PARA is the Port Authority
Retirees Association. Membership in PARA is open to all retirees and active
employees of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and of its
predecessor, The Port of New York Authority, including PATH.
Our mission is to serve PA
retirees and to promote their welfare. We do this by keeping them informed on
matters that affect them and by engaging in other activities to further their
We foster and encourage legislation that maintains or improves our
circumstances primarily as it affects the pensions of the New York
State Retirement System and our health benefits.
WE APPRECIATE YOUR DEDICATION AND OFFER OUR SUPPORT
To our PA / PATH Friends and colleagues:
For all of us, both active and retired, the PA’s mission is familiar
and clear as we are called to manage during uncertain and perilous
times. Goods and people must continue to flow through the Agency’s
facilities, whether by air, land, rail or sea, to serve the region
and its people.
As always, you are dedicated to the PA mission which in the present
crisis means getting front line people – healthcare workers, first
responders and other essential workers -- and essential supplies to
where they need to be to address people most impacted by the
coronavirus and to keep the supply chain open and flowing throughout
We know that this is not business as usual; in truth it is a
situation, not previously experienced by most of us, and experienced
at this scale by none of us. Even during the ’93 bombing or the
attacks on the WTC on 9/11, while work was done around the clock, it
was performed without all of the uncertainties and perils, both
known and unknown, that you are facing today.
We understand that you, the staff of the PA, have embarked on this
mission against the backdrop of huge personal concern and distress
and under critical and varied challenges. As you worry about how to
stay true to this clearly defined PA mission, you must also struggle
with apprehensions about your own safety, your family’s health and
well-being, and all of the ongoing disruptions to your normal lives.
Your expected responses to these apprehensions are not set forth in
a psychology manual, and there is no clear roadmap as to how you
should be dealing with your emotions at this time. It is normal to
be expressing your feelings, and to feel lost as to how to face and
deal with them while getting the job done. During the 9/11 crisis,
many of us were disoriented and fearful, had pangs of survival
guilt, and expressed our feelings to family members. This is a
normal human response and not a sign of weakness!
Despite all of these concerns, struggles and feelings, you carry on
as best you can. As humans, we are built to survive through highly
stressful situations. The PA retiree family acknowledges all of your
efforts, many of which cannot be done from home. You are put in the
crosshairs. You are on the frontlines.
We thank you immensely for your extraordinary efforts and commitment
to the PA mission. We are confident that you will be successful as
you bring the Agency through this unprecedented time.
We have great respect for you and for the day-in, day-out work you
do under clearly stressful conditions. It is noble work that is so
worth doing. We are very grateful to you for your dedication.
As always, should you believe that our skills and experiences could
aid in your efforts, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Stay safe. Be healthy. And be well.
The Port Authority Retirees Association.
Latest from PANYNJ on COVID19
March 12, 2020
The Port Authority and PATH are continuing to actively monitor
developments regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Moving forward,
all updates regarding COVID-19 will be distributed under this
banner. Updates will be made regularly.
As was the case at the time of our last update, coronavirus remains
a huge concern for the agency, the region, and the country. Our
focus remains simple: to work hard and to work smart and to work
together. This enables us to stay on top of such a demanding
situation, ensuring that we both protect ourselves and carry out our
important work on behalf of the millions of people who depend on us.
After sharing with you the latest information on the virus and its
broader impact on our region, I’ll update you on a set of concrete
steps our agency is taking and has been taking to ensure the health
and well-being of each member of our workforce.
The Latest News on COVID-19
As you know, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic as
the coronavirus continues to spread globally. At the time of this
notification, there have been 248 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the
bistate region, and 1,269 total cases in the U.S. Both New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy have
declared a state of emergency to help to more quickly and
effectively contain and mitigate the spread of the virus. We remain
in regular contact with state and federal health authorities to
ensure we’re taking all prudent and necessary measures.
The risk remains low to those living or traveling through the
bistate region. But the virus poses very serious challenges, and
that’s why it is crucial that employees continue to follow agency
guidelines regarding preventive practices. These guidelines are
based directly on guidance that has been provided to us by the
relevant public health experts – the federal Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) and the Departments of Health for New York and New
Before getting to the specific steps that we wanted to let you know
about, I wanted to first update you as to our Executive Director,
Rick Cotton. As you know, Rick tested positive for the coronavirus
and given his positive test, he remains at home. He remains entirely
asymptomatic (which means he has no coronavirus symptoms) and he has
been completely focused on keeping a full schedule and leading the
agency. There have been no other confirmed cases of agency employees
testing positive for the virus. The New York State Department of
Health has concluded that people who were in direct contact with
Rick last Friday (and not on any other day last week) should be in
self-quarantine. This is a precaution, as the risk of transmission
was very low. But some employees are working from home, including
some of the agency’s senior leaders.
We are 100% committed to keeping you safe and well, and to
communicating to you the latest information that is available, based
on advice, as noted above, from the federal CDC and from the state
health departments. Here are some of the measures we are taking:
Continued Aggressive Cleaning Schedules
The Port Authority has greatly enhanced its cleaning and sanitizing
protocols in response to COVID-19. We are doing more frequent
cleaning, multiple times each day, including all frequently touched
surfaces. And we are using EPA-approved and CDC-endorsed
disinfectants that are certified to kill viruses. This cleaning has
focused on all of our facilities, on all of our employee common
areas, and on all offices where employees work. Special cleaning has
been done in the workspaces of each employee who had direct contact
last Friday with the Executive Director. We will not let up on the
cleaning. We will keep at it, and if guidance from public health
experts changes, we will immediately take steps to follow it.
We are also providing cleaning supplies for your use in your own
personal workspaces. In fact, more than a few of you have made it a
routine, particularly in our maintenance groups, after every shift.
Thanks for that extra effort for your colleagues!
Personal Protective Equipment for Frontline Staff
The official health department guidance has been that masks and
gloves are not recommended or needed for employees, unless those
masks and gloves are already mandated for a particular job. But we
want you to feel safe. Any frontline agency staff are free to wear
masks and gloves if it makes them feel more comfortable during this
time. This is consistent with the approach that has been taken by
the MTA and by the federal TSA. As with those agencies, employees
choosing to opt for masks and gloves should plan to furnish them on
Additionally, concern has been expressed regarding PATH conductors
who, unlike their counterparts at other transit agencies, typically
are stationed in the open area of a car – as opposed to an enclosed
space. We’ll immediately enable them to physically move to a part of
the train that has an enclosed cabin.
Limiting Group Meeting Size to 20 or Fewer
In light of concerns that have been expressed by public health
experts, effective Monday, March 16, all meetings will be strictly
limited in size to 20 or fewer in-person participants. No agency
employee should attend a work meeting, whether it is hosted at an
agency facility or off-site, that has more than 20 in-person
participants. Exceptions may be granted in limited circumstances for
emergency preparedness and response.
To ensure that we are staying as close as we possibly can to any
concerns or issues you may be having, over the next 24 hours, each
Department will be designating a “champion” – an employee in your
Department who you can approach, and pose questions to, related to
our current situation. These questions can range from resources,
staffing and policy questions to questions regarding your own health
and safety. These Department-by-Department champions will serve as a
direct conduit to Human Resources and the Office of Emergency
Management. HR and OEM will work to get the issues you bring to the
Departmental champions addressed – as quickly and as systematically
as is possible. Shortly after this Broadcast, you’ll receive a note
from your Chief or Director indicating who will be serving as your
Department Q&A Forums with Dr. Fisher
Many of you know our agency’s Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Howard
Fisher. Dr. Fisher is a seasoned medical professional, who has been
providing advice and guidance to agency leaders with respect to the
coronavirus. In an effort to provide each of you with the benefit of
Dr. Fisher’s medical expertise, and to pose any relevant questions
about the coronavirus, you’ll each be getting an invitation to a
conference call conversation with your Department Chief and/or
Director, Dr. Fisher, your Department Champion and me. You’ll be
able to submit questions in advance that may be on your mind, and we
will answer them on the conference call, for the benefit of the
Flexible Schedules and Remote Work Arrangements
Existing policies in the agency allow for flexible schedules and
remote work arrangements with the approval of your Chief/Director.
We are considering very carefully how we could expand our use of
flexible schedules (so that some employees can commute to work when
it’s not rush hour) or to make further use of remote work
arrangements. Stay tuned as we continue to develop our plans.
Daily Communications and COVID-19 Portal for the Latest
In addition to the actions outlined above, we will continue to
connect directly with you daily, in Broadcasts, to share more about
the steps we’re taking across our facilities to help keep you, our
employees, safe and healthy. Keep an eye open for a new COVID-19
portal on eNet which is being developed to serve as a central
REMINDER: What You Can Do as Preventive Measures:
One of the most important things employees should know are the
symptoms of COVID-19. According to the CDC, reported illnesses have
ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people
being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and
shortness of breath. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of
COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after
exposure. The agency’s Office of Medical Services, in accordance
with guidance from the CDC, advises all employees to continue using
the following preventive measures:
Handwashing is the single most important infection control measure.
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand
sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Always wash hands with
soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid shaking hands.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, then throw
the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
We hope this daily update will provide you with greater real-time
information as this situation unfolds. Please reach out to your
department champions to get your questions answered!
If you’re a PA retiree or even
employee and are
not yet a member of PARA, now would be a very good time to join. Everyone
is welcomed to join the dues are
only $10.00 a year.
Why not join now to
support PARA's mission and help chart its future directions?
PARA’s more than 4,000 members are strengthened by
our affiliation with the Alliance of Public Retiree Organizations (APRO)
representing more than 350,000 members statewide in New York.
click here for the
PARA dues page and send the remittance form to the address indicated below and
remember also that donations are
gratefully accepted and appreciated. If you have a question
Click Here to Submit request to
Treasurer for Dues Status.
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