WNY DDSO Local 425 Hosts Workers Memorial Day Observance

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West Seneca — WNY DDSO Local 425 President Tom Weston, LRS Lynn Knoop (center) and Local 425 VP Stacey Pettigrew attend Workers Memorial Day Observance on April 29. Photos by Ove Overmyer, CSEA, ©2016

WNY—On April 29, members from CSEA WNY DDSO Local 425 and other co-workers held an annual Workers Day Memorial Observance at the West Seneca Campus at 1200 East & West Road, West Seneca, NY. To see a video snapshot of the proceedings, you can go here.

Tom Weston, Local 425 President said Workers Memorial Day is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace incidents and ill health and to promote campaigns emphasizing union organization in the fight for improvements in workplace safety.

Weston said, “We are here today to come together to observe, reflect and honor the fallen and re-commit our efforts to make sure all workplaces will be healthy and safe.”

A stone monument was erected on the West Seneca Campus in 1998 to honor a fallen brother who died on the job. “Every year since, we spend a moment together to reflect on this very site. It’s a good reminder that we all need to be vigilant about our own personal safety and to be partners in good government by holding our employers accountable,” said Weston.

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There are more Workers Memorial Day events planned in the coming days. Please join us at an event near you.

Rochester

Who: Workers Memorial Day Event
When: May 2, 2016 7:00 pm
Where: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 350 Chili Avenue, Rochester, NY 14111

Southern Tier

Who: Chemung/ Schuyler CLC & Steuben/ Livingston CLC
When: April 30, 2016 11:00 am
Where: St. Mary’s Cemetery – Park Avenue in the Town of Corning, NY

Buffalo

Who: Niagara Orleans Labor Council, AFL-CIO
What: 25th Annual Workers Memorial Day Observance
When: Saturday, May 7, 2016 9:00 am coffee/refreshments; ceremony begins promptly at 10:00 am
Where: Reservoir Park, 577 Witmer Rd, Niagara Falls, NY 14305. We will meet North of Route 31 on Military Rd.

Who: Western New York Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
What: Workers Memorial Day Observance
When: April 30, 2016 10:00 am
Where: Chestnut Ridge Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park, NY 14127

This Week in Albany

Week ending April 29, 2016

Presidential Primary Update

With five Northeast states holding presidential primaries on Tuesday, the frontrunners of both parties significantly added to their delegate lead.

For the Republican party, Donald Trump swept all five primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, receiving more than 50% of the vote in all five contests.

For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton won four of the five states, losing only Rhode Island to Bernie Sanders. Clinton won the two largest states, Maryland and Pennsylvania, by double-digit margins.

While there are 14 contests remaining in the nomination process, both frontrunners have a sizeable delegate lead and have begun to shift their campaigns to a more General Election focus.

Senator Moving to Cuomo Administration

Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who has served in the New York State Senate since 2000, will be leaving the Senate in July to serve as a special advisor for New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

Senator Hassell-Thompson represents the 36th Senate District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Mount Vernon.

At a Glance

After two weeks away from Albany, the state legislature will return next week for three days of session.

There are 21 remaining session days, with the final day of session scheduled for Thursday, June 16th.

This Week in Albany

Week ending April 29, 2016

Headlines include:

  • Presidential Primary Update
  • Senator Moving

Continue reading…


Rochester Labor Community Delivers Donations to Flint, MI

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Photos courtesy of Bess Watts.

Rochester — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been rightly criticized for how he has handled the water crisis in the City of Flint. In his State of the State speech earlier this year, he had an opportunity to boldly take command of the man-made disaster– but he failed to do so.

Despite his lack of concern or ability, working people from all across the country are now stepping up to make a difference for the residents who have been dealing with this catastrophic debacle for who knows how long.

On April 29, the Rochester labor community gathered just before noon at the Costco Department Store near City Gate and loaded up the Rochester Teamsters Local #118 truck with over 40,000 bottles of water destined for Flint, Michigan. Local organizers also amassed nearly $13,000 in financial contributions to assist deserving families that have been hit hard by the disaster.

CSEA was one of many unions that helped contribute to the local effort. At a press conference Friday morning, Western Region President Flo Tripi said, “When you have a health and safety crisis of this magnitude, everyone must help out and do their part. This effort is another example of how working people show unconditional regard for the well-being of others. I am really proud of our local labor community for stepping up to assist our brothers and sisters of Flint, Michigan.”

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Western Region activist Paul Peters Photo by Ove Overmyer, CSEA, ©2016

Paul Peters, CSEA Wayne County Local President and a Western Region Vice President, will be traveling to Flint on Saturday morning April 30 to meet the Teamsters truck in a designated neighborhood area parking lot. “I will be traveling with some other union folks from the Rochester area to oversee the distribution of the donations and to greet some families affected by this disaster,” said Peters.

Peters says the people of Flint were seriously let down by their elected officials. He added this is something you might hear coming from third world countries—not cities in the United States. “I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent our local labor community in this effort. It’s hard to believe that a community can go through a hardship like this. I’m just glad we are able to help. An injury to one is an injury to all,” said Peters.

2016 NYSHIP Dependent Eligibility Verification Enters Phase 2

Previous Work Force articles have discussed NYSHIP’s dependent eligibility verification project for those enrollees with family health insurance.  This project impacts all NYSHIP enrollees with family health insurance (The Empire Plan and NYSHIP HMOs).  The verification of dependents is being performed in three separate phases.

Phase 1 verification period ended on April 15, 2016.  Please note:  NYSHIP has allowed a brief grace period for enrollees to submit the required documentation to HMS Employer Solutions (until 5/04/16)

Phase 1 included the Verification Period for Local Government employees and retirees, (counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, libraries, etc.)

Due to time restraints, it is encouraged to submit documentation by electronic web upload at www.VerifyOS.com or fax the documentation to (877) 223-8478.  Documentation must be received by May 4, 2016.

Current Step:

Phase 2 Verification Period (5/02/16- 6/17/16)

NY Retirees and Participating Employers (Authorities, etc.) employees/retirees must provide proof (verification) of ALL dependents.

Verification of Dependents

  • Requires all enrollees with family coverage to provide proof that each spouse/dependent is eligible for coverage under NYSHIP.
  • Failure to provide proof could result in losing dependent coverage effective January 1, 2016 and being held responsible for repaying claims paid under NYSHIP for those dependents as early as the date the dependent was first added to coverage.  Other penalties could also be imposed.

The verification process can be completed in these steps:

  • Collect copies of all required documents for each enrolled dependent
  • Sign and date the Verification Form
  • Submit the Verification Form with copies of all required documents to HMS Employer Solutions no later than June 17, 2016. Please ensure a copy of the Verification Form is included with all documents submitted.
  • HMS Solutions phone availability at 1-866-252-0527 , Monday-Friday 8am to 11pm
  • For faster processing, please submit required documents by uploading them via the web portal, VerifyOS.com, or by faxing to 1-877-223-8478. Documents may also be mailed to: HMS Employer Solutions, P.O. Box 165308, Irving, TX 75016-9923.  Please do not mail original documents.

NEXT STEP: 

Phase 3 Verification Period (7/5/16 – 8/19/16)

  • Active New York State employees must provide proof (verification) of ALL dependents
    • July 5 – August 19, 2016 (dates to submit proof of eligibility)

Changes to Empire Plan’s Center of Excellence for Infertility Program Effective June 2016

United Healthcare (UHC) administers the Center of Excellence (COE) for Infertility Program.  Effective June 1, 2016, the Empire Plan will utilize the Optum Infertility COE Network.  This change is designed to take advantage of Optum’s focused evaluation process to identify centers with proven experience and statistically successful track records while maintaining all of the elements of this very successful program.

The Empire Plan Centers of Excellence for Infertility Services Program itself is unchanged.  There are no changes in the infertility benefits available under The Empire Plan.  However, a change in the center’s network COE status may impact your choice of provider (enrollees who have been seeking care from a Center which will no longer be part of the Empire Plan’s COE for Infertility as of June 1, 2016, were sent correspondence from United HealthCare about how this change will impact them).  Empire Plan participating Infertility COEs as of June 1, 2016 include;

  • Boston IVF, the Albany Center (Albany)
  • Columbia University for Women’s Reproductive Care (New York)
  • Cornell Center for Reproductive Medicine and Fertility (New York)
  • Genesis Fertility and Reproductive Medicine (Brooklyn)
  • Infertility and IVF Medical Associates of Western NY (Snyder)
  • Long Island IVF (Lake Success, Melville, Port Jefferson)
  • New York University Fertility Center (New York)
  • Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (Norwalk, CT)
  • Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York (New York)
  • Strong Fertility Center (Rochester)

Enrollees/dependents with specific questions regarding this change or its impact on any services already planned or in progress should call The Empire Plan Medical Program toll-free at 1-877-7NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447), select Medical Program, and then Benefits Management Program.

Empire Plan Adds New HCAP and DME Vendors

The Empire Plan Home Care Advocacy Program (HCAP) provides home care services, durable medical equipment (DME) and supplies at no cost when preapproved and received through an HCAP vendor. In 2016, The Empire Plan has new HCAP vendors for breast pumps, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) units and Neuromuscular Stimulation (NMES) units.

Breast Pump Suppliers

Empire Plan enrollees are eligible for one pump after the birth of a child. To receive the maximum, paid-in-full benefit, the breast pump must be purchased from a contracted supplier. The current Empire Plan network  breast pump suppliers are:

TENS or NMES Unit Suppliers

Empire Plan Durable Medical Equipment vendor EMPI, Inc., has closed and will no longer be supplying Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) units and Neuromuscular Stimulation (NMES) units and related supplies. If Empire Plan enrollees need a new TENS or NMES unit, or compatible supplies, they can outreach to;

  • Kinex: 1-800-845-6364
  • Electrostim Medical Services, Inc. (EMSI): 1-800-588-8383
  • Zynex: 1-800-495-6670

The Empire Plan Medical Program can be contacted toll-free at

 1-877-7NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447).

Nascar Weekend at Watkins Glen

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Tax Local 690 Holds Worker Memorial Day Event

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CSEA Tax and Finance Local 690 held a Worker’s Memorial Day event on April 28 to honor workers who have died on the job. Tax 690 members gathered outside of Building 8 on the state campus to pay their respects and recommit to the fight for worker safety.

Federal Issues Update

AFSCME Legislative Weekly Report

Week ending April 22, 2016

Headlines include:

  • Congress Cranks Out Funding Bills
  • House Committee Approves Legislation to Strike Down DOL’s Retirement “Fiduciary” Advice Rule
  • Senate Passes Bill Reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration
  • House Committee Introduces Deeply Flawed Child Nutrition Bill
  • House Panel Examines OSHA Rule to Protect Workers From Unsafe Exposure to Silica Dust
  • U.S. Supreme Court Hears Immigration Case
  • Congressional Leaders Call for Raising the Minimum Wage

Continue reading…