Schools Shut Down, But Construction Work Continues

April 24, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Building Code Inspector Lorraine Barcant’s job is to keep school buildings safe for the city’s 1.1 million school children and the teachers and support staff that feed, educate and protect them. She visits dozens of school construction sites a month to make sure workers are safe and projects are up to code. But the coronavirus pandemic upended New York City and led officials in mid-March to shutter schools and later all construction sites citywide to stop the spread of the deadly virus. Rather than opening new school buildings and visiting sites where workers busily complete renovations and upgrades, Barcant said, “I’m shutting down projects and patrolling empty sites. COVID-19 has turned my job on its head.” Barcant, the vice president of Local 1740, said social distancing and budget concerns mean a lot of the work can’t go [More...]

LCLAA Honors DC 37 Staffer For Activism

April 22, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE WILLIAMS At the annual Somos conference’s LCLAA Awards breakfast in Albany March 7 weekend, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement bestowed top honors on DC 37 Legislative Aide Orlando Rivera Jr. for his activism in New York City’s Latino community. LCLAA’s 18-member board voted unanimously to recognize Rivera’s outstanding work in the DC 37 Political Action Dept. and his volunteerism and outreach in organizing voters for key political campaigns, and giving back via food and toy drives in NYCHA. “Orlando’s commitment to the community is evident,” said Carmen Flores, a LCLLA and Somos board member and DC 37 Education Fund staffer. “We recognize ordinary people who do extraordinary things, they are the glue to the puzzle. We see the amazing work Orlando is doing.” SSEU Local 371 Executive Vice President Yolanda [More...]

DC 37 Members Diagnosed With COVID-19 to Apply for Workers’ Comp

April 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE WILLIAMS DC 37 urges its members, especially those classified as essential workers, frontline workers, and healthcare workers, who have contracted and are diagnosed with novel coronavirus, COVID-19, to apply for Workers’ Compensation. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has extended the window to file a claim by an additional 30 days from the date of your injury or illness. The Workers’ Compensation Board has not changed its rules or application process. Any DC 37 member seeking to file a Workers’ Comp claim must notify their agency within 30 days of testing Positive for COVID-19 and provide medical documentation to substantiate their claim. Members must also file a C-3 form with the NYS Worker’s Compensation Board by telephone or electronically. DC 37 does not provide legal representation in [More...]

A Few Self-Care Tips for You and Yours During COVID-19

April 13, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Personal Service Unit (PSU) of DC37’s Health and Security Plan would like to offer some Self-Care Tips to use during this challenging time: 1. Social distancing does NOT mean emotional distancing. Continue to reach out to friends and family for support and, if you can, video chatting can help feel increased connection. 2. For those working from home, try to create structure within your day to keep regular meal times, wake and bed times, and get dressed for the day (comfortable wear is fine). 3. Reduce or place a time limit on your news consumption. Avoid watching or reading the news before bed. Instead, try to watch something light or humorous. 4. Maintain healthy boundaries. It is ok to set limits and say “No” to others when things feel a bit unmanageable. 5. Focus on your emotional and physical wellbeing. Try your best to eat healthy, balanced meals, exercise, or try a [More...]

MELS UPDATE: COVID-19 and Your Taxes

April 10, 2020 // 0 Comments

The IRS has extended the deadline to July 15 for filing tax returns and paying any balance due. This is important if a taxpayer owes money to the IRS or New York State or may have difficulty putting documents together at this time to prepare a tax return. Taxpayers should file their tax returns as quickly as possible, especially if they are due refunds. To speed refunds and avoid delays with mail delivery, taxpayers should opt for direct deposit of their refunds. Congress has enacted economic stimulus legislation to provide monetary relief, especially to those who are unemployed or not receiving their paychecks. The legislation provides for payments to all taxpayers, based upon their 2019 tax return or, if they have not filed yet, 2018. If a tax return has been filed for 2019, the stimulus check will be based upon 2019 information. If the 2019 return has not been filed, the stimulus [More...]

MELS Services for COVID-19 Workers

April 9, 2020 // 0 Comments

DC 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services is offering expedited services for DC 37 members working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our lawyers and legal assistants can draft wills, power of attorney and health care proxies. For assistance email KGomez@dc37.net or call the MELS Screening Unit at (212) [More...]

Don Nesbit Named Labor’s 40 Under 40

April 8, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS City and State magazine named Local 372 Executive Vice President Donald Nesbit one of labor’s top leaders in its annual 40 Under 40 issue. Nesbit is an AFSCME Next Wave activist, and local union leader who chairs the DC 37 Political Action Committee and serves on the DC 37 Executive Board. “I woke up this morning to this! In the midst of this pandemic, the nonstop phone calls and the school visits with our Essential Workers, who I need everyone to CLAP for, I totally forgot about this honor,” he said. After congratulating all the honorees, Nesbit said there is plenty of room for other young activists and he urged their much needed participation. “I do not except anything alone, I accept this honor on behalf of ALL the 24,000 Local 372 members who service and help nurture the lives of 1.2 million children who attend NYC schools! They are the [More...]

MELS UPDATE: COVID-19 Federal Student Loan Relief

April 8, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Municipal Employees Legal Services is here to help members manage their student debt. Collection of Federal direct student loans has been suspended through September 30, 2020. During this period: Borrowers with federal student loans in repayment are excused from making their regular monthly payments. Involuntary collection activity must stop — No wage garnishment; no federal tax seizure and no Social Security reductions. No interest and no penalties will accrue. Borrowers have the option of continuing to make monthly principal payments. Borrowers in the student loan rehabilitation process will receive credit for suspended payments. FFEL loans not owned by the federal government, Perkins loans obtained through the state, and private student loans obtained through commercial lenders are not eligible for relief under this program. Borrowers in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness [More...]

MELS UPDATE: COVID-19 Mortgage Relief

April 7, 2020 // 0 Comments

MORATORIUM ON FORECLOSURES There is currently a moratorium on all foreclosures through June 11, 2020. After the moratorium ends, foreclosures that are in process will resume, and new foreclosures may be initiated. FEDERALLY GUARANTEED MORTGAGES If you have a federally-guaranteed mortgage (FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA.) and are having difficulty making payments because of a COVID-19 related hardship, you may call your mortgage servicer and request a forbearance of your payments for 180 days, and up to 12 months. During the forbearance period interest will continue to accrue, but late fees should not be charged, and there should be no negative reporting to the credit reporting agencies. At the end of the forbearance period, the entire deferred amount will become due.  The missed payments will not be forgiven. We encourage those who can continue to pay their mortgages to do so. If you [More...]

Remembering Dr. King

April 4, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS On the 52nd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination April 4, 1968, we reflect on his life’s legacy: the peaceful pursuit of liberty, justice, equality for all, and service to others. Dr. King would have been 91 this year had he lived, but his life was cut short in 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tennessee. At the invitation of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, DC 37’s national union), Dr. King traveled to support Black sanitation workers who were striking for fair wages, safe working conditions, and the right to belong to a union. AFSCME pressed Dr. King to speak to Black Local 1733 members who daily bore humiliations and earned poverty wages. The last speech he ever gave, in which he famously declared that he had “been to the mountaintop,” was delivered at the Mason Temple in Memphis. Dr. King [More...]