NEWS, UPCOMING EVENTS and SERVICES

PSU: HELP FOR ANXIETY

The Personal Service Unit (PSU) of DC 37’s Health and Security Plan would like to offer information and coping techniques for Anxiety.

This past year has been filled with challenges, disruptions, fears and losses. As we transition to increasing in-person activities, we may feel additional Anxiety. 

Anxiety is a mental health condition characterized by feelings of worry and fear that may interfere with one’s daily activities.

Common physical symptoms are panic attacks, racing heart rate, chest palpitations, rapid breathing and irritability.

Common psychological symptoms are racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, catastrophizing, or obsessive thinking.

The following are some useful strategies for coping with Anxiety:

*Pay attention to your thoughts as they influence your feelings and behavior. Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with ones that are more realistic and provide a balanced perspective. 

* Deep breathing, meditation, grounding techniques, imagery and journaling can provide release.

* Recognize the challenges that you have already overcome this past year; remind yourself of your strengths and resilience.

* Re-develop your morning/before work routine, anticipate stressors and emotionally prepare to return to in-person activities.

* Acknowledge your feelings; reach out for support and professional help if needed.

PSU is here for you. To speak with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for confidential teletherapy, please call 212-815-1250 or 212-815-1260.

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TAX DAY, MAY 17

FREE TAX PREP: The IRS income tax filing deadline is Monday, May 17. The Food Bank for NYC offers free, contactless tax preparation services for New Yorkers who earned up to $57,000 in 2020. The Food Bank can help them get the refunds and credits they are entitled to, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that can be worth up to $8,991 for some families. For free tax prep visit here: https://www.foodbanknyc.org/taxhelp/

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View the MELS Tax Tips 2020 Webinar video and PowerPoint slide show online: http://bit.ly/3a4JtVC. MELS Tax Tips webinar slides: http://bit.ly/3qXdvkT   

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PRIORITY COVID-19 VACCINE APPTS at AMNH

LET DC 37 BOOK YOUR COVID-19 VACCINE APPOINTMENTS: DC 37 members who are a cultural or museum workers at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) are eligible for priority vaccine appointments beginning April 23. DC 37 can help members book their COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Please fill out this form and a DC 37 representative will call you to book your appointment.

What you need to know:

* To confirm eligibility, you can check nyc.gov/covidvaccinedistribution.

* Proof of eligibility required:

1. Members who are eligible by virtue of job function must bring proof of employment. This can include an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or a pay stub.

2. Members who are eligible by virtue of underlying conditions or comorbidities will be asked to provide proof of NYC residence and will be asked to attest to their condition during the scheduling process.

3. Members who are eligible by virtue of age will be asked to provide proof of NYC residence and proof of age.

* Employees are granted 4 hours excused leave to go to their vaccination appointment if the appointment is during work hours and, upon receiving the second dose, employees at mayoral agencies only will get 3 hours compensatory time. The 3 hours of comp time for the second dose of vaccine excludes employees at libraries, cultural institutions, authorities (MTA, TBTA), CUNY and the State.

* You will not be charged; the vaccine is completely free.

* For frequently asked questions about the vaccine, please visit https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/covid/covid-19-vaccines-faq.pdf.  

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COVID-19 WORKERS’ COMP and SHORT-TERM DISABILITY BENEFITS: DC 37 urges members who believe they have contracted coronavirus in the line of duty to apply for New York State Workers’ Compensation. For a list of Workers’ Comp lawyers click here: https://bit.ly/3f1wK8z

Additionally, DC 37 Health & Security short-term disability benefits may be available for members who have filed Workers’ Comp claims. For more information click here: http://bit.ly/3ptCdt0

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FEMA COVID-19 BURIAL RELIEF

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) burial relief program is accepting applications. The maximum amount of financial aid available is $9,000 per funeral up to $35,500 per application with multiple COVID-19 decedents. FEMA federal funeral assistance can be used to help with expenses for funeral services held in 2020 for COVID-19 deaths, interment or cremation. Call the FEMA hotline: 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585), 8 AM to 8 PM Central Time, Monday through Friday. For additional burial assistance programs, please visit: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/burial-assistance.page.                                                                                                                    

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POLITICAL ACTION

There’s a lot going on in 2021! In addition to electing a new mayor, nearly all members of the New York City Council are term limited and will need to be replaced. New York City has also enacted Rank Choice Voting, a new voting system that allows voters to rank up to five candidates in order of preference.

DC 37 members deserve to have a say in how our city is rebuilt in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must get candidates elected who are committed to protecting DC 37 jobs and the public services our families rely on.

On May 11, we will begin hosting a series of virtual phone banks to make sure the entire DC 37 family has all the important information they need to know about voting this year. We need your help! Sign up for a shift or two to help us spread the word about our DC 37 endorsed candidates and the importance of the upcoming 2021 Primary Election.

Even if you’ve never participated on a phone bank before, using the DC 37 virtual phone bank is easy and can be done from the comfort of your own home. All you need to do to get started is sign up for a shift at https://www.mobilize.us/afscmedc37/event/388567/                                                                                                                                                      

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MELS

SAVE the DATE: MELS will host a webinar on ID Theft and Scams Wednesday, June 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Learn how to spot and respond to IRS scams, Social Security scams, Internet scams, and investment scams.
Learn how to respond to identity theft discovered through banking and credit transactions or fraudulent unemployment claims. 
Learn about the three most popular credit report security devices, how they differ and how to use them for your advantage. Register at www.DC37mels.com A link to join online or by phone will be forwarded to all registrants in advance. Call MELS Screening at 212-815-1111 for more information.

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MELS Housing Law Update: EVICTION MORATORIUM

On December 28, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. The Act stayed residential eviction proceedings until May 1, 2021 where a tenant submits a completed Hardship Declaration.   

On May 4, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed the bill presented to him by state lawmakers andextended the eviction moratorium to August 31. Now, any tenant that previously served and filed a Hardship Declaration with the landlord and/or the Housing Court will be protected under the extended moratorium. Any tenant who has not served and/or filed a Hardship Declaration can do so at any time before August 31, to secure coverage under the Act.

The moratorium extension will allow time for the $2.4 billion COVID-19 EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM [ERAP] OF 2021, enacted in last month’s state budget, to open and begin accepting applications for emergency rental assistance and/or utility assistance. The ERAP program is expected to open later this month on the Office of Temporary and Disability [OTADA] website. OTADA is currently building the platform it needs to process the high volume of applications expected statewide.

Please call the MELS Screening Unit at 212- 815-1111 for help with filling out and filing a hardship declaration. MELS will provide advice regarding how the moratorium works. MELS also assists with securing financial assistance to pay rent arrears or utility arrears that accrued during the pandemic. Lastly, MELS provides legal representation in Housing Court eviction proceedings. If you have received any notices or court papers from Housing Court, your landlord or your landlord’s attorneys, please contact MELS at 212- 815-1111, or email: MELSscreeningunit@dc37.net.  

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UPDATE on STUDENT LOAN FORBEARANCE thru SEPT. 30: President Joe Biden extended the student loan payment forbearance created under the CARES Act through Sept. 30. Until that time, attempts to collect FFEL loans in default must cease and no further interest shall accrue. For FFEL borrowers who defaulted after March 13, 2020, the loans are to be returned to good standing. For more details, check the updated article on the DC 37 blog. Any member with questions about the status of their FFEL student loans can call the MELS Screening and Intake office at 212-815- 1111, or email: MELSscreeningunit@dc37.net.   

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The MELS webinar Bankruptcy, an Opportunity For a Fresh Start, is available online:https://bit.ly/3vHDK10. For more information, please call 212 815-1111 or email: MELSscreeningunit@dc37.net

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WANT TO QUIT SMOKING? THE DC 37 DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE CAN HELP: OnTuesday May 11, at 6:00 PM the DAC will host a meeting on smokers’ cessation with guest speakerPaula Celestino, MPH Client Relations and Outreach Director of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center of the New York State Smokers’ Quitline. Members can join the webinar at: https://meetings.ringcentral.com/j/1465669559  Meeting ID: 146 566 9559. No password is required.

Or iPhone one-tap: US: +1(646)3573664,,1465669559#

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WORKWELL NYC MAY EVENTS

Shedding Light On Substance Use: On Wednesday, May 12, at 12:00 p.m., you can join the webinar discussion on substance use, when to seek help, and the treatment and care options available.

Introduction to Equity and Inclusion:  On Monday, May 19, at 12:00 p.m., you can join this interactive discussion to learn how you can help build equity and inclusion in your community.

Returning to the Office: Navigating the Transition: On Tuesday, May 27, at 12:00 p.m., you can join the discussion on returning to the office and learn of mental health resources to help employees during the transition.

Let’s Bring the Pressure Down is a 10-week hypertension program designed to help you take action to prevent or control high blood pressure (HBP). Register here for any or all of these WorkWell NYC events: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/olr/wellness/wellness-upcomingevents.page

 

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#STOPASIANHATE The recent hate crimes against members of our Asian community are devastating. Over the last year, violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has increased dramatically, especially against those who are most vulnerable. These acts of violence are rooted in ignorance and racism. WorkWell NYC and DC 37 condemn these acts and stands in solidarity with our Asian American colleagues and their families. Everyone deserves to live with dignity, without fear of working, walking, communing or thriving. We see you, we believe you, we support you. NYC prides itself on our diversity. We celebrate it each day and thrive on its enrichment to our daily lives. Hate has no home in our city. Together we can make that message louder than ever before.

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY

1. Speak up and speak out against hate, racism and violence. Use this guide to learn how to have conversations about racism.

2. Report hate crimes here or by calling 212-416-0197.

3. Seek support. Experiencing racism as a victim or as a bystander can be traumatic.The NYC EAP can help at eap@olr.nyc.gov.

4. Build space for dialogue. WorkWell NYC can help coordinate conversations for small teams to discuss and process these events. Contact Anna Tan at anna.tan@olr.nyc.gov for more information.

5. Practice self-care. There are many ways to help nurture yourself as a daily restorative practice. Here is a self-care guide to get you started. For additional resources, please visit the Project BUILD resource center here. Visit the Upcoming Events webpage to see a full list of WorkWell NYC events and programs to help you reach your life goals.      

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BENEFITS

GET HELP PAYING for CHILD CARE: The Child Care Facilitated Enrollment Project is a NYS funded pilot program that was developed to assist working parents to increase access to child care subsidies and quality care in New York City for children up to 13 years of age with qualifying incomes (up to $72,050 for a family of four). For more information, visit: https://www.cwenet.net/nysfe-1

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PAID FAMILY LEAVE BENEFIT: The NYS Paid Family Leave benefit is 12 weeks. The maximum weekly paid benefit is $971.61, or $1,943 bi-weekly. This union negotiated New York State benefit is available to nearly all DC 37 members, including those in the six nonprofit and private sector locals. For more details please read the DC 37 blog. To acess the 2021 PFL calculator, visit: http://on.ny.gov/2LsklQ8

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EDUCATION

AFSCME FREE 4-YEAR COLLEGE: The free 4-year college program has been extended for good. This can be combined with the Free College program, under which AFSCME members and their immediate family can earn associate degrees for free. This means members of the AFSCME family can go to college for free from anywhere in the country. All they need is a computer and an internet connection. For more information visit: https://freecollege.afscme.org/                                                                                          

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DC 37 EDUCATION FUND

YOU CAN GET YOUR HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA. LET THE ED FUND HELP! Do you need your High School Equivalency Diploma? The test for the High School Equivalency Diploma is now called the TASC: The Test Assessing Secondary Completion. DC 37 is offering classes online during the summer through Hostos Community College. Additional classes will be online in the fall term. For more details, email ppunch@dc37.net.

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CUNY COUNSELING IS HERE FOR YOU! This is the ideal time to plan for fall enrollment at the CUNY college of your choice. Let Worker Education at the CUNY School of Labor & Urban Studies (SLU) help guide you through the process of finding 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. To view the calendar and schedule your CUNY advisement session visit: CUNYDays.eventbrite.com Can’t find a date/time that works for you? Visit WorkerEd@slu.cuny.edu.

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Local 372 members working in School Food can earn an Associate Degree in Nutrition and Culinary Management through a partnership with LaGuardia Community College. For more information: email lpicano@dc37.net

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Local 372 Paraprofessionals can earn 18 credits annually towards a degree in Human Services through a partnership with Monroe College. A virtual Open House will be held on Tuesday, June 22, at 6 p.m. for those interested in entering college in the Fall 2021 term. To apply, please visit:www.dc37edfund.org/local372ctpfall2021. For more information, please email ppunch@dc37.net.

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