PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PRESS

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...]

Training Health-Care Workers in Patient and Worker Safety

March 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Members of locals 420 and 768 work hard in providing quality care at NYC Health+Hospitals facilities. Some of the tasks involved in making patients’ lives better under their care may seem mundane to outsiders, but their work makes a huge difference in patient care. It can also injure health-care workers providing these services. DC 37 members assist in daily routines to make hospital patients’ lives better, such as moving them from their beds to a chair, or helping patients in physical therapy. While these day-to-day routines for our city hospital workers is a normal practice in health-care settings, workers face risk of bodily injury. Many of these injuries are caused by repeated pressure on the back or knees — both can lead to chronic pain and long-term physical damage. Also, there is a risk of patient injury if staff cannot prevent a fall. Work injuries can end a [More...]

No To a Constitutional Convention

February 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

On the November 2017 ballot, New York voters will be asked to decide whether to call a convention to rewrite the New York State Constitution. The constitution mandates that this question be put to a vote every 20 years.  If the measure passes, the state must then schedule another vote in 2018 to choose delegates for the convention. This convention would open in Albany on April 2, 2019, and proposed changes to the state Constitution would likely be put before the voters in November 2019. If this sounds like a long and cumbersome process, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This is also a wasteful process that would give big business interests and anti-worker interests the opportunity to attack public services and the retirement security of the men and women who provide them. A convention would cost taxpayers more than $300 million. That is a ridiculous price to pay to give special [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...]

DC37 Endorses Mayor Bill de Blasio for Re-Election

January 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE An enthusiastic crowd gathered at union headquarters on Jan. 26 to support New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for a second term. Lauding the mayor, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, “Mayor de Blasio has achieved major accomplishments benefiting the city’s working men and women.” Garrido praised de Blasio for implementing pre-K, promoting meaningful solutions to the affordable housing crisis and wrapping up virtually all of the outstanding contracts of the unionized municipal workforce. “His commitment to reducing economic inequality in our city deserves our continued support,” Garrido said. “We shall engage and mobilize our sizable membership to see to his re-election this November.” In January, it took only one day for the union and the city to negotiate an extension of the 2010-17 economic agreement, a testament to the de Blasio administration’s [More...]

Activists Send Trump a Message at Women’s March on Washington

January 25, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Answering a groundswell call to action, DC 37 activists joined hundreds of thousands of pink-hatted protesters at the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. The march was the largest ever in the United States, drawing over 500,000 people in Washington and 3.3 million around the country. Hundreds of thousands gathered in Manhattan and in 500 cities from Boston to Honolulu, and on all seven continents. “This historic Women’s March advances human rights for all and dignity and equality for women, minorities and immigrants,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “We are vigilant and we are watching Trump and his cabinet to ensure that our freedoms, rights and protections are not eroded or violated.” Women came from across the nation to the capital and sister rallies were held in Paris, France, [More...]

Trump: A Wake-Up Call for Unions

December 25, 2016 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO The election of Donald J. Trump as president distresses us because we fear his policies will allow the decades-long nationwide attack on working people to continue. District Council 37 and its national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, worked tirelessly for Hillary Clinton because we were convinced that she was the candidate who would best support the interests of our members. We were shocked and deeply saddened by her loss on Nov. 8. But rather than allowing her defeat to leave us licking our wounds and turning us into outliers in the political process, we view this setback as a wake-up call. Trump’s election is an indication of our need to step up our own effort to make DC 37 a more dynamic and powerful union. DC 37’s history is to never quit. The disturbing rightward shift in the country shows how important it is to stick [More...]

Union Rallies to Support Universal Free School Lunch

December 17, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Union activists added another 8,000 post cards for Mayor Bill de Blasio to receive during the holiday season. But instead of a Christmas greeting, their message called for free universal lunch for all of the city’s public school students. Executive Vice President Donald Nesbit of Local 372, which represents cafeteria workers, delivered more than a dozen bags of post cards to City Hall on Dec. 15. The post cards were signed by people who want to see public schools offer free lunch to all students regardless of their ability to pay. The mayor supported universal free lunch during his campaign; now activists want him to offer free lunch as he promised. Nesbit was joined by City Council members Mathieu Eugene and Margaret Chin and activists from Lunch 4 Learning, a coalition that has been working with DC 37 and many other groups, to make free and healthy meals [More...]

Building Labor’s Fortress

October 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

While union membership declined nationwide in the last 15 years, New York City has seen a growth of organized workers that is already showing a positive impact on city and state politics. This resurgence of city unions is discussed in the annual report, “State of the Unions: 2016,” published by the Murphy Institute at the City University of New York. In their research, the authors of the annual report, Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, found that the organized workforce in New York City has increased significantly, from 21.5 percent to 25.5 percent since 2012. The authors attribute the growth to the recovery of construction and hospitality industries that took a direct hit in the economic crisis 0f 2008. But there are also several other factors that have bolstered union power in the city. A major contribution has been the Fight for $15 movement, which DC 37 has been a part of since [More...]

Unions Benefit All Workers

October 6, 2016 // 0 Comments

Discussions about wage stagnation typically focus on the impact of globalization, labor-saving technology and the drop in the minimum wage. Unions are usually left out of the picture. This is odd, because the decline of unions has a lot to do with the wage stagnation of private-sector workers over the past 35 years. It follows that an improvement of working families must be accompanied by a resurgence of the labor movement. During the post-World War II era, wages of American workers increased steadily as union membership grew. But over the last three-and-a-half decades, non-union workers in the private sector have seen their pay stagnate as the private-sector workforce represented by unions has dwindled. Today, only 7 percent of private-sector workers enjoy union representation, down from about a third in the 1950s. With private-sector unions on life support, the power elite is now [More...]