Agreement protects cultural workers pensions

September 1, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The union reached a tentative agreement that protects the pensions of DC 37 members working at cultural institutions and other workers who are employed at day-care centers. On Aug. 11, DC 37 concluded talks on the five-year agreement with the employers’ representatives, the Cultural Institutions Group and the Day Care Council of New York, after months of tough negotiations to find a way to preserve the Cultural Institutions Retirement System (CIRS). “The members of our bargaining committee made the hard choices and took the responsible actions needed to protect our hard-won benefits for current employees and to preserve our pension benefits into the future,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. The agreement will maintain the benefits of the 9,000 current employees, including 1,200 DC 37 members enrolled in the pension system. They will still be able [More...]

Annual Housing Fair–Own or Rent?

August 30, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Over 1,000 union members found the key to homeownership at DC 37’s annual housing fair July 30, where a dozen housing experts were on hand to share advice on the ABCs of affordable housing. “The turnout and success of this fair and of the Municipal Employees Housing Program is impressive,” said Robert Ajaye, DC 37 Housing Committee chair and president of Local 2627. “To date we have helped members obtain over $100 million in mortgages. Not one person has been foreclosed on, which speaks to the program’s success.” The program offers financial counseling to help members qualify for loans and grants to buy one-to four-family homes and apartments in New York City and surrounding counties. The daylong affordable housing fair is a one-stop shopping opportunity for union members looking to buy into the American Dream of homeownership. Members met realtors, [More...]

DC 37 Establishes a Workforce Development Program with Medgar Evers College

August 15, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO District Council 37 and Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn have agreed to collaborate and develop courses to help union members become better prepared to compete for job promotions and advance in their careers. With one-third of the municipal workforce expected to retire in a few years, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido wants to make sure that union members are ready to compete for the best jobs that city government has to offer. The new Leadership Preparedness Program, an initiative by the union and Medgar Evers College, aims to address the wave of retirements and the challenges it poses to the city, Garrido said. “Together we expect to create courses that will help develop a well-educated and capable municipal workforce,” Garrido. Garrido wanted to make the courses available to the thousands of union members who live and work and Brooklyn. The main campus of [More...]

Housing Program Makes DC 37 “The Best Union Ever!”

July 21, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS “I was tired of renting an apartment that only made the rich richer, while I kept getting poorer,” said School Coordinator Robert Cameron. The Local 372 member didn’t think he could ever afford to buy, though he read in the Public Employee Press stories about union members who did. “I would daydream that one day I’d own,” said the 30-year Dept. of Education veteran. “But I don’t make a $90,000 or $100,000 a year salary.” “At an MEHP seminar, I heard the director Ruth Pena say, ‘Ownership is possible. I am here to help,’ I knew she was talking to me,” Cameron said. “Ms. Pena walked me through the process step by step. The union’s broad range of services helped me in so many ways. They calculated what I could afford and helped me stick to a budget.” Cameron attended a union housing fair and met MEHP representatives, along with dozens of [More...]

Union Pensions Are Key to the Security of Working People

July 14, 2016 // 0 Comments

By RAYMOND SANTANDER There is perhaps no greater benefit provided to union members than retirement security, which comes in the form of a defined benefit pension. Members receive the defined benefit, a traditional pension based on their years of service that provides a guaranteed monthy payment, when they retire after many years of dedicated public service — often a hazardous and physically (and emotionally) taxing service. The pension ensures our members a dignified retirement, where the pensioner need not be a burden to the public or a family member. Our retirees pension benefits are modest: about $21,000 to $22,000 per year on average (higher for more recent retirees). With Social Security, many of our retirees have retirement income of about $33,000 per year. This is hardly lavish, given that many of our retirees live in New York City. Our members both contribute their hard-earned [More...]

Union Family Buys New Home Through DC 37’s Municipal Employees Housing Program

July 13, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Ray Cabezas, owns a detached two-story house in a quiet Staten Island neighborhood thanks to his union.  He learned that DC 37 offered a chance at home ownership through its Municipal Employees Housing Program while at a Local 376 general membership meeting. “I was looking for a house when I heard about the union’s affordable housing program,” Cabezas said. A new Assistant Highway Repairer, Cabezas tapped his pension to make his dream of home ownership a reality. With help from MEHP, Cabezas invested in his family’s future and purchased their first home. “I was paying over $1,200 a month for an apartment I had lived in for 25 years. Back then my rent was just $575 a month. Rents will always rise, so I felt it was time to buy,” said Cabezas. “We had a bidding war with eight other interested buyers, but because MEHP had our mortgage pre-approved, the [More...]

Local 372 Members Vote to Restore and Protect Benefits

July 1, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO After months of discussions between Local 372, District Council 37 and the city, an agreement was reached on a plan to supplement funding to the local’s depleted Severance Related Fund, restoring prescription drug, optical and dental coverage to the spouses and domestic partners of retired School Crossing Guards, Hourly School Lunch Workers, School Aides & Health Aides. No other part-time employees receive these benefits for their spouses and domestic partners. “We’ve been working since last year to create a way to restore and protect these significant benefits for the families of both current and future retirees,” said Local 372 President Shaun Francois I. The solution agreed upon and presented to the members for their approval was to shift 1.5 percent of their upcoming September wage hike to the fund. Local 372 announced on July 1 that the membership [More...]