By ALFREDO ALVARADO
Immigration reform, affordable housing and the city hospitals budget crisis are among the issues the union’s new Office of Community Partnership plans to address.
DC 37 launched the OCP at union headquarters during a breakfast meeting with union leaders and community activists on May 16.
“This is just the beginning of a conversation we need to have as we begin to develop a plan of action,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido at the meeting.
Since becoming executive director, Garrido has emphasized the need for labor unions to reach out beyond their own membership and work on issues that concern the broader community.
“A good labor union fights for all workers,” Garrido said
Sondra Youdelman, executive director of Community Voices Heard, was one of the many activists who attended the meeting and was encouraged by the union’s new initiative.
“I’m excited by this new office,” Youdleman said. “This is an opportunity to expand our organizing efforts.”
Community Voices Heard is a member-led grassroots organization that does community organizing among low-income workers and has recently begun organizing residents of public housing, where thousands of DC 37 members reside.
During the question and answer session, Shaun Francois I, the president of Board of Education Employees Local 372, suggested that members become involved in their communities by joining their community boards.
For Municipal Hospitals Employees Union Local 420 President Carmen Charles, immigration reform is a crucial issue.
“It’s an issue that should be at the forefront,” Charles said. Without citizenship you can’t exercise any political power during election time, she added.