POLITICS

A Progressive Housing Plan

December 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that the city is on track to build and protect 200,000 affordable homes by 2022 — two years ahead of schedule — and is taking on a new goal of 300,000 affordable apartments by 2026. The city has secured 77,651 affordable homes, enough for more than 200,000 New Yorkers, since de Blasio took office, according to the mayor’s office. The city also boasts more housing for low-income New Yorkers than ever before, and more protections to keep New Yorkers in their homes. “We are building an engine that will keep families in safe, decent and affordable homes for decades to come,” the mayor said. “We will keep this a city for seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class.” All this is welcome news, indeed — and more evidence of the mayor’s focus on making the city livable for all of its residents. Back in January 2014, the mayor [More...]

Want to Get Back to Normal? Strong Unions are Key

December 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS Daily flirtations with nuclear war. Suspending freedom of the press. Fifty-nine people executed during a country music concert. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching openly in the streets. American citizens begging for their government’s help after a storm wiped their hopes and dreams off the map, only to then be threatened with revocation of that aid because Wall Street wants its money. Foreign powers sabotage our elections; our leaders sabotage our health care because of an ill-conceived campaign promise. Saying “This isn’t normal” has become clichéd, but finding solutions to get us back to normal isn’t yet commonplace. We don’t have to look too far to find those solutions. They are right beneath our feet. At their best, labor unions provide the stability that allows democracy to flourish. When working people organize, they can call out corruption and [More...]

Climate Activists Ready to Fight

December 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO With President Donald J. Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and his appointment of a climate skeptic to lead the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the battle to protect the environment has gotten more contentious. Those developments and the hurricanes that have swept across the Caribbean were some of the topics discussed at a forum sponsored by the DC 37 Climate Justice Committee. The committee chair, Local 1501 President Jeremy Sanders, Jon Foster, founder of the committee, and the union’s Political Action and Legislation Dept. organized a panel of activists for a lively discussion and a short film on Oct. 5 at union headquarters. Eddie Bautista, one of the panelists and executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, said unions have stepped up their support for the transition to renewable energy and highlighted [More...]

South Asian Labor Group Holds Its Annual Convention on Dec. 9

December 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The Alliance of South Asian American Labor will hold its 10th annual convention on Dec. 9. The theme for ASAAL’s convention is, “South Asians in America, We are Stronger Together!” The convention, which will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. at DC 37 headquarters at 125 Barclay St. in Manhattan, will have panels on the 2018 midterm elections, challenges facing the South Asian community and organizing the youth. Several guest will speak at the dinner. The invited guests include state senators, and members from the Assembly, U.S. Congress members and labor leaders from around the country. Honorees include Terrence Melvin, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and secretary-treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO, DC 37 President Eddie Rodriquez of Local 1549 and Local 375 member and DC 37 Executive Board member Ahmed Shakir, who is the national treasurer [More...]

Union Fights State Workers’ Compensation Changes

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The union is taking part in an all-out effort to fight proposed changes to the workers’ compensation system in New York — changes that affect all workers injured on the job. The NYS Workers Compensation Board has proposed medical treatment guidelines and regulations that would eliminate monetary awards for dozens of arm and leg injuries, while also denying workers the right to have an independent medical examination. The change would also deny benefits and care to workers injured on the job who fail to answer all the questions posed by an employer’s medical examiner. Workers’ compensation, which has been on the books in New York for a century, is threatened by right-wing business interests, such as the Business Council, that pressured the state Workers’ Compensation Board to issue proposed changes to longstanding regulations earlier this year. The board’s action [More...]

Why We Must All Fight for the Dream Act

December 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ROBERT B. REICH By repealing DACA — Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals — Trump has endangered these young immigrants and the economic security of America. In 2012, the Obama administration created DACA as a temporary way to address the needs of young people who came to America as infants or toddlers, and know no other country. To apply and qualify for DACA, these young people had to risk entering the system by giving their identifying information. Once approved, they were granted two years of “deferred action” on deportation, with the promise that they could reapply every two years indefinitely. This allowed “dreamers” to go to college, get a job, and pay taxes without fear of deportation. DACA was never perfect, but for 800,000 immigrant youth it meant freedom from fear and an opportunity to fully contribute to the country they were raised in. But now these young [More...]

Leading the Way: The Transformation of a Union

November 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The union has embarked upon an ambitious, multi-year program to improve services, amplify the voice of members, expand organizing, engage activists, and reach out to the communities where our members live. With this effort, the union seeks to lead the way for the city’s labor movement, even as unions around the country are being targeted by deep-pocketed, right-wing, anti-government groups. These groups and their corporate and political allies have devoted decades to silencing the voices of working families. So far, their work has been successful: In the 1970s, nearly 35 percent of workers belonged to unions. That number has since plummeted to 10.4 percent this year. After decades of attacks, unions now only represent 6.4 percent of private-sector workers.Today, the network is turning its sights on public employees and their unions. A new model of unionism “We [More...]

DC 37 Activists Help Re-elect de Blasio and Defeat the Constitutional Convention

November 9, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO DC 37 helped Mayor Bill de Blasio win another four-year term with his landslide victory over his Republican opponent. “We should all feel elated,” said District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido about de Blasio’s victory. Voters throughout the state also soundly rejected a ballot proposal to hold a constitutional convention. “Union members across the state sent a strong message on Election Day,” Garrido said. “This is a tremendous victory for organized labor in New York and for all working people,” said Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO. DC 37 was among the more than 150 community organizations and labor unions that joined the New Yorkers Against Corruption coalition to spread the word and get the vote out against a constitutional convention, which was the first proposal on the election ballot. Beginning in the summer, [More...]

A Union Mission to Puerto Rico

November 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Putting aside the Trump administration’s lackluster response to the devastation from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, we all should be proud of the dedication of the government workers who are providing crucial humanitarian aid on the island. Thousands of federal, state and local public employees from around the country have volunteered for the disaster relief effort. Six members of DC 37 — a nurse and five construction workers—were among 320 union workers who left New York City on Oct. 4 on a flight to Puerto Rico in a humanitarian mission sponsored by the AFL-CIO. The workers on the United Airlines union-made Boeing 777-300ER flight included doctors, nurses, electricians, carpenters, masons, engineers and truck drivers. The city’s outpouring of support for Puerto Rico reflects our special ties with the 3.5 million people on the island. The 723,621 Puerto Ricans [More...]

Legislative Conference Explores Critical Issues Facing the Union

November 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO The fight to keep pay loans out of New York, the financial crisis at the city’s public hospitals, the federal budget’s impact on New York City and the effect of a ruling by U.S. Supreme Court next year in the Janus v. AFSCME case were topics of discussion at DC 37’s 42nd Annual Legislative Conference. “Even though pay day loans are banned here, it doesn’t mean they’re not trying to get back in,” said Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou, who represents Manhattan’s 65th District. Niou was one of the speakers at the Oct. 28 conference at DC 37 headquarters. She acknowledged the work the union has done to protect union members against pay loans and pointed to New York State as a model for other states to follow in the fight to protect consumers. “DC 37 has been on the front lines fighting to protect New Yorkers against predatory lending,” Niou said. Sally [More...]