Articles by gheires

Building Political Power

December 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO We played an important role in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election and the defeat of the constitutional convention ballot question, achievements that capped a busy year. Before sharing some of my concerns about our future challenges, I wish to discuss our political mobilization in some depth because in many ways it captures the spirit of change we want to inculcate at DC 37. We worked almost a year on “con con.” We began by providing you with background information on the proposal, which threatened our pensions and right to bargain collectively. In the summer, we shifted into high gear as volunteer activists from the organizing and the political action departments visited members and retirees in their homes to inform them about the ballot question. On Election Day, an army of activists also made home visits. The home visits mark a difference in how our union [More...]

Union Celebrates the Jewish Festival of Lights

December 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By MIKE LEE DC 37 celebrated the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, at a packed ceremony in union headquarters on Dec. 13. Led by Psychologists Local 1189 President Dr. Leonard Davidman, chair of the DC 37 Jewish Heritage Committee, along with other union leaders and activists, the annual event marked an occasion to celebrate defiant resistance, while acknowledging hopeful signs in an uncertain future. At the event, DC 37 Associate Director Oliver Gray spoke of the recent victory in the U.S. Senate special election in Alabama, stressing its importance in the upcoming struggles for labor. “The event this year is special because of what happened in Alabama. A lot of people got together and made the decision that the bad guys are not going to win,” Gray said. “This means that all of us working together can get the job done here,” Gray said. “The bad [More...]

School Crossing Guard Hospitalized After Car Hits Her in front of Brooklyn School

December 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO School Crossing Guard Ezznati Elkhayatia was injured on the job while looking out for school children and pedestrians crossing the street in front of PS 28 in Brooklyn. Elkhayatia, a member of Board of Education Employees Local 372, was helping a pregnant woman cross the street at her post on Ralph Avenue and Herkimer Street when she was hit by a car on Dec. 4. Elkhayatia was taken to Kings County Hospital where she was treated for a broken leg. She is expected to make a full recovery and return to work. “Our members face this danger every day in front of all the schools in this city as they attempt to protect our schoolchildren,” said Shaun D. Francois l, the local president. “She’s doing fine,” said Grace Spinks, who visited Elkhayatia in the hospital. Spinks is a School Crossing Guard at PS 236 on Avenue U and Mill Avenue in Brooklyn. She is also a shop [More...]

“I Hope Members Grasp a Fuller Picture of What a Union Does for Them and the Community.”

December 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

Patricia Peterson, retired Senior Police Administrative Aide, Local 1549 By DIANE S. WILLIAMS After 38 years with, the New York Police Department, I retired in February 2017. I was a Senior Police Administrative Aide in the 33rd precinct in Washington Heights since 1994 where I was responsible for crime analysis, reviewing complaints and classifying them as homicides, shootings, break-ins, noting any trends detectives and commanding officers should know about. A friend invited me to my first union meeting in 1988. I had questions I wanted answered, so I went. I became a Local 1549 shop steward and, later, a delegate. I shared information with my coworkers because not everyone can attend every union meeting. This year I was invited to become a Volunteer Member Organizer. It gives me purpose to visit worksites and talk to members about the importance of belonging to a union. I share my [More...]

Union Helps 40 Urban Park Rangers Prepare for Promotional Exam

December 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Forty Urban Park Rangers enrolled in a course offered through the union’s Education Fund to prepare for a promotional exam to become Associate Urban Park Rangers. The six-session course began in late November; the test is Dec. 12. “If UPRs pass with a score of 70 or higher, they can be promoted to Associate Urban Park Ranger and earn as much as $64,000 to start,” said Local 983 President Joe Puleo. AUPRs and UPRs are Peace Officers who educate park patrons and keep city parklands and beaches safe. The starting salaries for AUPRs pay almost $17,000 more than the $47,125 base salary UPRs earn annually, Puleo said. The rate of pay typically increase when the union finalizes its negotiations with the city for a new contract. Salaries also increase when recurring pay increases and other enhancements negotiated by the local union are adopted. Retired Local 983 [More...]

A Progressive Housing Plan

December 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that the city is on track to build and protect 200,000 affordable homes by 2022 — two years ahead of schedule — and is taking on a new goal of 300,000 affordable apartments by 2026. The city has secured 77,651 affordable homes, enough for more than 200,000 New Yorkers, since de Blasio took office, according to the mayor’s office. The city also boasts more housing for low-income New Yorkers than ever before, and more protections to keep New Yorkers in their homes. “We are building an engine that will keep families in safe, decent and affordable homes for decades to come,” the mayor said. “We will keep this a city for seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class.” All this is welcome news, indeed — and more evidence of the mayor’s focus on making the city livable for all of its residents. Back in January 2014, the mayor [More...]

Want to Get Back to Normal? Strong Unions are Key

December 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS Daily flirtations with nuclear war. Suspending freedom of the press. Fifty-nine people executed during a country music concert. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching openly in the streets. American citizens begging for their government’s help after a storm wiped their hopes and dreams off the map, only to then be threatened with revocation of that aid because Wall Street wants its money. Foreign powers sabotage our elections; our leaders sabotage our health care because of an ill-conceived campaign promise. Saying “This isn’t normal” has become clichéd, but finding solutions to get us back to normal isn’t yet commonplace. We don’t have to look too far to find those solutions. They are right beneath our feet. At their best, labor unions provide the stability that allows democracy to flourish. When working people organize, they can call out corruption and [More...]

Climate Activists Ready to Fight

December 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO With President Donald J. Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and his appointment of a climate skeptic to lead the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the battle to protect the environment has gotten more contentious. Those developments and the hurricanes that have swept across the Caribbean were some of the topics discussed at a forum sponsored by the DC 37 Climate Justice Committee. The committee chair, Local 1501 President Jeremy Sanders, Jon Foster, founder of the committee, and the union’s Political Action and Legislation Dept. organized a panel of activists for a lively discussion and a short film on Oct. 5 at union headquarters. Eddie Bautista, one of the panelists and executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, said unions have stepped up their support for the transition to renewable energy and highlighted [More...]

South Asian Labor Group Holds Its Annual Convention on Dec. 9

December 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The Alliance of South Asian American Labor will hold its 10th annual convention on Dec. 9. The theme for ASAAL’s convention is, “South Asians in America, We are Stronger Together!” The convention, which will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. at DC 37 headquarters at 125 Barclay St. in Manhattan, will have panels on the 2018 midterm elections, challenges facing the South Asian community and organizing the youth. Several guest will speak at the dinner. The invited guests include state senators, and members from the Assembly, U.S. Congress members and labor leaders from around the country. Honorees include Terrence Melvin, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and secretary-treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO, DC 37 President Eddie Rodriquez of Local 1549 and Local 375 member and DC 37 Executive Board member Ahmed Shakir, who is the national treasurer [More...]

EMS Workers Save Four New Yorkers Exposed to Deadly Gas

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Four New Yorkers were saved from deadly noxious fumes by two quick-thinking Emergency Medical Technicians. Local 2507 members Frantzi Honore and Zache Cox, who work out of FDNY Station 54 in Springfield Gardens, Queens, were responding to an emergency call in Jamaica at 192nd St. When they arrived at the home on Friday evening Nov. 24, they noticed the carbon monoxide detector in the home was registering deadly levels of gas. Carbon monoxide is undetectable by human senses and is referred to as “the silent killer.” Honore and Cox quickly evacuated four people from the Queens home. “A tragedy and potential disaster was avoided by the quick reactions of these two EMS Technicians,” said Oren Barzilay, president of Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics Local 2507. “All of our members receive great training from the Fire Dept. to help us in our job of protecting and [More...]