ABOUT DC 37

School Activists and Elected Officials Push for Extension of Mayoral Control over Schools

June 21, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Teachers and principals helping students cheat on standardized tests in 18 of 33 school districts and incompetent contractors who took two years to install just four windows at PS 55 in Queens were just two of the examples of the corruption and incompetence that plagued the Dept. of Education prior to the schools being put under mayoral control in 2002. Mayoral-control supporters fear the DOE could too easily return to those scandal ridden days if legislators in Albany don’t vote to extend mayoral control on this week. The current legislation giving the mayor control of city schools is set to expire on July 1. Legislators are locking horns over the issue of charter schools. State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan wants lift the cap on charters – a move opposed by de Blasio and other mayoral control supporters, including DC 37. “The future of our children is [More...]

DC 37 Members and Community Activists Demand More Support for Public Hospitals

June 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS At a series of NYC Health+Hospitals annual meetings in May and June, hundreds of union members and residents sent a powerful message: Do more to save public hospitals! Activists reminded NYC H+H of its mission: to provide quality health care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. As NYC H+H struggles to retain safe staffing levels, Leapfroggroup.com surveys show New York City’s public hospitals consistently provide better care than private hospitals. Employees said they work harder and longer with much less support, fewer supplies and dwindling staff due to attrition. “Working in constant crisis mode only leads to burnout,” said Nate Franco, a Local 768 member who spoke at Harlem Hospital’s packed forum on June 7. Dedicated NYC Health + Hospitals employees have staved off life-threatening outbreaks of Zika, Ebola, West Nile and Legionnaires disease, and [More...]

“Even Living in Less Than Ideal Circumstances, You Can Have a Healthy and Happy Baby”

June 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

Sandra Steiner, Nurse Home Visitor, Local 436 As a Nurse Home Visitor, there’s never a typical day on the job. I could be visiting a client at a homeless shelter, a foster home or Riker’s Island. People might think Riker’s is dangerous, but I actually feel safer there because they have lots of security. The clients we work with are first-time mothers. We begin providing supportive services when they are seven months pregnant until the baby is 2-years-old. I have a caseload of 15 clients that I visit twice a month. My clients live all over the city. We get referrals mostly from the Dept. of Homeless Services, the Prevention Assistance Temporary Housing program. There’s no typical client They can be as young as 12 and as old as 41. Sometimes they’re having twins or triplets. We make sure they follow up with their pre-natal appointments with their doctors. If they live in a [More...]

“I Look Forward to Helping Union Members on the Job”

June 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

Stacey Peyton, Records Access Officer, Local 1359 Do you remember that Verizon wireless commercial? The one where the guy would say “Can you hear me now?” And he would have millions of people behind him. That visual, all of the folks behind this one man asking if he can be heard, has always stuck out in my mind. To me, that perfectly represents what it is like being part of a labor union. It was 27 years ago that I started working at the NYS Homes and Community Renewal Office of Rent Administration. My coworkers and I process requests for access to public records about apartment buildings, rental histories, and anything else that may be necessary for people looking into where they live or may be considering moving to. This information is essential in many cases to help keep a safe, clean, and comfortable roof over the heads of New Yorkers. Together with a staff of 12 people who I [More...]

Facing Deportation, a DC 37 Member Wins a Reprieve

June 9, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A collective sigh of relief was heard earlier this week as Local 983’s Jose Molina won a reprieve from an immigration court judge. After requesting attorneys to file new briefs, the judge set a hearing date for late May 2018. “I am just so happy and relieved,” said Molina, who came to America as an infant and faces deportation to Panama for a crime he committed– and served time for– 20 years ago. For now the Associate Parks Service Worker remains stateside with his family and continues repairing and maintaining ball fields for the city’s Parks and Recreation Dept. Elected city leaders took a special interest in Molina’s case after reading about it in DC 37’s Public Employee Press. After the hearing, Jose, Jennifer and their 15-year-old daughter thanked the many supporters who packed the lower Manhattan courtroom, among them: Local 983 [More...]

Public Employee Pensions Divest From Private Prisons

June 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES New York City has become the first municipality in the nation whose public pension system has divested from private prisons. The divestment comes as President Donald Trump plans to use private prisons to warehouse immigrants facing deportation. Trump received $500,000 in campaign contributions the two largest for-profit prison companies in the industry, GEO Group and CoreCivic. “Divesting is simply the right thing to do — financially and morally,” said city Comptroller Scott Stringer when he announced the divestiture at a news conference today. The city’s five public employee pension systems voted to divest from the industry in mid-May. Since then, the Comptroller’s Office and the pension funds have sold $48 million in stocks and bonds of three private prisons companies, GEO Group, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corp. of American) and G4S. “For years, [More...]

Unions, City Meet Target for Savings; Health Care Coverage Still Premium-Free

June 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mission accomplished. The Municipal Labor Committee on May 18 approved the last of a series of coverage changes that will enable the city to save $3.4 billion in employee health care costs. The city and MLC — which represents city unions on health care matters — agreed to the four-year plan in 2015. The saving plan enabled DC 37 to maintain the premium-free health care coverage that members and retirees enjoy through Blue Cross Blue Shield/GHI-CBP and HIP/HMO. “There were doubts in some circles that the union and city could achieve this, but we succeeded,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “The plan preserves our premium-free coverage at least through fiscal year 2018.” Here are the changes: ● The co-pay for members enrolled in HIP/HMO who use Urgent Care centers will increase to $50 on July 1. Currently, the co-pay at the centers ranges [More...]

DC 37 Pushes Budget Agenda at City Council Hearing

June 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO As the deadline to approve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.6 billion proposed budget for 2018 draws closer, four leaders from District Council 37 appeared before the City Council’s Finance Committee to advocate for more funds to expand city services. John Hyslop, president of Queens Library Guild Local 1321, pressed for more funding to modernize the libraries’ dated computers and install additional electrical outlets so customers can recharge their electronic devices and use their laptops. “The public wants better services in their libraries and we want the resources to provide those services,” said Hyslop, at the committee’s hearing on May 25. The network of libraries continues to provide an array of services for New Yorkers from adult literacy classes to programs for children and senior citizens. Our branches are overflowing,” added Hyslop. United [More...]

Local 371 Expects Help for Workers from New Chief of Administration for Children’s Services

May 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By MIKE LEE The new commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services is ready to work with the union in helping the embattled agency, and he promised new money in the mayor’s executive budget for additional Child Protective Specialists, members of SSEU Local 371. These workers endure low pay and heavy caseloads, while doing some of the most dangerous jobs in New York City: investigating cases of child abuse and monitoring at-risk families. ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell took over the agency in March after the resignation of Gladys Carrion, who left in the wake of high-profile child deaths, most notably Zymere Perkins in September 2016. Hansell has a distinguished three- decade career in public service. Before being named by Mayor de Blasio to head ACS, Hansell worked for President Barack Obama at the Dept. of Health and Human Services and also served as chief of [More...]

Union Backs Legislation Requiring Automatic Sign Up for School Pension

May 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO City employees are usually enrolled automatically in the retirement system when they are hired. But that’s not true for many members of Board of Education Employees Local 372. New Local 372 members are required to sign up. But many members who work for the Dept. of Education neglect to enroll and therefore don’t receive pension benefits when they retire. District Council 37 and Local 372 announced their support of legislation, sponsored by New York state Sen. Diane Savino and Assembly member Nick Perry, that would automatically enroll members in the Board of Education Retirement System. “Under the current enrollment process, too many of our members at the Dept. of Education have missed out on the full pension benefits they are entitled to,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I applauded the Albany [More...]