September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Falling Short

Our 9/11 First Responders and volunteers, the heroes of that fateful day almost 18 years ago, are now facing major health issues due to the harmful debris in the air. They, along with search and rescue team members, are now being diagnosed with aggressive cancers caused by their time spent at Ground Zero. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created to support heroes and families of those who tragically passed or could no longer work due to injury or illness related to 9/11. What no one suspected is that disease and cancers caused by carcinogenic material would form a decade later. The fund has been extended to support families of those who have been affected years later but is now expected to be depleted by 2020.

First Responders and volunteers risked their lives for the weeks following the attacks and now are seeing their comrades fall sick with aggressive cancers. They now worry they will pay the ultimate price for their bravery. Experts are finding that the life expectancy of cancer patients resulting from 9/11 is about 80 percent shorter than those with cancer unrelated to 9/11. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has paid billions of dollars to support responders in the event they cannot work and thousands depend on it to support their families. Recently those awarded their payments after February 25th only received half of what they are entitled to and those approved after that date are scheduled to receive only 70% of what the fund has historically provided.

MDASR partner, Sean Riordan is actively involved with the 9/11 First Responders DC Lobbying Team and recently went to Washington DC to petition the extension and refunding of the Victims Compensation Act. MDASR continues to fight for the rights of all of our first responders.

Office Workers' Compensation

Avoiding Office Workers’ Compensation Claims

When employers think about workers’ compensation claims they often think of physically demanding jobs; construction workers lifting and operating heavy equipment or law enforcement hurt on the job. However, sedentary office jobs can also pose potential threats to safety and health. Office and administrative workers’ compensation claims can be avoided by being conscious of the risks and making the proper changes and adjustments to the work environment.

Simple tasks like making sure all officer furniture and technology is adaptable to each employee’s preferences, height and optimal comfort can make a positive impact. Companies would be smart to invest more money into computer screens with swivel capabilities, comfortable mouse pads, keyboards, desks and chairs with adjustability options than paying higher workers’ compensation fees for injured workers in the long term.

Encouraging workers to a break from looking at their computer screen all day may decrease productivity for 10 minutes a day. This is insignificant to the potential loss when a worker is out for visual injuries due to prolonged computer use and will cost more for employers in the end. Positioning computer screens approximately two feet from your employees’ eyes will also lessen potential complications.

According to Safety and Health Magazine trips and falls claim the title for the most common office workplace injury. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 32% of office related injuries are due to employees tripping or falling on things that could have been avoided. Managers and supervisors can alleviate these risk by keeping workspaces clear and all potential obstacles removed. This includes stacks of papers, power cords, boxes, open drawers and anything else that could get in the way of a walking employee.

The most effective protocol is keeping an open line of communication with your employees and have proper reporting methods in place for them to state potential risks and any injuries they may come across. Managers that schedule walkthroughs of their company can be alerted of impending risks and hazards and make the proper modifications to reduce the chances of an accident and subsequently an office workers’ compensation claim.

If you have sustained an injury while working in an administrative position you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, contact our attorneys at (866) 557-7500 for a free claim evaluation.

NYC COBA Newsletter Features MDASR

MDASR featured in COBA NYC's April 2019 Newsletter

McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP is happy to report our recent successful Workers' Compensation and Pension Disability cases representing New York City Correction Officers (NYC COBA) MDASR works closely with the NYC Correction Officers' Benevolent Association and its' Officers. We are proud to be featured in their April 2019 Newsletter. The attorneys at MDASR are committed to providing their expert experience to advocate for injured and disabled workers and receive the best possible outcome for our clients.

NYS Police Compensation Seminar Hosted by MDASR

McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP was honored to host members of the NYS Police for an evening of networking, great food & drinks and an important and fundamental discussion. Partners Ed McIntyre, Sean Riordan and James Seganti spoke about compensation rights as NYS Law Enforcement in the event of an accident or injury on the job and the potential effects on their pensions.

Ed McIntyre, discussed the requirements for NYS Law Enforcement to qualify for workers’ compensation and how essential it is to know what you are entitled to when injured. He also discussed the potential for substantial workers compensation awards that injured Troopers often fail to pursue.  Ed spoke about the firm’s workers’ compensation attorneys and their expertise in the procedure when filing for coverage.

James Seganti spoke about the crucial need for World Trade Center First Responders to submit the WTC-12 Sworn Statement to meet the requirements for coverage in the event they seek workers’ compensation in the future. The deadline for this form is September 11, 2022, and is necessary in the event that you develop a disease or illness related to your time in rescue, recovery or cleanup.

Sean Riordan covered the current legal climate for what now qualifies as an accident on the job and how recent court decisions have turned disability pension litigation upside down. Retaining talented and knowledgeable attorneys is crucial in the outcome of the of your case and the total of your pension.

If you have been injured on the job contact our attorneys for a free claim evaluation at (866) 557-7500. Multiple conditions, work related or not, may in combination be enough to establish a successful claim.

Partner Sean Riordan Advocates for NY’s First Responders

Sean Riordan meets with Congressman Gregory Meeks and FDNY Ret. Chief Richard Alles to discuss the crucial issues our nation's first responders face daily.

MDASR partner Sean Riordan met with Congressman Gregory Meeks and FDNY Ret. Chief Richard Alles to discuss the crucial issues our nation's first responders face daily. Sean is an outspoken advocate for First Responders, having joined with advocacy groups such as the FealGood Foundation and Congressional leaders to help pass legislation that affords greater health care and benefits to men and women that respond to emergency situations.

MDASR Wins 9/11 Death Claim

The Law firm of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan LLP successfully argued and established causally related death as a result of toxic exposure from the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The claimant, a Local 40 electrician, selflessly chose to volunteer his services following the attacks on the World Trade Center. He spent two days volunteering and was instrumental in removal of steel beams and debris on the pile.

Even though the claimant was only at Ground Zero for two days, that exposure was enough to cause malignant melanoma which metastasized to his chest, abdomen, bones, adrenal glands, and lymph nodes. That exposure to the carcinogens at Ground Zero was proven to have significantly contributed to the development of  the claimant’s metastatic malignant melanoma and ultimately, his untimely death. As a result the surviving widow and children received a retroactive award of $155,000.00 as well continued lifetime benefits for the surviving widow.

Thank you to our late claimant and all of the other brave men and women who risked their lives, most giving the ultimate sacrifice, in the name of our country’s and city’s safety.

Written by Timothy Finnegan, Associate Attorney. 

Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Amazon and Labor

In late Fall of 2018, after a nationwide bidding war with other large metropolitan cities, Ecommerce and tech giant Amazon decided to build its second North American headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.

In return for almost $3 billion in subsidies from the City, Amazon has promised a variety of things to give back to the surrounding communities. Among its promises are 25,000 new jobs, according to Curbed NY.

Amazon has a torrid history with regard to labor, and a number of New York unions have taken notice. In the company’s nearly 30 years of operation, they have avidly fought against unionization, even when there is record of employees fighting to do so. Citing poor working conditions, long hours, and poor work culture, a number of unions have teamed up to generate activism for Amazons workers. The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union along with Teamsters have come out in full force in the name of employee advocacy.

According to Crain’s New York Business, the two unions wrote of Amazon in a series of letters to the Governor and Mayor:

“The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has joined the battle over Amazon’s second headquarters. In letters to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the truckers’ union has teamed up with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to highlight the Seattle giant’s “well-documented record of anti-worker, anti-union behavior” and “deadly and dehumanizing working conditions.” They are asking the elected leaders to “work with us to ensure that Amazon changes the way it operates.”

In response to the public response of Amazon coming into a union stronghold like New York, the company contractually agreed to use union labor for the construction end of their project, but according to the Daily News, both unions remain unconvinced that the company will change its ways:

“As a nod to New York’s still-strong labor movement, the company also agreed to use union workers to both build its new facility and help staff it and keep it maintained — but those terms don’t quite stand up to full scrutiny, according to the Teamsters and RWDSU.

The Building Trades Council’s deal to have union laborers construct the Long Island City headquarters is actually inked with third-party contractor — as is SEIU 32BJ’s contract for maintenance and other services.

Amazon itself remains untouched by a direct labor agreement as part of its deal, the Teamsters and RWDSU said.”

Links below:

Force labor-busting Amazon to change course: Their hostility to unions should be the last straw breaking the back of this rotten deal

Teamsters join fight against Amazon HQ2

AMAZON CAME TO THE BARGAINING TABLE—BUT WORKERS WANT MORE

Employees at Amazon’s New NYC Warehouse Launch Union Push

No union, no deal, NYC labor leaders tell Cuomo and de Blasio about Amazon’s new HQ

Amazon workers in New York just announced their plan to unionize

Workers’ Compensation and Natural Disasters

We have seen displays of heroism and community in the face of natural disasters and emergencies. Civilians, first responders, communities of every background band together to help one another. Our immediate reaction is to assist when disaster strikes. Some may get injured during such tasks, and one has to ask-what happens if that’s part of your job?

Many states have regulations in place addressing the needs of workers and laborers in regard to natural disasters or emergency situations. Many workers may sustain injuries due to rescue and recovery missions, whether or not they are a first responder or part of an emergency services team. Others may encounter hazardous working conditions while trying to rebuild. Some of these regulations involve the expedition of prescriptions, procedures, and benefits so claimants aren’t left without medicine or wages. Insurance companies are also developing methods to make care and benefits more accessible-according to an article on BusinessInsurance.com, Chubb Ltd. managed to reach out to 400 claimants prior to the wreckage sustained when Hurricane Florence hit the southern U.S. in 2018. OSHA also released a statement regarding employer and employee safety after Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm on record for the Florida Panhandle.

The best way for employers and employees alike to stay as safe as possible in an emergency situation is to not only communicate, but also adhere to the planned out EAP, or Emergency Action Plan. As an OSHA requirement, employers that have 10 or more employees are required to have an Emergency Action Plan. This is a formal list of steps and procedures to take during an emergency or natural disaster. These include things like assigned training and roles for employees during an emergency, a way to report and communicate the emergency, and other related requirements.

Florence and Work Comp

‘Plan Ahead’: OSHA Spotlights Resources for Emergency Preparedness, Response

What employers should know as Hurricane Florence approaches

Earth, Wind and Fire: Workers’ Compensation Considerations in the Face of Natural Disasters

Natural Disaster Recovery Efforts: What You Should Know About Workers Compensation Policies

Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Employee Safety During Hurricane Season

Emergency Action Plan

UFT v. Janus

After the Janus decision came down in June of 2018, it seemed as if all of New York’s unions and labor advocates had mobilized. Governor Cuomo had submitted legislature to protect the power of unions into the 18/19 fiscal budget, which was put in place shortly before the Supreme Court Ruling. United Federation of Teachers (UFT) became one of the most active unions, and their efforts were not in vain. Fast forward to just over three months, and almost half of UFT’s new hires are full-dues paying members, according to an article on Crain’s. Many of New York’s labor leaders are speculating that UFT’s grassroots methods are the future of the labor movement in New York and across the country.

UFT did a great deal of recruiting to supplement the legislation provided by the City and State. In preparation for the ultimately definite Janus ruling, laws providing incentives for employees and power to union leaders were written into the budget. “The measure Cuomo signed in April, which was incorporated into state budget legislation, required public employers to promptly give unions contact information for all new hires and allow unions to speak to new hires during their first month on the job. It codified that workers may sign up to pay dues electronically”, according to an article posted on the Telegraph Herald.

This is due in a large part to organizing events, labor advocacy and most of all-open, clear information-UFT has managed to sign up a near majority of its new hires since the ruling came down. Having been granted the right to meet with new hires one-one-one, UFT’s Union Representatives had countless one-on-one conversations regarding benefits and union rights. They knew the needs of their employees and managed to approve paid parental leave a few short days before the Janus ruling.

The way in which unions organize, negotiate, and advocate for their members is unique to each union. Finding out and speaking to those needs is how UFT managed to start a positive ripple in a post-Janus work environment.

 

Labor Day 2018

Labor Day has its roots snared in the concrete of thousands of cities and in the hearts of countless communities. The holiday was established to champion the rights of the American worker, and to highlight the importance of improving the American work culture-wages, workers rights, labor laws, and working conditions. One cannot talk about the labor movement without talking about the employees who continue to carry on its legacy.

A day for the worker established by the worker, the first Labor Day Parade was held in New York City almost 130 years ago in 1882. This is nothing short of fitting, since New York has remained one of the most unionized states throughout history. In 1887, New York had officially recognized Labor Day as a holiday and 12 years after the first Parade, in 1894, President Grover Cleveland made it a national holiday. This was in response to the chaotic Pullman Strike, deemed as a catalyst in the labor movement. “It had started when the Pullman Palace Car Company lowered wages without lowering rents in the company town, also called Pullman.”, according to The New York Times. This elevated to a larger movement after railway unions decided to no longer work on Pullman cars, causing chaos throughout the transportation industry.

Fast forward 124 years, the labor movement is still thriving. This is due in large part to the voices unions give their employees through collective bargaining-which still, from time to time, culminates into strikes. The good that unions do for employees and the importance of the labor movement has not been lost in current events-even Janus v. AFSCME, a U.S. Supreme Court case overturning mandated union fees, has not slowed unions. When the verdict came down in spring of 2018, it made mandating union fees unconstitutional under the 1st amendment. It’s main plaintiff, Mark Janus, argued that due to the way that unions work-they are political in nature, as well as that he didn’t want union lobbying for political ideas he didn’t support.

These are the same dues that help with representation for grievance proceedings, collective bargaining, and other main functions of unions. While right-to-work proponents thought they would hit unions where it hurt, many unions actually saw a huge uptick in full-dues paying members-particularly unions for teachers.

Below are links to a number of articles summarizing the rich history of Labor Day. To all employees and laborers everywhere, thank you for your hard work!

The History of Labor Day

What to know about the history of celebrating Labor Day

History of Labor Day: Why it’s celebrated, how it started