HEALTH AND SECURITY BENEFITS

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...]

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...]

DC 37 Welcomes Members In New Union-Represented Titles (Open House on Nov. 8)

October 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Recently, DC 37 and the city agreed that the union will represent more than 900 public workers serving in positions categorized as managerial and not covered by the New York City collective bargaining Law. If you are one of the 900 workers whose job was reclassified as a new administrative title represented by the union, please join DC 37 for an open house. A meeting will be held Thursday, Nov. 8 from 12 to 2 p.m. at the New York City Dept. of Small Business Services, on the 7th floor, 110 Williams St., in Lower Manhattan. You will learn about the benefit of being part of our union family and find out how DC 37 helps our members at the bargaining table and lobbying at City Hall and in Albany for adequate funding for public services for those most vulnerable in our communities. Find out how our union negotiates for decent wages, paid family leave, overtime, union [More...]

98 Percent Vote ‘Yes’ on Contract

August 15, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 members voted overwhelmingly for a contract that provides for a total wage increase of 7.42 percent and preserves their premium-free health-care coverage with no givebacks. Members voted 31,133 in favor and 743 against the contract, an approval rating of 97.6 percent. The mail-ballot vote was tabulated on Aug. 14 at the American Arbitration Association’s office in downtown Manhattan. “Our members have spoken loudly and clearly in favor of a new 44-month economic agreement, which provides for a total pay hike of 7.42 percent, substantial funding for benefits, a new paid family leave plan, and a continuation of premium-free health insurance until at least 2021,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “The 98 percent yes vote was a powerful display of union solidarity.” The contract includes a new paid family leave benefit, which a growing number [More...]

Statin coverage now compliant with Obamacare

June 22, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Low-dose generic statins will be provided for free by members’ health-care plans instead of the DC 37 prescription drug benefit. This change meets a requirement of the Affordable Health Care Act and goes into effect July 1. To fill statin prescriptions, members ages 40 to 75 need to present their health insurance card when filling statin prescriptions at their pharmacy. Under the ACA, low-dose statins are free. Members outside of the 40-75 years age group will continue to be covered by the DC 37 prescription drug benefit. The low-cost statins include atorvastatin (10 mg tablet), fluvastatin ER (20 mg); fluvastatin sodium (20 mg) and fluvastatin sodium (40 mg); lovastatin (20 mg), lovastatin (40 mg) and lovastatin (80 mg); pravastatin sodium (10 mg), pravastatin sodium (20 mg), pravastatin sodium (40 mg) and pravastatin sodium (80 mg); rosuvastatin calcium (5 mg) [More...]

Update Your Beneficiary Record

May 23, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Every so often, a widow stops by the DC 37 Health & Security Plan to obtain a inquiry about a benefit of a deceased member. The benefit could be thousands of dollars from her husband’s DC 37 Annuity Fund. Or a $10,000 death benefit. But when the widow asks about the benefit, she finds out she isn’t eligible. Why? Her husband failed to update his beneficiaries after his divorce, meaning the benefit will go to his previous wife. So, it’s a good idea to check to see if you need to update your DC 37 Health & Security Plan beneficiary form. When should you consider changing your beneficiary? Be certain to do it if there’s a significant change in your life, such as ● your beneficiary dies ● you get divorced and your former spouse changes her last name when she remarries ● your beneficiary moves from the address listed on the form ● you get divorced [More...]

The Mission of Public Service: People Over Profits

May 15, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Many DC 37 members joined the city’s workforce after spending years in the private sector. Those interviewed by the Public Employee Press say they are now happier with their work, because it comes with union representation, good benefits, and job security. Helping city residents instills a motivation absent in the private sector, where work was about helping their bosses make a profit. The members say their enthusiasm for the private sector wasn’t as great because they received fewer benefits and they could be fired at the whim of a boss. “It’s really nice to help the public — and the community as a whole,” said Dental Assistant Lisa Blackett. A dental hygienist and Local 768 shop steward, Blackett has worked at Harlem Hospital for nearly 10 years. “A lot of the people without insurance come here and are happy to find they can get affordable dental [More...]

Union Benefit Fund Takes on Big Pharma

March 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES As pharmaceutical companies continue their rampant hikes of drug prices and ignore the dangers of their products, DC 37 and other unions’ benefit funds, states, counties and cities are turning to the courts to level the field for our members and the public at large. In recent months, DC 37’s Health & Security Plan has filed 18 lawsuits against the generic drug industry for illegal practices and price gouging. The skyrocketing cost of these drugs flies in the face of the supposed purpose of generic companies, which is to offer less expensive alternatives to brand-name drugs. These lawsuits contend that generic manufacturers conspired to artificially inflate prices in violation of federal and state law. Taking Big Pharma to court over opioids The union is also part of a separate lawsuit filed in December that seeks damages from opioid manufacturers and [More...]