.m.
Register HERE.

Registration for the WINTER 2024 semester with the union's Education Fund is available on the DC 37 website. You can find information on classes, schedules and register for a program by clicking HERE. Classes begin in January 2024.

Low pay compared to private-sector contributes to driver shortage.
City motor vehicle operators bring hot meals and supplies to schools around the city and transport bodies to the morgue. They also shuttle correction officers and other jail staff from the parking lot to the jail complex at Rikers Island and transport nurses and deliver personal protective equipment to the city’s public hospitals.

And they’re severely understaffed, which is forcing the drivers to work 16-hour shifts, their union said.

thechiefleader.com | BY CRYSTAL LEWIS
Click Here to Read More >

The DC 37 Education Fund has partnered with the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) to expand higher education opportunities to develop the next generation of union leaders. The Education Fund will cover tuition for four courses (up to 16 credits where applicable) in certificate and degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, excluding books and a one-time application fee required by CUNY. Eligible members may opt to participate in one of the following tracks:

• Undergraduate Certificate in Labor Relations
• Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Community Relations
• Graduate Certificate in Labor Relations
• Master’s Degree in Labor Studies

For information or to register to attend an information session, click HERE.

Are you thinking of buying your first home but don’t know where to begin? The DC 37 Municipal Employees Housing Program is pleased to offer our virtual First-Time Homebuyer Workshop. Allow us to assist you on your journey to homeownership as we discuss the mortgage process, pre-approvals, debt-to-income ratios, PMI, FHA loans, conventional loans, and much more! Bring your questions and we’ll provide the answers. We hope to see you there!
Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024 at 11 a.m.
Click Here to Register >>

Uterine cancer is now recognized as a 9/11-related cancer, giving affected women access to World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program
and Victim Compensation Fund benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced.

The decision follows more than a year of research, discussion, and opportunities for public comment. It makes uterine cancer the 69th
9/11-related cancer — and the first to be added to the 9/11 registry in nearly a decade. Despite evidence linking the disease to 9/11 toxins,
uterine cancer had been the only cancer that wasn’t covered.

The final rule takes effect immediately, allowing the WTC Health Program — a federal program that provides no-cost medical monitoring
and treatment for certified WTC-related health conditions — to begin covering treatment services as soon as possible for patients with certified
WTC-related uterine cancers. The program, administered by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, is authorized for
the next 67 years (through 2090).

Hundreds of women currently enrolled in the program have uterine cancer — a number that is expected to increase as women who don’t
have another qualifying 9/11-related illness become eligible to enroll. Families of those who have died of 9/11-related uterine cancer are also
eligible to seek compensation.

In the past few years, lawmakers, 9/11 survivors and responders, and advocacy groups have advocated for the addition of uterine cancer to
the list of covered conditions. After extensive efforts and a recognition of the scientific data which supports the link between exposure to 9/11 toxins and uterine cancer, on Jan. 18, 2023, the WTCHP took the necessary step of adding uterine cancer as a 9/11-related condition. As such, 9/11 toxin exposure victims who are either experiencing symptoms of uterine cancer or have already been diagnosed with this condition, can seek medical monitoring and treatment funded by the WTCHP.

Prior to the WTCHP announcement, uterine cancer was the only cancer type that was not considered to be a 9/11-related health condition
because early on, most 9/11 first responders who participated in research studies were males. Unfortunately, uterine cancer was not on
the radar screen until the past five-to-10 years.

Now that the WTCHP covers all cancer types, no 9/11 survivor or responder who is suffering from uterine cancer – or any other cancer –
should be denied medical benefits under the WTCHP.

Sara Director, a 9/11 legal advocate and partner at Barasch & McGarry who represents numerous survivors and fought for the rule change, was
quoted as calling the decision “a huge victory” for women who survived 9/11, as well as those who lived and worked in the area around Ground
Zero in the weeks and months after the attack.

The two-decade delay in recognizing 9/11-related uterine cancer has been costly for affected women who have had to pay for expensive
treatments.

Now that uterine cancer is on the list of 9/11-related health conditions, qualifying individuals who file claims with the WTCHP to seek medical
benefits may also be eligible to seek and obtain compensation under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) that provides
financial compensation to responders and survivors who have suffered extensively because of their conditions.

Some individuals with 9/11-related conditions cannot work, thus leaving a financial hole that may not otherwise exist (absent the diagnosis of
a 9/11-related health condition). Moreover, the physical and mental pain and suffering associated with a 9/11-related condition warrants an
award of financial compensation The families of those who died from 9/11 related uterine cancer can now seek compensation for their losses
as well.

A statement from the WTCHP last May on the proposed rule change explained that exclusion of this particular cancer was due to “insufficient
evidence” to support adding it to the list of covered conditions. However, an advisory committee this past November unanimously approved the
recommendation to add uterine cancer to the list of diseases covered by the program for first responders and those close to the attacks.

Anyone seeking more information or a program application should go to www.cdc.gov/wtc/application

Aug. 11, 2023: Judge Frank issued an order in the case brought by certain retirees challenging the implementation of the Aetna Medicare Advantage Plan. As you will recall, the Judge had previously issued a preliminary injunction preventing the plan from moving forward. There had been some concern about whether the City could appeal directly from the issuance of a preliminary injunction.

As indicated in his decision, the City’s lawyers obtained the agreement of the retiree group to have the Court issue a final order without any further briefing or proceeding to expedite the matter. The Court made no new findings. This decision allows the City to move forward with an appeal more expeditiously. In essence, this decision does not substantively change the status of Medicare Advantage. The City has indicated its intention to move quickly to appeal.

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July 6, 2023: On Thursday, July 6, 2023, Judge Frank issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) prohibiting NYC from implementing the Medicare Advantage Plan on September 1, 2023. We will keep you updated on any changes concerning this matter.

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Jan. 4, 2023: The New York City Council has introduced legislation (Int 0874-2023) to amend the Administrative Code that would allow for choice in retiree health care plans and is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Unless this legislation passes, the arbitrator's binding decision to make the Medicare Advantage Plus Plan the one and only plan for retirees will take effect in July of this year. By passing the legislation, the Municipal Labor Committee can negotiate the rights of retirees to choose a plan from various plans that meets their needs.

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Dec. 15, 2022: As anticipated, a third-party arbitrator issued his decision in mid-December regarding your health benefits and the fund that pays for them. He verified that the Healthcare Stabilization Fund has run out of money, and directed the City and the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) to finalize the terms of a Medicare Advantage Plan offered by Aetna to prepare for its implementation. The arbitrator’s decision also eliminates all options for retirees except HIP VIP and Medicare Advantage. That’s why I have warned for months that the Administrative Code must change in order to protect retirees’ choice in their healthcare plans. The time to act on Administrative Code 12-126 is now. 

Additional highlights of the decision:

● The City and MLC should proceed to negotiate appropriate terms for a Medicare Advantage plan with Aetna within the next 25 calendar days.

● If the MLC does not approve the Aetna Medicare Advantage plan, the matter would revert to the arbitrator for consideration of how benefits provided for by the Stabilization Fund are to be paid for, including the imposition of premiums on actives and pre-65 retirees.

● The City Council has 45 calendar days to amend the Administrative Code to permit retirees to buy into Senior Care, or Senior Care will no longer be an offering.

We’re at a critical juncture with a severe timeline, and we need your help to put pressure on those who have the power to protect city workers and retirees from shouldering premiums and losing the power of choice. It is clearer than ever that we need the City Council to update Administrative Code 12-126.

Actions You Can Take Now:

1) Call your City Council Member. Enter your address here to find your Council Member’s District Office phone number. Call and tell them: Protect premium-free healthcare for City employees and amend Administrative Code 12-126!

2) Write a letter to your Council Member. Click this link to send a pre-populated email to their office.

3) Share this message with your union sisters and brothers. Encourage them to join us and take action to protect our benefits.

You should also be aware that certain groups are spreading misinformation to convince you to contribute money to their cause. We have received multiple reports of active and retired DC 37 members being solicited for donations.

With your support and advocacy, we will navigate this next month Union Strong and come out even stronger on the other side.

Updates on Student Loan Forgiveness

June 30, 2023:  The U.S Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, blocked the Biden Administration's plan to cancel $430 billion in student loan debt that would have benefitted up to 44 million Americans. The decision favored the court's conservatives and was written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

The court sided with six conservative-leaning states - Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina - that objected to the Biden Administration student loan forgiveness program.

"Today's decision has closed one path. Now we're going to pursue another," Biden said at the White House, announcing steps being taken under a law called the Higher Education Act.

Under the plan, up to $10,000 would have been forgiven to Americans with federal student debt making under $125,000 who obtained loans to pay for college and other post-secondary education and $20,000 for recipients of Pell grants to students from lower-income families.

The administration said the plan was authorized under a 2003 federal law called the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, or HEROES Act, which lets the education secretary "waive or modify" student financial assistance during war or national emergencies.

Starting Sept. 1, after a 3-1/2-year break from repayments and interest accrual, both will resume, followed by the first debt repayments in October. While those are the most important dates to know, there are many more, including when you can enroll in President Joe Biden’s new payment plans and by when you need to enroll in autopay.

In August, President Biden announced a plan to provide one-time, pandemic-connected debt relief to more than 40 million Americans with federal student loans.

Since making the application available, more than 26 million borrowers provided the information needed to be considered for debt relief. Already, the Department of Education has approved 16 million of those applications.

But lawsuits filed by Republican elected officials and special interests are challenging the program, stopping our ability to discharge debt and accept additional applications. We are confident in our legal authority to carry out this program, which is why the Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to lift the lower court’s injunction against the program and suggested that if the Court does not do so, it could take up this case.

It is unfair to ask tens of millions of borrowers to resume payments on their student debt when they would be eligible for relief– if not for these lawsuits. Therefore, the pause on student loan payments and collections has been extended.

The student loan payment pause is extended until 60 days after the Department is permitted to implement the debt relief program, or the litigation is resolved. If the program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023, payments will resume 60 days after that. Borrowers will be notified before payments restart.

Visit StudentAid.gov to explore more affordable repayment options, other debt forgiveness programs, and more.

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 that is in development.

Students currently enrolled in college who have student loans and parents with Parent PLUS loans are eligible to apply for student debt forgiveness.

Borrowers with outstanding undergraduate loans can apply to cap their student loan payments at 5 percent of their monthly income.

The Department of Education’s website should be ready to accept applications for student debt relief in December 2022.

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. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation to expand and simplify public employee access to the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The law establishes uniformity around what qualifies as full-time employment for the purposes of accessing PSLF and allows public service employers to certify employment on behalf of workers.

PSLF is a federal program that incentivizes public service work by canceling a portion of borrowers' federal student loans. The program requires borrowers to be full-time employees of an eligible public service employer and make 120 qualifying payments towards their student loan, after which the remainder of their federal student loan debt is forgiven. Any student loan debt that is forgiven under this program will not be subject to tax under New York State tax law.

The new law (Chapter 562) addresses barriers to accessing PSLF by:

Clarifying the legal definitions of key terms such as, "certifying employment," "employee," "full-time," "public service employer," "public service loan forgiveness form," and "Public service loan forgiveness program;"

Setting a standard hourly threshold for full-time employment at 30 hours per week for the purposes of accessing PSLF and clarifying standardized prep time to be included in such calculation for faculty and teachers; and

Allowing public service employers to certify employment on behalf of individuals or groups of employees directly with the U.S. Department of Education.

If you have student loan debt, contact Local DC 37 MELS for assistance.

Donate to TEA 3
Roderick Holder

We are asking our traffic family to come together once again to help one of our own, TEA 3 Roderick Holder, who was suspended by NYPD while towing in the 42 PCT area. Brother Holder declined a direct order to tow a vehicle under a Bogus NO Parking Anytime sign nailed to a tree. If you would like to contribute to help our union brother, call our Local 983 Bronx Tow Shop Steward Sandra Lynch at 917.796.2645. Any amount will be appreciated. Donations are not for legal assistance as Local 983 has already assigned him legal counsel. In Solidarity!

News Archive

Local 983 United Newsletters

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Year in Review 2022
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Spring 2020 
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District Council 37 

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