By ALFREDO ALVARADO
The fight to keep pay loans out of New York, the financial crisis at the city’s public hospitals, the federal budget’s impact on New York City and the effect of a ruling by U.S. Supreme Court next year in the Janus v. AFSCME case were topics of discussion at DC 37’s 42nd Annual Legislative Conference.
“Even though pay day loans are banned here, it doesn’t mean they’re not trying to get back in,” said Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou, who represents Manhattan’s 65th District.
Niou was one of the speakers at the Oct. 28 conference at DC 37 headquarters. She acknowledged the work the union has done to protect union members against pay loans and pointed to New York State as a model for other states to follow in the fight to protect consumers.
“DC 37 has been on the front lines fighting to protect New Yorkers against predatory lending,” Niou said.
Sally Tyler, senior policy analyst from DC 37’s national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, spoke about the federal budget and its possible impact on the state. She highlighted how unions have fought aggressively to protect health care. “The good news is we still have the Affordable Care Act; it is law,” said Tyler. “We have fought back three times against its repeal We need to remember that.”
The keynote speaker was New York State Sen. Marisol Alcantara. She is the co-sponsor of the Union Membership Process bill that would require employers to process authorization card to deduct union dues from wages. The bill requires employers to notify the union within 30 days about new hires and allow a representative to meet with them.
A ruling against the union in Janus v. AFSCME case would restrict the ability of unions to collect due. Alcantara’s legislation would facilitate union membership.
“New York has the highest union density in the country and we want to make sure we keep it that way,” Alcantara said, describing the goal of the legislation.
“DC 37 endorses this bill,” said Wanda Williams, legislative director for the union’s Political Action and Legislation Dept. “This membership authorization process will provide members and unions with clarity, consistency and statewide uniformity in enrolling and renewing