COVID-19

COVID-19

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Independence Day is almost here, a holiday usually spent with family and friends celebrating our country’s founding and all that it offers. Of course, there is nothing usual about the times we live in, so what worked in the past may not be the same in the present--and that is okay if it gets us back to the stability and safety we need and desire.

I have a favor to ask. For this most unusual of Independence Days, take a few moments to consider how we are dependent on one another. Whether it is the power we build as a union through collective action or following guidelines for social distancing and mask-wearing, what we do as individuals can greatly affect the whole. Maybe it is why we were able to adapt to this pandemic with few hitches; as union members we are conditioned to think about more than just ourselves.

I want to wish you and your family a very happy Independence Day and also thank you for doing what it takes to keep us moving forward and keep people safe.

Fraternally yours,
Raymond M. Pocino

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

 

What is a union like LIUNA supposed to do during the most devastating pandemic the world has seen in over a century?  The answer is, we fight. Fight the coronavirus. Fight for federal relief that ensures income and health care protection for our displaced members. Fight for setting standards that keep workers safe AND employed.  Simply put, we continue to fight. 

 

Across our region we are fighting for the passage to the HEROES Act with pension protections. This federal legislation would provide needed relief to families and small businesses, ensure health care coverage is not lost due to this devastating pandemic, and help stabilize this country.  I want to thank all of our LIUNA and fund leadership who have lobbied their Congressional representatives to pass this critically-needed legislation. It is still a work in progress, but we won’t stop advocating for our union membership.

 

With everything going on in this world, we also continue to fight to protect our jurisdiction and to organize new members and employers. Recently, LIUNA Public Sector Employees Local 1029 in Delaware scored a huge organizing victory, winning the right to represent more than 50 workers from four state administrative units.  This campaign straddled the COVID-19 world and Local 1029 leadership and organizers from LEROF quickly adapted from in-person to online organizing.   We offer congratulations to Local 1029 and its Business Manager Gurvis Miner and welcome our newest members. 

 

As always, I wish you and your families good health during this most difficult time. 

 

Fraternally yours,

Raymond M. Pocino

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are doing well and staying safe. As we all follow best practices and mandated regulations regarding social distancing, we will use these messages to bring LIUNA members together and share important information. 

 

Like so many of you, I enter this third month of our shutdown itching to get back to normal, but also understanding that the steps we have taken thus far are necessary to avoid a far greater pandemic and making our situation worse.  Recognizing that an immediate return to past practices is highly unlikely, you should know that LIUNA officials, signatory contractors, and public health experts are spending a great deal of time and energy figuring out how we will operate as restrictions begin to ease. Everything from identifying effective engineering and administrative controls, standardized work practices, and gaining access to more testing, and PPE are all in the mix.  As an industry, we are thinking about HOW we will operate, but we have little control over WHEN we will put these plans into place.  Our scientific and medical experts along with our elected officials will make that call, but when they do, we want to show them we are ready to build a better America by building to the highest safety and health standards.

 

Secondly, while it would be great to have nothing else distracting us at this critical time, I also want to share with you information on a fight LIUNA is having in Washington DC regarding priorities.

 

To our utter dismay, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be convening the United States Senate, not to address COVID-19 issues, but to appoint more right-wing judges to the federal bench.  We think this is a slap in the face to working men and women, small businesses, and our local communities who are under such tremendous strain due to the coronavirus. And while we certainly oppose the appointment of jurists who oppose unions, oppose healthcare legislation like Obamacare, and oppose worker protections, we would have the same objection to a Democratic Senate appointing liberal judges. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO ADVANCE POLITICAL GOALS, NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE ACTION AND SAVE OUR COUNTRY FROM THE LARGEST PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY IN OVER A CENTURY. We need legislation that saves jobs, helps people save their homes, and helps them avoid depleting their own savings to survive.

 

LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan, the entire General Executive Board, and so many LIUNA leaders are sending the message to the Senate and the White House—put people ahead of profit and do whatever it takes to get this country and its citizens on the path to recovery.  We don’t need more judges, we need more tests, PPE, and support for families and small businesses.

 

I share this with you because I want you to know that the fight goes on to protect working families even as we must fight back this deadly virus. As always, do contact your Local Union with any questions or concerns and please visit our COVID-19 related website for up-to-date information on the virus, services available, and workplace safety.

 

I want to thank you for all you are doing to stay safe and support our healthcare workers, co-workers, and our communities. Even as we are social distancing, we are always better together!

 

Fraternally yours,

Raymond M. Pocino

Dear Brothers and Sisters,


Let me start off by saying that I hope you and your family are doing well and staying safe in this most trying of times. As we have all heard, the path to getting past this Coronavirus pandemic requires shelter-in-place policies, the closing or restriction of certain businesses and institutions, and new policies regarding how we conduct our daily lives.

 

This certainly wasn’t a circumstance we asked for, but it is one we are all doing our best to address. As a reminder, the Laborers Eastern Region is maintaining a COVID-19 resource page with information that may be helpful to you and everyone around you. With things changing so quickly, we are constantly updating information and links to critical resources on this page, so feel free to visit here often.

 

I want to thank all our members on the frontlines--the men and women working hard to maintain and improve our infrastructure, serve our various industries, and keep things moving forward. Nothing at this difficult time is easy but it is most certainly important. Please take care of yourself and stay safe. As always, if you have union questions, please reach out to your local union representative or benefit fund for more information.


Fraternally yours,
Raymond M. Pocino

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

The coronavirus outbreak may be the most disruptive and deadly force the world has faced in generations. With neither a vaccine nor a cure, the only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to implement and enforce aggressive social distancing measures. Even in occupations and activities where we continue to work and are in close proximity to others, there are proven measures to protect yourself and others!

 

LIUNA Eastern Region represents and serves more than 45,000 members and their families in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Delaware, and Puerto Rico.  We will utilize this page to provide important updates and to share critical information and resources that may be of help to you and others. Much of the information will be about health and safety matters, some will be about legal and regulatory issues and how to navigate the system, and we will also share information about our advocacy efforts.  For instance, General President Terry O’Sullivan continues to push Congress for COVID-19 relief that helps our members.

 

You can read his letter to congressional leadership here: 

https://www.liuna.org/news/story/liuna-pushes-for-covid19-relief-and-infrastructure

 

Given each state and territory has its own unique laws, policies, and advisories to address COVID-19, we have organized information for you both geography and by topic. If you still have work or union-related questions, do reach out to your union representative by phone or email. All local unions, training centers and funds are open and carrying out their responsibilities while also maintaining proper social distancing practices.

 

In solidarity,

Raymond M. Pocino

State of Delaware COVID-19 Resource Page
https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/

General Coronavirus Questions:
Individual Hotline: 1-866-408-1899

For the hearing impaired: 7-1-1
Email: DPHCall@delaware.gov

Businesses Resources: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/resources-for-businesses/

COVID-19 Testing in Delaware: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing/

 

SERVICES

New Jersey COVID-19 Resources

NJ Coronavirus Site: www.covid19.nj.gov

NJ Department of Health: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml

NJ Department of Health 24-Hour Coronavirus Hotline:

  • Speak to a healthcare professional at 1-800-222-1222 or 1-800-962-1253.

NJ 2-1-1 Call Center:

  • For general coronavirus information & basic needs, dial 211.
  • For alerts/updates, text NJCOVID to 898-211.

COVID-19 Fact Sheet: EnglishSpanish Simplified Chinese

NJ COVID-19 Benefits Chart: English | Spanish

NJ Unemployment, Paid Sick & Family Leave Benefits Chart

 

Financial Assistance

 

Unemployment

Governor Phil Murphy ordered immediate access to unemployment for workers who lost work due to the Coronavirus.  The 7-day waiting period has been waived.

 

You can file a claim on the New Jersey Department of Labor’s website: https://nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/

 

To ensure the continued stability of the online application system, the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development is implementing a new filing system based on the last 4 digits of the applicant’s Social Security Number

 

0000 and 1250 access the application between 8am and 9am
1251 and 2500
 access the application between 9am and 10am
 2501 and 3750 access the application between 10am and 11am
3751 and 5000
access the application between 11am and 12pm
5001 and 6250 access the application between 12pm and 1pm
6251 and 7500 
access the application between 1pm and 2pm
7501 and 8750 access the application between 2pm and 3pm
8751 and 9999 
access the application between 3pm and 4pm

 

If you miss your designated window, you may certify from 4pm to 7pm.

 

Federal Income Taxes

The 2019 federal income tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended to July 15, 2020.  This relief is automatic, taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify. 

 

You can visit the IRS’s website for further and updated information on the IRS’s response to coronavirus and a list of available relief programs.

 

New Jersey Income Taxes

The 2019 New Jersey state tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers has been extended from April 15 to until July 15.

Beginning on March 18th and continuing at least through April 17th, all walk-in services at the NJ Division of Taxation regional and Trenton offices will be closed to the public as a precaution to safeguard public health.  The call center and email service are operating with reduced staff on a limited schedule Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., closed Fridays.

 

90-Day Grace Period for Mortgage Payments

If you are impacted by COVID-19, some financial institutions will offer mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which allow you to reduce or delay your monthly mortgage payment. In addition, they will:

  • Give you a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
  • Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program; and
  • Provide you the opportunity to extend your forbearance agreement if you continue to experience hardship due to COVID-19.

More information and an updated list of participating lenders can be found at the NJ Department of Banking & Insurance.

 

Housing

Governor Phil Murphy signed an Executive Order declaring a 60-day moratorium on removing individuals from their homes pursuant to an eviction or foreclosure proceeding. Information on the EO and additional housing assistance can be found at the NJ Department of Consumer Affairs

 

Health & Nutrition Benefits

The NJ Department of Human Services has an online application and screening tool, NJHelps, that can be used to see if you are eligible for the following programs:

Visit https://www.njhelps.org/ for more information.

 

Utilities

The NJ Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) announced that the state’s public electric and gas utilities have agreed to suspend service shutoffs given the statewide public health emergency and the effort currently underway in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A list of all public gas and electricity companies in New Jersey regulated by NJBPU is available here.

 

Food Banks

Food Bank of South Jersey: https://foodbanksj.org/ | 856-662-4884

Community Food Bank of New Jersey: https://cfbnj.org/

Headquarters:  908-355-3663

Southern Branch: 609-383-8843

 

Mental Health and Wellness

Alzheimer’s Association Free 24/7 Helpline: 800-272-3900

Alzheimer’s Association COVID-19 Tip Sheet: www.alz.org/COVID19

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Mental Health Association of New Jersey: https://www.mhanj.org/covid-19/

Mental Health Information and Referrals: 1-866-202-HELP (4357)


Domestic Violence

NJCEDV’s Response to COVID-19: https://njcedv.org/covid19/

 


NJCEDV State Hotline

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-572-SAFE (7233)

National Deaf Videophone: 1-855-812-1001



NJ Coalition Against Sexual Assault

New Jersey's 24-hour Hotline: 1-800-601-7200 | https://njcasa.org/covid-19/

COVID-19 Health & Safety Resources

COVID-19 Immediate Relief Resources

Unemployment Insurance. Governor Cuomo has waived the seven-day waiting period for new unemployment claims. Eligible members can file claims here: https://applications.labor.ny.gov/IndividualReg/

 

To that end, the DOL is implementing a new more efficient filing system based on the first letter of the applicant’s last name (alphabetical order).

A – F : Monday
G – N : Tuesday
O – Z : Wednesday
Missed your day : Thursday and Friday

Filing later in the week will not delay payments or affect the date of an individual’s claim, since all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.

 

DOL is also extending filing hours as follows:
Monday through Thursday 8:00 am to 7:30 pm
Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 7:30 am to 8:00 pm.

  • Evictions suspension. Starting Tuesday March 17, 2020, New York officials have indefinitely suspended pending eviction proceedings and the enforcement of pending orders. Developers that are part of REBNY, which collectively own or manage more than 150,000 rental units have pledged not to execute any warrant of eviction for the next 90 days. You can see if your landlord is included here. A tenants’ rights English and Spanish hotline is also available most afternoons at 212-979-0611. https://bit.ly/2wTcVOM
  • Limited State Debt-Collection Relief. NY Attorney General James (“AG”) and Governor Cuomo announced that from March 16, 2020 through April 15, 2020, the AG will halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the State of New York. People who owe other types of debts to the State of New York can file an application for relief with the AG’s office. https://ag.ny.gov/covid-19-application-suspension-debt-collection-activity
  • Food Bank NYC. This organization maintains an extensive list of food pantries for families in need. Individuals should reach out to organizations in their community to determine eligibility and availability. https://www.foodbanknyc.org/covid-19/

Benefits Under Review / Planned

  • NYS is still working out implementation of these planned benefits. We will be updating you as the final details are put into place.
  • Mortgage Relief. On March 18, Gov. Cuomo announced plans to work with lenders on waiving mortgage payments for 90 days for homeowners who qualify as suffering financial hardship (i.e. not working or working only part time). Not making a mortgage payment during this time would not affect your credit. Missed payments would be made-up at “the back end” of the mortgage. Members should reach out to their lender to see if they are eligible.
  • Foreclosures Postponed or Suspended. Governor Cuomo also announced he will be working with lenders to postpone foreclosure proceedings for three months.

For Parents of School Age Children

  • Grab-and-Go meals will be provided at over 400 locations. Any student can pick up breakfast and lunch and dinner starting March 16 and continuing until further notice. Click here for info about locations: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/food/free-meals
  • Monday, March 23: Remote learning launches, with additional guidance provided throughout the week of the 23rd.
  • NYCDOE- specific instructional resources in English for students in grades Pre-K through 12 are currently available online at https://www.schools.nyc.gov/learn-at-home
  • More information about remote learning, meals, and other core services will be made available for families at https://www.schools.nyc.gov/
  • To help all students adjust to remote learning environments, Apple and T-Mobile will ensure that in the coming weeks, 300,000 New York City public school students who don’t currently have an internet-connected device will have one for their schoolwork, beginning with 25,000 iPads that will be distributed this week.

La llegada de la crisis de salud creada por el coronavirus presenta retos imprevistos y significantes que nos afectan a todos. Al igual que hemos trabajado juntos para defender los derechos del trabajador y para luchar para un salario justo para los obreros que están reconstruyendo a Puerto Rico, ahora todos tenemos que trabajar juntos para proteger a nuestra isla y su gente de esta devastadora enfermedad.

 

Para su conveniencia en esto tiempos recios, hemos recopilado una lista de recursos que se están ofreciendo en respuesta a esta nueva crisis, incluyendo a los enlaces de internet para acudir mas información cuando eso está disponible. Continuaremos a proveer este tipo de información durante esta crisis.

Por favor cuídense durante esta crisis—preserven su salud física, mental y emocional. Sigan las directivas de las autoridades y las recomendaciones de higiene de la comunidad médica, y juntos superaremos esto para continuar a reconstruir al Puerto Rico que nos merecemos.

 

Recursos Relacionados con el Coronavirus en Puerto Rico

La Fortaleza ha promulgado un documento recopilando la variedad de medidas económicas que ha implementado o está implementando el gobierno para ayudar a los residentes. Hasta esta fecha, se están implementando programas dedicando, de varias maneras, casi $800 millones de dólares en asistencia al pueblo en respuesta a los retos presentados por la epidemia del coronavirus. Para encontrar un resumen de las medidas económicas, vaya al:

https://www.fortaleza.pr.gov/content/mensaje-de-la-gobernadora-sobre-medidas-econ-micas-ante-la-amenaza-del-covid19

 

Recursos de Salud

Recursos de salud relacionados al coronavirus del Departamento de Salud de Puerto Rico (incluye alertas, noticias, información sobre prevención, y sobre recursos adicionales  de salud): http://www.salud.gov.pr/Pages/coronavirus.aspx#InplviewHash60eacd74-5efd-4d0f-ad78-42147a13b6d3=

 

Luz, Agua, Peajes, Impuestos, Plan WIC, y Extenciones de Fechas

  • Durante esta crisis, se ha ordenado de que no hayan desconexiones de servicio de luz y de agua.
  • Tampoco se cobrarán los peajes durante este tiempo.
  • El Departamento de Hacienda ha extendido el periodo de pagos de contribuciones sobre ingresos hasta el 15 de julio; la fecha para radicar las planillas se ha extendido hasta el 15 de mayo;
  • Las licencias de conducir que se vencen para el 30 de marzo serán extendidas hasta el 30 de abril. El Seguro compulsorio cubrirá accidentes que ocurran durante este periodo aunque la licencia este vencida. No habrán multas por licencias de conductor o marbetes expirados durante este periodo.
  • Los pagos del Plan WIC se adelantarán por los próximos 3 meses.

Moratorias a Pagos

Se ha establecido un periodo de 90 días de moratorias en el pago de hipotecas, autos, préstamos personales, préstamos comerciales y tarjetas de créditos.

 

ESTAS MORATORIAS NO SON AUTOMATICAS:

Si usted quiere tomar ventaja de estos periodos de moratoria, tiene que contactar a su institución financiera y solicitarla.

 

Seguro de Desempleo

El gobierno de Puerto Rico está trabajando con las autoridades federales para ofrecer beneficios de desempleo expandidos. Los nuevos beneficios ofrecerán cobertura adicional a los siguientes grupos que no están cubiertos tradicionalmente:

  • Personas que trabajan por cuenta propia;
  • trabajadores a quienes se les ordenó tomarse una licencia sin sueldo y no cualifican para pagos por desempleo, ni para licencia por enfermedad; y
  • trabajadores a tiempo parcial que hayan trabajado en, por lo menos, dos trimestres del periodo básico.

Los beneficios de Seguro de desempleo se pueden solicitar por internet aquí: https://desempleo.trabajo.pr.gov/reclamacionsubsiguiente/

Información adicional sobre beneficios adicionales se podrá encontrar en el hogar internet del Departamento del Trabajo, https://www.trabajo.pr.gov/

 

Medidas económicas para negocios relacionadas al coronavirus:

  • El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico proveerá una aportación de 1,500 dólares como incentivo para todas las pequeñas y medianas empresas (con menos de 50 empleados) que hayan cesado operaciones por razón del coronavirus.

Incentivos económicos para profesiones especificas:

  • Bono de hasta 4,000 dólares para todas las enfermeras en el sistema público y privado y hasta 2,500 para los técnicos de salud trabajando durante esta crisis; y
  • Aportación de hasta 4,000 dólares para personal de respuesta de emergencias médicas y una aportación de hasta 3,500 dólares para policías, bomberos y oficiales correccionales;

Educación

El Departamento de Educación esta invirtiendo $250 millones para la compra de tabletas y programas para los educadores y estudiantes, y ha proveído recursos para facilitar la educación a distancia para los estudiantes en Puerto Rico, que incluye un app con módulos de materias específicas: