Schumer and L. 420’s Charles say:  FEMA pay H+H $860M for COVID NOW!               

July 28, 2021 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS In July, DC 37 leaders stood with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Congress member Ritchie Torres at Lincoln Hospital to demand $860 million in emergency reimbursements that FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, owes New York City Health + Hospitals. As New York City quickly became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Schumer and a delegation of New York officials led the campaign for FEMA to reimburse emergency medical expenses. ”This is an injustice that we are fighting to correct,” said Carmen Charles, President of Local 420. “It’s time FEMA cut the bureaucratic red tape and pay up! Our members, along with thousands of other first responders, have worked tirelessly since March 2020 to get New York through this COVID-19 pandemic. We need that money NOW!” “Listen to this, FEMA,” Schumer said. “H+H expanded [More...]

DOT Highway Repairers Help Staten Island Driver in Fatal Crash

July 16, 2021 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Two fast-acting DOT workers helped rescue a driver from a burning SUV in a fatal crash July 10, on the Staten Island Expressway. The Department of Transportation crew was making road repairs Saturday around 8:30 a.m. on the Brooklyn-bound highway leading to the Verrazano Bridge. “The SUV was traveling in the high-occupancy lane on the left when it hit the wall with such force that it crossed three lanes and stopped near the work zone where we were,” said Assistant City Highway Repairer Michael Sasso, a DOT employee since 2013. “It happened so fast. How no other cars were hit is a mystery.” Sasso and coworker Eusi Pickering, a Local 376 Highway Repairer, ran to the wreckage to find an unconscious driver slumped across the front seats of his Buick. Sasso said, “The OnStar operator called 911 as we worked to figure out what to do.” The SUV started to leak [More...]

Local 983 Enrolls 1K+ New Parks CSAs

July 16, 2021 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS   Local 983 is working around the clock to build union membership in a massive campaign to enroll 1,500 new City Seasonal Aides. The Parks Department hired the CSAs to clean up public parks across the five boroughs. “Our grievance reps are working 15-hour days in order to get these newest Parks employees to join the union,” said President Joe Puleo. Since June, the local has signed up about 1,000 members as part of their all-out effort. During the COVID-19 lock down, New York City residents are using neighborhood parks, beaches and boardwalks, urban forests and nature trails more than ever. These greenspaces are essential to the well-being of New Yorkers seeking reprieve from the confines of their apartments and homes. But in 2020 and throughout the pandemic, public parks quickly became overrun with trash and debris. DC 37 Executive Director Henry [More...]

Union Wins $10K+ for Four Local 768 Therapists

July 8, 2021 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A group grievance filed on behalf of Licensed Creative Arts Therapists in Local 768 was settled in May. The union recouped about $10,000 in total retroactive pay owed to four Bellevue Hospital therapists who were not paid RIPs, recurring incremental payments, from 2017 to 2019.   “The local filed the group grievance for these members to enforce the terms of the contract that provide RIPs after two years of service,” said Local 768 President Carmen de Leon.  The licensed therapists use art and music to help patients heal. Their skills are especially useful as patients and Bellevue Hospital staff cope with increased stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The therapists contacted the union when they realized the Payroll Department failed to add the RIPs to their biweekly paychecks in March 2017. Council Rep Joel Vera Viera filed the group grievance that [More...]


June 20, 2021 // 0 Comments

Raul Domenech, Local 1501 President  I am a Senior Attendant at the New York Aquarium, where I clean and maintain the grounds. As an essential worker, I come in contact with the public daily.  As a union leader, I want to set an example, so I decided to get the shot. I did my research. The information on the union website helped me make my decision. I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April. During the height of the pandemic, I was very concerned for my family and my coworkers.  There was so much misinformation circulating back then. We didn’t know much about the coronavirus. At first, there was a shortage of PPE. I remember I met the DC 37 Safety Director Deborah Williams a few times in a Bronx parking lot to get masks for my members. I know coworkers who got sick from COVID-19. They were out of work for six weeks, two months. Some still have long-term effects from COVID. I [More...]


June 15, 2021 // 0 Comments

Eddie Rodriguez, President, Local 1549  A friend of mine was very concerned about my health, so she made an appointment for me to get the COVID-19 vaccine. On Feb. 28, I got my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine and I took my second dose in March. I have hypertension and I am pre-diabetic. Due to these health concerns, I decided to get the vaccine. I did it because of my age and because I love my family. Now that I have my COVID-19 vaccine card, I carry it as proudly as I do my union card.  I had no reaction to the vaccine. I know people are afraid. We cannot control how our bodies will react to the vaccine, but the fact is that the coronavirus kills. Whatever reaction we have is certainly not as serious as the potential of being infected and becoming very sick and dying. If you love yourself and you love your family, you have to get the COVID vaccine. Don’t think because you’re [More...]

OCB Sides with Local 1505 in IPP Win

June 9, 2021 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS An impartial Board of Collective Bargaining determined that the City and the Parks Department Advocate’s Office violated the New York State collective bargaining law when it tried to dictate to Local 1505 and the union who could represent members. The Office of Collective Bargaining also shot down management’s attempt to modify the procedure for scheduling investigatory interviews. It dismissed two other charges. “I have had issues with the Advocate’s Office ever since I became president in 2008,” said Local 1505 President Dilcy Benn, who filed the improper practice petition in 2018. “President Benn came to the DC 37 Legal Department with clear evidence of mistreatment by the Parks Advocate’s Office. Put simply, Local 1505 members, facing disciplinary charges or pre-disciplinary investigations, were being subject to treatment different than other Parks [More...]

Parks Workers Help Homeless Sisters Get Safe Shelter

June 1, 2021 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Two Burmese sisters, who were homeless in New York City for over 12 years, are now in temporary housing thanks to the care and persistence of two Parks Department workers.  Parks Enforcement Officer Odelia Lee of Local 983 and Captain Cynthia Thompson of SSEU Local 371 worked together to successfully relocate the two sisters to a Lower East Side hotel at the end of March. But getting the two women to accept help and city services was a journey that spanned far beyond the eight miles separating the Upper West Side’s Verdi Square Park from the Lower East Side.   Lee and Thompson were assigned to assist and develop a rapport with these homeless sisters in February. They usually work in Queens parks but traveled to Manhattan for this special assignment. “It took a lot of patience and persistence over the two months. We visited them two or three times a week [More...]

COVID-19 Cases Expose Workers’ Comp Failures

May 7, 2021 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Calling for immediate policy changes to fix the broken New York State Workers’ Compensation system, a coalition of unions joined The New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) and attorney Robert E. Grey on April 27, to say the Workers Compensation system has failed some 250,000 workers who got sick from COVID-19 on the job. The group introduced policy changes and new state legislation (S. 1241 and S. 1721) that would make Workers’ Comp more accessible to workers sickened by coronavirus, regardless of language or immigration status. At the virtual press conference Sen. Jessica Ramos, Chair of the state Labor Committee, said the legislation is an “effort to get more workers just relief.” The report authored by Grey revealed that of the 250,000 workers with symptomatic COVID-19, less than 10 percent, or just 21,000 workers, applied for [More...]

Essential Workers #GetVaccinated

May 4, 2021 // 0 Comments

Laura Morand, Local 2627 President I got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Feb 12. I could have gotten it a month early as a Fire Department employee, but I was hesitant.  I developed a lack of trust in the medical system after I was misdiagnosed on March 25, 2020. That day I was rushed by ambulance to Franklin Hospital in Long Island. I had a 101 fever and difficulty breathing. I was weak, achy and dizzy. I was fast-tracked to see a doctor but he denied me a COVID test and did not check me out thoroughly despite my symptoms. He gave me two Tylenol and an asthma pump and sent me home. I believe that if I were a Caucasian woman, doctors would have tested me for everything including COVID-19. Instead, they put on a Band-Aid and sent me back to work. The way I was treated hurt me but I was too weak to do anything about it.  When I didn’t get any better, I called our executive director [More...]