Health Insurers Kill Medicare Plan Change City-Job Retirees Railed Against
BY SAM MELLINS, NEW YORK FOCUS JUL 19, 2022
With a lawsuit slowing things down, insurers Elevance Health and Empire BlueCross BlueShield have pulled out of a controversial deal to change retired municipal employees’ Senior Care to a privately run plan “given the level of uncertainty at this time.”
New York City’s years-long effort to shift retired city workers to a cost-cutting health care plan was dealt a major blow Monday when the insurer in charge of running the plan announced that it is withdrawing from the deal. The plan — which the city and municipal unions hoped would save $600 million a year in health care costs — would have been run by the Retiree Health Alliance, a partnership between health insurance companies Elevance Health, previously known as Anthem, and Empire BlueCross BlueShield. Read More >>
Local 1180 News
Statement from CWA on the
Mass Shooting at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo
Once again Black people in our country have been targeted and traumatized by a violent white supremacist. Ten people were killed, three wounded, and millions terrorized in this racially motivated attack. While this hate is senseless, it reflects a history of structural and systemic racism which has been given new energy by online communities that promote conspiracy theories, television personalities who legitimize them, and politicians who exploit them. This suffering must end. Mass shootings - at our workplaces, at our schools, at our churches and other gathering places - have become commonplace in the United States. We mourn the dead, and we recommit ourselves to the fight to dismantle racism.
President Gloria Middleton is also a Diversity Member at Large at CWA. On behalf of the entire Executive Board and the members, she extends her condolences to all those who have been impacted by this tragedy.
Success in June 28 Primary: All Local 1180-Endorsed Candidates Win
Local 1180-endorsed candidates for statewide races and Assembly seats representing the five boroughs all won their primary races June 28. Voters across New York cast ballots Tuesday in several statewide races, including the governor’s race. Come the November General Election, it will be Gov. Kathy Hochul facing off against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin. Although nearly 13 million New Yorkers are registered to vote, according to the state's most recent election enrollment data, turnout was extremely low for the first of two primaries. Thanks to the state's redistricting challenges, there will be a second primary in August.
Local 1180 Interviewed on WBAI About NDWA Contract Talk Roadblocks
Despite a year-long attempt to negotiate a fair contract, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), part of Communications Workers of America Local 1180, has run into repeated roadblocks by management that have stalled negotiations. Gloria Middleton, President of Local 1180, said that NDWA management was notified of workers’ desire to form a union at the end of June 2020. It wasn’t until Sept. 30, 2020, that management voluntarily recognized the unit. Six months later, workers began bargaining but management has pushed back with no transparency.
Governor Cuomo Outlines 2021 Agenda: Focus Is On Defeating COVID, Reopening State & Jumpstarting Economy
Jan. 18, 2021
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his 2021 agenda – Reimagine | Rebuild | Renew – features nation-leading proposals to not only defeat COVID-19, but also tackle critical issues facing New York and the country, including jumpstarting New York’s economic recovery; creating a fairer, more just state; reopening the state; becoming a leader in the growing green energy economy; and rebuilding and strengthening New York’s infrastructure. Proposals include legalizing adult-use cannabis and online sports betting; first-in-the-nation affordable internet for all; safely bringing back the arts with pop-up performances and events; the largest off-shore wind program in the nation; five dedicated port facilities to make New York a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse; building a green energy transmission superhighway and; The largest infrastructure plan in the nation to update the state’s airports and transportation infrastructure, including a new Port Authority bus terminal, and redevelop Manhattan’s Midtown West neighborhood. READ MORE
2021 State of the State Address
CWA Local 1180 Reaches Agreement with City to Prevent Layoffs
Nov. 12, 2020
Communications Workers of America Local 1180 negotiated an agreement with the City of New York that will prevent the layoffs of members through at least June 2021.
Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton said the agreement will save the City $15.9 million by deferring payments to both the union’s active and retiree welfare funds in exchange for no layoffs of Local 1180 members in Mayoral agencies, the Department of Education, or New York City H+H through June 2021.
Once the target amount of $15.9 million in savings has been achieved, the City will resume making regular contributions to the Welfare Funds, and will make lump sum contributions to the Funds representing one-third of the amount withheld, on or about Oct. 31, 2021, Nov. 30, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.
“As President of Local 1180, I have a responsibility to protect the jobs of my members and to make sure that their benefits remain intact,” Middleton said. “However, I also understand that a pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime event that has brought with it economic destruction the likes of which no one could have predicted. I’m glad we were able to work in partnership with the City to come to terms on an agreement that helps them financially and keeps our members employed.”
The agreement also stipulates that should the City of New York receive $5 billion in budget relief from federal and state sources, the no-layoff agreement would be extended through June 30, 2022. New York City has been anxiously waiting on federal funding from the HEROES Act or other means, and for New York State to pass Early Retirement Incentive legislation and grant New York City borrowing power that would ease the financial noose around its neck. Middleton stressed the need for both the federal and state governments to do their jobs and stop the political battles that up until this point have left municipal workers wondering if they would receive pink slips for the holidays.
“We are all hopeful that the President-elect will get federal dollars flowing to states that have been the hardest impacted by the pandemic,” Middleton said. “But for now, our members’ jobs have been saved and calmer heads have prevailed. As a union and as a citywide labor movement, we are stronger together and are continuing to push our state legislators to do what we need to make sure essential workers are able to stay on the frontlines and continue providing New Yorkers with the essential services they rely on.”
Newly Elected Executive Board & Delegates to CWA Convention
President Gloria Middleton and 10 other Executive Board members were re-elected by acclamation on Oct. 1 after the union’s Election Committee met and determined that no further proceedings were required. They are being joined by three new Board members. “I want to thank the members of CWA Local 1180 not just for the confidence you have shown in my leadership as your president, but for the entire Board throughout the years. The Executive Board, with our members’ support, has set record-making precedencies in New York for workers and our communities,” Middleton wrote in a recent letter to the membership. “You, our 1180 members, continue to support us, as we now have 99% dues-paying, signed membership cards on record, enabling us to do the necessary work that keeps CWA LOCAL 1180 on the map. AND we continue to grow.”
The Executive Board-elect is comprised of: Gloria Middleton, President: Georgina Strickland, First Vice President; Gerald Brown, Second Vice President; Robin Blair-Batte. Secretary-Treasurer; and Lourdes Acevedo, Recording Secretary. Members-at-Large are: Teesha Foreman, Ranston Foster, Denise Gilliam, Helen S. Jarrett, Debra Paylor, Rosario Roman, Gregory Smith, Venus Colon Williams, and Hazel O. Worley.
Regina Kelly, Election Committe Chair, read off the election results at the Oct. 14 General Membership Meeting, where she declared the unopposed candidates to be the elected Officers, Executive Board, and Delegates to the Convention of CWA 2021-2023. Other Election Committee members are Co-Chair Earlene Powell, Debra Busacco, Carmen Carter, Shakima Ivory, George Johnson, and Rita Richards. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new Officers and Executive Board will be sworn in during the January virtual General Membership Meeting.
In Other News
npr.org, June 24, 2022
The Supreme Court of the United States struck down a New York handgun-licensing law on June 23, 2022, that required New Yorkers who want to carry a handgun in public to show a special need to defend themselves. The 6-3 ruling is the court’s first significant decision on gun rights in more than a decade. In a far-reaching ruling, the court made clear that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right “to keep and bear arms” protects a broad right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. Read more here >
npr.org, June 24, 2022
In a historic and far-reaching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion that's been upheld for 50 years no longer exists. Read more here >
AOC Wants 2 SCOTUS Justices Impeached for "Lying Under Oath" About Stance on Abortion
nytimes.com June 27, 2022
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for an investigation into whether two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade should be impeached for lying at their confirmation hearings about their views of the landmark abortion-rights case. Read more >>
Judge Rules NYC Municipal Voting Law for Noncitizens Violates State Constitution
Gothamist.com, June 27, 2022
NYC’s law extending voting rights in municipal elections to noncitizens who are legally allowed to live, work, and go to school in the five boroughs violates the State Constitution, according to a ruling issued by a Richmond County State Supreme Court Justice. Read more >
Courts Toss State's New District Maps
cityandstateny.com, April 27, 2022
The long redistricting saga in New York will only continue, as the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that deemed newly drawn state Senate and congressional maps unconstitutional. Read more >>
MLC to City:Double Standard Isn't Fair. Bring Back Workers
The Municipal Labor Committee on March 28 sent a letter to First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo and OLR Commissioner Renee Campion letting them know that NYC's labor unions will not sit by idly and watch as the Mayor imposes a set of double standards for those who are not COVID vaccinated. Read More >>
NY Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin Resigns Following Arrest April 2022
New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin has resigned after he surrendered to authorities to face campaign finance fraud-related charges in connection with a past campaign, it was announced on April 12.
Gov. Kathy Hochul issued this statement in response: "I have accepted Brian Benjamin's resignation effective immediately. While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as Lieutenant Governor. New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them."
Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton, upon hearing the news, said she was extremely distraught about this situation and in light of his resignation, the Union will be rescinding its endorsement of him for Lt. Governor in the upcoming election.
NEW UPDATE to The NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan
Medicare Advantage Plus Plan Will NOT Take Effect April 1
On Friday, March 4, 2022, the City of New York filed an appeal of the Court's ruling that allowed the Medicare Advantage Plus Plan to go forward but required the City to provide Senior Care without any cost to retirees. Given the uncertainty caused by the Court’s ruling, and the appeal made by the City, the decision has been made that the Medicare Advantage Plus Plan will not commence on April 1, 2022. This means that all retirees will remain in their current Plan until further action is taken.
The Office of Labor Relations has now posted the following on its website >>
Municipal Labor Committee to City:
Double Standard Isn't Fair. Bring Back Workers
The Municipal Labor Committee on March 28 sent a letter to First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo and OLR Commissioner Renee Campion letting them know that NYC's labor unions will not sit by idly and watch as the Mayor imposes a set of double standards for those who are not COVID vaccinated.
As you have recently seen, many Unions, along with many residents, are greatly troubled by what appears to be a stark double standard between athletes/performers, on the one hand, and public employees, on the other, regarding continuation of the vaccine mandates. While a number of Unions had challenged the vaccine mandates as intrusive and unneeded in light of testing options, it was one thing to abide when the mandate was applied uniformly but it is another to treat public employees in a less favorable, discriminatory manner. This is all the more disturbing when one considers that these workers, without fanfare or glory, came to their jobs each day facing the perils of COVID-19 in person during the worst of the pandemic to provide services to the residents of this great City. That the Nets or Mets might be at some disadvantage in having roster limitations hardly seems to have greater public import than in the loss of livelihood to hard-working New Yorkers who are the backbone of this City. Moreover, while the City has an understandable interest in the public health, the City has in recent weeks moved towards a return to normalcy, jettisoning much of the vaccine limitations in the private sector. In light of these developments, we ask, on behalf of the NYC Municipal Labor Committee, that the City meet with us to address issues regarding the groups of public employees who were summarily terminated or who went on unpaid leave for being unvaccinated and have a right to return. Fairness requires that this move towards normalcy also apply to the people who have served the City. Just as the City reached out to the MLC and the Unions for their cooperation and support in keeping the City going and fighting back the pandemic, we now look to you, as restrictions are being rolled back, to work with us to ease the burden on public employees. We ask to meet across the table and discuss pathways for all affected employees to return to work and continue to serve the City and its residents.
NBC New York >> | POLITICO >> | The New York Times >> | cbsnews.com >>
Billions of Dollars in Child Care Tax Credits Up for Grabs
Changes to child care tax credits are benefiting New York City employees and putting thousands of hard-earned dollars back in their pockets. If your family earned $72,000 or less, or if you are a single filer who earned $50,000 or less in 2021, you may qualify for FREE tax preparation and filing and thousands of dollars in tax credits.
Claiming even one of these three tax credits could result in a higher return:
Child Tax Credit (CTC) - Eligible parents and caregivers can get up to $3,600 per child. Children must be younger than 18, and filers do not need to have had income in 2021 to claim the credit.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) - Working families and individuals with low and moderate incomes can receive a federal credit up to $6,728. This credit is now available to filers who are 19 to 65+ with or without children.
Child and Dependent Care Credit - Working families who pay for child care or the care of dependent adults can get back up to $4,000 in care expenses for each qualifying person.
The NYC Free Tax prep service has only IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteers to prepare your 2021 taxes and offers virtual & in-person FREE tax preparation as well as a drop-off service for qualified individuals. See if you qualify for this convenient and reliable service here.