PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PRESS

Local 371 Expects Help for Workers from New Chief of Administration for Children’s Services

May 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By MIKE LEE The new commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services is ready to work with the union in helping the embattled agency, and he promised new money in the mayor’s executive budget for additional Child Protective Specialists, members of SSEU Local 371. These workers endure low pay and heavy caseloads, while doing some of the most dangerous jobs in New York City: investigating cases of child abuse and monitoring at-risk families. ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell took over the agency in March after the resignation of Gladys Carrion, who left in the wake of high-profile child deaths, most notably Zymere Perkins in September 2016. Hansell has a distinguished three- decade career in public service. Before being named by Mayor de Blasio to head ACS, Hansell worked for President Barack Obama at the Dept. of Health and Human Services and also served as chief of [More...]

Federal Safety Agency Blasts Brooklyn Public Library for Asbestos Exposure

May 23, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Justice has been served in a case of a Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild member exposed to asbestos at work. The incident occurred in November 2015, when the member — a custodian at the Eastern Parkway branch of the Brooklyn Library in Crown Heights — was cleaning up debris left by an outside contractor. The custodian was not informed the debris contained asbestos. As reported in the September 2016 issue of Public Employee Press, the union’s Safety and Health Dept. assisted the custodian. After an extensive inspection, the union filed a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), charging that management exposed workers to asbestos fibers and failed to test the employees for exposure and inform them of the hazardous situation at the library. The agency issued its report on May 10, 2016, finding the workers at the [More...]

Library for the Blind Clerical Workers Receive Promotions

May 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES After settling a grievance with New York Public Library, the clerical staff at the Library for the Blind received title upgrades and salary increases. The grievance contended the DC 37 members were working out-of-title since their job responsibilities includes different and more tasks than that of their counterparts at neighborhood branch libraries. The library, New York Public Library Guild Local 1930 and District Council 37 signed the settlement in January. This agreement assigns the six covered clerical workers at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library — the formal name of the Library for the Blind — to collections processing titles, which better reflects their work. “The staff at the Library of the Blind do a lot of behind the scenes work in addition to their traditional clerical duties,” said Louise M. Stamp, Local 1930’s vice president [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...]

We Will Fight! Iowa Labor Leader Talks About the Attack on Public Workers

May 9, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE “You are the backbone of this union. You gotta get off your ass,” said Iowa District Council 61’s President Danny Homan, in a blunt warning to activists that they must pick up the fightback against the anti-union attack on public workers nationwide. “Struggle is not time-limited, but it is the road to resolution and victory,” said Local SSEU Local 371 President Anthony Wells, when he introduced Homan. Homan, an international vice president of DC 37’s national union and for five decades an activist and leader, delivered this stern warning before an audience of SSEU Local 371 delegates, alternates and activists at the local’s Delegate Assembly meeting at DC 37 headquarters on April 19. In an emotional, impassioned speech, Homan spoke bluntly about the brutal, draconian changes made to the long-standing collective bargaining agreement with public workers in Iowa. [More...]

When ICE Comes Knocking

May 9, 2017 // 0 Comments

Local 983’s Jose Molina turned his life around, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement may deport the family man for a 20-year-old conviction. By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Loud pounding at 5:30 a.m. on a cold January morning in 2013 jolted Jose Molina and his family from their sleep. Molina’s wife, Jennifer, opened the door of their Bronx apartment. In the hallway stood five armed men. Within minutes, they were knocking over furniture and spilling out dresser drawers. The commotion frightened the Molina children, then ages 11 and 9, who began to cry as the strangers confined them to their bedrooms, out of the reassuring reach of their parents. The men surrounded Jose and Jennifer in their living room. She begged for an explanation. Then the men, officers of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), handcuffed Jose and led him away as his crying family watched. Since that cold, [More...]

Taxes and Inequality

April 24, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Thousands of demonstrators across the United States on April 15 — Tax Day — called for President Donald Trump to release his taxes. The protest was a reminder of the country’s unfair tax system and glaring inequality. And it was the opening act of resistance to what stands to become the next big political battle: tax reform. Having failed to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act with the Republicans’ health-care plan — which in itself would have deepened inequality — Trump aims to implement the greatest tax overhaul since President Ronald Reagan’s changes to the tax code in 1986. This is very troublesome, because the policies coming out of the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress have favored the rich and powerful — and the Trump administration’s tax “reform” plan continues in that vein. Trump’s federal budget proposal [More...]

Member Confronts Racism in Online Media

April 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Veteran news reporter Anita M. Samuels’ new book, “Rants & Retorts,” examines often anonymous— and always vitriolic— racist online comments posted on internet news stories. “I became a journalist because I wanted to write positive stories about African Americans,” said Samuels, a member of Civil Technical Guild Local 375 who works as an administrative coordinator at Borough of Manhattan Community College. After the historic election of Barack Obama in 2008, many were quick to say America transitioned to a post-racial society. But in “Rants & Retorts: How Bigots Got A Monopoly on Commenting About News Online,” Samuels exposes an ugly truth: Racism is festering on social media. Reading disturbing online comments on several news stories the New York Daily News had published in 2008, an upset Samuels complained to her editor. The comments [More...]

Member’s Estate Awarded $20,000 for Back Pay

March 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The DC 37 General Counsel’s Office obtained a consent award that granted posthumously $20,000 in back pay to a Local 1597 Custodial Assistant, who was wrongfully terminated from Brooklyn College. Management alleged that Hope McNeill failed to follow the college’s procedures for approved medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and fired her. Ms. McNeil died before her case went to arbitration. McNeil had worked for Brooklyn College for about three years when an illness left her unable to work. But when McNeill was ready to return to her job at the college in April 2015, she learned she was terminated. Management fired McNeill in a letter that accused her of abandoning her job and alleged that her medical leave had not been approved. Blue Collar Council Rep Norlita De Taza filed a grievance to appeal McNeill’s termination. It was denied at [More...]

Deceased Member’s Estate Awarded $20,000 in Back Pay

March 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The DC 37 General Counsel’s Office obtained a consent award that granted $20,000 in back pay to the estate of a Local 1597 Custodial Assistant, who was wrongfully terminated from Brooklyn College. Management alleged that Hope McNeill failed to follow the college’s procedures for approved medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and fired her. Ms. McNeil died before her case went to arbitration. McNeil had worked for Brooklyn College for about three years when an illness left her unable to work. But when McNeill was ready to return to her job at the college in April 2015, she learned she was terminated. Management fired McNeill in a letter that accused her of abandoning her job and alleged that her medical leave had not been approved. Blue Collar Council Rep Norlita De Taza filed a grievance to appeal McNeill’s termination. It was denied at [More...]