Local 983 Welcomes New Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers

May 28, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS DC 37 Local 983 welcomed several classes of new recruits to the Parks and Recreation Academy on Randall’s Island in March. Twenty new Urban Park Rangers, all recent college graduates, previously worked security at airports and malls before entering training for civil service careers as PEP Officers. The Parks Dept. academy schools UPRs for 11 weeks after which the agency assigns them to regular patrols in public parks. “This job entails teaching the public about nature and respect for the environment and protecting people so they can enjoy our city’s miles of trails, beaches and parklands in safety,” said Local 983 President Joe Puleo, who started as a UPR over 20 years ago. Urban Park Rangers watch over some 29,000 acres of parkland citywide from the Bronx’s 2,765-acre Pelham Bay Park to Manhattan’s Battery Park to the wetlands of Staten Island’s [More...]

Union Backs Legislation Requiring Automatic Sign Up for School Pension

May 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO City employees are usually enrolled automatically in the retirement system when they are hired. But that’s not true for many members of Board of Education Employees Local 372. New Local 372 members are required to sign up. But many members who work for the Dept. of Education neglect to enroll and therefore don’t receive pension benefits when they retire. District Council 37 and Local 372 announced their support of legislation, sponsored by New York state Sen. Diane Savino and Assembly member Nick Perry, that would automatically enroll members in the Board of Education Retirement System. “Under the current enrollment process, too many of our members at the Dept. of Education have missed out on the full pension benefits they are entitled to,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I applauded the Albany [More...]

Mounted Unit Protects City Parks

May 25, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Keeping New York City’s natural jewels, verdant parklands like Van Cortlandt Park, Central Park and Prospect Park, safe are the equestrian detail of Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers. The Parks Mounted Unit consists of eight Local 983 Urban Parks Rangers and their supervisors, who ride and groom six horses that are used to patrol acres of meadows, wooded trails, ravines and sandy beaches. “We select UPRs with at least two years’ experience for training,” said lead trainer Jessica Cowan, a 20-year veteran Associate Parks Enforcement Patrol Officer in DC 37 Local 983. Parks trains its horses at HOOPH, a new heated stable on Staten Island that houses horses used to help people with special needs. The nonprofit organization lends two stalls to the city Parks Dept. to board horses. The grounds have an indoor rink and five miles of riding trails that allow the [More...]

Federal Safety Agency Blasts Brooklyn Public Library for Asbestos Exposure

May 23, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Justice has been served in a case of a Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild member exposed to asbestos at work. The incident occurred in November 2015, when the member — a custodian at the Eastern Parkway branch of the Brooklyn Library in Crown Heights — was cleaning up debris left by an outside contractor. The custodian was not informed the debris contained asbestos. As reported in the September 2016 issue of Public Employee Press, the union’s Safety and Health Dept. assisted the custodian. After an extensive inspection, the union filed a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), charging that management exposed workers to asbestos fibers and failed to test the employees for exposure and inform them of the hazardous situation at the library. The agency issued its report on May 10, 2016, finding the workers at the [More...]

Library for the Blind Clerical Workers Receive Promotions

May 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES After settling a grievance with New York Public Library, the clerical staff at the Library for the Blind received title upgrades and salary increases. The grievance contended the DC 37 members were working out-of-title since their job responsibilities includes different and more tasks than that of their counterparts at neighborhood branch libraries. The library, New York Public Library Guild Local 1930 and District Council 37 signed the settlement in January. This agreement assigns the six covered clerical workers at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library — the formal name of the Library for the Blind — to collections processing titles, which better reflects their work. “The staff at the Library of the Blind do a lot of behind the scenes work in addition to their traditional clerical duties,” said Louise M. Stamp, Local 1930’s vice president [More...]

Constitutional Mischief

May 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES As right-wing interests push for a constitutional convention in New York, a similar move is afoot around the country. But that effort has a different target: the U.S. Constitution. Whether the goal is to change a state constitution or the nation’s constitution, the risk is the same: Government services along with our personal liberties, civil rights and right to bargain collectively could be put on the chopping block. The anti-government American Legislative Exchange Council is working with state legislators on resolutions calling for a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states can convene a constitutional convention when two-thirds of the country’s 50 states pass resolutions in support of a Convention of the States. Supporters have managed to get the backing of 28 legislatures. Right-wing [More...]

Advocates Call for More Library Funding

May 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Before today’s City Council budget hearing, library advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall this morning to demand more funding for the city’s three public library systems. Union and city leaders, along with the heads of the library systems, joined community activists and library workers to call on the City Council to provide an extra $24 million to fund seven-day library service. Only 15 of the city’s 216 libraries are open seven days a week. They also asked the council to approve an additional $150 million to help the library systems continue to carry out their long-term $1.1 billion capital plan. The funding would be used to address chronic flooding, faulty air conditioners and heating systems, overcrowding, outdated electrical systems, broken elevators and insufficient space. “Our communities need funds for seven day service in this [More...]

Community Activists and DC 37 Push for Universal School Lunch

May 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO “I think we’re missing an opportunity to use available federal funding to make school lunches free,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said when he was on the campaign trail in 2013. As mayor, he’s made universal pre-kindergarten available and is pushing for free day care for 3-year-olds. But he has not yet delivered on a campaign pledge to provide universal free lunch. To remind him of his campaign promise, members of DC 37, the United Federation of Teachers, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, as well as public school parents, students and other community residents took to the steps of City Hall on Monday. They urged him to include $20 million in the city’s budget for free school lunches for all New York City public school students. Board of Education Employees Local 372 president Shaun D. Francois I recalled helping needy kids when he worked in [More...]

Library Advocates Gear Up for Friday Rally

May 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Library supporters are gearing up for a rally on Friday to press the City Council to fund seven-day service and capital projects. The rally on the steps of City Hall–supported by DC 37 and the advocacy group Invest in Libraries–is scheduled for 10 a.m. The theme of the coalition’s campaign is, “Invest in libraries, Invest in All New Yorkers!” The group has two demands: an $24 million increase for daily operating to ensure that every City Council district has a library open seven days a week, and an additional $150 million to continue addressing $1.1 billion in capital needs. Last year, the city’s three public library system received support from the City Council to guarantee a permanent funding floor for six-day service. Now, the library systems seek additional funding to meet the public’s demand for seven-day service. The coalition is carrying [More...]

Local 983 Welcomes New Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers

May 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE WILLIAMS DC 37 Local 983 welcomed several classes of new recruits to the Parks and Recreation Academy on Randall’s Island in March. Twenty new Urban Park Rangers, all recent college graduates, previously worked security at airports and malls before entering training for civil service careers as PEP Officers. The Parks Dept. academy schools UPRs for 11 weeks after which the agency assigns them to regular patrols in public parks. “This job entails teaching the public about nature and respect for the environment and protecting people so they can enjoy our city’s miles of trails, beaches and parklands in safety,” said Local 983 President Joe Puleo, who started as a UPR over 20 years ago. Urban Park Rangers watch over some 29,000 acres of parkland citywide from the Bronx’s 2,765-acre Pelham Bay Park to Manhattan’s Battery Park to the wetlands of Staten Island’s [More...]