POLITICS

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...]

DC 37 and Community Allies Fight Trump’s Public Housing Budget Cuts

April 21, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO If the Trump administration has its way and slashes $6 billion from the budget of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, members like Mary Baez and La’Nette Murphy will have to continue to wait as the backlog of repairs at their New York City Housing Authority apartments gets thicker. More than half of the funds to maintain NYCHA apartments–the largest housing authority in the country–comes from HUD. The proposed budget cut would also terminate the Community Development Block Grant program. The grants help fund programs like Meals on Wheels, which delivers healthy meals to the homebound and elderly. Baez is one of the more than 15,000 DC 37 members who live in apartments managed by NYCHA. The Local 768 member has lived at the Alfred E. Smith Houses in the Lower East Side for 40 years and remembers the good old days. Back then, same day repair [More...]

Public Housing Advocates to Protest Trump Budget Cuts on April 20

April 18, 2017 // 0 Comments

Council member Ritchie Torres denounced Donald J. Trump’s budget cuts to the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which would devastate the New York City Housing Authority. Torres was joined by U.S. Congress member Jerrold Nadler (left). By ALFREDO ALVARADO DC 37 is part of a coalition that is mobilizing against President Donald J. Trump’s plan to cut $6 billion from the federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s budget. The #NoCut  coalition will hold a rally at noon on Thursday, April 20, in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. Under the Trump cuts, HUD’s budget would shrink by 14 percent to $40.5 billion in fiscal year 2018, down from $46.9 billion in fiscal year 2017. Fifty-six percent of the New York City Housing Authority’s revenue comes from HUD. If the cuts go through, residents of NYCHA’s 238 developments could see their rents increased, and they will likely [More...]

New York is the Most Unionized State, By Far

April 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

By JOSEPH SPECTOR New York’s union ranks dropped by nearly 5 percent between 2015 and 2016, but the state remained the nation’s leader in unionized workers. The drop of about 96,000 union workers in New York erased a 58,000 increase in union employees made between 2014 and 2015, according to recently released records by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, New York’s unionized workforce has remained fairly steady over the past decade — giving the state by far the largest percentage of union members of any state and bucking national declines in union membership. Union members accounted for over 23 percent of wage and salaried workers in New York in 2016. Nationwide, the average was almost 11 percent. So overall, New York had 1.9 million union members last year, second only to California with 2.6 million. “We take great pride in continuing to lead the country in union [More...]

Join the Climate Change March in Washington on April 29

April 13, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO President Donald Trump wasted no time trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and prevent Muslims from entering the country. Those plans stalled when they came up against massive opposition. The Trump administration has been equally aggressive attacking regulations and laws that protect the environment. Trump’s new head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, doesn’t even believe human-caused climate change is a fact. He has said there’s “tremendous disagreement” about the impact people have on the environment. According to The Atlantic magazine: “This is wrong… Pruitt’s claim runs so counter to the findings of the international scientific community, to the conclusions of the U.S. government, and even to the marketing materials of the oil-and-gas industry that it is difficult to label it anything but a falsehood.” So it’s [More...]

A Health Plan Implodes

April 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO It was nice to see the Republican health-care plan implode in late March. Here are just some of the ways the GOP plan would have affected New York and the country: ●New York state would have been hit with a $3.7 billion hole in its health-care budget. ● Deep Medicaid cuts to New York City would have devastated NYC Health+Hospitals. Some 200,000 residents who rely on the public health care system would have lost their health care. The loss of federal funds would have stuck NYC H+H with millions of dollars in annual deficits. ● Some 10 million people nationwide benefited from the Medicare expansion under the ACA. They would have lost their coverage. The Medicare expansion was funded by taxes on the wealthy. The elimination of those taxes would have given the power elite a windfall of $350 billion over 10 years. All told, under the GOP plan the wealthy would have [More...]

Congress Prepares to Attack Unions

April 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

Amidst the never-ending hot winds of Trump-era controversies and scandals, U.S. Reps. Steve King and Joe Wilson in February introduced the National Right to Work Act before the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill, H.R. 785, promises, “To preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.” Nothing could be further from the truth. If enacted, this law will destroy the rights of workers to organize throughout the nation, turning the United States into Wisconsin, which under the leadership of Koch Brothers puppet Gov. Scott Walker, destroyed the collective bargaining rights of tens of thousands of workers in the state. This bill is a dagger to the heart of labor. The law introduces poison into the New Deal-era National Labor Relations Act and Railway Labor Act — laws that were passed to [More...]

An Era of Scorn for Our Government Workforce

March 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS Back in 1932, a group of Wisconsin state employees banded together to defend their rights as civil servants, pushing back against a corrupt spoils system that would reward friends of politicians with important public-service jobs that demanded nonpartisan professionalism. That was the beginning of the formation of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. I am proud to serve as president of AFSCME, where we represent 1.6 million men and women — everyone from bus drivers to sanitation workers to emergency medical technicians — who never quit working to serve and strengthen their communities. Over the decades, even as our union has grown, we have had to contend with adversaries trying not just to hold down our members’ pay and benefits but who fundamentally denigrate and disrespect their work. That reflexive scapegoating of public [More...]

Coalition Demands New York’s Wealthiest Pay Their Fair Share

March 29, 2017 // 0 Comments

At a time when the state faces potential deep cuts in federal funding to vital services by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress, DC 37 joined a coalition of progressive groups in support of extending and expanding the millionaires tax on New York’s richest 1 percent. Seventeen groups issued the statement on March 29, calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to push the state legislature to approve the measure during the last-minute negotiations on the state budget, which by law is due by April 1: “Governor Cuomo is right that the Trump budget and a renewed effort to repeal the ACA would be a disaster for New York’s families, our communities and our state budget. But the Governor is wrong to suggest that our state can’t respond — and he’s wrong to suggest that working and middle class families should cover the cost of huge [More...]

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...]