POLITICS

AFSCME Members #RiseUp at 43rd Convention in Boston

July 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE AFSCME members are heeding the call to #RiseUp this week at the 43rd International Convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Boston. AFSCME, DC 37’s national union, now stands at the forefront of labor’s resistance as public workers nationwide are standing together, pushing back against anti-union forces after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME in June. In his keynote address to the convention, AFSCME President Lee Saunders told the delegates and guests that while the legal setback in Janus presents serious challenges, the union is well prepared to overcome the onslaught. “If they think we’re going to roll over, if they think this is going to slow us down or shut us up, if they think we’re going to let five unelected men in robes steal our freedom, they’ve got a big surprise coming. Because when the stakes [More...]

Saving Our Public Housing

July 13, 2018 // 0 Comments

City and federal investigators raided the warehouse of the New York City Housing Authority on June 13, responding to a complaint filed against the agency for failing to address deteriorating conditions in 178,000 apartments. Since the resignation of former NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye in April, the media has been churning out stories exposing the depth of corruption and mismanagement at the agency. A city investigation discovered that the agency filed false certifications to the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development that apartments were annually inspected for lead paint from 2013 to 2016. The city probe followed an exhaustive federal government investigation into NYCHA beginning in 2015 that uncovered dangerous lead exposure effecting hundreds of residents and children, a cover up of health violations in NYCHA projects, mold overgrowth, pest infestation, broken elevators and inadequate [More...]

Trump and Labor: A Betrayal

July 12, 2018 // 0 Comments

Donald Trump won the presidency portraying himself as a champion of workers. So far, his record as president amounts to a great betrayal. With executive orders, political appointments and policy changes, Trump has actually proved himself to be an enemy of working families. The authoritarian president has taken steps to undermine unions, harm public employees, gut the benefits of low-wage workers and promote trade policies that will raise prices for consumers. Simply put, his actions favor corporations and the rich. Real average earnings have actually dropped since Trump signed the GOP tax giveaway into law. The only way workers have managed to increase their take-home pay is by working a few extra hours per week, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The administration submitted an amicus brief in Janus v. AFSCME case, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on last month. [More...]

A Culture of Organizing

July 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By BARBARA TERRELONGE For decades, our union has largely focused on providing services to members. But in recent years we learned we must do more. As we faced institutional malaise and a multi-million dollar, anti-union campaign by a national right-wing network intensified we decided to shift our focus toward what’s known as an organizing model of unionism. Through worksite visits and improved communications, we highlight the value of unions, while urging members to become more involved. At our three-year-old Organizing Dept., we aim to “engage, educate, empower.” Those three words sum up our union’s philosophy. About two years ago, the dozens of reps who work for DC 37 embarked on an ambitious plan. The union dispatched the union employees to the city’s five boroughs to conduct one-on-one meetings with 50,000 members and to sign up thousands of agency-fee payers, workers who [More...]

Vote “Yes” on the Contract

July 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO After a marathon negotiating session in late June, we concluded talks with the city on a new economic agreement, which provides for fair wage increases worth more than 7 percent and a new paid parental leave benefit. The contract provides for a retroactive 2 percent raise on Sept. 26, 2017, a 2.25 percent increase on Sept. 26, 2018, and an additional 3 percent on Oct. 26, 2019. The contract’s term is from Sept. 26, 2017, to May 26, 2021. I want to let you know how we approached this round of negotiations differently from previous contract talks. We managed to negotiate the contract in less than a year, faster than in earlier negotiations. We won decent and fair salary increases, and yes, we believe the increases will keep up with the cost of living. But the key accomplishments are not merely these raises. We [More...]

DC 37 backs Letitia James for New York State Attorney General

July 6, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, who recently launched her campaign for New York state Attorney General, laid out her platform before a crowd of enthusiastic supporters in lower Manhattan. Surrounded by union activists from DC 37, Transit Workers Local 100, Communications Workers of America Local 1180 and several other unions, James promised to fight against corporate greed and to protect workers if she’s elected to the office this November. “In the wake of recent destructive decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, New York must fight harder than ever to protect the rights of our workers,” said James, during a press conference on July 6 at the Municipal Building. “I will use every tool at my disposal to ensure that justice applies equally to every hardworking New Yorker.” James announced that she will create an arbitration review team to address [More...]

Our Union, Our Power

June 29, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Capping what was perhaps was its most contentious and partisan session in modern history, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to overturn precedent and establish so-called “right-to-work” in the public sector nationwide. The decision in Janus is the latest in a series of outrageous court, legislative and administrative actions pushed by a cabal of anti-union extremists to define the rules of the nation’s economy even more in favor of the 1 percent by trying to weaken the power of unions. At a City Hall press conference after Janus v. AFSCME was announced, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido was defiant. “Our lives will not be determined by a Supreme Court decision,” he said. “It is the desire of working people to stand up and collectively say we are stronger together and that in unity is our power. We shall not be stopped.” Later that afternoon, city unions [More...]

DC 37 and city reach tentative contract agreement

June 28, 2018 // 0 Comments

The union reached a tentative agreement with the City of New York on a new, 44-month wage pact that provides a total of 7.42 percent in pay hikes; back pay; plus additional resources to boost employee education and training and to address issues of worker recruitment and retention. Approximately 100,000 city employees are covered by the agreement. “This agreement is a clear example of the importance of collective bargaining and what can be achieved when the employer and employees negotiate in good faith,” said District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “This administration has shown that, at a time when forces across the country are trying to degrade the value of the collective bargaining process, you can tackle big problems when you approach workers with respect.” “I’m thankful to DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido for his continued partnership and to my [More...]

Statement by DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido on the Janus v. AFSCME Decision

June 27, 2018 // 1 Comment

Today’s 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision smashes precedent and overturns the Court’s unanimous 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which upheld the maintaining of a union shop in a public workplace. Make no mistake: Janus v. AFSCME was always a politically-motivated case designed to rig the rules of the economy even more in favor of the privileged and powerful by weakening unions. What our country’s highest court did today was to, in effect, make so-called “right-to-work” the law of the land for public employees. Let’s remember what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said nearly 60 years ago about so-called “right-to-work” laws: “We must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by [More...]

Burning Down the House

June 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By JEREMY JOHN On April 25, Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration, pulled the curtain back to what typifies the worst aspects of the regressive views shared by the alt-right extremists now in power since the November 2016 election. His proposed scheme, called the Make Affordable Housing Work Act, deals a brutal blow to decades of efforts by previous administrations — both Republican and Democrat — to create affordable housing and to maintain and expand the social safety net for millions of vulnerable Americans who need a decent place to live. Under the proposal, millions of families living in subsidized public housing will see their rents rise from 30 percent of adjusted income to 35 percent of their higher annual gross income. This subtle distinction makes a powerful difference. By changing the rules on income, the increase in reality is [More...]