Articles by Mike Lee

Union Action: PEOPLE Power

April 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Our political system is dominated by corporations, lobbyists and wealthy individuals. As the 2016 election cycle wound down, five individual donors had spent more than $210 million on political contributions while labor, which represent nearly 15 million members, donated $132 million to super PACs and another $35 million on federal elections. Republican casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife alone contributed $52.9 million. The political strength of the labor movement depends a great deal on our “people power. Volunteers take part in the union’s get-out-to vote work, such as phone banking, attending rallies and going door-to-door to encourage members to vote. Across the country members help fortify our political strength by supporting the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ own political action fund — known as PEOPLE. John [More...]

Libraries Are What Unites Us

April 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DAN RATHER I love libraries. Always have and always will. They shaped my life from childhood onward. In my book What Unites Us, I dedicated a large section of the essay on books to libraries. And since tomorrow marks the beginning of #NationalLibraryWeek, I thought I would share an extended excerpt. I am grateful to all make libraries a continued part of our civic fabric. I recognize a quaintness in waxing nostalgic about libraries in an age when we have instantaneous access to more information than was contained in all the combined library collections of my youth. Still, libraries represent an aspirational notion of democracy. They were, and still are, civic institutions that welcome anyone who wishes to become a more informed and independent citizen. In books we can find expert and trustworthy scholarship on any subject imaginable. By reading books, we can continually challenge our [More...]

Slow Down Youth Inmate Transfers

April 8, 2018 // 0 Comments

An Oct.1 deadline for transferring 16- and 17-year-old offenders from Rikers Island looms. We have no problem with the transfer. But with the transfer only months away, we fear a debacle is in the making. The unrealistic October deadline imposed by the state should be extended to allow more time to prepare for the transfer. New York City unfairly stands alone with that deadline. The transfer of the youthful offenders is occurring as the city is preparing to close Rikers Island, something that human rights advocates have demanded for years. We need to be a part of the process as we are concerned about the safety of our members, primarily represented by Social Service Employees Union Local 371, and wish the change of the workplace is as smooth as possible. Furthermore, the union estimates that 500 additional workers will be needed for the new site. Understaffing is at the root of too [More...]

Labor Confronts a Post-Janus Future

April 7, 2018 // 3 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The anti-union case before the U.S. Supreme Court — Janus v. AFSCME — has led to a lot of soul searching about improving labor’s way of doing business in the future. A ruling in favor of the plaintiff Mark Janus would allow non-members to receive union services for free without paying dues. This would deliver a tremendous financial blow to public employee unions, undermining their ability to provide services and use their political power to protect the interests of working families. On March 19, DC 37 hosted a meeting of labor leaders, public officials and academics convened by Public Advocate Letitia James that examined the implications of Janus v. AFSCME, which the right-wing hopes will defund unions and ultimately politically destroy them. “Let’s look at our own institutions,” said Vincent Alvarez, president of the AFL-CIO’s New York City Central [More...]

The Path of Most Resistance

April 6, 2018 // 0 Comments

The union waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide our fate in anti-union Janus v. AFSCME case. We need not bother. Instead, it’s long past time to hit the road — and take action. Taking this path of most resistance is already showing a positive impact, both in regards to the big picture of winning hearts and minds of working people in the United States and also in concrete achievements. The pushback is growing more effective with each day. For example in West Virginia, a state which recently passed a “right-to-work” law, tens of thousands of teachers and school workers went out on strike for nine days. Not only did the West Virginia teachers win a raise and guarantees on their health insurance, they achieved much more: In a time when unions are under intense attack, the strikers defeated a raft of anti-union bills, including a Wisconsin-style “paycheck protection” bill [More...]

Union Fights to Break ICE From City Courts

April 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The union is standing up against Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents parking themselves in our city courthouses, intimidating immigrants seeking legal help. As part of a draconian Trump administration plan, ICE agents have been out in force implementing an enforcement policy supposedly intended to “target criminals.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, the ICE agents have created an atmosphere of anxiety and fear for New York’s undocumented immigrants, preventing many from appearing in court in a wide variety of cases. According to The New York Law Journal, in an article published in February, ICE agents arrested more than 130 undocumented immigrants at courthouses in New York, with nearly two-thirds of the arrests in the city‘s courthouses. Research by the Immigrant Project, which monitors the agency’s presence in New York court facilities, [More...]

DC 37 Members: Enjoy a Free Day at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

April 4, 2018 // 0 Comments

DC 37, members, bring your Member ID Card for a free admission between 9 and 10 a.m. only, on Sat., April 14 for you and your family. This early opening is only for members of DC 37 and their families. All are welcome to stay all day. Please RSVP to RSVP@cmom.org or call 212-721-1223 for more information. This event is best for children under age 10. Also, members of DC 37 will be able to purchase a CMOM Family Passes Package for only $50 (4 family passes) valued at $224. This is also only available during 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is located on 212 West 83rd Street. For more information about exhibits and programs, please visit their [More...]

NY State Attorney General Aims to Block Trump from Politicizing the 2020 Census

April 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s decision to include a question about citizenship status in the 2020 census. Union leaders and members, community and immigrant groups, the Oregon attorney general, U.S. Congressional members and other elected officials joined Schneiderman at a press conference hosted by DC 37 to denounce the inclusion of the question in the census. Schneiderman and other speakers described the Trump administration’s action as a political attack on blue states like New York and California, which have large number of immigrant residents. The U.S. Constitution requires the U.S. Census Bureau to determine “the whole number of persons in each state” every 10 years. The inclusion of the citizenship question would drive immigrants underground, leading to an undercount of [More...]

Local 1070 Nursery Workers Win Pay Hikes and Upgrades

April 2, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS In Family Court, a parent’s battle for justice requires relief by child support, custody, protection from domestic abuse, separation or even divorce. When children are at the center of these bitter family breakdowns, New York State provides child care in the courthouse. “Nursery Attendants have the unique responsibility as caregivers to show kindness and stability to kids whose families are in crisis and falling apart,” said Local 1070 President Fausto Sabatino. “This service is vital so that children are not traumatized further by the hostility that sometimes occurs in a courtroom.” In December, as part of the union’s ongoing fight for better pay, a dozen Local 1070 Nursery Attendants received title upgrades to level 10 from level 8 that come with salary increases, based on years of service. “Every day is different here. We see new children every day [More...]

Union Benefit Fund Takes on Big Pharma

March 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES As pharmaceutical companies continue their rampant hikes of drug prices and ignore the dangers of their products, DC 37 and other unions’ benefit funds, states, counties and cities are turning to the courts to level the field for our members and the public at large. In recent months, DC 37’s Health & Security Plan has filed 18 lawsuits against the generic drug industry for illegal practices and price gouging. The skyrocketing cost of these drugs flies in the face of the supposed purpose of generic companies, which is to offer less expensive alternatives to brand-name drugs. These lawsuits contend that generic manufacturers conspired to artificially inflate prices in violation of federal and state law. Taking Big Pharma to court over opioids The union is also part of a separate lawsuit filed in December that seeks damages from opioid manufacturers and [More...]