“Being in a labor union means protecting an important American institution and the middle class.”

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Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera

Sr. Landscape Architect Ricardo Hinckle, Local 375

As a Senior Landscape Architect, I supervise a staff of seven others, making sure that their projects are completed properly, safely and on time. Our goal is to deliver nothing but the best for the people of this city.

The work that we do is a privilege. By designing the city’s parks and playgrounds, we provide the community essential places where they can enjoy time with their families and friends outdoors.

In 2002, then-newly elected New York City Mayor Bloomberg appointed Adrian Benepe as new Commissioner for the New York City Parks Dept. Benepe came into office with the AFSCME_NeverQuit_BrandedTitle copy_blankgoal of changing the way things were run. I had already been at the Capital Projects Division within the Parks Dept. for eight years.

My coworkers and I, members of Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375, felt that things were already run well and the threat of altering the way we did our job brought morale down. We had meetings regarding the planned modifications and I became very outspoken regarding the new vision for the department.

After that, I was approached by my fellow union members and asked if I would consider becoming president of the chapter for the union. I’ve held that role ever since.

Being in a labor union means protecting an important American institution and the middle class. It means protecting the rights of workers and the services we provide for our community.

I’ve always believed it is important to remember the history of labor. Workers have been exploited, which is why organizing was so essential. Men and women lost their lives fighting for the rights we have today as union members.

I always aim to keep people aware of this rich history. For the past three years, I have run a labor history film series at the workplace, where anywhere between 30 and 40 people regularly attend to see these important movies, many I’ve borrowed from DC 37’s library.

Not only do I keep my fellow members informed of what is going on with the union, I also let them know what is going on politically. I always attend rallies and marches and make sure that my coworkers know about them before they happen so that they can join in if they’d like.

It is important to be involved and informed and I do everything I can to make sure my union brothers and sisters have all the information they need.

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