NYC emergency medical workers prepare for layoffs

From NBC News

The head of New York City’s emergency medical services union said Wednesday that the city is preparing to lay off hundreds of its members as the budget crisis grows during the coronavirus pandemic.

Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY EMS Local 257, blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration for the expected fallout.

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Cleveland EMS crews win PTSD coverage, $3.7M in back pay

From Cleveland 19 News on July 13, 2020

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – A fight for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder coverage years in the making has ended with a win for Cleveland paramedics, EMTs and dispatchers.

A union contract for Cleveland EMS just passed, under an agreement out of court that still needs to be ratified by city council.

The agreement includes about $3.7 million in back pay for employees and mental health language, addressing PTSD.

CARE has been negotiating their contract since March of 2016.

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Financial Relief for Personnel

Financial Relief for Personnel

Download as a PDF

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

• Emergency Paid Family & Medical Leave
• Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Tax Assistance Options

• Extension of 2019 Tax Filing Deadline
• $1,200 checks to each individual making $75,000 or less and a sliding scale (downwards) for people
making between $75,000 and $99,000. No one making more than that will get a check

Unemployment Assistance

• Waiver of waiting period
• Waiver of work search requirement
• Unemployment benefits would be expanded from 26 weeks to 39 weeks and freelancers and gig workers would qualify for the first time

Federal School Loan Assistance (US Dept of Education)

• Interest rates on student loans reduced to 0% from 3/13/2020 to 9/30/2020
• Direct Loans
• Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program Loans
• Federal Perkins Loans
• Lender should have information regarding deferral on their website
• Borrower can get a refund if they paid their monthly payment after President signed the CARES Act

Mortgage or Rent Relief (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

• FHA/HUD mortgages
• Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac
• Lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020
– You won’t incur late fees
– You won’t have delinquencies reported to credit reporting companies
– Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended
• If you can pay, pay
• If you can’t pay, contact your mortgage servicer
• Get it in writing
• Many states and municipalities have prohibited eviction activities in the next 60 days
• Any HUD/FHA back multifamily rental properties

Credit Card & Utilities Relief

• If you can continue to pay, pay
• Many credit card companies have options to enroll online for delayed payments
• Many cell phone and utility providers are offering waivers of late fees and deferred payments
Health Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts
• Retroactively effective as of January 1, 2020, the CARES Act allows participants to now purchase the
following items and services, pre-tax, using their HSA, FSA, or HRA
– Over-the-counter medicines (these treatments no longer require a prescription)
– Menstrual care products (e.g., pads, tampons, liners, and related items)
– Telehealth services, pre-deductible without impacting HSA eligibility (provision in place until December 31, 2021)

Relief Related to Retirement Plans for Individuals

• Waiver of 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty Tax on Early Distributions from Eligible Retirement Plans
– The Act waives the 10% penalty tax on early distributions for distributions up to $100,000 in
2020 made to an individual
– Who is diagnosed with COVID-19,
– Whose spouse or dependent is so diagnosed or
– Who experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid
off, having work hours reduced due to the virus, or closing or reducing hours of a business owned
or operated by the individual due to the virus

Wellness Benefits

• Health Plan Co-Pay & Deductible Waivers
– Waiver of co-pays and deductibles for testing and diagnosis of COVID-19
• Short Term & Long-Term Disability Insurance
– Your illness may qualify as a compensable illness under many short-term and long-term disability
insurance plans
• Mental Health Benefits
– All employer-sponsored health plans cannot restrict benefit maximums at a level under that which
is provided for other health benefits
– Employee Assistance Programs


Spotlight: Jerry Glass, Labor Relations Expert

Jerry Glass
F&H Solutions Group
Download Jerry’s vcard
Follow Jerry @JerryGlass
Connect with Jerry on LinkedIn

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in New York City. I went to college at Boston University and then moved to Washington, D.C., to attend George Washington University, where I received my master’s degree. It is also where I met my wife, Karen. We have been married for 36 years, but with all the travel I do, I tell people we have only been together for about 15 years! We have two adult children and one son-in-law.

My number one passion is basketball. I live and breathe the sport. I have been playing in a basketball league and enjoying pickup games with a group of guys for more than 30 years. And if you invite me to see a high school, college, or professional basketball game, count me in. Karen and I also love cycling and spinning. We take a cycling trip each summer and have seen some great sites on our bikes.

How did you get into labor relations? Can you give us some background on your professional life?

When I graduated from GWU, my first job was with the Veterans Administration as an analyst. The job required a lot of travel and was really gut wrenching, working with our veterans who had done so much for our country. From there, I worked as a costing/financial analyst for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) which is a trade association and a union. Then, I moved to the Airline Industrial Relations Conference, which served as the labor policy organization for the U.S. scheduled airlines. I started out as the Director of Labor Relations Research and was promoted to Executive Director and Vice President. After 9 years in that job, I went out on my own as a labor and employee relations consultant. The rest was history as I built my consultancy into a national labor relations and HR consulting firm, F&H Solutions Group.

In addition to running my firm, I also served as the Executive Vice President and Chief HR Officer at US Airways during the airline’s two bankruptcies. Wow, did I learn a lot about restructurings! Thankfully, the airline not only survived, but eventually became part of the largest airline in the world.

I have been fortunate to have an amazing team working with me. Together, we provide labor relations advice and negotiations expertise to many of the most important industries in the country, including transportation, construction, property management, media and more.

How have you seen labor relations issues impact business?

[quote_right]”People involved in labor relations must be great communicators and even better listeners.”[/quote_right]Employees are a huge part of an organization’s success. When unions represent employees, it adds a level of complexity to how you manage employees. People involved in labor relations must be great communicators and even better listeners. Labor relations has an impact on a company’s bottom line and it is crucial for employers to tread carefully, work cooperatively, and be proactive when dealing with unions.

How can FHSG help AAA members with their labor relations issues?

We would like to help members understand the dynamics involved in labor-management relations. Whether it’s learning how to communicate effectively with unionized employees, providing research on CBAs in the industry, or understanding the different aspects of a union campaign, we can help you devise a labor strategy. We will offer a free initial consultation to all AAA members. In addition, we will provide insightful blogs and webinars on topics related to labor relations, proactive employee relations and leadership/managerial skills.

Any parting thoughts or last words?

While it is not uncommon for management at newly unionized companies to feel intimidated, it is crucial that management continue to do their jobs and effectively manage employees. Over time, you will learn to work with the union and how to maintain a positive, inclusive and safe workplace culture for your employees. Management cannot allow union activity to disrupt the ability to manage and ensure the integrity of the day to day operation.

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