HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM DISTRICT 2
The 2nd District will be closed Wednesday, November 27 to Friday, November 29, 2013We will reopen on Monday, December 2, 2013. HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE THANKSGIVING!!
AFGE 2nd DISTRICT NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE
The latest AFGE 2nd District newsletter just came off the presses, and now available via electronic copy. We are currently having issues, linking it to this site, however if you'd like a copy, email request to Christina.Salazar@afge.org. Hard copies will be sent, to all Locals, once they are available.
2ND DISTRICT MEETING
There will be a 2nd District Meeting, for Downstate NY and NJ Locals, that will be held Friday, December 6, 10:00AM-4:00PM, at the Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center, 178 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ. Cost is $15 per person, which includes AM/PM breaks and a Holiday Lunch. Click here for more information. PLEASE RSVP YOUR ATTENDANCE BY MONDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2013, by contacting District Office Manager Christina Salazar (732) 828-9449 or email Christina.Salazar@afge.org.
HOLIDAY BONUS BUCKS CAMPAIGN
The 2013 Holiday Bonus Bucks campaign started November 15, 2013 and will run until February 28, 2014. During that time, recruiters will receive $50 ($20 National/$30 District) for each new member signed. More information will follow.
Local 2305 (VARO Providence, RI) Rallies in Providence on October 15, 2013
District 2 rallied, on Wednesday, October 9, to protest the Government Shutdown in Foley Square, located near 26 Federal Plaza, in lower Manhattan. Rev. Jessie Jackson was the keynote speaker, voicing his strong support for our members. Among those in attendance, supporting our AFGE brothers and sisters, were members Mario Cilento, NY AFL-CIO President, Vinny Alvarez, NYC Central Labor Council President, NY City Comptroller John Liu, and NYC Councilman John Jackson, as well as members from various unions. Joining NVP Derrick Thomas were NST Eugene Hudson, NST Emeritus Rita Mason, and NVP Emeritus Jeffery Williams.
MORE RALLY PICS HERE
TAKE ACTION TO STOP THE SHUTDOWN
The National Office has dedicated a section, of the AFGE National website, to offer guidance on how to fight the shutdown of government offices. Go to Lock-Out Central on the national website: https://www.afge.org/?Page=shutdowncental where you will find talking points against the shutdown, a toolkit for Congressional office visits, advice on writing letters to newspapers, advice on how to organize an informal picket line, and advice on how to garner community support. Please remember - use your personal or union-owned equipment and email addresses to contact Congress and notify the public. Please tell your Local members to call Congress and protest the shutdown on AFGE's toll-free number 1-888-775-3148. Please keep the 2nd District informed of your special activities against the shutdown. If you have any questions or need support with your events, please call the 2nd District office (732) 828-9449 and ask for LPO Linda Mason, ext 15.
Making Our Voices Heard
Local 400 (Fort Drum, NY) Picket Rally in Watertown, NY
AFGE Local 2612(Rome, NY) Vice President Vinnie Cognetto and Amanda Siddall-White protests in Rome, NY.
AFGE 2nd District Members - Stay informed about issues that affect you from Capitol Hill. Sign-up to receive AFGE Action Alerts at your home email address. Go to www.afge.org, click the tab called, “Action Network,” and then click the link that says, “Sign-Up for Action Alerts.” Be sure to sign-up using your private email address and not your government email address.
Take Action to Stop the Furloughs, Pay Freezes, and VA Downgrades
The National Office has dedicated a section of the AFGE national website to offer guidance to Locals and members on how to fight furloughs, pay freezes and downgrades in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Go to www.afge.org, click on “Issues,” and then click the button that says “Furloughs, Pay Freezes and Downgrades.” The National office has provided a great deal of information on how Locals and members can take action on these issues. Please remember – do not use government property to lobby on any issues that are before Congress such as these. Use your personal or union-owned equipment, telephones, and email addresses to contact Congress. AFGE has set up toll-free numbers for members to call Congress. They are listed in the information on the website. Please tell your Local members to use a private or union-owned cell phone to call Congress during break times, not while on duty-time and not with a government telephone. If you have any questions or need further support and guidance, please call the 2nd District office (732) 828-9449.
In the event that sequestration will go into effect on March 1st and employees will be furloughed, we have attached copies of AFGE’s Bargaining Guidance pertaining to furloughs, OPM’s guidance for sequestration and furloughs, and AFGE’s guidance on “Reducing Spending on Service Contracts in Order to Comply with Sequestration.” Click here for AFGE Bargaining Guidance and here for OPM's Guidance on Furloughs
**Apply Online** AFL-CIO/Union Privilege "Dreams of Jobs and Freedom Scholarship"
The AFL-CIO is pleased to offer the AFL-CIO/Union Plus “Dreams of Jobs and Freedom Scholarship” program to help talented high school seniors from families in need – including union families and those in the community – to help pay for the costs of higher education. The program plans to provide $5,000 scholarships to a minimum of 50 students. The AFL-CIO created a website where students can apply: www.aflcio.org/scholarship. The scholarship program was authorized at the February AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The national AFL-CIO has partnered with the Union Privilege program to offer the scholarships. We encourage you to circulate this information to your members and others who might be interested in the scholarship. Applications are due by July 1, 2013.
SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURE FRIGHT FEST DISCOUNT TICKETS AVAILABLE
Discount tickets, to Great Adventure, can now be purchased via their online store. To request a link, please email Christina Salazar at email@example.com. THIS IS A MEMBERS ONLY BENEFIT.
SAVE THE DATES
Click here for a listing of upcoming District events planned
We have attached resources that may serve useful for those whose workplaces were impacted by Super Storm Sandy. Click for the following: Sandy Cleanup, Flood Health Hazards, Health Alert, Responder Services.
For AFGE Member stories, click
FEEA Stands Ready to Assist Feds Affected by Hurricane Sandy
Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) stands ready to assist civilian federal and postal employees impacted by the storm. Disaster grants of up to $500 will be available to employees in hard-hit areas.
Employees in need of help can download a disaster relief application at www.feea.org/Disaster or call FEEA at 1-800-323-4140 for more information. Phone lines may be very busy due to widespread damage and the sheer number of federal employees likely to be affected by the storm. Callers are asked to be patient and leave a message if prompted to do so. FEEA will have to prioritize assistance to those with the most serious damage and hardships until additional donations are received.
FEEA recently helped almost 600 feds in the Gulf Coast area with over $80,000 in disaster grants and no-interest loans following Hurricane Isaac, depleting our funds significantly. Donations to FEEA’s Natural Disaster Fund are urgently needed to ensure all who qualify for assistance in the wake of this disaster will receive it. Donations may be made via credit card on FEEA’s web site at www.feea.org/Give. Donations via check made out to “FEEA” may be sent to: FEEA Headquarters, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80227.
FEEA is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) agency, primarily funded through federal employee contributions to FEEA CFC Pledge #11185 and donations to special relief funds. Since 1986, FEEA has provided more than $11.5 million in scholarships to civilian federal employees and their dependents. The FEEA Emergency Assistance Program has provided more than $9 million in financial assistance to federal families experiencing natural disasters such as floods, fires and hurricanes, and to those experiencing unforeseen personal emergencies such as illness or death in the family. For more information about FEEA, visit www.feea.org or call 303-933-7580.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
American Red Cross The Red Cross provides immediate emergency assistance to people affected by disaster, such as shelter, food and water, health and mental health services to address basic human needs. Find your local Red Cross chapter at www.redcross.org/find-your-local-chapter and contact them about available volunteer opportunities or make a donation for Hurricane Sandy relief at www.redcross.org/charitable-donations.
United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund The United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund was established to address the near-term and long-term recovery needs of individuals, families and communities along the Eastern Seaboard that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy’s devastation. Visit www.UWSandyRecovery.org to donate to the Fund. You can also use your cell phone to text RECOVERY to 52000 to make a $10 donation.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is prepared for a long-term disaster response and recovery operation following the mass destruction and power outages left by Hurricane Sandy. To donate, please visit https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/disaster.
www.211us.org- Connect with Human Services as well as Volunteer Opportunities: Please encourage your family and friends affected by this storm to reach out to United Way 2-1-1 for assistance, and whether they are affected or not, 2-1-1 can help connect people with volunteer opportunities. Visit www.211us.org to connect with your 2-1-1 online and follow @211us on Twitter.
FOR ALL MEMBERS AFFECTED BY SANDY
U.S. Small Business Administration
SBA provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery & equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.Renters and homeowners alike may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, appliances, etc. damaged or destroyed in the disaster. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition.
Website: http://www.disasterassistance.gov Mobile Devices: m.fema.gov Phone: 1-800-621-3362
FEMA urges ANYONE who was impacted by Hurricane Sandy to call or go online and register for federal assistance. You are also able to walk in to FEMA centers and speak in person to a clerk, but lines can be long. For a list of FEMA centers, go to the agency web site. FEMA has a variety of programs and grants available for all types of Sandy victims; please call to find out what you are eligible to receive.
www.unionplus.org/sandy- Union Plus $500 Grants - Union Plus Disaster Relief Grants of $500 are available to help participants in the Union Plus Credit Card, Insurance or Mortgage programs who are facing financial hardship because of recent severe weather.
Grants are available to members who have participated in the Union Plus Credit Card, Insurance or Mortgage programs for at least 12 months and who are facing financial hardship due to the disaster. To qualify members must live in a county designated by FEMA as qualifying for individual assistance, have experience a significant loss of income or property and document their loss.
About 30 counties around New York City (including lower Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island), the Jersey shore (from Cape May to Asbury Park) and Connecticut (including Fairfield and New Haven) qualify for individual assistance.
FOR NEW JERSEY LOCALS
Temporary Disaster Employment
Those who are interested in temporary disaster relief employment are encouraged to call 877-682-6238 or e-mail SandyHelp@dol.state.nj.us to find out what opportunities might be available to you. Many workers have lost working hours or are indefinitely out of work due to Superstorm Sandy. The opportunity to earn supplemental income is a great resource to families struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times. Jobseekers can also send their resume to FEMA-NJfirstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for disaster relief employment opportunities. This program provides a good opportunity to put extra money in families’ pockets while expediting the recovery process. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO continues hold meetings around the state with union affiliates and representatives from FEMA. We are committed to ensuring that any recovery information that is available is disseminated to our affiliates as soon as possible. These meeting are invaluable to answering affiliate questions directly since it is impossible to anticipate what everyone’s needs are. These meetings also allow FEMA to learn from our unions the best way to advance our state’s recovery.
SANDY RECOVERY TOOLKIT
This toolkit is now available, on the NJ State AFL-CIO website, by clicking here.
Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey
MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — Victims of Hurricane Sandy that began on Oct. 26, 2012 in parts of New Jersey may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.
The President has declared Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties a federal disaster area. Individuals who reside or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief. The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Oct. 26, and on or before Feb. 1, have been postponed to Feb. 1, 2013.
In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Oct. 26, and on or before Nov. 26, as long as the deposits are made by Nov. 26, 2012.
If an affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. Penalties or interest will be abated only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period.
The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area need to call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.
Emergency Volunteer Response Hotline If you are interested in volunteering with a variety of Hurricane Sandy clean-up activities in New Jersey, call the state’s volunteer emergency response hotline at 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397)
2-1-1 2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects you to critical health and human services. 2-1-1 can also connect you with volunteer opportunities to help others in your community. Visit www.nj211.org for Hurricane Sandy notifications and recovery resources.
NEW YORK LOCALS
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that Westchester County has been approved for both federal disaster assistance funding and additional funding under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. This means that State, local governments and certain private, non-profit organizations are now eligible for federal reimbursement for road systems, water control facilities, public buildings and equipment, public utilities, and parks and recreation.
As the Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts continue, the Yonkers Fire Department is accepting supplies at all of their firehouses. Please drop off gently used coats, warm clothes, blankets and nonperishables for distrubution to shelters in some of the hardest hit areas (Breezy Point, Staten Island, The Rockaways and others.) In addition - please review the information below for assistance for those in Westchester and Putnam Counties
Hurricane Sandy Recovery information is available on the NY AFL-CIO website by clicking here.
NYS AFL-CIO Disaster Unemployment Insurance, click here.
Individuals with uninsured losses can seek financial help from FEMA. Call 800-621-3362 or visit www.disasterassistance.gov.
The Small Business Administration is ready to assist those affected by the storm as well. For information about disaster loans, grants and other financial assistance, visit www.sba.gov.
Additionally, New York State has received $27,792,296 in federal Disaster National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds to hire workers who lost their jobs as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy in Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties to help clean up impacted communities.
Workers interested in this program should call 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365). The New York State Department of Labor will work with local officials to recruit and hire workers. Information will also be available at local Disaster Recovery Centers and One-Stop Career Centers. A list of One-Stop Career Centers can be found on the State Department of Labor’s website at http://www.labor.ny.gov/workforcenypartners/osview.asp.
New York State has received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace food lost by recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps, in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. Under this grant, current recipients of SNAP will be automatically issued 50 percent of monthly benefits to replace food lost as a result of the storm starting next week. The Governor also announced that SNAP recipients in these areas will be able to purchase hot and prepared foods with their benefits. New York State will be able to issue up to $65 million in replacement benefits.
A complete list of eligible zip codes for this program can be found at otda.ny.gov/news/SNAP-replacements.pdf. Other current SNAP recipient households that have lost food purchased with SNAP benefits due to Hurricane Sandy are also entitled to replacement benefits. The loss must be reported by Wednesday, November 28, 2012, and the household must return a signed and completed form, found at otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/2291.pdf, by close of business on Monday, December 10, 2012. The form is also available at local department of social services offices. To find your local department of social services, visit otda.ny.gov/workingfamilies/dss.asp, or call 1-800-342-3009.
Households that do not currently receive SNAP assistance can check their eligibility quickly and easily, and apply online, by visiting myBenefits.ny.gov.