Brothers and sisters, we are in uncharted waters. This unprecedented event is alarming, and we are responding as the situation evolves daily. First and foremost, you must protect yourself by distancing and assuming everyone you come in contact with may be infected with the virus. If you are sick, then self-quarantine and do not go to work. The NYC Department of Health and the CDC have protocols on their websites. We are monitoring all available pay for time off as conditions warrant that may potentially be available: employer-mandated paid leave, NYS Unemployment Insurance, FMLA, NYS Paid Family Leave and/or Workers Compensation. I stress that this is all fluid at the moment.
Additionally, the Trustees have increased the number of wage replacement days you can take from the 401(k) from 5 to 30. We are petitioning the Federal Government to waive the 10% penalty on withdrawals from your 401(k).
Wage replacement will be conditioned on events such as self- or mandatory quarantine, temporary or permanent layoff, job shutdowns, or having to care for a child now that schools are closed, but again this is evolving and not clearly defined as of this moment.
We are also subject to restrictions on the size of public gatherings. We proceeded with the March General Membership Meeting fulfilling our responsibilities to approve the Executive Board actions and elected the Election Board. We waived the rest of the normal order of business. There is no need for the election of the Election Board that was scheduled for March 24 since there were 13 nominations for the 13 positions. A postcard will be mailed notifying the cancellation of that special meeting and election.
However, nominations for officers will take place at the April General Membership Meeting with respect to any federal, state, and local restrictions in place at that time. The meeting will have an abbreviated agenda so come early if you plan to nominate a candidate. Additionally, the International Office has granted permission to allow for nominations to be made and accepted at the Local in person or by mail between now and when the Chairman suspends normal business at the April General Membership Meeting to open the special meeting to accept nominations of officers. You can contact the Recording Secretary’s office to make an appointment to come in or to request a Nomination Card. We will also have a table and inspectors outside the meeting to take nominations due to the restrictions on the size of gatherings. Notices will be mailed regarding these changes this week. Finally, we are monitoring the location of the General Election of Officers scheduled for May 16, 2020 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. So far there is no change, however if needed, the alternate site would be the Joint Industry Board Auditorium.
Americans have weathered disasters before — the Great Depression, World War II, and 9/11 among others. We have made sacrifices, we were subjected to rationing and deprivations, we came together and looked out for one another, especially the elderly and the sick who are at a higher risk in this circumstance. Use common sense and take all necessary precautions to protect you and your families. Remain calm and have patience. If you need help call us and we will do all we can to help. God bless us all.