Articles by gheires

Inmates at Riker’s Island Jail Say “Thanks!” to a Dedicated Library Worker

August 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Stacks of handwritten thank-you notes for the New York Public Library’s mobile library and literacy program at Riker’s Island underscore the value of the services Local 1930 member Louise Stamp provides to hundreds of incarcerated men awaiting trial. In their letters, the men at Riker’s express profound respect for Stamp, a Library Administrative Assistant in Correctional Services at the George R. Vierno Center on Riker’s Island and a vice president of Local 1930. “I would love to give thanks to a very blessed and brave woman for faithfully bringing books to men like me…locked up on Riker’s Island 24/7. Ms. Stamp you are forever loved and appreciated,” one detainee wrote. “Many take the time to complain, I thought it was necessary to give thanks to Ms. Stamp and the NYPL,” said another detainee, who even offered money to support the unique [More...]

Parks Worker Facing Deportation Released from Detention

August 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Jose Molina is back on the job restoring Bronx ball fields for the New York City Parks and Recreation Dept. after the Local 983 member was detained almost a month after reporting to Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza. Four years of liberty ended for no apparent reason, his lawyers said, after Molina dropped off his passport July 13 and told his deportation officer of his next court date in May 2018. He was moved to the Varick Street federal detention center for deportation. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido , Local 983 President Joe Puleo, City Council members Carlos Manchaca and Fernando Cabrera, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected officials and immigration advocates called for Molina’s immediate release. Molina was freed on Aug. 8. Molina, a dedicated Associate Parks Service Worker, is glad to clear another legal hurdle in his fight [More...]

Union Backs Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Tax the Wealthy to Fix the City’s Troubled Subway System

August 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO DC 37 members and activists joined Mayor Bill de Blasio at Brooklyn Borough Hall to show union support for a plan to generate more revenue to get the underfunded Metropolitan Transportation Authority back on track after a summer of constant subway delays and even several derailments that caused the system to be shut down. “It’s not just a subway crisis, it’s a human crisis and the status quo is not working,” said the mayor at his Monday morning press conference on Aug. 7 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The mayor called for Albany to pass legislation that would tax individuals with an income of $500,000 a year and married couples making $1 million a year. “We support the mayor’s plan for a fair fix,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “It’s time for everyone to step up to the plate. The irony is our 2,000 members who work as engineers and in [More...]

Hospital Worker Wins $2,550 in Retro Pay

July 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE WILLIAMS Serious illness almost cost Harlem Hospital Patient Care Associate Daniel Brewington his job. With help from his union, the Local 420 member is back at work — and receiving approximately $2,550 in retroactive longevity pay that a management snafu had denied him. After 22 years on the job, Brewington left Harlem Hospital on a medical leave that extended beyond one year. In accordance with NYC Health+Hospitals policy, the length of leave triggered termination of his employment. Brewington recovered and the hospital reinstated him in September 2015, after DC 37 attorneys brought his case before the NYC H+H Personnel Review Board (PERB). “The outcome of that hearing was favorable for Mr. Brewington and he got his job back, but NYC H+H managers failed to restore his longevity pay for years of service,” said union Council Rep Joel Viera Vera. So Viera Vera filed a [More...]

Participate in Storm Safety Program

July 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

New York City is at great risk for coastal storms starting Aug. 1 and New York City Emergency Management Dept. is looking for people interested in joining a storm safety program. StormStaff is a vital piece of the city’s Coastal Storm Sheltering operation that keeps New Yorkers safe during and after storms. StormStaff participants come from all backgounds, ranging from management to entry-level workers. They receive training online or in a classroom, and are first to be notified of citywide sheltering activations. As a StormStaff member, you have the opportunity to volunteer to work at the shelter nearest to your home or another location convenient to you. For information on compensation, please see the Shelter Worker Quick Guide issued by the New York City Emergency Management Dept., or check with your agency’s Coastal Storm Plan liaison. Make sure your supervisor approves your [More...]

Book Review: Beyond the $15 an Hour Movement and the Revival of Labor

July 24, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MOLLY CHARBONEAU How to build genuine trust among labor, faith and community partners to create a powerful movement is the universal message of Jonathan Rosenblum’s new book, “Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists and the Revival of the Labor Movement.” Rosenblum directed a groundbreaking Service Employees International Union campaign for a $15 minimum wage in the Seattle-Tacoma area — the first major initiative in the country to win this demand. Soon after, the Fight for $15 — which began when 100 fast-food workers walked off their jobs in New York City in 2012 — exploded nationwide. “But the campaign was about a lot more than just fair wages,” Rosenblum said. “It was, at its core, a struggle against the maldistribution of power in society.”This vision, echoing the earlier Occupy movement, attracted community and faith partners to the fight. In “Beyond [More...]

Ruling Upholds Members’ Right to Extra Compensation for Handling Medical Waste

July 18, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Seven hospital workers, members of Local 420, have received a total of $7,000 in back pay to settle a group grievance filed after Bellevue Hospital failed to pay them the contractual differential for handling medical waste. The seven Housekeeping Aides cleaned patients’ rooms and removed and disposed of bagged infectious materials known as red bag waste for more than a year. Management omitted paying them the annual differential for performing the hazardous duties. The members reached out to Grievance Rep Monique Jaysura, who filed a group grievance on their behalf. Management did not respond at Step 1, so the grievance went to Step 2. “Once we filed the grievance, management did not want the case to drag on so they paid the members before the union took the grievance to arbitration,” Jaysura said. Housekeeping Aide Doris Khodra said she is happy to receive [More...]

Staten Island Parks Worker Aids Storm Stella Victim

July 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The last snow storm of the winter, Stella, barreled down on a shuttered New York City March 15 and claimed the life of a Staten Island man who had been revived by a quick-acting Local 1505 member. The man later died at the hospital, the victim of an apparent heart attack. City Parks Worker Albert Torres was driving a Parks Dept. vehicle to plow a Dongan Hill playground when he saw an elderly woman frantically waving. “I was coming down a side street and she flagged me down,” said Torres, who had been on duty since 5 a.m. The woman pointed to her son who was lying face up on the ground. He was white like a ghost and unconscious, Torres said. Edward Wilkinson, 47, collapsed while shoveling his aged parents’ sidewalk. Trained in CPR, Torres went to help the man. “I checked his pulse and breathing there, was no response,” Torres said. “His mother was [More...]

Union Solidarity with Immigrant Workers

July 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LAURIE STALNAKER The AFL-CIO is training union leaders and officials how to help protect undocumented immigrants. This is needed because the workers our unions represent are threatened daily by the possibility of raids and deportations under President Trump’s agenda. Union leaders and members will be trained to learn their rights and organize coalitions with elected officials and community leaders. That may come as a surprise to some people. People saw unions as being hostile to undocumented immigrants. These immigrants would, in past times, be seen as a way to drive wages down and be used by employers as strike-breakers. Does the recent organized labor support of immigrants contradict history? It depends upon which history you are talking about. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, early labor movements consisted of skilled trade unions. These crafts were the original basis [More...]

Why Unions Matter for Everybody

July 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ELAINE BERNARD The decline in strength, density and influence of the labor movement must be a concern for all of us — whether we are union members or not. It has led to stagnating and declining wages and benefits of workers, undermining the entire community. So let’s look a little closer at what unions do, for members, for employers and for the entire community. When union workers talk about the benefit of their union, they think of a wide variety of rights, services and benefits that the union offers: job security, salary protection, paid vacation, the promotion of consistent and fair treatment; a voice in scheduling; recognition and a premium for overtime; a say in hiring and promotion; a united voice in dealing with the employer; an impartial process for resolving complaints; protection against unfair treatment; a role in setting and enforcing occupation health and safety [More...]