By MIKE LEE
A great time was had by all at the union’s annual Italian Heritage celebration, held in Queens on Oct. 13. The event, honors the contributions of Italian-Americans to the labor movement and in building our nation.
“This is about celebrating the many accomplishments of Italians and Italian Americans from the past, present, and future. Our culture and traditions make an impact on all Americans, and we look forward to sharing some of those traditions with you today,” said Local 1455 President Michael DeMarco, chair of the Italian Heritage Committee.
It was an afternoon of music and dance, a needed break from the ongoing struggle the union has been engaging in against right-wing forces out to dismantle our hard-won rights and benefits.
In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last June in the Janus v. AFSCME case, the union has been on the front lines of the pushback against the anti-union threat, taking part in a battle that has galvanized millions of public workers across the nation. With the upcoming national mid-term elections and key state races coming up on Nov. 6, all hands are on the DC 37 deck to ensure that pro-union candidates are elected nationwide.
This was so noted in the speeches by DeMarco and DC 37 Executive Director Henry
Garrido. Garrido pointed out to the crowd that while the Janus case had an impact, and the assaults on labor continue, DC 37 has stood up to the onslaught.
“For those who are writing the obituary of the American labor movement after Janus, I have news for you. Not only are we coming out stronger, but this union is better than ever,” Garrido said.
“No Supreme Court case has ever given us anything that we have not fought for and have been able to sacrifice and be willing to die for. They are never going to take away what we have fought our entire lives for, so yes, I’m union, I’m proud, and union strong,” Garrido said.
The DC 37 Blog is an official online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 125,000 municipal workers in New York.