Court Workers Rave about Recess Training

January 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE WILLIAMS More than 170 Court Reporters, Interpreters and Clericals in Local 1070 rebooted their skills at a two-day court recess training at DC 37 headquarters in lower Manhattan on Dec. 28 and 29. After Local 1070 and the Unified Court System agreed to extend the benefit beyond the expired contract, they agreed to open the training sessions to state employees who were mandated to use comp time or annual leave during the courts’ December recess. “The turnout was great and we heard from legal professionals on a range of topics our members encounter every day on the job,” said President Fausto Sabatino. “We even brought in a presenter our members wanted to hear from again—back by popular demand.” The training highlights included sessions led by Sandra Bryan, retired state coordinator of Court Interpreters. Court Interpreters Lionel Bajana, Ricardo Fernandez, and [More...]

Commemorating Ten Years of Fighting Gun Violence

January 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE WILLIAMS Harlem Mothers SAVE, founded by Local 299 President Jackie Rowe-Adams, marked its 10th anniversary in Harlem on Nov. 10. The anti-gun violence support group honored the newly appointed New York Police Dept. Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “The packed room was a sea of blue, we had so much support from the NYPD, who stand with us on getting guns off our streets,” said Rowe-Adams, who founded the nonprofit organization after she lost two young sons in two separate acts of gun violence. Harlem Mothers SAVE provides counseling, education and victim services; their professionally-trained first responders are called upon to help grieving parents of shooting victims in New York City. They support Sandy Hook School shooting victims killed in Connecticut four years ago. Feisty and undaunted, Rowe–Adams challenges the National Rifle Association “to consider how [More...]

A Review of 2016 (Part 2): A Year of Key Victories for DC 37 Members

January 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

Insourcing victory: DC 37 is working with the de Blasio to reduce the city’s employment of consultants and bring work in-house. The city has so far hired several hundred information technology workers. The union expects the city to hire up to 1,000 IT workers in the near future. We won our Fight for $15 campaign: Union members have participated in demonstrations to support food service workers in their struggle for a living wage and union representation. At home, the union backed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s adoption of a $15 minimum wage that covers 50,000 low-wage workers in the city, including a few thousand school workers in Local 372. As bargaining for a new contract concluded, the union convinced the City University of New York to match the pay hikes of the state minimum wage law, which will means its low-wage workers — including thousands of DC 37 members — will be paid $15 an [More...]

A Review of 2016 (Part 1): Building a Dynamic Union

January 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES In 2016, DC 37 advanced its mission to become a more dynamic and grassroots-oriented union.Despite the anti-union era in the country, DC 37 made significant strides by recruiting new activists while strengthening its workplace presence, deepening ties to the community and developing more political clout. “The transformation of our union will take a long time,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “But so far, we have made a lot of progress, and next year we will continue down this path. We are talking about a change in culture at DC 37.” Union activists and elected leaders had a busy year in 2016. Workers at the City University of New York participated in fight-back campaign to win a new contract. Members helped block Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to cut $300 million in state support for the city’s public health-care system and nearly $500 million [More...]

DC 37 Applauds Cuomo’s Plan to Increase the State’s Tax-Credit for Child Care

January 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 5 announced a plan to boost the state’s tax-credit for child care, which will reduce the financial burden faced of an estimated 200,000 middle-class families across the state. The enhanced tax credit will more than double the credit for families with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000. “Far too many parents have to sacrifice working to build their family’s infrastructure because affordable, high quality day care is financially out of reach,” Cuomo said. “This newly enhanced credit will make it easier for more New Yorkers to be able to secure day care for their children and will be able to enter or stay in the workforce with peace of mind.” In fiscal year 2014, nearly 520,000 families received almost $189 million in tax savings through the state’s Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Currently, the maximum benefit [More...]

Fight Big Pharma’s Price Gouging

January 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The January copay increases of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan’s prescription drug benefit show how we all are victims of the voracious pharmaceutical industry. For years, the plan struggled to maintain the old copays. But with the skyrocketing cost of drugs, the plan’s trustees finally felt they had no choice but to approve the copay hikes. As DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido has pointed out, drug costs will likely continue to rise until the government steps in to control the prices of the unregulated pharmaceutical industry. “The pharmaceutical industry’s track record of corporate greed is reprehensible,” said Willie Chang, administrator of the plan. “We need to do whatever we can as consumers and individual activists to slow down price increases.” Although consumers have little or no control over prices in the absence of a nationwide [More...]

A New Approach to Labor-Community Alliances

January 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

By RAUL RODRIGUEZ A great labor union stands up for its members, for all workers, and for the communities in which working families live. That’s the clear, simple, driving principle behind Executive Director Henry Garrido’s push earlier this year to create a DC 37 Office of Community Partnership. DC 37 has a rich history with, and within, New York City communities. We have long championed programs meant to lift all New Yorkers out of poverty, bring equality to education, and keep our neighborhoods safe. But at a time in our city and country when the gap between the haves and the have-nots has exploded into a Grand Canyon of economic inequality, it is more important than ever for DC 37 to help build a progressive agenda for New York by uniting with (among others) civic organizations, ministers, students, health-care advocates, seniors and the hardworking men and women who struggle to [More...]

How to Cope with the Post-Election Blues

January 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By JULIE BECK Collective trauma is “a shared experience of threat and anxiety in response to sudden or ongoing events that lead to some threat to a basic sense of belonging in society,” says Jack Saul, the director of the International Trauma Studies Program. “It usually is a disruption to the social and moral order.” One could argue that those who opposed Donald Trump’s election have been through a collective trauma that has left them feeling rattled and afraid. Women and people of color have good reason to be anxious, given the sexist and racist things Trump said during the campaign, given his threats against the women who accused him of sexual assault, given how he has painted Mexicans as criminals, given that he was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, given so, so many things. People have very real fears rooted in policies Trump has promised to enact in office — including a [More...]

Cuomo Unveils a Program for Tuition-free Study at State and Local Public Colleges

January 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

DC 37 members turned out in force at LaGuardia Community College on Jan. 3 to hear Gov. Andrew Cuomo announce a plan to offer free tuition to hundreds of thousands working class students. Under the plan, called the Excelsior Scholarships Program, New Yorkers whose families earn $125,000 a year or less would be able to attend City and State University tuition free. Eighty percent of New York households earn $125,000 or less each year, according to the governor’s office. Enrollment projections indicate that 940,000 households with college-age children would be eligible for the tuition-free program, including DC 37 families. “Our members know the burden of student debt and the Catch-22 of trying to get ahead with a college education while falling behind in paying the rent and living expenses,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “The governor’s proposal is a major [More...]

DC 37 Activists Ready for the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21

January 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Answering a groundswell call to action, DC 37 members will join tens of thousands from across the nation at the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21, the day after president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. “This will be one of the largest rallies to date to advance equality and human rights for all women, minorities and immigrants,” said Henry Garrido, executive director of DC 37.  “We are sending a message: We are vigilant and we are watching Trump and his cabinet to ensure that our freedoms, rights and protections are not eroded or violated. We rally in peace to stand for equality and our democracy. The world is watching.” The rally is a response to the concerns and uneasiness that Trump and his cabinet choices evoke. It is not an anti-Trump protest, organizers said. DC 37 members and retirees will join march organizers Planned Parenthood, [More...]