March In-Person Membership Meeting

6 p.m.

O’Neill’s Restaurant, 64-21 53rd Drive, Maspeth, NY 11378

Food, Refreshments, 50/50

Valet Parking Will Be Available

2021 Membership Cards

The Local 246 Membership Cards for 2021 are going out to Active Members with the Jan-Feb IMPACT. If you are an Active Member and do not receive your card with the newsletter, or there is an issue with your card such as a misspelled name, please contact the Union Office immediately at 212.233.0616. Retirees will receive their card once Retiree Dues for 2021 have been paid.

2021 Membership Cards for Active Members are personalized with names

Free Practice Questions for Auto Mechanic Exam

Members who are scheduled to take the upcoming Auto Mechanic exams can take free practice tests to see what type of questions appear on an ASE auto mechanic certification exam.  These questions are not provided by Local 246, but are being shared as a means of providing members with a useful study guide. Click here to see the exams.

Gov Signs Bill Giving Death Benefit to COVID-19 Frontline Worker Families

A new law will provide death benefits to the families of city and state government frontline workers who died from COVID-19 without the families having to prove their loved ones caught the virus while on the job.

“The legislation that became law will guarantee survivors an automatic death benefit without them having to jump through hoops to prove their spouse caught the coronavirus while at work,” said President Joe Colangelo. “They will also have the option of two different payouts that will mitigate their financial concerns, which is the least we can do for them in light of all they have sacrificed.”

Beneficiaries would be automatically entitled to the accidental death benefit, paid through the members’ pension, as long as the other criteria are met. The new law covers workers on the job anytime from March 1, who contracted COVID-19 within 45 days of reporting to work, and then died on or before Dec. 31, 2020, either due to COVID-19, or had COVID-19 as a contributing factor in the member’s death.

In determining whether Accidental Death Benefits should be awarded, a deceased member or retiree must have had a positive lab test for COVID-19 within 45 days of reporting to work, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 from a qualified medical provider, either before or after the member’s or retiree’s death. The beneficiary would also have to show that COVID-19 was the cause or contributing factor in the death as documented by a death certificate or by a qualified health care provider.

Both the Ordinary and Accidental death benefit options are based on a member’s retirement system. In the case of Local 246, that is NYCERS. Other factors in determining payouts include a member’s tier, years on the job, and salary. With the new law, the designated beneficiary can choose whether to take the one-time, lump sum payout under the ordinary death benefit, or receive monthly payouts for life according to the formula of the accidental death benefit. Colangelo said it will be up survivors’ beneficiaries to meet with NYCERS to determine the best option for them.

What You Need to Know About Coronavirus

According to NYC H+H, as of Feb. 3, 2020, three people in New York City have been identified for testing for the novel coronavirus, including one patient hospitalized at NYC Heath + Hospitals/Bellevue.

The patient at Bellevue, who is under 40 and had recently traveled from China, is in stable condition. The other two individuals, who are over 60-years-old, are hospitalized at Flushing Hospital Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Queens. Both are in stable condition. Testing to determine whether these are confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus will take a minimum of 36-48 hours and depends on CDC testing capacity.

As of Feb. 3, there have been more than 17,000 confirmed cases in more than two dozen countries with 362 deaths. In the U.S., there have been nine confirmed cases. To protect our staff and patients, NYC Health + Hospitals providers should take these precautions:

  • Frontline providers should obtain a detailed travel history for all patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness in order to identify, isolate, and inform appropriate partners promptly.
  • Patients with respiratory illness should be asked to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and be evaluated in a private room with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room if available.
  • Health care personnel entering the room should use airborne, contact, and standard precautions with eye protection like goggles or a face shield.
  • If a suspected patient is identified, providers should immediately notify both infection control personnel at their facility and NYC DOHMH Provider Access Line 866-NYCDOH1 or 1-866 692-3641.

9 Things You Need to Know About the Novel Coronavirus

President Colangelo Testifies Before NYC Council on Oversight & Maintenance of Unified Fleet

On Thursday, Jan. 29, President Joseph A. Colangelo was one of many who testified before the New York City Council Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management and the Committee on Governmental Operations on the problems with the oversight and maintenance of the NYC unified fleet.

“Good afternoon. My name is Joseph Colangelo, I am the President of Local 246 SEIU. I represent 1,377 auto trade workers employed by the City of New York. I want to thank this committee for holding this hearing on such an important matter.  I am here to voice my genuine concern over the deterioration of the City’s ability to maintain and repair its essential motorized fleet. And I am here to shed light on the City’s wasteful and potentially dangerous new efforts to utilize private vendors to repair sophisticated and complicated equipment and to replace experienced auto mechanics with my union’s auto service worker title.  A title which is not trained or qualified to perform auto repair work.

Read the entire testimony here

To watch the testimony, click here

Photos: Michel Friang Photography

Auto Mechanic Shortage Puts New Yorkers At Risk During Winter Storms

When the next blizzard hits the city, there won’t be enough Auto Mechanics to do the hard work of keeping the Sanitation Department’s trucks and snow equipment up and running.

That’s the message Local 246 President Joe Colangelo has been sending for years on behalf of his overworked members to DCAS and Fleet Management — but they aren’t listening.

The City has made DSNY Auto Mechanics responsible for an ever-increasing amount of snow equipment like salt spreaders and plow trucks, but has refused to hire adequate personnel to keep up with the workload. Colangelo said City records indicate there were 577 pieces of equipment in 2013 that fell under the purview of Local 246 members, but nearly double that just four years late with 1,037 in 2017. The problem is that the manpower needed to operate, maintain, and repair this equipment has not even come close to keeping up. As Local 246 started pointing out years ago, the industry standard calls for a 7-to-1 ratio of equipment to Auto Mechanics at a bare minimum; yet, the ratio at the Department of Sanitation is twice that level. Even Sanitation officials agree that the problem has peaked.

President Joe Colangelo has been doing interviews with the media on the situation. To read the stories, you can click on the following links:

Snowpocalypse now: City dangerously unprepared for next blizzard, says mechanics’ union leader

Unions Warn Mechanic Shortage Puts City at Risk From Winter Storms

Mechanics Union: Snow Light Yet 10% Of City Salt-Spreaders Broke Down

New Non-Economic Agreement Addresses Union Concerns

A new non-economic agreement reached between the Union and the City of New York puts in place several changes that address concerns impacting members.

Local 246 President Joe Colangelo said the non-economic agreement, which is negotiated separately from the contracts, deals with issues such as dues checkoffs, grievance procedures, overtime, transfers, working conditions, and safety. “With changing duties and evolving responsibilities of our members, we have run into several issues during the last contract term that needed to be addressed prior to starting current negotiations,” he said. “Once something is added to the non-economic agreement it becomes a grievable item, which gives our members added protection.”

While there were several new items added, Colangelo said the most significant are:

  • Temporary transfers that are limited to a period of not more than 30 calendar days, will now be limited to no more than two per employee per year
  • All vacancies that are being posted must include shift start and end times so applicants know exactly what position they are applying for
  • All road call vehicles shall be equipped with all necessary safety devices, including emergency lights and (where necessary and practicable) traffic deflection lights; flares and/or safety triangles; safety vest; radio; cones; and spill absorbent
  • Where an employee is working alone, such as in a confined space or an isolated location, the employer shall account for each employee at reasonable intervals appropriate to the job assignment to ensure the employee’s safety. Where sight is not practicable, the employee shall be provided a device capable of being used for emergency communication.
  • The City agrees to take all necessary steps to safeguard all tools and tool cabinets brought on its property by the members of Local 246 in the titles covered by this agreement

What makes this non-economic agreement stand out, Colangelo said, is that it’s the first time in almost four decades that he has been involved with the Local that a side letter has been attached to the document. In the Department of Sanitation, members will now be provided with prior notification regarding non-emergency overtime.

Colangelo said this side letter was crucial as members were not being given sufficient notice of required overtime and were therefore unable to arrange and rearrange personal schedules to accommodate the overtime hours. Any members with questions about the new non-economic agreement should be in touch with their Shop Steward.

City Agrees to Unlimited Sick Leave for All Employees Suffering from 9/11 Illnesses

More than 17 years after the devastating attacks of September 11, the City of New York is finally granting unlimited sick time to all workers suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.
At the end of October, the City bowed to pressure brought by 9/11 survivor advocates and promised to secure unlimited sick time to all City employees who helped in the rescue and recovery efforts in Ground Zero — and now are paying for it with their lives. Unions were at the forefront of making sure that all these City employees were put on the same footing as first responders, police officers, and firefighters.

The City, DC 37, and EMS unions Local 3621 and 2507 negotiated the terms that will provide unlimited 9/11 sick leave to City workers who participated in World Trade Center rescue, recovery and cleanup operations and contracted a 9/11-related illness. The initial agreement grants unlimited 9/11 sick leave to employees in a range of titles across several City agencies, including Emergency Medical Technicians, peace officers, laborers, engineers, and others. This sick leave is retroactive to September 11, 2001, and leave taken since then that has been verified to cope with a certified 9/11-related illness will be restored. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 active employees will be covered by this agreement, which formed the basis for additional agreements with other unions.

Local 246 President Joe Colangelo said after that agreement was reached, he contacted the City to make sure that Local 246 members would be included as well if they qualify.
Several months ago, Colangelo testified at a Senate hearing in NYC about 9/11 sick leave. “I am here today to talk about a subject that is heart wrenching but cannot be avoided. Everyone knows the horror that happened on September 11, 2001. As the years passed, some of the individuals who participated in the cleanup and recovery developed a variety of illnesses related to their work. Most uniform employees have unlimited sick leave as part of their contract, affording them peace of mind as they fight through whatever illnesses they face. Unlimited sick leave would provide their families and loved ones with some semblance of financial stability while they focus on their health.

“Unfortunately for civilian workers, the same is not true. Most civilian worker contracts allow, in most cases, 12 sick leave days per year. Therefore, if they are battling through a 9/11 illness, they will exhaust their sick leave accruals rather quickly and then face financial difficulty. If civilian members were afforded unlimited sick leave, they then can take care of their health knowing that there will be no change in the family finances. Choosing between health and financial security should not be a choice anyone has to make, especially considering the circumstances.”

Just recently, Local 246 received a letter of agreement from OLR Commissioner Robert Linn stating, “This serves to confirm our mutual understanding regarding a WTC 9/11 line of duty injury/illness benefit. All Local 246, Service Employees International Union, AFL CIO members employed by the City and other covered organizations shall receive the benefit set forth in the October 23, 2018 letter agreement between the City of New York and DC 37, pursuant to all terms and conditions set forth therein.”

Colangelo said that many City employees who were sickened by Ground Zero fumes have been forced to choose between retiring in order to deal with their health, or continue working as they battled terminal cancer. He said that now all union members and non-represented employees who meet the qualifications will receive the benefit.

“We hope this is a benefit that very few people have to take advantage of, but knowing that it is available should it become an issue is reassuring,” Colangelo said.

Last year, Gov. Cuomo signed a bill granting unlimited paid sick leave to state employees with a 9/11-related illness outside of New York City — but the City did not follow suit.

“We are happy that this has finally been resolved,” Colangelo said. “Even within our own union, we have had members pass away from 9/11-related illnesses. The events from that horrific day will be lingering for quite some time.”