LOCALS

EMS Locals Demand Action on Assaults on First Responders

March 22, 2019 // 0 Comments

As DC 37’s Emergency Medical Services unions continue to push City Hall to remedy the pay gap between their members and other first responders, union leaders are raising concerns about the growing number of assaults on the rank-and-file. According to NYC Fire Department statistics, the number of physical assaults on EMS workers increased by nearly 50 percent between 2015 and 2018. Testifying before a City Council hearing in February, Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay warned that official data could understate the scope of the problem. “Many of our members don’t report assaults because of a lack of action by the Fire Department, the Police Department, and the District Attorneys,” he said. “It builds on a tradition of inaction.” New Yorkers were shocked and saddened in March 2017 when EMT Yadira Arroyo was killed by an assailant in the Bronx. [More...]

A Generation Rises at Women’s Leadership Graduation

February 28, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS With a packed audience of family and mentors to cheer them on, the Woman’s Leadership Academy graduated a diverse group of 17 working women from a dozen locals, DC 37’s first class of future labor leaders, at a Feb. 23 ceremony celebrating the milestone event. “One hundred women in Congress, the Women’s marches, and now you graduates are poised for leadership– these are exciting times for women!” said Executive Director Henry Garrido. “Leadership means fighting for what you believe to be right. This union is leading the way fighting for better pay, for funding for libraries, for public hospitals and vital public services.” Garrido along with Education Fund Administrator Diallo Shabazz brought the AFSCME women’s leadership training to DC 37 in 2018. Chosen from dozens of applicants, the 17 WLA participants enrolled in an intensive six-month [More...]

Locals Lead Parks Urban Forestry Summit

February 27, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Two local presidents were among an international group of arborists and urban forestry experts at the Dept. of Parks and Recreation Forestry Summit, held in Queens in February. Mike Zeno, president of Local 1508 Uniformed Park Officers, and Ibn Mann, president of Local 1506 NYC Climbers and Pruners, coordinated the seminar that focused on tree care and maintenance. “There is more to forestry than cutting down trees,” said Zeno. “Our work includes planting, retaining natural resources, preventing soil erosion, caring for trees planted along city sidewalks, pruning and tree removal and more.” Most New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of a public park or urban forest. New York City Parks oversee MillionTreesNYC, a 10-year long-term sustainability plan to plant 1 million trees by 2017. The project was completed in 2015, two years ahead of schedule. The [More...]

Rise Up and Become a Union Activist

February 27, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Stand up, get involved and organize! Starting on March 12, the DC 37 Organizing Dept. begins a series of activist trainings at DC 37 Union Headquarters, in Room 2. These intensive two-part sessions will be held from March to June. These sessions will offer valuable tools and advice for participants to work in strengthening DC 37’s collective voice and to equip members with the necessary knowledge to move our union forward together. In the year ahead, the union faces many challenges, and it is critical for DC 37 members and retirees to become leaders at the workplace and in their communities. “These activist trainings are part of an effort to strengthen the union from the grassroots,” said Barbara Terrelonge, director of the DC 37 Organizing Dept. “With more active members, our union will be stronger, whether that involves our involvement in a contract fight, [More...]

Union Celebrates African American Heritage

February 13, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS This month’s ongoing celebration honoring African American pride and purpose continues to attract hundreds of DC 37 members and retirees to its 38th annual Black History Month events. In addition to local events at union headquarters tonight, next week  there will be events on Feb. 21 and 22. Black History Committee Chair Deborah Pitts, who is also DC 37’s Secretary, and Local 1113 will host Finale Night on Feb. 28. “This is the time of year we come together to celebrate African Americans as a people and share our heritage and culture,” said Pitts, the union’s Secretary and president of Local 1113. To kick off the union’s Black heritage month there was a ribbon-cutting opening ceremony Feb. 1 led by Pitts, Associate Director Oliver Gray and Treasurer Mah Misbah Uddin, who is also president of Local 1407. Afterwards, hundreds of SSEU Local 371 [More...]

Union Helps Homeless Member Start Over

February 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Morris Johnson lived in two rooms in a rambling old house he shared with longtime friends that he considered family. “We lived like close family. I paid my $550 rent every month,” said Johnson, a Local 420 Institutional Aide since 2005. The house where Johnson lived was in an East New York neighborhood bordered by elevated train lines, just down the hill from the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Brooklyn’s Evergreen Cemetery. It was Johnson’s home for more than a decade. Until it wasn’t. “I’m blindsided,” said Johnson, 65, who bikes to work each day at the Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene in Long Island City. “I came home to find the sheriff locked the house. The family– a mother and her three grown children — cut out,” Johnson said. In January the house was foreclosed, and seized by the bank. “They never said a word to me about their [More...]

The Union’s Tow Operators Tame City Traffic

February 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Standing with a dozen tow truck operators from Motor Vehicle Operators Local 983, Mayor de Blasio announced that the Police Department will dedicate tow trucks to remove vehicles illegally parked in or blocking bus lanes. For the first time the NYPD will assign at least one tow truck in each borough dedicated to clearing blocked traffic and bus lanes. “To comply with the mayor’s initiative, our members who are NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent 3s and tow operators will step up and ticket and remove vehicles from bus lanes and bus stops in all five boroughs,” said Local 983 Vice President Marvin Robbins. At the January announcement, the mayor explained that the primary goal of the tow operation is to improve transit times around the city. He projects towing illegally parked vehicles from bus lanes will speed transportation up by 25 percent, making it easier for [More...]

Local 1549 Conference: A Call to Action

January 31, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES About 200 shop stewards, activists and union leaders attended Local 1549’s annual conference on advocacy and political action on Jan. 26. Each year, the local holds the conference reviews its political and legislative priorities. Its purpose is to educate shop stewards and chapter chairs about key and critical issues, giving them background information to share with their coworkers. But beyond spelling out the local’s agenda, the conference serves as a call to action. Local leaders and panelists reinforce to conferees the importance of getting involved in politics and community issues—in addition to being the voice of the union in their workplaces. “We have to protect each other,” said Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez. Local 1549’s 2019 agenda includes: The 911 surcharge. Winning back jobs taken over by the state to the Human Resources [More...]

Local 372 Calls Upon Governor Cuomo to Sign Pension Bill

December 23, 2018 // 0 Comments

Leaders of Local 372 are calling for Gov. Cuomo’s signature on a bill that would automatically enroll about 17,000 part-time, temporary employees in the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) after they pass 90 days of employment. “This legislation would solve a widespread problem that hurts our most vulnerable workers – the loss of years’ worth of valuable retirement benefits that they were legally entitled to,” said Local 372 President Shaun Francois I. The way the system now operates, workers known as “optional employees” can opt-in to BERS, but unless they explicitly express their desire to do so, they are out of the system by default and accrue no benefits. And that’s been a source of financial pain for many of these employees, whose annual salaries average $25,500. “Many members mistakenly believe they are automatically enrolled in the pension system, and [More...]

A Local 768 Member’s Grievance Leads to Promotions and Higher Pay for Coworkers

December 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A victory for one advanced an entire unit of Local 768 members when NYC Health+Hospitals promoted nine Lincoln Hospital Social Workers to Level 2 and paid them over $20,000 collectively. The promotions and pay increases resulted from the settlement of an out-of-title grievance filed by a Social Worker Level 1 who stood up for a promotion and back pay. ‘I was feeling underappreciated and that I was not being taken seriously,” said Alyson Helfand, a Lincoln Hospital Social Worker Level 1 since 2015. “I explored my options for help with getting the appropriate compensation for the level for the responsibility I have in overseeing projects and carrying a very large caseload for two years.” Senior Council Rep Janine Thomas filed Helfand’s out-of-title grievance in March 2017. “A promotion is not up to the immediate supervisor,” Thomas explained. “If a [More...]