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Mayor de Blasio And DC 37 Announce Unlimited Paid Sick Leave For 9/11 Responders

October 23, 2018

Sick leave will be retroactive to September 11, 2001

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, Local 3621 President Vincent Variale and Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay today announced that the City will provide Unlimited 9/11 Sick Leave to City workers who participated in World Trade Center rescue, recovery and cleanup operations and contracted a 9/11-related illness. Unlimited 9/11 Sick Leave will be provided to employees in a range of titles across several City agencies, including employees of the union’s various divisions such as Emergency Medical Technicians, peace officers, laborers, engineers, and others. This sick leave is retroactive to September 11, 2001 and leave taken since then that has been verified to cope with a certified 9/11-related illness will be restored.

It is estimated that approximately 2,000 active employees will be covered by this agreement, which will form the basis for additional agreements with unions representing other eligible employees. 

“My Administration has been working around the clock to provide the unlimited sick leave our brave City workers deserve,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I want to thank and commend these heroes for putting their lives on the line and for helping us rebound into a stronger, safer and more resilient city. I’d also like to thank DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Local Presidents Vincent Variale and Oren Barzilay for working with us in good faith to deliver unlimited sick to these heroes."

Henry Garrido, Executive Director of DC 37, said, “This important agreement gives these dedicated public employees, who sacrificed profoundly to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero, the sick leave they need and deserve. I commend Mayor de Blasio for working with us to reach this breakthrough that will mean so much to these hardworking men and women, and their families.” 

Oren Barzilay, President of Local 2507, said, “Today the life path of our beloved sick WTC members took a dramatic, positive step forward. They can now live in peace knowing they don’t have choose between going to work or getting treated for deadly diseases. They no longer have to worry about putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads. We're grateful that the city will provide this basic humanitarian necessity to all those who stormed into hell on September 11, 2001. I want to thank Senator Marty Golden, Henry Garrido, Mayor de Blasio and all those involved who helped us achieve unlimited sick leave for WTC victims.”

Vincent Variale, President of Local 3621, said, “We are proud to have an agreement that provides unlimited sick leave to these members, who are heroes of New York City. This agreement honors their selfless work on 9/11/01 and in the days, weeks and months that followed.”

As part of the agreement, and following the process in which 9/11 medical determinations are made for firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians must obtain a diagnosis confirming that they have a 9/11-related illness from an FDNY medical doctor in the FDNY Bureau of Health Services. Other City employees will be able to obtain a diagnosis from medical doctors in the World Trade Center Health Program’s Centers of Excellence, created under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. For both groups of City employees, any federal certification confirming the diagnosis of a 9/11-related illness that was issued prior to this agreement will qualify them for Unlimited 9/11 Sick Leave. These employees may continue to receive medical treatment from the WTC Health Program’s Clinical Centers of Excellence in which they are enrolled. 

In addition, eligible employees need not exhaust existing leave balances before they have access to Unlimited 9/11 Sick Leave, which allows them to use sick leave for a non-9/11 illness over the course of their employment. Any accrued sick leave time that a member has remaining upon retirement shall have deducted from it the amount of any Unlimited 9/11 Sick Leave used.

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