President’s Letter to Members

I would like to wish everyone a happy autumn as rainbow-colored leaves brighten our days.

On September 7, 2023, the MEA sent a letter to Commissioner Renee Campion of the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR) inquiring about the status of pay raises and flexible work options for managers.  MEA received a response to our letter from OLR on October 23, 2023.  It stated that Mayor Adams will announce a remote work option program for managers and non-unionized employees that day.  The remote work option shall be approved by a Flexible Work Committee based on job performance and specific duties.  Then, it will be at the discretion of agency commissioners to permit employees to work remotely.  Approved employees will have the option of working remotely up to two days per week.  Working remotely is a very relevant and viable option for employees during emergencies and as a means of improving work – life balance.  It is an incentive to retain existing employees and to enhance competitive recruitment of new employees from the private sector.  The program is scheduled to be implemented on December 1, 2023.

The MEA continues its unwavering advocacy in pursuit of well-deserved manager pay raises.  Based on information posted on the Administration’s website, collective bargaining agreements representing approximately 88 percent of the City’s workforce have been completed.  Collective bargaining discussions are progressing with unions representing the remaining unionized workforce.  It is anticipated that when these collective bargaining agreements are completed, managerial raises will be approved.

Resulting from the continued influx of asylum seekers to the City causing dire economic strain on the City, on September 9, 2023, Mayor Adams announced additional budget cuts to City agencies totaling 15%.  The budget cuts are scheduled for 5% in November of 2023, 5% in January of 2024, and another 5% cut in April of 2024.  These budget cuts are in addition to the 3% cut for Fiscal Year 2022 and 4% cut for Fiscal Year 2023.  The Mayor indicated that these proposed budgets cuts may be re-evaluated if the City receives substantial funding to support the continued influx of asylum seekers from the Federal Government and New York State.

Along with the budget cuts, the Mayor imposed a hiring freeze that went into effect on October 1, 2023. The hiring freeze will affect all agencies, except for the filling of vacant essential worker positions.  Presently, there are over 20,000 vacant employment positions throughout City agencies that will most likely not be filled at any time in the foreseeable future.    

Prior to Mayor Adams’ announcement of a remote work option program for managers and non-unionized employees, MEA Executive Director Alice Wong and I testified at the September 26, 2023 New York City Council Hearing on “The Future of Municipal Work”.  We testified in support of Intro 481 that would provide telework options for all municipal employees at the discretion of agency commissioners.  Intro 481 is the same as New York State Bill A.1435: “New York City Teleworking Expansion Act” (NYS Assembly and Senate Bill A457 and Bill S5536 respectively) that MEA endorsed in February of 2022.  During our testimony, we also expressed support for Intro 567 that would limit the use of City devices to communicate with municipal employees during off-work hours.

The City is scheduled to implement health insurance cost reductions for in-service employees, pre-Medicare eligible retirees and their dependents on January 1, 2024.  A Request For Information (RFI) was posted by the Office of Labor Relations and the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) on June 16, 2022 for a new Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) to provide and administer a health insurance program that would reduce City costs by 10%.  GHI-CBP, which is presently the main health insurance plan, may be discontinued in exchange for a less expensive health insurance plan.  There has not been an official announcement from OLR regarding the selection of an insurance provider or the specifics about insurance plan changes at this time.

Municipal retirees are lobbying NYC Council members to gain support for Intro 1099Intro 1099 would amend Section 12-126 of the NYC Administrative Code to codify the provision for the City to offer medigap insurance equivalent or better than that provided on December 31, 2021 as a supplement to original Medicare.  It has been stated that some unions have threatened to withdraw campaign donations and support from Council members who endorse Intro 1099.  It would appear that after the general elections on November 7, 2023, additional Council members may support Intro 1099 without being intimidated by those opposed to the amendment.

MEA Chapter elections are being conducted in-person unless scheduled specifically as a Zoom meeting.  Please be reminded, that at least five-chapter members must RSVP prior to the meeting to satisfy the quorum requirement for a chapter election to be conducted.  We encourage members to participate in chapter elections and volunteer as candidates to fill chapter officer positions – especially vacant positions.  It is extremely important for all agency chapters to be represented on the Executive Board.  As chapter director, you are an ambassador for your agency and MEA – sharing managerial concerns and issues, and having a vote as a member of the Executive Board.  We also encourage members to invite non-MEA managers to chapter meetings in an effort to recruit new members for your chapter as well as to increase MEA’s membership.  Please remember, recruitment leading to membership growth is the MEA’s life blood – “There is strength in numbers”.

Member participation in the Organization Committee; Compensation, Benefits and Professional Development Committee; and the Events and Fundraising Committee is also highly encouraged.  These committees provide the opportunity for members to become proactively involved in the MEA.  Additionally, in early 2024, I will establish a Bylaws Committee to review member proposed amendments to the MEA Bylaws.  It is important that the Bylaws stay current and be adopted to reflect policies, operations and activities of the MEA.  Information regarding the establishment of a Bylaws Committee will be available in our bi-weekly E-Bulletins.

In September, a members survey was conducted on behalf of the Events and Fundraising Committee regarding whether or not to schedule the 2023 Annual MEA CDP Joel Fishelson Scholarship Holiday Event.  Based on the survey, members indicated that the MEA CDP Joel Fishelson Holiday Event should be canceled for this year.  Accordingly, the holiday event has been canceled again for this year.  We are hoping that for next December circumstances will be improved such that we can have the much-anticipated holiday event.

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, Peaceful, and Happy Holiday Season!

Read the Autumn Newsletter, below.