CONTRACTS

Unions, City Meet Target for Savings; Health Care Coverage Still Premium-Free

June 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mission accomplished. The Municipal Labor Committee on May 18 approved the last of a series of coverage changes that will enable the city to save $3.4 billion in employee health care costs. The city and MLC — which represents city unions on health care matters — agreed to the four-year plan in 2015. The saving plan enabled DC 37 to maintain the premium-free health care coverage that members and retirees enjoy through Blue Cross Blue Shield/GHI-CBP and HIP/HMO. “There were doubts in some circles that the union and city could achieve this, but we succeeded,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “The plan preserves our premium-free coverage at least through fiscal year 2018.” Here are the changes: ● The co-pay for members enrolled in HIP/HMO who use Urgent Care centers will increase to $50 on July 1. Currently, the co-pay at the centers ranges [More...]

Take the Survey on Upcoming Contract Negotiations

May 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

 Our 2010-17 economic agreement — which covers 98,000 members — expires in September. The union is gearing up for negotiations and wants to hear your top concerns and the steps you are willing to take to win a new contract. During May and early June, DC 37 will conduct an online survey on the contract. The results will help the union prepare its demands and learn best how best to represent you at the bargaining table. During May and early June, DC 37 will conduct an online survey on the contract. The results will help the union prepare its demands and learn best how best to represent you at the bargaining table. Week of May 15: DC 37 will send out an email with a link to the bargaining survey to those who have provided an email address to DC 37. Members who receive the email will have a two-week window, or until May 26, to take the survey. Please complete the survey as soon as soon [More...]

Fighting Big Pharma

May 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Administrators of the union’s welfare plan are mounting a new legal offensive to keep the rising costs of generic drugs in check. If successful, the court cases would help “correct widespread corrupt practices in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Audrey Browne, associate administrator and counsel of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan, which oversees the union’s drug benefit for over three hundred thousand members, retirees and their dependents. The first lawsuit, scheduled to be heard in Philadelphia federal court, accuses generic drug manufacturers of conspiring to increase the price of a popular generic drug called propranolol, which is used to treat hypertension and prevent heart attacks. The suit seeks a rollback in prices and damages. Two other price rigging cases have also been filed in federal courts in New York and New Jersey against the generic [More...]

Members Overwhelmingly Pass Contract Extension

March 13, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Members overwhelmingly approved a contract extension that will allow millions of dollars to be poured into the union welfare plan’s financially-troubled prescription drug plan. An independent monitor, the American Arbitration Association, announced the results of the mail-ballot vote on March 10. Members approved the extension by a vote of 94 percent, with 22,526 in favor and 1,196 opposed. “The passage of the contract extension is a very significant step toward protecting the plan from being devastated by the relentless pressure of rising drug prices,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. This extension will earmark $24 million to the DC 37 Health & Security Plan, which provides the popular drug benefit. Under an agreement between the city and the union, the city will permanently raises its annual contribution to the DC 37 Health & [More...]

New clerical unit contract addresses inequality among workers

March 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The new contract for the DC 37 clerical unit addresses inequities within the group by making all titles eligible for recurring increment payments, (RIP) which are pay increases added to members’ base salary. Until now, about two-thirds of the 12,000 covered workers received the increase. “In this round of bargaining, the committee agreed to use the additional compensation fund to deal with inequality within our own group,” said Fausto Sabatino, president of Court, County and Dept. of Probation Employees Local 1070. “We were happy to work out an agreement that reflects one of the most important principals of unionism: fairness,” he said. The RIP schedule is a mini-step-pay plan that rewards workers for their years of dedicated service, and it encourages them to stick with their careers. RIP payments begin after an employee completes six years of service and [More...]

Vote “Yes” to Protect Your Drug Benefit

February 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mail ballots went out today  to more than 90,000 members for a vote on a contract extension to protect the union’s popular prescription drug plan, which has been rocked in recent years by the pharmaceutical industry’s pursuit of excessive profits. The contract extension, which the union and city agreed to in January, will enable the DC 37 Health & Security Plan to continue to provide stable benefits to members and retirees. During the past eight years, the pharmaceutical industry has raised prescription drug prices by 105 percent. Today, prescription drugs consume 76 percent of the costs of the welfare fund, which also covers the dental benefit and other benefits managed by the plan. The DC 37 Health & Security Plan faces a $55 million deficit. The contract extension is one of a number of critical steps the union is taking to protect the drug [More...]

Union Members Set a Record for Handling 311 Calls in 2016

February 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

By JOSEPH LOPEZ New Yorkers in need of vital information contacted 311 nearly 36 million times in 2016, setting a new record for the service’s handling of calls. Call Center Representatives–members of NYC Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549–played an important role in providing this service. Thanks to DC 37’s recent agreement with the city to move away from using private contractors at 311, the jobs of the workers are no longer threatened, and they continue to provide the best quality experience possible. “The job is fast-paced and changes with the climate of the city,” said Brunetta Tanner, chair of the Local 1549 chapter that represents 311 operators. “I’ve been doing this for 13 years, so I know the system well and often know the answers to questions before the person even finishes asking it,” she said. New Yorkers call 311 about everything from how [More...]

DC 37 Approves Tentative Contract Extension to Help Stabilize Financially-Squeezed Drug Benefit

January 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 and the city agreed to a contract extension that allows the union to pour millions of dollars into its financially pinched prescription drug benefit. The agreement, reached Jan. 12, calls for extending the union’s 2010-17 contract by two months and 23 days. Savings achieved through the extension will significantly help the union address the budget gap at the DC 37 Health & Security Plan, which provides the drug and other benefits. The agreement will help reduce the shortfall by requiring the city to permanently increase its annual welfare fund contribution to the DC 37 Health & Security Plan by $200 for each full-time worker and retiree. That will generate $24 million in new funding for the plan. Under union rules, the agreement must be sent to DC 37’s 100,000 members covered by the current contract for a vote. Mail ballots will be sent out [More...]

A Review of 2016 (Part 1): Building a Dynamic Union

January 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES In 2016, DC 37 advanced its mission to become a more dynamic and grassroots-oriented union.Despite the anti-union era in the country, DC 37 made significant strides by recruiting new activists while strengthening its workplace presence, deepening ties to the community and developing more political clout. “The transformation of our union will take a long time,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “But so far, we have made a lot of progress, and next year we will continue down this path. We are talking about a change in culture at DC 37.” Union activists and elected leaders had a busy year in 2016. Workers at the City University of New York participated in fight-back campaign to win a new contract. Members helped block Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to cut $300 million in state support for the city’s public health-care system and nearly $500 million [More...]

Laborers Overwhelmingly Approve New Contract

December 21, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Members of Laborers Local 924 voted 261 to 9 in favor a new contract that provides a 5.34 percent pay rate increase and restores benefits taken away by the city after it carried out a 2012 court order for substantial hourly rate increases. The settlement ends a 15-year period in which Laborers worked without a contract. The independent American Arbitration Associated announced the results of the mail-ballot vote on Dec. 19. “The members have spoken with 96 percent of the voters backing the contract,” said Local 924 President Kyle Simmons. “We’re very happy with the outcome. Our members agreed with local leaders, who advised our people that the contract is a good deal.”. The vote marks the end of a 15-year struggle. The prolonged on again, off again contract bargaining was rooted in a disagreement over the comptroller’s finding in 2002 [More...]