New York, NY – With the ongoing need for attention to wellness and mental health, Local 28 is standing behind their members with their Member Assistance Program. According to the SMART (Sheet Metal, Air, Rail Transport) Local 28 website, the member assistance program is as follows:

Ben Kimmel.

“The Local 28 Member’s Assistance Program (MAP) is a three tiered program administered by the Local 28 Welfare Fund, designed to address the needs of all members and their families. The MAP is comprised of the Members Assistance Program Counselor, the Peer-to-Peer Program, and beacon Wellbeing’s Members Assistance program. This Program is developed to support the various needs of the membership to help create a healthy and balanced lifestyle.”

Run by Molly Sage, LMHC and with the support of Peer-to-Peer specialists, Bill Salvatore and Santiago Idlet, this program goes beyond the typical awareness about substance abuse and dependency disorders. However, with dependency and abuse disorders being at the forefront of attention, there are other initiatives that deserve consideration. This includes suicide prevention hotlines and crisis intervention.

The MAP Program helps with other concerns such as grief, loss, depression and other topics that affect members both personally and on the job. Additionally, the MAP program takes note of monthly initiatives such as June’s PTSD National Awareness Month or May’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

The objective is to create a judgment-free environment and offer comfortable options to any member in need of assistance. And, to help with the process, Local 28’s website outlines questions that might be asked when reaching out to the Member Assistance Program.

What is the nature of the problem, how long have you had it and how have you dealt with it so far?

  • Are you in any danger (of suicide, for instance) and in need of immediate face-to-face
    assistance, such as an ambulance, or are you okay enough to talk it out with us over the phone?
  • Would you like to continue talking with us over time on the phone beyond the first contact? (We can set up times to “meet” weekly/daily/monthly—at times convenient for you).
  • Would you prefer to meet with someone in your area face-to-face? We will ask for information about your insurance, email and zip code so we can research resources for you and send you links to help in your area. We also can continue with phone sessions over time while transitioning you to local face-to-face assistance. It sometimes takes a few weeks before local therapists have openings so we can bridge that gap.

Support from programs like this are game changing. MAP programs assist with navigation of care to help promote recovery. In fact, Peer-to-Peer services have proven to be effective on a countrywide basis.Per-to-Peer support has been especially helpful to improve substance abuse recovery rates, especially within people who were unable to find the appropriate help on their own. Simply put, sometimes the only way through a challenge is to side with people who have been through the same challenges. The MAP program understands that people want to speak with someone who understands — not someone who judges.

The union standard is fraternal. This means that together we can overcome and that recovery is possible. I can say that as a New York State Certified Recovery and Peer Specialist, Member Assistance Programs save lives. I have seen this firsthand. And therefore, to keep Union Strong, Brothers like Bill Salvatore and Santiago Idlet do this on a daily basis. And to them I say, God bless!

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join Our Newsletter Today