POLITICS

Into the Fray: Union Begins Training for Future Leaders

October 16, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Dozens of DC 37 members with aspirations to become part of a new generation of progressive, elected officials recently attended the first Emerging Leaders Candidate Academy. The introductory session, held at union headquarters on October 8, is the first of three meetings with members who have stepped forward to run in future local, state and federal elections. With DC 37’s guidance, their dreams may very well come true. The participants come from a variety of backgrounds, but with a single goal in mind: to make a difference by entering the political arena. Christopher Birch, from Washington Heights spoke about the need of being part of the political process. “I need to be at the table,” he said. “I don’t want to be knocking at the door and asking for a little, when I can be part of the decision process for my district.” Angela Guyton-Cyril, a member of SSEU Local [More...]

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Union Busters — For Now

October 15, 2019 // 0 Comments

The nation’s public employee unions received a bit of good news on Monday, Oct. 7, when the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a joint request by two national union-busting organizations to hear a case that would decide whether states can designate unions as the exclusive representatives of groups of public employees. “Exclusive representation” means a duly chosen union is the sole voice for all workers and source of worker power. It is the basis on which our union is organized and the way we bargain for meaningful change. Through the process of collective bargaining and exclusive representation, DC 37 members — and AFSCME members across the country — earn fair wages, safe and reasonable working conditions, job security, health benefits that cover us when we are sick, and retirement benefits that provide us with dignity as we age. Attacks on public employee unions have been have [More...]

Agreement Provides Pay Equity for Head Start Educators with Public-School Teachers

October 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The pay of more than 2,650 Head Start teachers will be boosted to match the salary of public-school teachers under a tentative agreement by the city, union and the Head Start Sponsoring Board Council. The agreement, announced Thursday, affects workers at more than 200 centers throughout New York City. It follows a similar deal reached in July for 4,000 early childhood educators represented by Local 205. “Head Start is critical to educating our youngest New Yorkers and uplifting entire families,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With this agreement, we’re ensuring our kids have the very best teachers during their most critical stages of development.” The tentative agreement runs through Jan. 31, 2022. The agreement requires the approval of Head Start workers in Local 95. “This agreement once again demonstrates that by working together, great things can [More...]

Public-Sector Training Partnerships Boost Job Satisfaction, Productivity and Unions

October 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES All too often, employers set up training programs without the help of those who know the best way to improve the workplace — workers and their unions. A new report from the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, highlights the key ingredients of successful public sector training partnerships between unions and governments. “The benefits of public sector training programs are clear: Workers gain the skills they need to be successful in good, middle-class jobs, while city and state employers are able to obtain and retain the highly trained, diverse workforce they need,” said Karla Walter, director of employment policy at the Center for American Progress and author of the report. She added: “Moreover, training partnerships provide a tangible example of the benefits of unionization to workers and thereby help to sustain [More...]

Union Explains Statewide Tenant Reforms at Workshop

September 30, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The hard-won, historic changes to New York’s rent regulation laws have raised many questions about the new rights and benefits tenants now have under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 passed by the state Legislature. DC 37’s Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS) stepped up to help answer these questions at a recent workshop attended by more than 100 members. “There are more than a 100 pages of changes in the new law,” explained supervising attorney John Bart. “These are changes that benefit our members.” Tenant rights activists and organizers Michael McKee and Anita Long briefed the audience on the efforts to push Albany to pass these reforms. This effort reversed a decades-long trend of legislation wedded to big-money real estate interests. Among the legislation’s many reforms: Ending “vacancy increases,” which landlords used to [More...]

DC 37 Leaders: More Funds Needed to Maintain City Parks

September 27, 2019 // 0 Comments

By RUDY OROZCO The presidents of four DC 37 locals with members in the Department of Parks and Recreation called for more funding in the city budget during a recent City Council hearing. Appearing at the Committee on Parks and Recreation hearing were Joe Puleo, president of New York City Motor Vehicles Operators Local 983; Mike Zeno, president of Uniformed Park Services Local 1508; Parks Gardeners Local 1507 President Daniel Clay and New York City Department of Parks Climbers & Pruners Local 1506 President Ibn Mann. Each spelled out staffing needs to keep neighborhood parks safe and clean. Puleo, who represents urban park rangers and PEP officers in the Parks Department thanked the City Council for “working with us to increase parks funding in the city budget which kept 50 urban park rangers and 80 PEP officers on the job.” But he stressed the need to make those funds [More...]

EMS Workers Demand Fairness and Equality

September 26, 2019 // 0 Comments

Hundreds of first responders, members of DC 37’s local unions representing Emergency Medical Services workers at the Fire Department of the City of New York, rallied for equal pay and comparable treatment at a news conference on the steps of City Hall on Sept 25. They were joined by Uniformed EMS Officers Union FDNY Local 3621 President Vincent Variale; Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay; Uniformed EMS Officers President Joseph Pataky; DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido; labor activists and elected officials to demand wage parity and support legislation that would require the FDNY to annually report the number of resignations of EMS workers. FDNY’s EMS first responders answered to close to 80 percent of the 1.8 million calls received by the FDNY last year, providing emergency medical care in the midst of life-threatening [More...]

Union Supports Legislation to Create Universal Savings Program for Private-Sector Workers

September 24, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 members joined elected officials, seniors and other activists in the rotunda of City Hall on September 23 to support proposed legislation to create a universal retirement savings program for the approximately 1.5 million private-sector workers in the city who lack access to a savings plan through their employer. “Retirement security should be a right and not a privilege,” DC 37 Assistant Associate Director Jahmila K. Edwards said. “New Yorkers are working harder than ever and they have nothing to show for it.” The event preceded a City Council hearing on the legislation, which is sponsored by members Ben Kallos and I. Daneek Miller. Mayor de Blasio spoke in favor of the proposal. “We have people who are working and don’t know whether they can retire,” de Blasio said. “This is not what we signed up for. This is not the American Dream.” He [More...]

Building Worker Power

September 18, 2019 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO As Labor Day approached this summer, a well-known polling organization, Gallup, released its annual, national survey on public attitude toward unions. The findings were remarkable: Sixty-four percent of Americans approve of labor unions, one of the highest approval ratings in the past 50 years — much higher than Trump’s or Congress’. Young people overwhelmingly support unions. In fact, the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to have a positive view of unions. Sixty-seven percent of people between ages 18 and 34 approved of unions. Across all party lines — Democrat, Republican, independent — union approval has increased by 16 to 17 points. This survey comes on the heels of a 2018 study that found a growing number of Americans want to join a union: Nearly half of non-unionized workers said they would join a union if given the opportunity to do so. [More...]

De Blasio Seeks Local Legislation to Provide Health Insurance to Spouses and Partners of all City Workers Who Die from 9/11 Ilnesses

September 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced his support for local legislation to provide health insurance for the survivors of all city employees fatally stricken by 9/11 illnesses. Currently, coverage is limited to the surviving spouses and domestic partners of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and higher-ranking employees in those titles who died during their active service or in retirement. This legislation would close a gap in current law so that all city employees who die of a 9/11 illness are treated the same. “On our city’s darkest day, thousands of city employees answered the call,” de Basio said. “They didn’t hesitate. We need to be there for their families, now and always.” About 5,000 employees across several city agencies and in various titles could be covered by this legislation over time.  This population represents city [More...]