PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PRESS

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...]

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...]