Health Care and Direct Care Bonuses
The FY 2022-2023 State Budget authorized a health care and direct care bonus payment program. Under the program, frontline health care and direct care workers who provide hands-on health or care services, and employees who support patient-facing care in a patient care unit or hospital or other institutional medical setting, are eligible for payments of up to $3,000.
For additional details, visit the state website.
The CSEA Legislative and Political Action Department conducted a webinar on this topic:
View a recording of the webinar
Inflation Reduction Act
President Joe Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law, which is considered to be a historic win for working families across the country. To help you better understand the parts of the IRA that are most relevant to CSEA/AFSCME members, AFSCME has put together fact sheets that describe how the law lowers health care costs, addresses climate change, invests in green energy and creates a fairer tax system. You can find the fact sheets here.
Additionally, this legislation achieves goals long promoted by President Biden, including allowing Medicare to negotiate with prescription drug manufactures to lower the costs of prescription drugs, creating a 15% minimum tax for corporations that make $1 billion in annual profit and new investments in programs to combat climate change. In addition, this legislation extends subsidies under the Affordable Care Act for three additional years to keep health insurance affordable for working families, and caps insulin prices for Medicare recipients.
In 2021, Congress passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes about $170 billion in funding for projects in New York. Here is an initial breakdown of how that will be spent:
Highways: $12.5 billion
- $11.5 billion for roads and highways. (reauthorizations)
- $1.9 billion for bridge repairs
- $142 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure
Airport funding: $937,030,865
- JFK — $294,682,575
- LGA — $ 150,008,970
- Long Island MacArthur — $21,595,630
Rail: $58 billion
- $22 billion for Amtrak improvements, including the Gateway tunnel project under the Hudson River
- $24 billion for Northeast Corridor modernization
- $12 billion for intercity passenger rail, including high-speed rail.
Water: $90 billion
- $14.7 billion for the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which provides grants and loans for infrastructure projects (includes: $10 billion in grants to address emerging contaminants).
- $14.7 billion for the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Funds, which provides loans to states for water-quality improvement.
- $55.4 billion in supplemental emergency appropriations
Mass Transit: $9.8 billion
- $9.8 billion for clean buses and mass transit.
Many of these funds will be distributed through state agencies under existing programs. We are hopeful that the funding will lead to increased employment for CSEA members working in these fields.
Say No to Court Consolidation!
Say No to Court Consolidation!
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore is trying to convince the state legislature to amend the state constitution to consolidate and restructure the state’s court system.
Under this proposal, the state’s 11 trial courts would be consolidated into three: the Supreme Court (consisting of Family, Probate, Criminal, State Claims, Commercial, and General divisions), a Municipal Court (consisting of the NYC civil / criminal courts, Long Island District Courts, and the 61 Upstate City Courts), and the Justice Courts (town / village courts that wouldn’t see a change).
It is said that this proposal will result in savings to the court system. In reality, what this means is that as courts are consolidated, fewer staff will be tasked with more responsibility, further stressing a workforce that has already shrunk by at least 12% since 2009.
New York State Budget
A few days after the start of the state fiscal year, the Governor and lawmakers agreed to a final budget. Overall, this budget is a positive for CSEA members across New York State. It includes positive changes for members in tiers 5 and 6, bonuses for healthcare and direct care workers, historic levels of school district funding, new funding for SUNY, and unprecedented investments in childcare.
CSEA had numerous legislative victories in 2021 due to your advocacy and action! Stay tuned, because we know we will be able to accomplish even more in 2022!
Work zone Safety
Governor Hochul signed legislation to allow speed cameras to be placed in active work zones to make our roads safer for workers and drivers, and to ensure that the dedicated CSEA members that make our roads safe for travel get to go home safe at the end of the day.
Childcare Provider Direct Deposit
A major CSEA/VOICE priority was signed in 2021! Governor Hochul signed legislation to require all counties to offer child care providers the option to be paid by direct deposit!
Nursing Home Staffing
The Governor has signed legislation creating a statewide standard for hours of care for nursing home residents. Please read this fact sheet for details and how it will affect CSEA members that work in nursing homes.
Hospital Staffing Levels
In 2021, legislation was signed into law to require the formation of staffing committees in every hospital in the state. The committees will work to determine how many nurses (including RNs, LPNs, and CNAs) are required to be in each unit. This will help better staff our facilities and give patients better quality care.
Veterans’ Civil Service Equity
Governor Hochul Signed legislation to ensure that all honorably discharged veterans are eligible for additional points on civil service examinations in recognition of their service. Previously, only veterans who served during specific times and theatres of war were eligible for these credits.
OPWDD Care Pilots
Legislation was enacted in 2021 to continue, for three additional years, OPWDD Care Pilot programs. These programs offer state operated community based programs for the developmentally disabled. These programs include community habilitation, in-home respite, pathways to employment, supported employment, and community pre-vocational.
After years of fighting, the Governor finally signed legislation to grant DMNA firefighters a performance of duty disability benefit. This law grants firefighters employed by DMNA a 50% final average salary pension if they are physically or mentally incapacitated because of a disability caused by an on-the-job injury.
First Responder In Communications
This new law creates a new classification for public safety dispatchers as “first responders in communications.” For too long, emergency dispatch operators have not been viewed as first responders, even though they are usually the first person someone speaks to when reporting a health or safety emergency. This law will begin the process of ensuring that we view these workers as first responders and will allow us to begin having a broader discussion around what we can do to recruit and retain additional workers in this field.
Support Probation Officers
Probation officers play a vital role in keeping our communities safe. While facing many of the same risks and threats as other law enforcement personnel, Probation officers are not eligible for the same medical and wage protections that other law enforcement and first responders are entitled to. This bill would allow, at local option, counties to offer full pay and benefits for county probation officers who are injured on the job.
Don’t Eliminate Corrections Staff
The New York State Legislature is considering legislation (A.1962 – Barrett / S.5477 – Benjamin) that would make it easier for counties to eliminate staff at county correctional facilities.
These decisions would be made at a time when it is impossible to distinguish the impact of COVID-19 on jail populations from any general decline in the inmate census.
The state legislature is considering legislation to allow builders to self-certify their own documents.
Allowing this legislation to move forward would take away from the checks and balances needed to make sure buildings comply with safety standards and codes. Public safety is a fundamental government purpose, and builders shouldn’t be responsible for certifying their own work.
Fix Tier 6!
Thanks to the activism of CSEA members, the 2022-23 enacted budget includes the first positive large-scale pension reforms in over 20 years. This includes reducing the time to vest and exclude from contribution calculations the massive overtime members accumulated during the pandemic.
These are great first steps, but CSEA will continue to push pension reforms. Use this link to email your state legislature.
NY Health Act
Discipline Rights for Part-Time Teaching Assistants
Under current New York State Law, part-time teaching assistants can be fired for any reason and have no rights to a hearing, unless it is specified in a union contract. All other educational, municipal, and state employees, regardless of job, have discipline rights written in state law.
Click here to ask the legislature to support A. 6978 / S. 6206 which will guarantee part-time teaching assistants the right to a hearing if they are facing termination by a school district or a BOCES.
VOICE Child Care
Child Care Rate Differential
Under current state law, counties must pay only an additional 5% per child if they require non-traditional hours of care or come from a family that is homeless. Unfortunately, that is not enough to incentivize provides to offer care to children in these categories and leaves families requiring services with few legal and licensed options.
Legislation strongly supported by CSEA/VOICE would require that all counties pay a 15% rate differential for children in these categories, which will better compensate providers and encourage more providers to provide care to these children.
Child nutrition reimbursement rates
The Child Nutrition Resolution (CNR) is up for reauthorization this year. This process occurs every 5 years and hasn’t been updated in a substantive way in a long time.
The House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee has already passed legislation to increase reimbursement rates for the food program, however, we need the Senate to begin moving legislation to do the same.
Please send an e-mail to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, as one of your U.S. Senators and as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to fight to strengthen existing reimbursement rates.
CSEA was very successful in securing much needed federal aid due to members and retirees contributing to our PEOPLE Program. Through PEOPLE we are able to lobby our congressional representatives and have a strong voice on federal issues. If you are not already a PEOPLE contributor, please learn more by contacting Kim Wallace-Russo 518 436-8622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org