BENEFITS

Local 1501 Member Wins $9K & Promotion After Illegal WCS Job Recall

March 23, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A Wildlife Conservation Society Local 1501 member won an immediate promotion and $9,000 in back pay after an impartial arbitration panel ruled that WCS violated the collective bargaining agreement’s layoff and recall procedures. After working for six years as a WCS Supervising Maintainer, in February 2017 management told Rucauldeau Renondeau they had made a clerical error and demoted him to Maintainer and cut his pay retroactively. They also demanded he repay 28 sick days. “The pay cut was so damaging it jeopardized my finances and my health — everything,” Renondeau said. “It messed up my whole life.” “It was a shocking blow for management to unilaterally decide to reduce this member’s salary and title and recoup back wages,” said then-Vice President Marcy Wartell-Brown. White Collar Council Rep Norlita De Taza filed an out-of-title grievance to [More...]

Meet Your New Safety and Health Director

February 21, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Veronica Foley, a skilled leader with years of experience as a principal program coordinator for the union’s Safety and Health Dept. was recently promoted to director of the department, replacing Guille Mejia, who retired at the end of last year. Foley, who is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo, also has a master’s degree in international affairs from The New School. Prior to coming to DC 37, she worked several years as a consultant for several non-governmental organizations. “Protecting the safety and health of our members is paramount,” Foley said. “This responsibility affords us the opportunity to create sustainable models of support for each other and the labor movement as a whole.” Foley plans to integrate communication with other divisions and departments within DC 37 to better assess safety and health conditions for the union’s 125,000 members. “I’m working [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...]

Take an Opportunity to Return to School

January 29, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Interested in going back to school? At a series of one-on-one meetings at the union—“CUNY Days at DC 37”—you will have an opportunity to discuss how you can complete your degree and take advantage of other educational options. The District Council 37 Education Fund is working with the Murphy Institute (the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies) in a new collaboration to help members return to school and advance in their career. This program will help you: Learn about the academic requirements for specific jobs; Choose a CUNY campus and major; Apply to and finance college; Become informed about continuing education and certification options; Long term career development; Find out about the fastest-growing industries in New York City; …and more. Over three months, the program is going to hold free 30-minute individual sessions for members to discuss their [More...]

Head of Legal Services Retires

January 25, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Family, friends, coworkers and judges on Jan. 18 gathered to bid farewell to Joan Beranbaum, the director and chief counsel of the DC 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services Plan, who is leaving the union after 39 years with the program. Beranbaum was among the first group of employees to join the legal services program when it opened in 1977. Beranbaum learned about the job opening while she was working at the Legal Aid Society, where she was hired right after she graduated from New York University Law. MELS attracted her because it was a pioneering service for union workers. At her retirement party, Beranbaum noted that over the course of her nearly four-decade career at DC 37, MELS handled the cases of half a million DC 37 members and retirees. Speakers praised Beranbaum for devoting her career to working people rather than the rich and powerful. She remained [More...]

Concerned About Your Personal Finances? Attend a Free ‘Financial Empowerment’ Course at DC37

January 12, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Are your credit card applications being denied? Are you having difficulty being approved for a mortgage? Are you being turned down for affordable housing even though you meet the income requirement? We are here to help. DC 37 is holding a personal finance course to offer members guidance on their finances so they will have excellent credit scores to qualify for lottery housing, credit and home purchases. About 70 people from the union and the community attended the first class, which was held on Jan. 9. Director of Community Outreach Paul Rodriguez encourages anyone interested in attending the remaining classes to register for the course. The second class will be on Wednesday, Jan. 16, in Rooms 2 and 3 at DC 37 headquarters at 125 Barclay St. in Lower Manhattan. The class will help you understand your credit and debt profile, the basics of borrowing, and how to [More...]

City Launches New Paid Family Leave Benefit

January 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

Today, the new paid family leave benefit is open for application in most agencies. The benefit–which the union won through negotiations for the 2017-21 economic agreement–is now available to nearly 100,000 DC 37 members who are covered by the contract and work at mayoral agencies, NYC Health+Hospitals, the New York City Housing Authority and the Dept. of Education. There are a number of ways to apply for the benefit. But you should start by asking your human relations office which process applies to you. The union worked with worked with human resources, payroll agencies, and the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services to open up the paid family-leave benefit.  In upcoming weeks, the union will work with management to address any confusion and concerns that arise. During the contract negotiations last year, DC 37 and the city agreed to arrange for coverage through the [More...]

Pension System to Adopt New Investment Strategy as Fossil Fuel Divestment Moves Ahead

December 21, 2018 // 0 Comments

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on Thursday, Dec. 20, announced the next big step in the New York City pension funds’ action to address the risk posed by climate change by divesting from fossil fuel reserve owners – an unprecedented process and the first-of-its-kind in the United States. A request for proposal (RFP) released today seeks advisers to analyze, evaluate, and recommend prudent fossil fuel divestment strategies for the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), and the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS). Together, the three pension systems representing 70 percent of the total assets of the city’s $200 billion pension funds. The RFP will result in a comprehensive analysis of the city pension funds’ holdings and the risks the fossil fuel industry poses to pension assets. This [More...]

Union Will Hold a Tax Workshop in January

December 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

Are you looking for help with your taxes? The union’s Municipal Employees Legal Services will host a tax workshop in January. The workshop will be held at DC 37 union headquarters, Thursday, Jan. 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in Rooms, 2, 3 and 4. This workshop will focus on changes resulting from the Trump tax law, which was approved in 2017. The topics covered by the workshop include: Earned Income Credit Child Tax Credit Education Credit Affordable Care Act Requirements Standard and Itemized Deductions and Elimination of Exemptions. For more information, call MELS at 212-815-1111. The DC 37 Blog is an official online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 121,000 municipal employees in New York City and surrounding [More...]

Welcome to DC 37

November 26, 2018 // 0 Comments

At Meetings Around the City, Public Service Workers Are Signing Up With the Union By GREGORY N, HEIRES DC 37 continues to sign up new members under our Leading the Way campaign to promote the benefits of union membership and encourage rank-and-file participation. Last month, DC 37 held five meetings with mid-level city employees whose misclassified job titles had kept them out of the union during the Bloomberg administration but are now eligible to join or re-join. A sixth meeting was also held in November for City University of New York employees, who recently won a new contract. Union Offers Job Security Many workers who signed union membership cards at the meetings indicated that job security was their top reason for joining. Monifa Thomas, a 20-year city employee who is now a senior project manager at the Administration for Children’s Services, described job security as “an [More...]