I wanted to bring a couple of NECA National items to the membership's attention. First, NECA's legal counsel put out this brief and helpful summary of the impact on employers of the American Rescue Plan Act ("ARPA") of 2021. Many of you are probably aware of the extension of tax credits through Sept. 30, 2021 if you voluntarily provide the paid sick leave that was created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("FFCRA"). However, some may not be aware that the Act also requires employers to offer 100% coverage of COBRA subsidies for up to six months for employees who lose health coverage due to involuntary termination or reduction in work hours, effective April 1 through Sept. 30, 2021. The Act does provide tax credits to offset this cost to employers.
For several years, the national parties have simply extended the expiration of the Voice-Data-Video National Agreement (VDVNA) without making any changes to it. This year, the parties re-negotiated the agreement, which will be effective June 1, 2021 through February 28, 2023. Some changes include updating scope of work and steward, language, requiring notification to the NECA Chapter upon start of the job, and more. You can find the new agreement here, along with a memo that outlines the changes.
As many of you know, we are currently in negotiations with Local #477, for the Inside, Residential, and Traffic agreements that expire at the end of May. So far, we have held three meetings with labor, and they have been mostly productive, with some good discussions about the challenges our members face. In our discussions with labor, the management committee has brought a strong focus on the importance of negotiating an agreement that has language and a financial settlement that can help make the local signatory contractors as competitive as possible against the non-union. I am hopeful that we will be able to settle the negotiations soon, and locally. As soon as we have a ratified settlement, our office will get wage sheets and agreements out as soon as possible.
As always, thank you for being a NECA member, let me know if there is anything I can assist with, and have a great weekend.