HELP US DEFEND PREMIUM-FREE HEALTHCARE
DC 37 needs your help. We’re calling on the New York City Council to immediately update Administrative Code 12-126 to preserve premium-free healthcare benefits!
How you can help: Take a minute to email your City Council member. It will go a long way in our fight for your healthcare and a new contract. Please share this message with your union sisters and brothers. Together we are strong!
MELS VIRTUAL WEBINAR: FINDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING in NYC
DEC. 7, 6 PM
MELS will host an affordable housing virtual webinar on Dec. 7, at 6 PM, with Anna Ramirez, HPD’s Marketing Outreach Coordinator. Housing experts will discuss affordable housing options accessible through NYC Connect. Learn how MELS can help members remain in their homes by challenging illegal rents, defending against eviction, and advocating for rental assistance.
SAVE the DATES
MELS will host two virtual events– the Income Tax Filing Tips Webinar on Jan. 25, at 6 PM, and the Bank Fraud, Internet Scams and ID Theft webinar on Feb. 7, at 6 PM.
PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS WAIVER UPDATE
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness webinar that DC 37 MELS and PSLF.nyc held on Oct. 25 was a huge success with 1,600 union members attending the virtual event.
If you met the PSLF waiver deadline by using the government’s online PSLF Help Tool, please don’t forget to submit ALL relevant employer certification forms ASAP.
If you have not yet applied for PSLF, although the PSLF waiver period has expired, you may still be able to get your student loans totally forgiven! You can find a free, regularly updated how-to guide from the nonprofit CancelMyStudentDebt.org. New York State residents can get free one-on-one advice and counseling by phone or email at EDCAP, the Education Debt Consumer Assistance Program. DC 37 members can also call the MELS Screening Unit at 212-815-1111 for more information on student debt relief.
NEW STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT DATE
On Nov. 21, President Biden paused the repayment of federal student loans to start after June 2023, to allow the federal appeals court time to decide the case. Borrowers were to resume repayment of their loans in January, but the U.S. Department of Education now has moved the repayment date to after June.
On Nov. 14, a federal appeals court issued a nationwide injunction temporarily barring the Biden’s student loan debt relief program that would have cancelled up to $20,000 in student debt for federal loan borrowers. Please be aware that the program is suspended and the website is no longer accepting applications.
DC 37 is sharing critical information from the U. S. Department of Education on how student loan borrowers can protect themselves from scammers. It’s important to beware of scammers who may attempt to reach out to borrowers to try to convince them that they have a work-around that can get student debt relief applications processed and accepted. They do not.
Please do not share your FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) or account information or password with anyone who contacts you. The U.S. Department of Education and your federal student loan servicer will never call or email you asking for this information. For more details, read the December PEPtalk magazine, or call the MELS Screening Unit at 212-815-1111.
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 daycare programs for working families in New York City and Suffolk County, 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 of a family’s income over the FPL. Families can view an updated fact sheet with the new income thresholds on DC 37’s website: dc37.net/about/services/childcare_subsidies. NYC residents can apply HERE.
Funds are available for income-eligible, working families who reside in the counties served by WDI, including Suffolk County, Long Island. The subsidy can be applied to licensed, registered or legally exempt daycare, after-school or summer camp programs. For an application, visit wdiny.org/childcare or call 631-743-0914.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE BENEFIT
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.
UPDATE: The contribution rate dropped from .511% of payroll to .455% of payroll. Siblings are included as eligible dependents for leave. For information visit https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/2023. Access the 2023 PFL benefits calculator HERE. Access the 2022 PFL calculator HERE.For information on childcare and other programs for NYC residents, speak to your union rep or click HERE.
HEALTH CARE WORKER BONUS UPDATE
In mid-October, New York State began processing payment of the Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus covering the first two vesting periods, from Oct. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022. The program pays bonuses of up to $3,000 to eligible full and part-time employees, temporary and contracted workers.
Health + Hospitals: For Vesting Period 1, NYC Health + Hospitals filed bonuses for 9,128 employees who received a bonus payment in the collective amount of $13.7 million.
Mayoral Agencies: For Vesting Period 1, NYC Mayoral agencies filed for bonuses for 5,092 employees, mostly EMS and DOHMH, who received a collective amount of $7.6 million.
Non-profit Agencies: A number of members in non-profit agencies represented by DC 37 that provide residential care or mental health care also received HCW bonus payments.
Department of Education: Employees in the titles of Health Service Aides and Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialists will be included in the Department of Education submission to the State for Vesting Periods 1 and 2. No payment date is available yet.
The union is aware that some employees may have been missed in Vesting Period 1 and therefore the employers will submit their names, if eligible, during the next submission period, which opened on Oct. 1. Employers must submit names of employees by Nov. 20. The filing date has been extended to allow employers more time.
If you believe your work was involved in direct patient care and you did not receive an attestation letter from your employer, please contact your agency’s HR department first, and then your union representative.
The HCWB program continues until Mar. 31, 2024, with a maximum of two vesting periods per employee. DC 37 will continue to push for the expansion of eligible titles and employers. For details, contact the Health Care Worker Bonus (HWB) Call Center at 866-682-0077.
DC 37 COMMITTEES
District Council 37 committees, except the HOUSING COMMITTEE, have resumed monthly virtual meetings. Please check the meeting schedule at DC37.net.
MANDELA, 2 for 1 HOLIDAY DISCOUNT TICKETS
Mandela, the Untold Story, returns to the American Theater of Actors, 314 West 54th St. in Manhattan February 3 to 19, 2023, in celebration of Black History Month. Mandela was written and produced by DC 37 Local 768 member Yolanda Brooks and was recently nominated for three AUDELCO Awards. Starting December 1, DC 37 members and retirees can purchase discount tickets at MandelaNYC.com. Use the DC 37 discount code JUST4YOU to get two tickets for the price of one.
HEALTH and WELLNESS
DC 37 is taking measures to protect members’ safety and health at work. The Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, DOHMH, has current information on COVID-19, the flu, RSV, Monkeypox, and polio, and other health emergencies.
DC 37 wants to help members stay safe during the pandemic by working together to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants. DOHMH urges people over 50 to get the latest COVID-19 vaccine booster. The new booster is stronger and can reduce COVID-19 spread and hospitalizations. The Health Department advises individuals to continue to take precautions, get vaccinated and boosted, test often, wash hands frequently, etc. If you feel sick, stay home. If you test positive, consult your healthcare provider. Let’s work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
For COVID-19 protocols for City employees, testing sites for City employees, NYS Workers’ Compensation and short-term disability, FEMA COVID-19 burial assistance and other information, click HERE.
FREE FLU SHOTS for CITY EMPLOYEES
The City and labor 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 may receive a flu vaccination at no cost. For information and to book your flu shot at a WorkWell NYC clinic, click HERE. For the calendar of WorkWell NYC events, click HERE.
DC 37 DENTAL CENTER
The newly renovated DC 37 Dental Center at 115 Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan is a 30-seat facility that offers full-service dental care and advanced dental and periodontal 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.
MSK CANCER SCREENING and AWARENESS
CAREGIVING and the HOLIDAYS: FROM STRESS to SUCCESS!
As we celebrate the upcoming holidays, take a moment to thank a caregiver. Most of us will identify with the role of caregiver at some point. Whether caring for a child, an ill loved one, or an aging family member, caregiving is often demanding and all-consuming. It gets even more complicated for those who are also employed.
Despite the challenges, many have found caregiving meaningful. Caregivers deserve to receive during the holiday season too. This time of year can be stressful for caregivers, who have many responsibilities. Remember that it’s OK to say no, to ask for help, and take time for yourself. It’s essential for your wellness and those you care for. You are not alone, and you deserve support.
- To access useful information on topics that are important to caregivers, visit mskcc.org/caregiverguidebook, and
- Watch this video on caregiver support.
DC 37 has a partnership with MSK Direct to provide members and their families dedicated access to exceptional cancer care, support, and expert resources from the world’s leading cancer specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).
If you or a family member are impacted by cancer and would like to discuss treatment options at MSK, call the dedicated MSK Direct phone line for DC 37 members, 833-786-3365, or see additional resources on DC 37’s dedicated MSK Direct webpage.
DC 37 EDUCATION FUND
REGISTRATION for WINTER 2023 SEMESTER IS NOW OPEN
Registration for the WINTER 2023 semester with the union’s Education Fund is now available on the DC 37 website. Many classes have just begun to accept applications. For information on classes, current schedules or to register for a program, click HERE.
FREE WORKSHOPS for LOCAL 768 SOCIAL WORKERS
The District Council 37 Education Fund in conjunction with the National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter plans to host two (2) continuing education workshops in January for eligible Local 768 licensed Social Workers:
* Making the Tough Call: Exploring the Ethics of Mandated Reporting through the Lens of Racial & Social Justice (2 CE) on Tuesday, Jan. 10, from 7 to 9 PM (Register by Dec. 19).
* LGBTQ+ Competency for Social Workers (2.5 CE) Tuesday, Jan. 24, from 6 to 8:30 PM (Register by Dec. 30).
If you are interested in attending these online workshops, please complete the online application available here: January Workshops: www.dc37edfund.org/socialworkjan2023.
DC 37/CUNY LABOR CERTIFICATE & DEGREE PROGRAMS
The DC 37 Education Fund has partnered with the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) to expand higher educational 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.
LILLIAN ROBERTS WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
DC 37, in collaboration with AFSCME, is excited to announce a Spring 2023 Lillian Roberts Women’s Leadership Academy (LRWLA). This LRWLA course is a 10-week, 40+hour leadership training program designed to support and develop women who desire to assume leadership positions within their profession, union and community. The goal is to help women understand the relationship between gender and the power dynamics of serving in leadership positions, and to impart the most effective ways to lead. Classes will be held on Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM beginning in March. To register, 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? Contact an Ed Fund counselor HERE to schedule a virtual appointment.
CUNY COUNSELING IS HERE FOR YOU!
This is the ideal time to plan for WINTER 2023 enrollment at the CUNY college of your choice. Let Worker Education at the CUNY School of Labor & Urban Studies (SLU) help guide you to find the best CUNY program to match your education and career goals.
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.
UPDATE: THE GED IS BACK!
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 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. Classes are held in different boroughs with different CUNY schools. To register, click on the name of the school of interest: CUNY Hostos, CUNY LaGuardia or CUNY Kingsborough. For additional information or to schedule an appointment with an Educational Counselor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
RETIREES EDUCATION COURSES for WINTER 2023
The Ed Fund is accepting applications for online classes for the WINTER 2023 cycle. Apply online or, if you prefer, you may print the flyer and mail it to the address indicated on it. For general information and forms, visit www.dc37edfund.org/retireeseducation. For more information or questions, email email@example.com or call 212-815-1700.