Remembering Dr. King

April 4, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS On the 52nd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination April 4, 1968, we reflect on his life’s legacy: the peaceful pursuit of liberty, justice, equality for all, and service to others. Dr. King would have been 91 this year had he lived, but his life was cut short in 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tennessee. At the invitation of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, DC 37’s national union), Dr. King traveled to support Black sanitation workers who were striking for fair wages, safe working conditions, and the right to belong to a union. AFSCME pressed Dr. King to speak to Black Local 1733 members who daily bore humiliations and earned poverty wages. The last speech he ever gave, in which he famously declared that he had “been to the mountaintop,” was delivered at the Mason Temple in Memphis. Dr. King [More...]

Local 372 on the Frontlines of COVID-19 Feeding Kids and Seniors 

April 3, 2020 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS  One group of unsung heroes stepping up to help vulnerable New Yorkers during the global pandemic of coronavirus are Board of Education Employees Local 372 members. “We are seeing 15 or more of our members working in poorly ventilated kitchens to feed kids. DOE has not provided protective equipment for them. I am outraged!” Shaun D. Francois I, said in a phone interview. Last week he delivered 3,000 safety masks donated by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to school kitchen workers, cooks, and Loaders and Handlers, who are preparing nutritious Grab and Go hot meals for thousands of school children and teenagers. The meals are distributed at 400 public schools, down from 650 schools, in underserved communities in the five boroughs, Francois explained. The City has expanded the food services program to also to feed seniors at dozens of Parks Dept. [More...]

As Museums Close, Local 1503 Members Stand Guard

April 2, 2020 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS William Vance is a Special Patrolmen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He works the day shift, where normally the museum is bustling with thousands of visitors touring and dozens of delivery trucks are coming and going at New York’s 150-year-old, iconic institution. “It’s strange to walk the halls of a vastly empty museum,” said the Local 1503 member. Since the mid-March state-imposed shutdown of public spaces in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vance said, “I don’t see people.” MMA houses rare collections of artifacts from ancient empires of Africa and Europe —  Ghana, Mali, Egypt, Rome and Greece, rare photographs and films of New York and more. Vance patrols the museum and maintains crowd control. As a Peace Officer, he can arrest unruly visitors, though it is a rare occurence, he said. Vance guards an MMA [More...]

PSU Can Help You Cope with COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety

April 1, 2020 // 0 Comments

The DC 37 Health and Security Plan is here to help members cope with the stress and anxiety of COVID-19.  Many people feel Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in the face of the uncertainty of COVID-19. If these feelings are overwhelming you, the Personal Service Unit (PSU) can help. The following are common symptoms to look out for: Emotional: Anxiety, Depression, Sadness, Loss, Isolation, Mood Swings, Worry Physical: Disrupted Sleep or Appetite, Chest Palpitations, Upset Stomach, Headaches Behavioral: Outbursts, Short-Tempered Communication, Difficulty Making Decisions HOW CAN A DC 37 PERSONAL SERVICE UNIT (PSU) SOCIAL WORKER HELP? We offer a safe place to discuss and process feelings through confidential individual counseling sessions. We are offering teletherapy during COVID-19. Assist our members challenge negative thoughts and develop a more optimistic outlook.  Teach mindfulness [More...]

Ed Fund Now Providing Online Classes

March 31, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Education Fund office is closed, however we continue working to offer members their benefits. We are still accepting applications to our Spring 2020 cycle. Any changes, cancelations, and postponements within our programing will be sent to applicants. Tuition Reimbursement: Due to current events, the Tuition Refund Department will not be able to process applications until we return to our offices. However, we encourage members to continue mailing their completed applications and/or their additional documents to: DC 37 Education Fund Tuition Refund at either one of our office addresses (75 Broad Street, Suite 2204, NY, NY 10004 or 55 Water Street, NY, NY 10004). Online classes are now being offered to provide the members’ educational benefit. The following programs have officially changed to an online setting: Basic Mandarin at Queens College English As A Second Language- English [More...]

NY Housing Updates: Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium, COVID-19 Discrimination, NYCHA & Section 8 Rent Hardships

March 30, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS) is operational and ready to serve you. Our offices at 55 Water Street are closed but we are working remotely. Call us with your housing questions and for legal representation at 212-815-1111. During the public health emergency caused by COVID-19:  There will be no evictions or foreclosures through June 18, 2020.  Your landlord cannot start a lawsuit against you for non-payment of rent. However, the landlord may send you a rent demand notice asking you to pay your rent and threatening a lawsuit if you fail to make payment.  Your landlord cannot start a “holdover” lawsuit against you for grounds other than non-payment. However, the landlord may send you a termination notice or a notice to quit threatening to commence a court case if you don’t move out by a date certain. Your landlord cannot evict you or ask you to leave your apartment [More...]

NYBG Orchid Show’s Virtual Tour

March 27, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS  While most of the city is shuttered because of COVID-19, DC 37 members in Quasi Public Employees Local 374 are hard at work behind the scenes  maintaining cultural jewels like the New York Botanical Gardens. They are the maintainers, the guards, the gardeners, and other workers responsible for keeping exhibits like the annual Orchid Show alive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual visitors can view the relaxing tour’s extravaganza of colorful and exotic florals and verdant tropical greenery. And seeing some of nature’s beauty may ease the stress of staying indoors during the COVID-19 crisis. Watch with your kiddos and see how many types of orchids you can name and describe. DC 37 keeps New York City running. We will get through this [More...]

DC 37 Services Update: Also Important COVID-19 Information

March 25, 2020 // 0 Comments

DC 37 SERVICES: ALSO IMPORTANT COVID-19 INFORMATION DC 37 at 55 Water Street in Lower Manhattan is closed. However, your union continues to service members remotely. All DC 37 members can still reach union representatives—council reps, DC 37 staff and grievance reps — by email and mobile phone. Please check www.dc37.net for additional phone numbers for departments and staff.  In response to calls from many members, DC 37 has available on its website answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19. The DC 37 Education Fund at 75 Broad Street, and the West 45th Street locations are also temporarily closed.  The DC Retirees Association office is closed and all March and April meetings are canceled. Please visit their new website for updates on COVID-19 and for alternate contact information and updates on DC 37 Health and Benefit services at: dc37retireesassociation.org. We [More...]

The 109th Triangle Fire Remembrance Renews Focus on Worker Protections

March 25, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Today marks the 109th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, a catastrophe that claimed the lives of 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women. That avoidable tragedy led to workplace safety standards and fire safety laws as public outcry brought a renewed sense of urgency to the labor movement. As union members on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we memorialize the Triangle fire by fighting to protect the health and safety of workers, especially now as the City classifies many as essential workers. That list is fluid and changes daily. Alongside FDNY paramedics and healthcare workers is a growing number of job titles DC 37 represents in dozens of city and state agencies. As the harsh realities of this latest global pandemic make clear, we are in this together. Our healthcare workers and first responders are caring for the sick and most [More...]

Union Legal Services Are Available

March 24, 2020 // 0 Comments

By BILL WHALEN, Director and Chief Counsel, DC 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services The lawyers, legal assistants and clerical workers at MELS are continuing to serve members remotely. Our Screening Unit can be reached at 212-815-1111 and can connect you with an attorney.  New York courts are operating on an emergency basis. They are only handling emergency applications. These include: Applications to stop garnishments and unfreeze bank accounts that are the result of a judgment in consumer debt cases; Applications to get back into your apartment if you have been locked out by the landlord or evicted by a City Marshal; Applications to correct serious housing code violations and reductions in essential services; Emergency family offense petitions; Temporary orders of protection; Orders to show cause in Family Court proceedings. Federal Bankruptcy courts also are operating on an [More...]