Latest Updates on the Coronavirus Situation

HTC advocates for hospitality workers to be vaccinated early

December 26, 2020 2:41 PM

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two vaccines for emergency use to prevent COVID-19, the first from Pfizer-BioNTech and the second from Moderna. The COVID-19 vaccine will protect individuals from getting sick from this deadly virus and will undoubtedly aid in the economic recovery of our region’s hospitality and gaming industries.

HTC President Rich Maroko has been urging both New York and New Jersey to prioritize hospitality workers in each state’s vaccine distribution plans. Read more...

Holiday hours at the Health Centers

December 23, 2020 3:50 PM

Please be advised that the Brooklyn, Harlem, Midtown, and Queens health centers and pharmacies will be closed on December 24, December 25, December 31, and January 1 in observance of the winter holidays. The pharmacies will also be closed on Saturday, January 2. Read more...

New York extends deadline to apply for health insurance starting January 1

December 23, 2020 3:09 PM

The New York State of Health has announced an extension to the deadline to apply for healthcare coverage beginning on January 1st. New York residents now have until December 31st to apply for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, Child Health Plus, or any Qualified Health Plan (including those provided by MetroPlus) for coverage beginning January 1, 2021.

Read more about each of these plans and how to apply here.

Congress passes new stimulus package

December 22, 2020, 7:27 PM

On December 21st, Congress passed its first stimulus package since the Spring, which includes 11 weeks of $300 supplemental unemployment benefits, a second round of direct payments to most Americans, and an extension of the federal eviction moratorium until January 31st

President Trump signed the legislation late Sunday, December 27th. Read more...

Email the Benefit Funds for documentation that your healthcare coverage is ending

December 11, 2020 3:37 PM

If your healthcare coverage with the Industry-Wide Benefits Fund is coming to an end on December 31st and you are enrolling in a new healthcare plan, your new health insurance provider may ask you for a letter showing that your healthcare coverage is ending. You can now email the Benefit Funds for this documentation. Read more...

Find alternative healthcare (GRIWA and Upstate casinos)

December 3, 2020 7:30 PM

Updated December 23, 2020 4:30 PM

We have compiled this guide about the many alternative healthcare options that will be available to workers at GRIWA hotels and the upstate casinos should they lose coverage in the upcoming months.

We encourage you to review this guide to explore which plan will be best for you and your family should your coverage ultimately comes to an end. If you have any questions, or need assistance, you can contact us at (212) 245-8100 and select option #1. Read more...

How does Medicare work?

December 3, 2020 6:00 PM

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for individuals who are 65 or older and certain younger individuals with disabilities. There are four parts of Medicare insurance, each covering specific services: Hospital Insurance (Medicare Part A), Medical Insurance (Part B), Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D). Read more...

Pension update for retired members

December 2, 2020 3:34 PM

The Benefit Funds recently sent out a Pension Payment Verification letter. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this form will not be required this year. Please disregard the letter. A formal retraction will be mailed by the Funds. Should you have any questions about the letter please call the Funds at: (212) 586-6400, ext. 4125.

To view the retraction letter being sent by the Funds, please click here.

Harlem and Brooklyn health centers to close Jan 1

December 2, 2020 2:15 PM

The Employee Benefit Funds has announced that the Harlem and Brooklyn health centers will temporarily close on January 1st, 2021, when the emergency funding of the Funds comes to an end. These changes will affect those workers who remain employed or who will have continued access to health coverage through the Funds (including those who choose to pay for COBRA or receive payment for their paid time off.)

Click here to read a letter from Employee Benefit Funds CEO Dr. David Jacobson about the planned temporary closures.

Use New York’s “Find Services” website for information on public benefits

November 25, 2020 2:50 PM

New York State has launched “Find Services”, a new website designed to assist New Yorkers with finding available state and federal benefits and services. By answering a few questions about your household, the website will show you a list of the public benefits and services for which you may be eligible. Read more...

Health centers closed on Thanksgiving, Nov 26 and Friday, Nov 27

November 23, 2020 1:23 PM

Please be advised that all four health centers will be closed this Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

For those workers looking to meet with MetroPlus about their healthcare options, Metro Plus agents will not be at the health centers or at Gertrude Lane Auditorium (at 305 West 44th Street) on Thursday or Friday this week. Read more...

NYC Residents: Meet with MetroPlus about your healthcare options

Updated December 23, 2020 5:30 PM

Our Union has arranged for agents from MetroPlus (a city-operated, not-for-profit healthcare plan) to meet with union workers who are losing their healthcare in the coming months to discuss their healthcare options.

On December 17th, New York State extended the deadline to apply for a state healthcare program or qualified healthcare plan until December 31st for coverage beginning on January 1st. We strongly encourage members to take the opportunity to meet with a MetroPlus agent to get a complete overview of your options. Read more...

Severance Pay: Union dues should not be deducted

October 27, 2020 4:23 PM

Most hotels covered by the IWA, Division A and GRIWA contracts have started to pay severance to laid off workers in accordance with the arbitration award won in September. The Union made the decision and has instructed employers NOT to deduct dues from your severance pay. Read more...

3,000 HTC-represented casino workers return to work, many to even better jobs than before

October 8, 2020 1:55 PM

In early September, after nearly six months of being shuttered due to COVID-19, New York Governor Cuomo permitted the state’s casinos to reopen at 25% capacity and 3,000 unionized casino workers returned to work.

While non-union hotel and gaming workers across the country face hazardous working conditions amidst COVID-19, HTC-represented casino workers are in the very rare position where their protections on the job have gotten stronger and their wages and benefits have improved during the pandemic. Read more...

Estimate your “severance bank”

October 6, 2020 7:08 PM

Due to a landmark arbitration decision, most employees who work in IWA and Division A shops will now be entitled to either a lump sum severance payment or pay each week as a structured payout of severance. Click here to estimate your severance bank.

What happens when the emergency funding of the Benefit Funds ends in January?

October 3, 2020 1:45 PM

As previously reported, unless the city’s hotel industry recovers by the end of the year and a large number of members are recalled, it is very likely that the Benefit Funds will have to temporarily reduce staffing and close locations in January, reducing services for those workers who remain working – at least until the industry recovers. Read more...

NYC City Council passes and Mayor de Blasio signs law protecting hotel workers and guests

September 30, 2020 3:10 PM

Last Wednesday, by a vote of 45 to 4, the NYC City Council passed, and on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed, a new law which will provide vital security for New York City hotel workers, and which will also greatly enhance consumer protections for people traveling to our city.

HTC President Rich Maroko commented, “40,000 HTC members and their families applaud and thank the mayor, the speaker, and all our friends in the City Council for acting decisively to enact critical measures to prevent a small, unscrupulous segment of the hotel owners in this city from exploiting the COVID-19 disaster to profiteer. We are fortunate to have elected officials in this city and state who have acted courageously and responsibly in these terrible times.” Read more...

Find alternative healthcare

Updated December 23, 2020 3:24 PM

During this catastrophe, the federal government utterly failed the people they are supposed to serve and the toll has been more horrific even than most American wars.

Our Union, however, has moved mountains to win extraordinary protections and special benefits to assist the workers we represent to get through this emergency. The most important example has been the Union’s success in persuading and compelling a devastated industry to continue to fund healthcare coverage for most of the 40,000 workers we represent (most of whom are laid off) over a period of many additional months.

We have compiled this guide about the many alternative healthcare options that will be available to you should you lose coverage in the upcoming months. Read more...

Can I receive payment for my paid time off to extend my healthcare?

September 25, 2020, 2:46 PM

Before this pandemic, under the long-standing rules of the Industry-Wide Benefit Plan, covered employees were eligible for healthcare if they worked enough hours (functions in the case of banquet servers) or as part of a severance package. Laid off workers were generally not eligible and payment of accrued time off typically did not extend their eligibility for healthcare.

However, to meet this emergency, on August 25th, HTC President Rich Maroko convened a special meeting of the trustees of the Funds and convinced the trustees to amend the plan so that payment of paid time off would extend healthcare coverage. The trustees also approved a temporary plan that allows the workers we represent to maintain partial healthcare coverage. Read more...

Update: NY approved for a total of six weeks of $300 supplemental unemployment benefits

September 21, 2020 6:45 PM

On September 18th, the New York State Department of Labor announced that the state has been approved for three additional weeks of supplemental unemployment benefits provided under the Lost Wages Assistance Program. Eligible New Yorkers will now receive an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits for a total of six weeks. Read more...