POLITICS

Local 372 Shop Stewards Get Fired Up at Training Conference

March 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO “Stay ready,” was the rallying cry at the weekend retreat for Local 372 shop stewards. The local’s president, Shaun D. Francois I, welcomed 154 shop stewards to the training sessions, which began on March 3 with a “State of the Local” address by Francois. Board of Education Employees Local 372 represents more than a dozen titles working in the public schools, including School Crossing Guards, Parent Coordinators, School Aides, Lunch Helpers. “As shop stewards, you play a critical role in our local,” said Francois in his opening remarks. He also expressed his concern with the new Republican administration in Washington and its anti-union views. “More than half of the states now are right-to-work states,” warned the local leader. States with right-to-work-laws pay lower wages, have higher rates of people not covered by health insurance and their [More...]

DC 37 Joins Campaign to Extend and Expand the State Millionaire’s Tax

March 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

DC 37 joined a broad coalition at the state capitol on Tuesday, March 7,  to rally in support of expanding the millionaire’s tax and closing a loophole that benefits the financial sector. These are two key measures that would raise billions of dollars in new revenue from the wealthiest New Yorkers. Hundreds of community, labor, and faith leaders, joined by policy experts, influential advocates, and dozens of state legislators, called for these measures to be added to the state budget. A new report from the hedge fund watchdog group Hedge Clippers revealed that closing the carried interest loophole would raise at least $3.5 billion in revenue annually. This loophole allows hedge fund and private equity firms to report fees as capital gains rather than ordinary income that is taxed at a higher rate. A bill to recapture this revenue as ordinary income has strong support in both [More...]

Resistance

March 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO We cannot sit on the sidelines. The stakes are too high. The attack against working people— bankrolled by people like the billionaire Koch brothers—is relentless. And they are closing in on us. Last year, we won a temporary reprieve when the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the Friedrichs case, which aimed to defund public employee unions by allowing workers to withhold dues payments despite receiving union services. The anti-union National Right Work Legal Defense Foundation is now behind several similar lawsuits making their way up the judicial pipeline to the Supreme Court. With the financial support of the foundation, government employees in three states — school workers in New York, teachers in Pennsylvania and medical center workers in California — simultaneously filed lawsuits in January that challenge the constitutionality of the right of unions to [More...]

Activists Flock to Organizing Summit

February 18, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By ALFREDO ALVARADO The increase in “right to work” legislation being passed around the country, the threats to immigrants and the upcoming constitutional convention vote in November were some of the urgent issues DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido addressed during his welcoming remarks at the union’s first organizing summit. “They say New York is not Wisconsin and it can’t happen here, but I’m not so sure,” said Garrido, referring to the union-busting legislation introduced in Wisconsin by Gov. Scott Walker. Garrido shared his comments at the Feb. 11 summit for union activists sponsored by the DC 37 Organizing Dept. Encouraged by Walker’s success in Wisconsin, anti-union activists around the country are working hard to introduce similar union-busting legislation in other states, Garrido said. “Wages in Wisconsin are down and raises are capped, thanks to [More...]

Local 1549 Activists Consider Political Agenda

February 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By JOE LOPEZ The troublesome political climate of our nation and the imminent threat to labor were the topics of conversation for the 260 activists, staff and politicians who gathered at Union Headquarters on Feb. 4 at the 16th Annual NYC Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549 Advocacy and Political Action Conference. Coordinated by Local 1549 2nd Vice President Ralph Palladino, the conference included guest speakers included Rev. Terrence Melvin, Secretary-Treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO and President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We have a lot of work to do and we are the right people in the right place at the right time to do it,” said a fired-up Rev. Melvin. Referring to Donald Trump as a “monster of a problem,” he said that it was now time to fight and make sure his stay in the White House is [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...]

Get Involved! DC 37 Sets Organizing Summit for Saturday, Feb. 11

February 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES District Council 37 will hold an organizing summit on Saturday. Feb. 11, to encourage members to become more involved in the union. The meeting is part of the “Leading the Way” initiative, a long-term plan to transform DC 37 from a service-oriented union into an organizing union. “We are making a lot of progress in our effort to draw new blood into the union,” said Barbara Terrelonge, director of the DC 37 Organizing Dept. “This will be a great opportunity for members who are not very familiar with the union to learn about the labor movement’s agenda. For our veteran activists, it’s a chance to renew their commitment.” The DC 37 Organizing Summit will take place in Room 1 at DC 37 Headquarters at 125 Barclay St. in Lower Manhattan. The summit will last from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. “We are facing a lot of [More...]

Local 372 Backs Mayor’s Plan to Hire 300 New School Crossing Guards and Supervisors

February 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO For three straight years New York City has seen a reduction in traffic fatalities, with 2016 being the safest-ever. Aiming to make sure accidents continue to drop, Mayor Bill de Blasio has included $400 million in the proposed 2018 budget for the Vision Zero traffic enforcement program. The funds will used to improve street designs, lighting and add 300 School Crossing Guards. De Blasio’s new budget will allow for the hiring of 100 School Crossing Guard supervisors and 200 additional part-time School Crossing Guards. With these additional positions, all schools will now have a School Crossing Guard. A mobile replacement squad will also be created to make sure schools are covered in the event a SCG is absent on a particular day. “Every school now will have a School Crossing Guard assigned to them, this is what we have been fighting for the last couple of [More...]

DC 37 Launches “100 Days of Resistance” Campaign

February 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) They are coming for us. Today, Republicans introduced national “right-to-work” legislation. Last night, Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. These are just the latest assaults against labor emanating from the White House during the new president’s first 100 days in office, and we anticipate these attacks to intensify. Trump pledged to roll out his agenda right away, and he is moving at a quick pace, catching the progressive community off-guard. Through executive orders, [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...]