BM/ST Terry Nelson’s statement on current climate unfolding in the wake of events in Minnesota surrounding the killing of George Floyd

The organized labor movement exists to uplift us all and give all people the opportunity to earn a livable wage and a solid future. We cannot stand by as that future is taken away from some of our brothers and sisters based solely on the color of their skin. 

DC 82 and the FTIUM are proud to be one of the most diverse unions and training centers in Minnesota as well as the country. Across color, creed, sexual orientation, and gender identity, we strive to teach, employ, and fight for all. 

I know our community and our country are hurting right now. And although I will never truly understand the community impact of unjust police brutality against Black men and women, such as the killing of George Floyd, my brothers and sisters at DC 82 and I are here for support.

Police are sworn to serve and protect, but systemic hatred and racism has shaken that goodwill in our city, state, country and world. Mr. Floyd’s death has sparked hundreds of non-violent protests demanding justice and action for those Black lives lost at the hands of police. 

As thousands of people peacefully flood the streets demanding justice, we stand with our Black brothers and sisters who have faced too many injustices too many times.

As Minneapolis and our State come to terms with these truths, hundreds of thousands of community members, unions, small business owners, and local leaders are standing in solidarity demanding justice and peace. The officers who killed Mr. Floyd must be held accountable. Reform isn’t an option; police, judicial systems and institutions must implement permanent, long-lasting change. 

The laws of this land must be applied equally and equitably to ALL.

IUPAT Pension Annuity Relief

The Trustees of the IUPAT Industry Annuity Plan have amended the plan to permit participants experiencing recent layoffs to receive a distribution from their account.

This policy will remain in place as long as the current pandemic affects access to employment.

For Pension Plan Retirees and Beneficiaries | Direct Deposit   

Please ensure the Fund receives your direct deposit information no later than May 1, 2020 to avoid disruption to your Pension.

IUPAT Helping Hand

Working in the building and construction trades is a challenging career. There are high productivity demands on the workforce to meet deadlines, as well as working conditions that can often be an extreme danger if strict safety guidelines aren’t followed.

Yet, there are other risks construction workers face in the industry – suicide and substance use disorder. 

Help Is Available. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-8255 or 1-800-273-TALK

Mental Health Delegates (mobile mental health unit)

215-685-6440

CRISIS TEXT LINE

Text the word HOME to 741741

Visit IUPAT HELPING HAND to Learn More

IUPAT Member Hardship Benefits from Union Plus

IUPAT members have a number of benefits available to them during the COVID-19 crisis with more and more members out of work.

Study the list and links below and learn more at Union Plus HERE.

Union Plus Hardship Help

The trustees of the AFL-CIO Mutual Benefit Fund voted last week to temporarily alter the eligibility terms of the Union Plus Job Loss Grant for the credit card and personal loan program participants facing job loss.  The unemployment requirement was reduced from 90 days to 45 days.

Union Plus Scholarship Program

Anticipating COVID-19’s financial impact on many families, Union Plus is increasing this year’s total scholarship award amount from $200,000 to $300,000. We hope to help assist additional families by awarding scholarships to more students than ever.

Union Plus Mortgage Program

Wells Fargo is suspending residential property foreclosure sales and evictions. The company is also offering fee waivers, payment deferrals and other expanded assistance for mortgage customers who contact the company. The dedicated customer service number for all COVID-19 related issues is 866-807-4154.

Union Plus Credit Counseling Program

On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, Union Plus and its credit counseling program partner, Money Management International (MMI), will host a live webinar to help union members and their families manage financial stress. The webinar will share tips and options for union families who may have decreased income or other financial stresses. These webinars are free for Union members and their families.

Members may register for either of the live webinars on April 15:

3 p.m. EDT – Click HERE

or

6 p.m. EDT – Click HERE

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. These webinars will be recorded and shared on the Union Plus website following this special event.

Union Plus Legal Program

The free discount Legal plan offers members free legal consultations up to 30 minutes, and a 25% discount on lawyer fees. Once members register online for the free discount plan, they get free access to do-it-yourself online legal forms for a variety of legal documents, including advance medical directives, wills, medical power of attorney and estate planning.

The Union Plus prepaid legal program offers members full coverage on a wide variety of legal issues including simple and complex wills, living wills, trusts, powers of attorney (healthcare and financial) and healthcare proxies.

To access both plans, members can visit www.unionplus.org/legal.

Assistance Available to IUPAT Members Under Emergency Legislation

Enhanced Unemployment

The CARES Act provides an additional $600 per week for those receiving unemployment insurance (UI).  This $600 is in addition to the weekly unemployment benefit you receive from your state. The $600 supplement is paid for four months or until July 31, 2020. 

  • Through December 31, 2020 the law provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for people who are still unemployed after exhausting their state benefits.  This means most workers will have a total of 39 weeks of unemployment benefits.
  • The CARES Act also gives states federal funds to pay the cost of the first week of unemployment benefits if your State chooses to pay recipients as soon as they become unemployed.
  • The law expands eligibility for UI benefits to individuals who currently may not receive traditional UI, including workers with limited work histories, the self-employed individuals, independent contractors, “gig” workers, and those who have exhausted normal UI benefits.  However, such workers must be unemployed because of the effects of the coronavirus, including their own illness, illness of a family member, the need to quarantine, job loss because of the virus, and staying home to take care of a child.
  • Those who can telework, and those receiving paid leave are excluded.
  • States have discretion as to whether they participate in the expanded UI regime created by the CARES Act.  Your state unemployment insurance office will also be the source for questions about issues such as:
    • The maximum payout per week.
    • When the extra $600 UI payment takes effect.
    • If the state waived the one-week waiting period for UI benefits.
    • If your state allows short-time compensation arrangements.

For more information on the enhancements the CARES Act made to UI, go here.

FFCRA Paid Sick Leave and Extended Family Medical Leave

Recent legislation creates two new paid sick leave requirements, the “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act” (“Paid Leave”) and the “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” (“FMLA Leave”).  These leave provisions do not apply to you if you have been laid off.

While an employee is taking Paid Sick Leave or FMLA Leave, an employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage.  In other words, the employer must make contributions to the H&W Plan for each hour of paid sick leave under either Act.

The FFCRA is silent on whether contributions must be made to other fringe benefit funds.  That issue will be governed by the language of the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Your employer should know that, in essence, both paid leave programs are funded by the federal government.  Thus, for every dollar an employer pays to its employees under these programs (up to the applicable daily limits described below), the employer gets a credit against its payroll taxes otherwise due.

Paid Leave

  • This Act requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work for any one of six reasons related to the coronavirus.  These grounds are that the employee:
    • Is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to coronavirus;
    • Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to coronavirus;
    • Is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
    • Is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in the first bullet above, or who has been advised as described in the second bullet above;
    • Is caring for his or her son or daughter whose school or place of care has been closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to coronavirus related reasons; or
    • Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor (Secretary).

FMLA Leave

  • Private employers with fewer than 500 employees, as well as all public agencies, must provide Paid Leave.
  • The DOL may exempt certain employers with fewer than 50 employees from providing paid sick leave for child care.
  • Paid Leave applies regardless of how long the employee has worked for the employer. 
  • Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of Paid Leave.  Part-time employees are entitled the number of hours that they work on average over a two-week period. 
  • An employee directly affected by COVID (the first three bullets above) must receive his or her regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day ($5,110 in the aggregate over the two week period). 
  • An employee who takes Paid Leave to caring for someone other than themselves (such as a child whose school is closed) is entitled to be paid two-thirds of his or her regular rate, up to $200 per day ($2,000 in the aggregate). 
  • In both cases, the employer can pay more than is required, but the tax credit that the employer receives is limited to the applicable cap.
  • An employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer before the employee uses the EPSLA paid sick leave, nor may an employer condition EPSLA sick leave on the employee searching for or finding a replacement employee to cover the hours during which the employee is using paid sick leave.
  • The EPSLA prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise discriminating against an employee who takes paid sick leave under the EPSLA, files any complaint under or relating to the EPSLA, institutes any proceeding under or relating to the EPSLA, or testifies in any such proceeding.
  • This Act requires employers to provide expanded paid family and medical leave to eligible employees who are unable to work because the employee is caring for a son or daughter. 
  • It applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees, although DOL may exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees if providing FLMA Leave would “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” 
  • An employee must have been employed by the employer for at least 30 calendar days to be eligible. 
    • Employees who were laid off or terminated on or after March 1, 2020, and had worked for the employer for at least 30 of the prior 60 calendar days, are eligible if they are rehired by the same employer. 
  • An employee is entitled to take up to twelve weeks of FMLA Leave. 
    • The first two weeks are unpaid, although an employee may use the Paid Leave described above for these two weeks. 
    • After the first two weeks, the employee must be paid at two-thirds of his or her regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day.

For more information on the FFCRA paid leave and expanded family leave provisions as interpreted by the DOL, go here.

Retirement Plan Changes

The CARES Act allows individuals who have experienced adverse financial consequences as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to make withdrawals of up to $100,000 from their defined contribution retirement funds without having to pay the 10% early withdrawal penalty.

  • The withdrawal must be made because of adverse financial consequences experienced as a result of the individual (or his or her spouse or dependent) contracting coronavirus, or because of related factors — such as the coronavirus forcing the individual to be quarantined, the pandemic causing the individual to be furloughed or laid off, or because he or she can’t work due to lack of child care.
  • Income attributable to such a withdrawal is subject to tax over three years, and individuals could may recontribute funds to their retirement plans within three years.

The CARES Act also allows individuals to make loans against certain retirement plans if they have experienced adverse financial consequences from the pandemic.

  • Note that when loans are made against retirement funds, the retirement funds themselves remain invested and can benefit from market growth.

For more information on the changes the CARES Act made to retirement plans, go here.

If you are a participant in the Painters and Allied Trades Industry Pension Plan for U.S. Employees (the national plan), you can find more information on how to receive a distribution or loan here.

Recovery Act Checks

The CARES Act provides economic recovery checks of $1,200 for most adults with up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income (or AGI of $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly). There is an additional $500 for each child.

  • The check amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 in income that you have above these thresholds.
  • For those with incomes above $99,000 (or $146,500 for heads of household with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children), the rebate is phased out entirely.
  • The recovery check amount is determined based on your 2019 income tax return but it will be advanced based on your 2018 tax return if you have not filed a 2019 return.
  • If your 2020 income is higher than the 2018 or 2019 income used to determine the rebate payment, you will not be required to pay back any excess rebate.
  • However, if your 2020 income is lower than the 2018 or 2019 income used to determine the rebate payment, you will be able to claim an additional credit when you file your 2020 income tax return.
  • You must have a work-eligible Social Security number to be eligible.
  • Non-resident aliens are not eligible.
  • Individuals who are dependents of another taxpayer are not eligible.
  • If you have a bank account on file with IRS to receive normal refunds, these payments will be direct deposited into that account with no additional action required by you.
  • If you do not e-file or do not receive your refund payments electronically, the IRS will be issuing paper checks through the U.S. mail. That will take longer
  • The IRS says it will be making a website available where you can upload your direct deposit information so that you can receive the payments electronically.
  • One final word.  Do not get scammed.  The IRS will never—even in normal times—call, text, email, or Facebook message you nor will it ever request personal or financial information.  EVER.

Additional information about the CARES Act economic recovery checks is available here.

The DOL’s April 6th temporary rule implements each of the requirements of the EPSLA and the EFMLEA and adds important details and clarifications regarding these provisions of the FFCRA.

For more information on the FFCRA paid leave and expanded family leave provisions as interpreted by the DOL, go here.

Federal Tax Filing and Payment Extensions

The CARES Act extends both the federal income tax filing date and payment date from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.

  • Tax payments due on April 15, 2020 can be deferred to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.
  • This deferment applies to all taxpayers.
  • Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.
  • Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868.

Additional information on the delay of federal tax filing and payment deadlines is available here, and a list of FAQs can be found here.

Additional information on what states are delaying state tax filing and/or payment deadlines is available here.

Mortgage Relief

The CARES Act prohibits mortgage lenders from foreclosing on any federally-backed mortgage for a 60-day period following March 18, 2020.

  • This covers mortgages insured or guaranteed by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Veterans Affairs Department, and the Agriculture Department.
  • The law also authorizes borrowers experiencing hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to request up to 180 days forbearance on their mortgage payments.  No documentation is required. You only need to claim financial hardship due to COVID-19.
  • If needed, an additional forbearance period of up to 6 months may be requested by the borrower, but this musst be approved by the mortgagee.

For more information on the mortgage relief in the CARES Act, go here and here.

Tenant Eviction Protections

The CARES Act prohibits landlords from requiring a tenant to vacate or from commencing eviction procedures for nonpayment of rent, for 120 days after March 27, 2020. The provision only applies to multi-family properties where the landlord’s mortgage is insured, guaranteed, supplemented, or protected by federal agencies or programs.

  • If you are subject to an eviction, you need to find out if this Act provides a defense to you.

For more information on the tenant relief in the CARES Act, go here.

Consumer Credit Relief

The CARES Act prohibits banks, lenders, and other entities that provide information to credit reporting agencies from treating a deferment, partial payment, or a credit forbearance requested by a consumer as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as negative credit information.

  • This provision only apply to consumers who fulfill all terms and requirements of a forbearance or modified payment agreement.
  • The prohibition will remain in place until 120 days following the end of the declared COVID-19 national emergency.

Additional information on the consumer credit relief provisions of the CARES Act is available here.

Student Debt Relief

The CARES Act defers student loan payments, principal, and interest through September 30 for all borrowers of federally owned loans.

  • People who drop out of school because of the pandemic will not be required to return portions of any Pell Grants or federal loans they received.
  • If students drops out due to the pandemic, the current academic term doesn’t count toward their lifetime eligibility limit for receiving Pell Grants or subsidized federal loans.

For more information on federal student debt relief provisions of the CARES Act, go here.

IUPAT | CPWR Jobsite Guidance

Please check back frequently, as this is an evolving situation and guidelines may change

In response to the construction industry’s questions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, the following are steps workers should be taking now:

• Don’t go to work if you are feeling sick.
• Don’t go to work if you have a fever.
• Don’t go to work if you have a cough or shortness of breath.
• Avoid contact with sick people.
• Don’t shake hands when greeting others.
• Avoid large gatherings or meetings of 10 people or more.
• Stay at least 6 feet away from others on job sites and in gatherings, meetings, and training sessions.
• Cover your mouth and nose with tissues if you cough or sneeze or do so into your elbow.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When hand washing isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
• Clean your hands frequently, including before and after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
• Bring food and water bottles from home to the job site and do not share.
• Drive to worksites or parking areas by yourself—no passengers or carpooling.
• Wipe down interiors and door handles of machines or construction vehicles, and the handles of equipment and tools that are shared, with disinfectant prior to entering.

CDC has issued disinfection recommendations here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaningdisinfection.html.

Construction industry employers should develop a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control plan, which includes control measures, symptom checking, social distancing, hygiene and decontamination procedures, and training. Training should cover the hazards and control measures including social distancing, handwashing facilities on site, and how high-touch surfaces are disinfected. An exposure control plan and the following recommendations should be followed before any onsite worker is found to have COVID-19 because many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and can potentially spread disease.

Recommendations:
• Designate a site-specific COVID-19 officer at every job site.
• Plan for office staff to have the ability to work from home.
• Conduct a Safety Stand-Down/toolbox talk/tailgate training on all job sites to explain the protective measures in place for all workers. Keep social distancing at all gatherings.
• Ask workers to self-identify symptoms of fever, coughing, or shortness of breath each day, before the shift, mid-shift, and at home. If thermometers are used on the job, they should be ‘no-touch’ or ‘no-contact.’
• Create policies that encourage workers to stay at home or leave the worksite when feeling sick or when they have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case. If someone goes home from the site, the area where that person worked should be immediately disinfected.
• Create at least 6 feet of space between workers by staging/staggering crews. Modify work schedules to stagger work, provide alternating workdays or extra shifts to reduce the total number of employees on a job site at any given time.
• Workers working near or with others in close quarters, such as confined space work, should wear a NIOSH-approved respirator certified as N95 or higher implemented under a full respiratory protection program.
• Identify choke points where workers are forced to stand together, such as hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, and buses, and control them so social distancing is maintained.
• Minimize interactions when picking up or delivering equipment or materials. Organize the placement of materials to minimize movement on the worksite.
• Provide soap and running water whenever possible on all job sites for frequent handwashing. Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as a backup only if providing running water is impossible. Disclose reasons why running water is not possible to workers.
Workers should be encouraged to leave their workstations to wash their hands before and after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.
• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces on job sites and in offices—such as shared tools, machines, vehicles and other equipment, handrails, doorknobs, and portable toilets—frequently, per CDC guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html
• Make disinfectants available to workers throughout the worksite and ensure supplies are frequently replenished.
• If you work in healthcare facilities, train your workers in Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA). For information on CPWR’s ICRA training program, visit: https://www.cpwr.com/training/infection-control-risk-assessment-icra

Special guidance for older workers and people with underlying health conditions:
• Older adults and those with underlying health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease and those with compromised immune systems (such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer therapy) are more at risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19.

CDC has additional recommendations for these individuals here:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html.

Additional links from our federal government partners:
• OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/
• NIOSH: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/2019_ncov.html
• CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
• CDC for Employers about getting their businesses ready:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

Please be aware that people are vulnerable in these uncertain times. If a colleague or coworker needs mental health or substance use care, they should contact their member assistance program, employee assistance program, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255)
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

IUPAT Real-Time Resources re COVID-19

Dear Members,

Doctors and nurses across the country have reported that this virus is dangerous beyond the standard flu or cold. 

Misinformation can quickly lead to behavior that puts people at risk. 

That’s why IUPAT 82 is here to be your source of reliable, real-time, and factual information. 

1. In addition to the resources provided below, we will provide real-time updates as they become available
2. We’re relying on you to help spread the word (not the germs- social distance 6 feet please) on how to stay safe, access critical financial resources, and get through this tough time together. 

We know you’ll all continue to be leaders in your communities during this pandemic crisis.

Quick Tips

  1. Even if you do not feel sick, you can spread COVID-19
  2. Safe practices don’t just save you, they save others whose immune systems cannot fight off this virus
  3. Social distance measures- 6 feet at all times!
  4. On a MUST work on a jobsite? you MUST adhere to the CDC-recommended protocols of washing your hands frequently and again, staying at least 6 feet away from your coworkers 
  5. If your jobsite has access to masks rated N95 or above, please use one.

Resources

Montana workers: Please read Governor Bullock’s COVID-19 Updates: https://covid19.mt.gov

Minnesota workers: Please read Governor Walz’s COVID-19 Updates, including the most recent Stay at Home order:
https://mn.gov/governor/covid-19/covid-news.jsp?id=424820

We’ve created this set of resources from our fellow unions who we are proud to stand in solidarity with, who’s members are on the front lines of the healthcare field fighting the virus.

Important information from the AFL-CIO:

See below for member information from the CARES Act FAQ.

Update:

The Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest will be closed for all classes until April 27. We will update our students as we create updated class schedules for all programs, including PSEO.

In solidarity,

Terry Nelson
BM/ST, IUPAT DC 82

—-

Member Information from the CARES Act FAQ: 

About Health Insurance:

If I have private insurance, will I have to pay for a coronavirus test?
The Families First Coronavirus Act required that all private insurance plans cover coronavirus testing without deductibles, coinsurance, or co-pays. That bill also prohibited plans from using tools like prior authorization to limit access to testing. The CARES Act makes a technical correction to ensure that the policy covers all tests that meet the appropriate standards. Insurers also have to cover fees for visits to the ER, an urgent care center, or a doctor’s office associated with getting a test without cost sharing.

If I have private insurance, how does this bill affect the cost of a vaccine when one becomes
available?

The Affordable Care Act required that preventive services and vaccines be covered by private insurance without cost-sharing. Normally, these services and vaccines are covered starting on the first day of the plan year beginning after they get a favorable rating or recommendation from the United States Preventive Services Task Force or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. This section requires that coverage without cost sharing begin fifteen days after getting a favorable rating or recommendation.

How does this bill increase access to telehealth services for seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries?
The CARES Act gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) broad authority to allow more health care providers to provide telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries, including in the beneficiaries’ homes to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19, and provide more flexibility in terms of how those telehealth services can be provided. Once enacted into law, the HHS Secretary must put out guidance explaining how this expanded waiver authority will be used to increase access to telehealth services for seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries.

How much will patients have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available?
The CARES Act ensures that the vaccine itself and its administration is free to beneficiaries with Medicare Part B and those with Medicare Advantage who receive the vaccine from an innetwork provider.

Additionally, the Families First Coronavirus Act required that all private insurance plans cover coronavirus testing without deductibles, coinsurance, or co-pays. That bill also prohibited plans from using tools like prior authorization to limit access to testing. The CARES Act makes a technical correction to ensure that the policy covers all tests that meet the appropriate standards.

Insurers also have to cover fees for visits to the ER, an urgent care center, or a doctor’s office associated with getting a test without cost sharing.

The Affordable Care Act required that preventive services and vaccines be covered by private insurance without cost-sharing. Normally, these services and vaccines are covered starting on the first day of the plan year beginning after they get a favorable rating or recommendation from the United States Preventive Services Task Force or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. This section requires that coverage without cost sharing begin fifteen days after getting a favorable rating or recommendation.

How will seniors access the medications they need while also being told it’s better to stay at home? 
In the past, Medicare drug plans only let beneficiaries receive a 30 day supply of their prescription.

Under the CARES Act, during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) a senior on Medicare can get up to 90 days of a prescription if that is what the doctor prescribed, as long as there are no safety concerns. Medicare drug plans will also allow beneficiaries to fill prescription early for refills up to 90 days, depending on the prescription.

If a patient has COVID-19 and has to enter the hospital, can their regular personal care attendant, who they depend on at home, still help while the patient is in the hospital?
Under the CARES Act, state Medicaid programs now have the ability, should they choose to pick up the option, to allow direct support professionals to continue to provide care and services for patients they are supporting in the hospital, including seniors and individuals with disabilities. 

About Emergency Leave: 

Who is a covered employee?

To be a “covered employee,” an individual must first be working for a “covered employer.” In general, an individual who is employed by a covered employer is covered by both the paid sick leave and paid family leave; the definition of “employee” is based in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and is broad and intended to capture most people. However, paid family leave has an additional requirement that an individual has been employed by the employer for at least 30 days to qualify; if an individual was laid off by their employer after March 1, 2020, had worked for that employer for 30 of the 60 calendar days before being laid-off, and is re-hired by the employer, then that employee qualifies as a covered employee even though upon their rehire they have not been working for 30 days for the employer. Most federal employees are excluded from the paid family leave, and OMB has the authority to exclude any federal employees from both the paid sick leave and paid family leave.

How much paid sick leave are employees eligible to take?
For paid sick leave, employees are eligible to take up to 80 hours (two weeks) of paid time, depending on the employee’s regular schedule, at 100% of the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $511 per day) due to quarantine/isolation order, health-care provider guidance to self quarantine, or seeking diagnosis for symptoms of COVID-19; the pay is limited to 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $200 per day) for caring for someone who is isolated/quarantined and for taking care of a child due to a closure of school or child care.

How much-paid family leave are employees eligible to take?
For paid family leave, employees are eligible to take up to 10 additional weeks of paid time at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $200 per day) solely to take care of a minor child due to a closure of school or child care or the unavailability of a child care provider.

What are the qualifying reasons for leave?
For paid sick leave:
Unable to work or telework due to

  • The employee is covered by a quarantine or isolation order by a federal, state, or local authority;
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns over COVID-19;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking diagnosis;
  • The employee is caring for an individual who is covered by a quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is caring for a son or daughter if, due to COVID-19, the school or place of care is closed or if the child care provider is unavailable; or 
  • The employee is experiencing a “substantially similar condition” as specified by HHS and DOL.

For paid family leave:
The employee is unable to work or telework due to needing to care for a son or daughter under 18 years of age because, due to COVID-19, the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s child care provider is unavailable.

Are there documentation requirements an employee must provide to prove they are caring for an individual or child whose school or place of care is closed? 
If the need for paid family leave is foreseeable, an employee must provide the employer with notice as soon as practicable; and an employer may require reasonable notice procedures to receive paid sick leave. However, while DOL may clarify this through guidelines or regulation, we do not read the Act to allow an employer to require any documentation to prove the employee
is caring for an individual or child.

When do these provisions go into effect?
According to DOL, they will go into effect on April 1 and will apply to leave taken between April 1 and December 31, 2020.

About Cash Payments to Americans:

Who qualifies to receive a check and how much will an individual receive?

Anyone who filed a tax return this year or last year. Individuals receive $1,200, married couples receive $2,400, and child dependents (under 17) receive $500. 

What are qualified income levels based off of?
There is no qualified income threshold or requirement to receive the rebate. However, the rebate phases out at a 5 percent rate above adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for joint filers.

Can those collecting Social Security or disability receive a check?
Yes, if they filed a tax return this year or last year, or received a form SSA-1099. Otherwise, they need to file a tax return.

Will SSA administer the funds to my EBT/Debit card that I receive my SSA benefits through?
Our understanding is that IRS is sending out the rebates (via direct deposit or checks) 

How does an individual claim their check?
They do not need to claim their checks (unless they have not either filed a tax return this year or last year) – IRS will send out rebates automatically to their direct deposit or to the address provided on the last tax return submitted.

How long will it take for this check to be delivered?
Rebates sent via direct deposit will take a few weeks. Rebates sent via checks may take a few months.

Will I be taxed on this check?
No, rebates are not taxable.

Will I be eligible if I haven’t finished filing my 2018 taxes?
You need to have filed either a 2018 tax return or a 2019 tax return. If you have not filed either, you will not be eligible. You can file a 2019 tax return now to claim the rebate.

Will I be eligible if I have a lien against me, but I am in non-collect status?
Yes. Rebates will not be subject to garnishment, except if back child support is owed. 

I withdrew my retirement in 2018- so my income that year was inflated. Is there any waiver for one time sources of income?
In this case, the taxpayer should file a 2019 tax return.

About Higher Education:

What forms of relief are students impacted by COVID-19 eligible for?

Students will be eligible for emergency financial aid grants from their institutions to meet unexpected and urgent needs related to the coronavirus, such as expenses related to food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. Students who are currently participating in the Federal Work Study program can continue to receive work-study payments from their institution if they are unable to work due to workplace closures.

Relief also exists for students who must drop out of school due to COVID-19. Students will have the portion of their student loan taken out for the semester (or equivalent) canceled. Further, students who received a Pell Grant or subsidized student loan will not have those types of financial aid counted toward their lifetime limits.

What relief is provided to federal student loan borrowers?
Borrowers do not need to make payments on student loans held by the federal government (Direct Loans and FFEL Loans held by the U.S. Department of Education) through September 30, 2020. Borrowers with commercially-held FFEL loans and Perkins Loans are not eligible, and private student loan borrowers are also not eligible. No interest will accrue on such loans for the same time period. This provides more than 37 million borrowers with relief from the financial pressure of making monthly payments for approximately six months. 

During this period, borrowers will not be subject to involuntary collections (garnishment of wages, tax refunds, and Social Security benefits) and will not have any negative credit reporting or late payments during this time period. Student borrowers will continue to receive credit toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation even though they will not be making payments. If borrowers want to continue making payments during this time to pay down principal and previously  accrued interest (since no interest is accruing as of March 13) they are free to do so.

When will payments resume for federal student loan borrowers?
Starting August, student loan borrowers will receive notices to help inform them that their regular loan payments and interest accrual will resume after September 30, 2020. These notices will help protect borrowers by providing them with a transition period to stay on track as regular loan payments resume and to offer them the option to enroll in other relief options (such as income-driven repayment, which can lower a borrower’s monthly payment).

About Housing:

Is there any relief for upcoming rent, mortgage, and utility payments?

Any homeowner with an FHA, VA, USDA, 184/184A mortgage, or a mortgage-backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, who is experiencing financial hardship is eligible for up to 6 months’ forbearance on their mortgage payments, with a possible extension for another 6 months. At the end of the forbearance, borrowers can work within each agency’s existing programs to help them get back on track with payments, but they will have to pay missed payments at some point during the loan, so if borrowers can pay they should continue to do so. 

Renters who have trouble paying rent also have protections under the bill if they live in a property that has a federal subsidy or federally backed loan. Owners of these properties cannot file evictions or charge fees for nonpayment of rent for 120 days following enactment of the bill, and cannot issue a renter a notice to leave the property before 150 days after enactment. After this period renters will be responsible for making payments and getting back on track, so they should continue to make payments if they’re financially able to do so. Renters who receive housing subsidies such as public housing or Section 8 who have had their incomes fall should recertify their incomes with their public housing agency or property owner because it may lower the rent they owe.

Will homeowners be foreclosed on if they can’t make their loan payments?
The bill includes a 60-day foreclosure moratorium starting on March 18, 2020, for all federally backed mortgage loans. Borrowers with FHA, VA, USDA, or 184/184A loans, or loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will not see foreclosure actions and cannot be removed from their homes due to foreclosure during that time.

Will multifamily property owners be foreclosed on if they can’t make loan payments?
The bill provides owners of multifamily properties with federally backed loans having a financial hardship up to 90 days of forbearance on their loan payments. Property owners would have to request the forbearance and document their hardship in order to qualify, in 30-day increments.

During a forbearance period, the property owner may not evict or initiate the eviction of a tenant for nonpayment of rent and may not charge the tenant any fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent. This protection applies to loans issued or backed by federal agencies (including FHA and USDA) or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Who does the rental eviction moratorium apply to?
This provision applies to all renters who live in properties that receive a federal subsidy, such as public housing, Section 8 rental assistance vouchers or subsidies, USDA rental housing assistance, or Low Income Housing Tax Credits. It also covers any renters in properties where the owner has a federally backed mortgage loan, which includes loans backed by the FHA, USDA, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This includes any size of property, from single family houses to multifamily apartment buildings. 

About Banking:

I have a loan and I am worried that I won’t be able to make my monthly payments. What can I do?
Contact your lender directly. The CARES Act allows banks and credit unions more flexibility to work with borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Does bill provide any relief for consumers who can’t pay their bills?
This bill does not. This section of the bill only provides instruction on how lenders or creditors should report consumers who have received a forbearance or some other accommodation to help them make payments.

Individuals having problems paying their bills should contact their lenders directly. The CARES Act allows banks and credit unions more flexibility to work with borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will continue to work to enact credit reporting relief for borrowers who are struggling to make their payments during this crisis.

Who can use the Fed lending facilities?
The Federal Reserve will design the facilities. According to government officials, we expect there to be potentially over a dozen different facilities. The legislation specifically indicates that there should be a facility for states, municipalities, and tribes, as well as a facility for medium-sized businesses that are not eligible for the SBA program. It will also be critical for the Fed to consider other needs, such as protecting homeowners and renters. 

IUPAT Statement on Immediate Congressional Action for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 18th, 2020
Contact: John Doherty 617-592-2230, jdoherty@iupat.org

IUPAT General President Ken Rigmaiden releases Statement and Platform calling for Immediate Congressional Action to Support Workers Impacted by COVID-19

HANOVER, MD – One of the largest and most politically active building trade unions in North America has issued a clarion call for U.S. Congressional action to support workers who have been impacted by COVID-19.

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) represents construction workers in fifty U.S. states and in every Canadian province. Today, the union has issued a four stage response platform, titled as the “IUPAT BOLD ACTION PLATFORM FOR WORKING FAMILIES” which the union says is essential to protecting the economy and working families, and which they hope to see reflected in any upcoming stimulus package.

In conjunction with the release of the response platform, IUPAT General President Ken Rigmaiden issued the following statement, calling on Congress to act.

“COVID-19’s impact is financially devastating for millions of working families in our industry and beyond who are now grappling with tremendous uncertainty about what their paychecks, health care, and future will hold. In just one week, we have already seen the economic impact to our industry through widespread and sudden layoffs in many areas of the country.

The last time our nation faced a similar crisis, millions of workers were left with nothing. In the meantime, CEOs and Wall Street got billions of taxpayer dollars to cover their losses and pay their bonus checks. We must not let this historic pattern of workers being left behind repeat itself. All workers must be afforded basic human rights by their government in the face of this crisis — as opposed to just another bailout for the corporate elite.”

Rigmaiden’s statement continues:

“Right now, large corporations are lining up with their hands out for federal aid, while workers are losing their jobs, their health insurance, and their economic security. Our membership works in every sector of the US economy from hospitality, retail, real estate, infrastructure, to the public sector. We will fight to ensure our members, and workers across this country, are not left behind by Congress. 

The IUPAT will be among the legions who will be calling for workers’ basic human rights to be put first. Together, if Congress takes bold action now to support working families, we can get through this crisis and ensure our health, financial and economic well being.” 

-Ken Rigmaiden, General President, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

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IUPAT BOLD ACTION PLATFORM FOR WORKING FAMILIES

First and foremost, there must be no bailouts for big corporations without a bailout for workers. Second, any corporate assistance issued should be engineered to reach the paychecks of workers, not just executives. Corporate assistance should be limited in scope and should include provisions that protect the rights and economic interests of low- and middle- income workers.

Furthermore, working families need Congress to take these four Bold Actions now: 

  1. Immediate cash infusion and extended medical leave 
  2. Provide healthcare protections for both the insured and uninsured 
  3. Bolster/secure retirement plans 
  4. Invest in American infrastructure

In detail:

  • Immediate Cash Infusion and Extended Medical Leave

Our membership works in every sector of the US economy. As workplaces are closing across the country due to COVID-19, working families are already suffering. The number one priority in this crisis is making sure people who are sick or need to be quarantined have whatever it takes to care for themselves. That means paid sick leave, and the IUPAT stands with all working people who need paid sick leave guarantees from the US government. However, the majority of our membership and workers in the construction industry are hourly wage earners.

Bills we have seen so far, such as H.R. 6074 The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Act, will have very little benefit for construction workers in this dire situation. Unlike some industries, construction and finishing trades workers don’t get paid leave—if we don’t work, we don’t get paid. Congress must act accordingly and leave no construction workers behind.

While our members are increasingly laid off, whether temporarily or sustained, our workforce must have access to cash in order to pay bills, cover basic human needs and to provide for their families.  

Any bill must also aid contractors in extending medical leave to employees so that they can weather this storm. Workers covered by collective bargaining agreements need to be included in any family, medical and paid sick leave proposals. There cannot be limits on the number of employees and days worked to include all workers in these critical measures.

  • Shore up health coverage for workers on multiemployer health plans and provide healthcare protections for both the insured and uninsured

With layoffs, jobsite shutdowns, long term unemployment and prolonged economic uncertainty on the horizon, we are calling on our representatives to provide relief to multiemployer health and welfare plans so that our members and their families can continue to receive health care with no break in coverage.

Now is not the time for millions of Americans to avoid medical care for fear of bankruptcy. Ensuring access to health care is essential to our nation’s ability to recover from this economic and public health emergency.  

We must curb the spread of disease and ensure every American has Health Care.

  • Secure Retirement Programs

Our members have worked hard in our industries for decades, providing for our families and communities, the promise of retirement with dignity. With the volatility in the stock market and a projected loss in hours and contributions to our member’s retirement plans, we call on congress to act once and for all to help provide relief to our retirement plans.

This requires taking sweeping action to address financial woes in the economy as a whole and on the stock market.  But we have learned a crucial lesson from the last economic crisis: trillion dollar bailouts for Wall Street, billionaires and corporations left working people in the cold and provided little relief to our union, our members and their private retirement system. This time around, working people must come first.

We are calling on elected leaders to invest directly in Multiemployer Pension plans like the IUPAT’s plan to ensure security for all worker’s futures.

  • Invest in American Infrastructure

The government must provide a macroeconomic stimulus to uphold the economy as a whole. Any stimulus package should include a plan to quickly put America’s construction workers back to work once this pandemic is under control.

  • In the short term, we need to be looking at emergency appropriations to support our weakened public health infrastructure, especially hospitals. 
  • In the medium and long term, recovery efforts should focus on creating jobs for millions of workers and strengthening our country’s essential infrastructure like roads, bridges and energy production. 

Across the country, infrastructure is failing and costing lives and billions of dollars every year. We call on Congress to finally act in a bipartisan way to address the growing need for a comprehensive infrastructure plan to deal with this issue once and for all. 

# # # 

THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES (IUPAT)

Represents a growing community of over 110,000 active and retired craftspeople in the United States and Canada. The IUPAT membership extends far beyond the workplace.

Recognized as one of the most active unions in the labor movement, IUPAT members help shape their communities in many ways: through an abiding commitment to service, by fighting passionately for workers’ rights that benefit all working families, and through effective worker education and mobilization.

Visit www.IUPAT.org to learn more

3/17/2020 IUPAT DC 82 Update

Out of an abundance of caution and after considering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MN Department of Health’s recommendations, the FTI of the Upper Midwest’s campus is closed to all students on March 16, 2020, and remain closed until reopening onApril 13, 2020

Continuing Education: At this time, all FTI-UM continuing education classes scheduled through April 17, 2020, are postponed until we have the approval to reopen the school to in-person training.

Please continue to check the FTI-UM website at www.ftium.edufor the most up to date information.

As epidemics/pandemics can change quickly and unpredictably, it will be essential to stay updated on the latest information regarding Coronavirus. We intend not to overload you with information, but updates will be sent as deemed necessary. If you have questions specifically related to the Coronavirus, you may go directly to the Minnesota Department of Health,  US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage. Also, be alert for updates from the IUPATDistrict Council 82, and your employer regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)