New York City Local 246

Service Employees International Union, CTW, AFL-CIO, CLC

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.”

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.

Deadline Extended for New Claims Related to 9/11 Rescue, Recovery & Clean-Up

Just days before the September 11, 2018, deadline for workers and volunteers to file a Notice of Participation was set to expire, Governor Andrew Cuomo put his signature on a new law that further extends the filing deadline until September 11, 2022.

“It has been 17 years since the attacks of September 11 changed our world forever, and on that day and the weeks and months that followed, thousands of courageous workers and volunteers put their lives on the line to save others,” Cuomo said. “We will never forget the selfless heroes who did not make it home that day, and we owe first responders and those who aided in the recovery effort an eternal debt of gratitude. This bill rightly and fairly provides 9/11’s brave recovery workers and volunteers the time they need to receive the health benefits and compensation they deserve.”

Previously, the Governor signed legislation on September 11, 2016, to extend the period for individuals to register under the World Trade Center Disability Law to September 11, 2018. This new bill (S.7797-A/A.10499) will allow more individuals additional time to file for Workers’ Compensation, disability, and accidental death benefits as a result of their participation in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations. The legislation, which takes effect immediately, also protects claims filed on or before September 11, 2022, if the volunteer or workers’ disability occurred between September 11, 2015 and September 11, 2017. Local 246 members are covered by this new law.

In a press release, Governor Cuomo said he strongly encourages all 9/11 responders to consider using the World Trade Center Health Program for both treatment and monitoring of their health. Responders are seen at the clinics by experts in the field, without charge. This program, also known as the Zadroga Act, is administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has been funded by the Federal government for 75 years. In addition to treating illnesses, the clinics begin monitoring the health of responders. Services are available at many Clinical Centers of Excellence in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey, as well as through a nationwide network of providers. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/wtc.

Registering simply preserves your right down the road to file a claim if you should become sick with a 9/11-related illness and get the benefits to which you would be entitled. “Registering now does not mean you are currently sick or that you will become sick. Registering is just another form of insurance for the unknown, like major medical insurance or car insurance. You may go a whole lifetime without needing to ever file a claim, but you will be glad you have them if you need them.

For more information on filing a notice of participation, please visit www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/forms/wtc-12.pdf

Upcoming Mechanics Test Training Classes

Local 246 is holding test training classes for the upcoming Mechanics test. Training will be held at St. Stanislaus Church, 61-17 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY. in the school auditorium located on Grand Avenue. Entrance is from the parking lot. The two dates for classes are Tuesday, October 30 and Thursday, November  8. Click here for more information.

President Colangelo Touts Union on Radio Show

President Joe Colangelo was a guest on the Labor Press radio show on May 28, whereby he was able to speak about the great work of Local 246 members in keeping New York City rolling. “It was an opportunity for me to promote our members and let listeners know about the services we provide, the skill set we need in order to do our jobs, and the crucial role we play behind the scenes. We aren’t on the front lines, which means New Yorkers don’t always realize that without us, there wouldn’t be anyone to keep New York City rolling.” To hear President Colangelo’s interview, click here.

© Copyright 2020 SEIU New York City Local 246. All rights reserved | Site designed and developed by RWD Group