President’s Letter to Members

Happy Autumn and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful summer.

Executive Director Alice Wong and I testified at the NYC Council Oversight and Investigations Committee and Civil Service and Labor Committee Joint Hearing held on September 9, 2022. The hearing was titled “Oversight: Maintaining New York City’s Municipal Workforce” and its purpose was to investigate why the vacancy rate for the municipal workforce had skyrocketed from 1.5% in 2019 to over 8% or 24,000 vacant positions at the end of Fiscal Year 2022.

We testified that employee morale is low because of no pay raises and the Mayor’s back to office mandate for the entire City workforce without a telework option.

We emphasized that there is a need to develop incentives to retain the existing workforce as well as attract candidates to fill vacant positions. We presented copies of MEA advocacy letters and the July 2022 MEA Telework / WFH Survey to both Committees.

During the October 18, 2022 MEA Executive Board Meeting, the Directors voted unanimously in favor of a proposed resolution to object to Section 12-126 of the Administrative Code (Section 12-126) being amended by the New York City Council. As follow-up, MEA sent letters to all fifty-one City Council Members, Comptroller Brad Lander, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the five Borough Presidents, and The Chief expressing our objection to amending Section 12-126. Section 12-126 codifies the City’s obligation to provide health insurance coverage for City employees, retirees, and their dependents.

As follow-up to our letter to the Comptroller objecting to amendment of Section 12-126 and the
Office of Labor Relations (OLR) October 28, 2022, letter to the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC), on November 9, 2022, MEA met with the Comptroller’s Office. We were advised that no Medicare Advantage
Plus plan (MAP) contract was submitted to the Comptroller’s Office since the former contract from Anthem/Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield was rejected because of financial information being incomplete.

Additionally, Alice Wong and I met with the City Council Speaker Adam’s Office on November 14, 2022 and reiterated MEA’s objection to amending the Administrative Code. Our meeting ended with MEA agreeing to share letters to Mayor Adams, OLR, MEA Telework / WFH Survey and union newsletters containing MAP misinformation with Speaker Adams’ Office.

MEA’s Retiree Chapter Meeting was held on November 17, 2022. President of the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, Marianne Pizzitola and Stuart Eber, MEA President Emeritus and Chair of COMRO were panel speakers for the meeting. Ms. Pizzitola discussed the status of the MAP Appellate Court hearing which commenced on October 27, 2022.

The court issued a decision on November 22 in the plaintiffs’ favor: “Administrative Code § 12-126 (b)
(1) provides: ‘The city will pay the entire cost of health insurance coverage for city employees, city
retirees, and their dependents, not to exceed one hundred percent of the full cost of H.I.P.- H.M.O. on a
category basis.’ The court correctly determined that Administrative Code §12-126 (b) (1) requires respondents to pay the entire cost, up to the statutory cap, of any health insurance plan a retiree selects.”

Mr. Eber discussed the impact of the proposed amendment to Section 12-126 on health care benefits for municipal employees, retirees and their dependents. The video of the meeting can be found HERE. Enter code L7g*jy3G to view.

The MEA Executive Board acknowledges and appreciates the hard work of our members and continues representing NYC managers to the best of our abilities. We wish everyone a Safe, Healthy, and Peaceful – Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa.

Read the Fall Newsletter, below.