We are deeply saddened by the passing of our brother, retired DC 37 Executive Director Stanley Hill.
According to our union newspaper, Stanley’s union activism began in 1959, when he became a shop steward shortly after joining the city workforce as a Caseworker at what was then the Department of Welfare. He was working at the Harlem Center when Welfare employees went on strike for 28 days in the winter of 1965. The strike led the city to review its labor relations procedures and ultimately a law was passed to ensure real collective bargaining between the city and the unions.
In a 1987 interview on WCBS-TV Channel 2’s “Newsmaker” show, Stanley said: “I became a union activist because working conditions were bad. They were very bad, and I made an effort to improve them through my union. Our union has made tremendous strides to improve the condition of workers in the City of New York.”
In 1970, Stanley was elected president of SSEU Local 371 and he worked closely with then-Executive Director Victor Gotbaum, who picked him to be Associate Director of DC 37 in 1981. He succeeded Lillian Roberts, who had been named state labor commissioner under Gov. Hugh Carey.
Stanley succeeded Victor as Executive Director in 1987, and worked hard to improve the lives of tens of thousands of DC 37 members and to defend the public services our members provide.
Under Stanley’s leadership, the union endorsed then-Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins in his 1989 run for mayor. DC 37 members were key to his victory as the first African American mayor of New York City.
When Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to privatize Coney Island Hospital, Hill successfully pulled together a coalition to defeat the proposal.
He retired in 1998, after it was discovered that some other leaders had betrayed the members’ trust. Those were certainly the darkest days of the union.
In retirement, he found a new cause – solar renewable energy. He believed that it was good for the environment and would provide an economic boost to communities in need.
In recent years, it was a pleasure to see Stanley again at union events, flashing his great smile and spending time with members. He loved them and they loved him. Our condolences to his wife Ruby, their sons Stanley, Jr. and Brett, and their grandchildren Sean, Brandon, Jordan and Brett, Jr.