By GREGORY N. HEIRES
The union reached an agreement with the city to improve training and the career advancement prospects of DC 37 members, particularly women and minorities.
The agreement, was finalized on Aug. 2, after a joint labor-management committee spent two years studying how to expand promotional opportunities for union members. The agreement is the result of the work of the Joint Recruitment and Promotion Study Committee, which was established under DC 37’s 2010-17 contract.
The agreement includes seed money of $150,000 for the DC 37 Education Dept. to dedicate to training. The funding will be used for a bachelor’s of nursing program for registered nurses, continuing education for social workers, and helping information technology workers upgrade their skills.
“In the next few years, the city expects that many of its employees will retire,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, commenting on the agreement. “We want to provide opportunities for a new generation of city workers to improve their credentials and advance their careers.”
The joint committee will continue to meet to carry out its agenda and to monitor progress. Specifically, the goals of the committee include:
● Establishing a new promotional process for employees in dead-end jobs. This “collateral promotion” process will help these workers by identifying existing titles and new ones to advance their careers.
● Review the impact of the “one-in-three” selection process, which job applicants have long felt encourages favoritism because it gives management the right to choose one out three workers on civil service promotional lists, and
● Expanding the number of managerial titles open to workers who take promotional exams.
“The report provides good guidelines to improve the promotional opportunities of members,” said Anthony Wells, president of Social Service Employees Union Local 371 and chair of the DC 37 Civil Service Committee, who serves on the joint committee. “But this is only the beginning. It’s going to be very challenging to deal with the one-in-three rule.”
Under the agreement, the city will set up a “Flash Mentorship Program.” This program will identify senior workers who will meet with less experienced workers for an hour to advise them how to advance their careers.
The committee pushed for a training program on civil service practices, medical and reinstatement rules and the Family Medical Leave Act. As a result, the city instituted mandatory training for managers that explains the city service testing and hiring process.
Many managers are unfamiliar with basic civil service rules and disciplinary and other personnel practices outlined in the citywide contract because the administration of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg paid scant attention to civil service and contractual rules.
In the future, the committee will examine how agency promotional lists can be merged with citywide promotional lists. This will open up the opportunity for city employees to get promotions by transferring to a new agency.
One of the committee’s tasks was to examine possible discrimination against minorities and women in the promotional exam process. The resulting study found no statistical evidence of discrimination. Nevertheless, the committee has made a priority of improving the promotional opportunities of women and minorities.
This blog post previously appeared in the December 2017 issue of Public Employee Press, the official publication of District Council 37.