Safety Program Reduces Traffic Deaths

January 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The city’s streets are becoming safer as a result of a plan to reduce traffic-related fatalities implemented by Mayor Bill de Blasio four years ago. With a 32 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities, 2017 marked the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths in New York City, a success that counters the national trend and is a testament to the efforts of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign, aided in strong measure by our city Dept. of Transportation workers—members of DC 37. Locals 376, 983, 1157, 1455 and 1506 represent hundreds of DOT employees who work tirelessly to implement and maintain the city’s road infrastructure and are a vital part of Vision Zero’s success. At a recent event marking the progress of the program, the Mayor declared: “Vision Zero is working. The lower speed limit, increased enforcement and safer street designs are all building [More...]

National Union Launches Campaign to Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

January 16, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Fifty years ago black sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike to demand fair wages and safe working conditions. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. joined the striking members of Local 1733 in response to a request from AFSCME’s then-president Jerry Wurf. The strikers asserted their humanity with an empowering slogan: “I Am a Man.” Wurf enlisted King—a young preacher whose nonviolent boycotts and protests fissured longstanding, illegal Jim Crow laws, and won him international acclaim as a Nobel Peace prize recipient. King roused striking workers to stand strong. His presence lent moral authority, depth and clarity to their struggle. As night fell on Memphis April 3, King stood in the Mason Temple pulpit and delivered his prophetic “Mountaintop” speech. The next day he was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel. “Let us never forget,” Wurf said, “that Dr. [More...]

City Pensions Plan to Dump Fossil Fuel Investments

January 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

BY MIKE LEE New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and trustees of the city’s pension funds struck a sharp chord for the environment on Jan. 10 by announcing a plan to free the funds from the clutches of fossil fuel investments over the next five years.  This move by a major U.S. municipality to divest from fossil fuel companies is first in the nation. It is also a slap back at recent Trump administration moves to hand over drilling rights to oil companies — which are responsible for most of all greenhouse gas emissions in the last century. “Safeguarding the retirement of our city’s police officers, teachers, firefighters and city workers is our top priority, and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet,” Comptroller Stringer said at a press conference at the Manhattan Youth Center, in in lower [More...]

Urban Park Rangers Honored for 9/11 Heroism

January 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Sixteen years after aiding thousands to safety aross the Hudson River during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, three heroic Urban Park Rangers and the Local 983 president received presidential citations at a ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on Dec. 19. Local 983 President Joe Puleo and PEP Officers Nancy Mercado, Sam Hendricks and Annette Probst worked at Battery Park City and were pivotal in directing thousands to safety on 9/11 in the greatest civilian evacuation in U.S. history.  Sept. 11 survivor and Battery Park City resident Joseph Gibney said, “Hundreds of thousands of lives were saved because people did their jobs.” The FEMA-trained PEP Officers were honored upon completing the Resident Manager Emergency Response Team (RMERT) program, a 15-week advanced emergency response course in high-rise evacuation, search and rescue, and [More...]

DC 37 Community Associations gear up for January 2018 meetings

January 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

District Council 37 Community Associations are the building blocks of Political Action’s organizing efforts in neighborhoods throughout the city and are essential to addressing critical issues affecting union members, retirees and their families. In January 2018, the associations are gearing up for the year ahead with their first round of quarterly neighborhood meetings (see schedule below). “DC 37’s Community Associations provide our members, retirees and their neighbors with vehicles for positive change within their respective communities,” said DC 37 Political Action Director Jeremy John. “Community Associations meet quarterly to share common concerns and plan action. The union sponsors these associations to help address local problems and to build organization in the local community.” Issues and accomplishments A broad range of topics is addressed at [More...]

Magazine Honors Local 420 President Carmen Charles

January 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS City & State magazine named Carmen Charles, the president of New York City Hospital Employees Local 420 and a DC 37 vice president, one of its Responsible 100 Honorees at its annual ceremony Dec. 14 for 100 of New York’s most outstanding corporate citizens. “I am deeply moved to be counted alongside New York City’s First Lady Charlaine McCray and NAACP state chapter chair Hazel Dukes,” Charles said. “The members of Local 420 have given me the greatest opportunity as their president to be on the front lines in the fight for better public health care and a healthier city. “This is no easy task,” Charles said. “The work my members do is in no way glamorous. We are over 8,000 strong– dedicated city workers who provide round-the-clock care at NYC Health and Hospitals facilities, clinics and nursing homes.” Charles said, “We help the sick and [More...]

New Year, New Round of DC 37 Lunch Time Info Sessions

January 8, 2018 // 0 Comments

District Council 37 has scheduled a new round of 2018 lunch time information events to thank members for their activism, strengthen the power of our collective voice and equip members with the tools necessary to move forward together. Volunteer Member Organizers like those pictured helped get out the vote to defeat the NYS Constitutional Convention in 2017 and elect DC 37-endorsed candidates. Continuing to protect worker rights and safeguard the union, along with engaging the union’s membership for the challenges ahead, will be at the top of the agenda for upcoming workplace activist sessions in 2018. “Workplace info sessions are part of an effort to strengthen the union from the grassroots,” said Barbara Terrelonge, director of the DC 37 Organizing Dept. “With more active members, our union will be stronger, whether that involves our involvement in a contract fight, [More...]

Help is Available for 9/11 Claims

January 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Were you there on Sept 11th? Did you work on the Ground Zero? Are you experiencing health issues from the attacks on the World Trade Center and need help filing a claim, but do not have an attorney? Help is here. The Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), in conjunction with the New York Law School, has set up free clinics for individuals needing assistance filing a claim with the VCF. As a one-time consultation, volunteer law students or law school staffers will provide information on the application process and assist you in completing and submitting the on-line claim form (see link below). Sessions are on Friday, Jan. 26, with appointment times at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. and at 4 p.m. A second session is available on Tuesday, Jan. 30, with appointments for 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The New York Law School is located at 185 West Broadway, in downtown [More...]

Book Review: “Latino Americans”

January 2, 2018 // 0 Comments

By KEN NASH Latino Americans,” a 6-hour PBS documentary, links our present to our past, showing that much of what is now the United States was settled by Mexicans (after they subdued the Native Americans). They then were gradually conquered by European Americans in California, Texas, and the Southwest. In the process, their land rights were trampled on and other forms of discrimination reduced Americans of Latino ancestry to second-class citizenship for centuries. Despite this, Latino Americans fought in our wars, frequently heroically, but their contributions, often celebrated for a moment, were soon forgotten. When they returned from World War II, they faced the same discrimination and poverty despite fighting against fascism abroad. But they fought back with newly founded Latino veterans organizations. The 1960s saw a new upsurge of Latin American activism throughout the country [More...]

Communities and Unions

December 28, 2017 // 0 Comments

At DC 37, we want to shatter the myth, perpetrated by anti-labor forces, that unions are insular institutions and a “special interest” group. That’s why we continue to deepen our ties to communities where members live and work. A major step forward was to establish a new Office of Community Partnerships. How’s this embrace of “social unionism” being realized at DC 37? • In partnership with community advocates, we fought for and won universal free lunch, which now covers all 1.1 million children in our public school system. • In our 2016 City University of New York contract campaign, we were part of the CUNY Rising coalition that helped secure more than $300 million in state funding for our public university system. We are working with education advocates to make Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s free-tuition program truly universal. • In the fight-back campaign with NYCHA #NoCut [More...]