What's New at IBEW 1205
IBEW Local 1205
We are looking forward to resuming the Regular Union Meetings in July. As a reminder, the Independence Day holiday will be observed on Friday, July 3rd, and the hall will be closed. The meeting will be held on the following Friday, July 10th.
As per Alachua County regulations and in following the CDC COVID-19 guidelines, any member attending the meeting or entering the Union Hall is required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing. Alachua County may issue civil citations individuals who enter an establishment without a mask.
All members are encouraged to continue conduct business without coming into the Union Hall whenever possible.
Dues payments should be made over the phone, 352-376-7701, by mailing a check, or by utilizing recurring payment. The recurring payment option may be elected by completing this form and returning it to the hall.
Just a friendly reminder, Book re-signs will begin on July 10th and be accepted through July 16th. The online book sign form is the best method for re-sign.
A Labor Day Picnic is tentatively scheduled for the Saturday before Labor Day, September 5th at the Union Hall. Plans are for a cookout and presentation of Retirees Service Pins. Details will be sent out at a later date.
Members are encouraged to register on our website. To receive text messages make sure to select your current cell phone provider when registering. None of your information will be shared outside Local 1205.
Click here to register.
The 401K offered through NECA/IBEW is now available to members wishing to make contributions.
Click here for more details regarding enrolling in this plan.
Please complete and return this form your employer's payroll department if you are interested in participating.
Welcome to this week's Florida AFL-CIO E-Messenger, your weekly round up of labor news across Florida and the country. Let's dive in.
Help Us Send a Message to Governor DeSantis: It's Time to Fix Our Broken Unemployment System.
In 2011, then-Governor Rick Scott and his cronies in big business went out of their way to gut Florida's Unemployment Insurance system. Thanks to them, Florida now has some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the nation as well as some of the strictest eligibility rules. Thousands of Floridians have already lost their jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and our unemployment system is ill-prepared to meet the challenges facing our economy and public safety.
The Florida AFL-CIO is calling on Governor DeSantis to repair our damaged insurance system. Over a week ago over 100 labor leaders submitted a letter to the Governor's office in support of providing unemployed Floridians with real relief. We've also launched a website, www.FLWorkersNeedRelief.com, where thousands of workers have submitted their stories and signed a petition to Governor DeSantis to fix our broken system.
Theses changes are desperately needed as more and more Floridians find themselves out of work and faced with a program that provides insultingly low relief if a worker's claim is accepted. Unfortunately, most workers can't even get their foot in the door in the first place, as the Department of Economic Opportunity has been woefully unprepared for our current economic crisis.
The Lakeland Ledger has more on the havoc COVID-19 continues to wreak on Florida's economy and an Unemployment System that wasn't ready for the exponential increase in cases.
Unfortunately the system was designed to fail by Rick Scott, who purposefully moved the system to be entirely web-based.....on a website that barely worked in the best of times.
The Governor has made some moves towards fixing the problem, lifting some of the more draconian work requirements and moving to hire staff to handle the deluge of requests. While it's a start, more needs to be done.
DeSantis Issues State-Wide "Safer At Home" Order
Wednesday, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which orders Floridians to stay at home except to either participate in or provide essential activities. The order closes all "non-essential" businesses and social gatherings and recommends that all work that can be, should be done remotely. The Order is set to last until April 30th.
The Palm Beach Post has a good overview of the order and what activities and businesses have been deemed essential.
While the Governor is encouraging telecommuting in any and all industries possible, state employees have unfortunately been hearing another story. Many state employees are still expected to come into the office where remote work is possible, due to no clear guidance from state agencies.
The Tallahassee Democrat has more on the story.
Stay Safe During The Pandemic and Know Your Rights:
The Florida AFL-CIO has Resources Relating to The COVID-19 Pandemic.
During this crisis, it's crucial that you stay informed of your rights on the job, what to do if you're laid off and how to stay safe. You can find a list of national, statewide and local resources on our website.
Click here for our resource list.
AFL-CIO Releases National Guides for Navigating Unemployment for Workers Affected By Pandemic
This week, the National AFL-CIO released guides for workers dealing with the national response to unemployment. You'll find them below.
Workers Across the Nation are Keeping Their Communities Safe Amid Pandemic
Across the country, Union members are on the front lines working to help keep the country running.
Grocery workers have continued to keep our communities fed at great risk to themselves. Organized Labor is working to make sure grocery workers are safe at their job.
The New York Daily News has an excellent op-ed on the protections grocery employees need by Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Janitors and custodial workers across the nation are keeping vital services clean and helping to stop the spread of disease.
NBC News has more on the critical work they're doing.
Each week, the AFL-CIO highlights some of the workers putting themselves at risk to perform essential duties as part of their series, Service+Solidarity. This week, the spotlight is on Shekina, a member of AFGE and lead transportation security officer for the Transportation Security Administration at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.
Click here to watch her story.
As the country faces shortages of critical supplies for medical workers, members of United Steel Workers in Maine have answered the call, switching from manufacturing clothing to vital resources like masks.
Click here for their story.
Take Action: Sign the Petition!
As we discussed earlier, Florida is facing a huge unemployment crisis with a system that's not prepared in the slightest. Your message to the Governor helps us move towards a system that provides Floridians with actual relief.
Click here to sign the petition!
Please be sure to share the website, www.flworkersneedrelief.com with anyone who would be interested in supporting the cause. The more signatures, the louder the message.
That wraps up this week's Florida AFL-CIO E-Messenger. Stay at home if you can, wash your hands and stay safe. Solidarity.
Got any tips, actions or messages you’d like to see in this email?
Please email Michael Newberger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 FEDERAL LEGISLATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Congress has passed two major pieces of legislation to deal with the coronavirus crisis, the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Both include important protections for workers affected by the current crisis. This memorandum summarizes the provisions providing: (1) unemployment benefits, (2) paid leave benefits, and (3) cash payouts.
I. Unemployment Compensation under the CARES Act
The CARES Act expands state unemployment insurance (“UI”) programs in four ways: it (1) expands access to UI benefits; (2) increases the amount of UI payments; (3) extends the duration of UI benefits; and (4) eliminates waiting periods. The changes only go into effect if a state enters an agreement with the federal government agreeing to certain terms. However, because the federal government will pay for 100% of the CARE Act’s changes, we anticipate that most, if not all, states will offer these expanded benefits.
The CARES Act provides the following:
For workers who qualify for regular UI benefits:
- All weekly UI benefits will be increased by $600 through July 31, after which the regular UI benefit continues.
- State-law mandated “waiting periods” are waived.
- Benefits can be received for an additional 13 weeks beyond the period that state laws typically allow. Most states provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, which are often extended by another 13 weeks; this adds 13 weeks to the state’s total.
- These enhancements are for unemployment for any reason – not just COVID-19.
For workers who typically would not qualify for regular UI benefits:
- Access to the UI system is expanded to: individuals who have exhausted their benefits, independent contractors, sole proprietors, those – like apprentices -- without a wage history, and others who usually would not qualify for UI benefits.
- Benefits under this program are available for up to 39 weeks of unemployment between January 27 and December 31, 2020 (excluding any weeks of benefits the worker received under regular UI).
- The weekly benefit amount is the same as for those who qualify for regular UI:
- The regular UI under state law plus $600. The additional $600 is only through July 31, 2020, after which the regular UI amount would continue.
- An individual may receive these benefits if available for work, but unemployed or unavailable to work because:
- the individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19;
- the individual is diagnosed with COVID-19, or has symptoms of COVID-19 for which the individual is seeking a diagnosis;
- a member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- the individual is providing care for a family member or a member of individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- a child or other person in the household for whom the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of COVID-19, and such school or facility being open is required for the individual to work;
- the individual is unable to reach their place of employment because of a quarantine;
- the individual is unable to reach their place of employment because they have been asked to self-quarantine by a health-care provider;
- the individual was scheduled to commence employment but is unable to reach the job or no longer has the job because of COVID-19;
- the individual has become the breadwinner or major support for their household because the head of household has died as a result of COVID-19;
- the individual has to quit their job as direct result of COVID-19;
- the individual meets any other, additional criteria established by the Secretary of Labor for unemployment assistance.
For workers covered by Railroad Unemployment Insurance
- Waives the 7-day waiting period for railroad unemployment benefit claims for claims filed after the law’s enactment and through December 31, 2020.
- Increases the maximum bi-weekly railroad unemployment benefit to $1200 (from current $780).
- Extends railroad extended benefits (which apply after initial 130 day benefit period), to 130 days.
II. Paid Leave Under FFCRA: The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)
These two laws provide paid leave to employees who cannot work for COVID-19-related reasons. Both:
- Apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees.
- Are effective on April 1, 2020.
- Do not apply if your employer has closed down before April 1, and only apply while your employer is open for business. If your employer is closed, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation (see section I above).
- Employers may take a credit against payroll taxes worth 100% of the amount they pay in required benefits (through Dec. 31, 2020).
- Employers in multiemployer bargaining units have option of satisfying their obligations by paying into a multiemployer benefit plan if the plan provides employees with the required benefits.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
- Benefits are available to all employees, regardless of length of tenure with the employer
- Requires employers to pay – for up to 80 hours (pro-rated for part-time):
- Regular wages, capped at $511/day ($5110 maximum) for employees unable to work because:
- Employee is subject to a public COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation order;
- Health care provider has advised employee to self-quarantine; or
- Employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking diagnosis.
- 2/3 of regular wages, capped at $200/day ($2000 maximum) for employees unable to work because the employee is:
- Caring for an individual subject to a public quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised to self-quarantine;
- Caring for a son or daughter if the school or childcare facility is closed or childcare provider is unavailable; or
- Experiencing similar conditions, as specified by HHS.
- DOL can provide an exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees from the childcare provision if complying would jeopardize the employer’s business.
- DOL can exclude certain healthcare workers and first responders. Employers of healthcare workers and first responders can elect to exclude them as well.
- Regular wages, capped at $511/day ($5110 maximum) for employees unable to work because:
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
- Available to employees who have been employed for 30 days with the employer from which they are requesting the leave.
- Requires employers to provide 10 days unpaid leave and up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave to care for son or daughter whose school or childcare facility is closed or childcare provider is unavailable for COVID-19 related reasons.
- Paid leave is 2/3 of regular wages, capped at $200/day ($10,000 maximum)
- Employees can elect to use EPSLA leave or accrued vacation, personal, medical or sick leave for the unpaid portion.
- DOL can provide an exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees if complying would jeopardize the employer’s business.
- DOL can exclude certain healthcare workers and first responders.
III. Direct Cash Payments under the CARES Act
The CARES Act also provides for “recovery rebates” of $1,200 per individual ($2,400 if filing jointly), plus $500 for each qualifying child, subject to income caps starting at $75,000 (or $150,000 per couple). The payments phase out above the income caps. Individuals with adjusted gross incomes above $75,000 will get smaller amounts, with no payment to anyone making $99,000 or above. For married couples, the $2,400 benefit begins to phase out after $150,000 in combined annual income, with no payments to any couple making $198,000 or more.
 All but eight (8) states offer 26 weeks of UI benefits. Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, and South Carolina offer less than 26 weeks of regular UI benefits. Georgia expanded to 26 weeks on March 26, 2020.