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 coalition, we are battling a massive reduction of federal funding for the New York City Housing Authority.
• As part of a people’s climate movement, DC 37 members recently participated in a march to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and hosted a forum on environmental justice at union headquarters.
• DC 37 is a member of the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State. Several weeks ago, we helped distributed 40,000 books in Brooklyn.
• We’re even part of an alliance opposing the relocation of a post office in Harlem.
Our community allies include New Yorkers Against Corruption, which helped defeat the constitutional convention; Harlem Mothers SAVE, a group founded by Local 299 President Jackie Rowe-Adams that supports parents who have lost children to gun violence; and a coalition supporting the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Member support is crucial to building and strengthening our relationships in New York neighborhoods. To participate, contact the DC 37 Office of Community Partnerships at 212-815-1502.
Unions and communities is the subject of a recent report by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), DC 37’s national union.
This blog post appeared previously as an editorial in the December issue of Public Employee Press, the official publication of District Council 37.