President’s Letter to Members

Happy Summer Everyone! Summer is the time of the year when the living is supposed to be easy. However, because of the pandemic, Ukrainian / Russian War, economic downturn capped with high inflation, mandated back to office requirements without provisions for teleworking and work from home exceptions, and without pay raises in sight the living is not easy. We have always been resilient and we
will make it through these unprecedented difficult times. We are hoping and praying for better times and brighter days ahead.

Dire economic conditions triggered by the pandemic have affected the lives of most New Yorkers. Salaries of City employees are frozen and significantly inadequate to address increases in the cost of living and the highest inflation rate in over forty years at 9.1%. Pay raises are desperately needed for all City employees. During MEA’s recent meeting with the Office of Labor Relations, it was explicitly stated
that pay raises are tied to reductions in City healthcare benefit costs. With healthcare reserves depleted, the City and unions must resolve excessive health care benefit costs before pay raises can be considered. Contract negotiations with unions have not commenced. It was expressed that there is no timetable for when raises will be provided for Managers or unionized employees. Managerial raises are usually effectuated after union collective bargaining raise patterns have been set.

Until recently, it was anticipated that negotiations for pay raises would be based on the outcome of the pending City appeal of the court decision regarding the Medicare Advantage Plus plan that is scheduled for Appellate Court hearings in September of this year. However, the situation has become more complicated. On July 15, 2022, the City was informed that Anthem / Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, the selected Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), withdrew its commitment to participate in the Medicare Advantage Plus plan.

In addition, based on a Request For Information released by the City and the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) on June 16, 2022, plans are in the works to reduce health care benefits for active employees and pre-Medicare eligible retirees by 10% with a new Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Interested and qualified health maintenance organizations were required to submit their information for review by July 14, 2022. The City and MLC anticipates selecting an organization and implementing that new health care plan by January 1, 2024.

Also, on June 3, 2022 a Request for Proposals was released by the City seeking a Group Dental Administrative Services vendor to provide administrative dental services for management, supervisory, and administrative City government employees who are not covered under
collective bargaining agreements. HealthPlex is our current provider.

Read the Summer Newsletter, below.