POLITICS

The Referendum on Trump

October 13, 2018 // 0 Comments

The mid-term elections on Nov. 6 are a referendum on President Trump. We say: “Vote no!” No to Trump’s policies that favor the wealthy and throw crumbs to the working class and poor. No to his lack of empathy, whether it’s for hurricane victims, sexually abused women or powerless immigrant children. No to the political lackeys who encourage his worst instincts and his bigoted attitudes. If extremists maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, Trump will ram through an anti-worker agenda that will cause pain and suffering for years to come. We cannot allow that. During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to protect Medicare and Social Security. But Republicans are already saying that the skyrocketing debt caused by the lowering of taxes — most notably in favor of the rich — will force the government to reduce spending on both. Consider the [More...]

Local 1549 Shop Stewards Help Energize the Union

October 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES More than 200 shop stewards in Local 1549 are fired up about carrying the union message to the workplace after they spent the Columbus Day weekend at a training conference. The stewards had a full agenda at the gathering, whose theme was “Rise Up & Stay Strong Shop Steward.” They learned about communicating effectively with their coworkers, organizing members to strengthen the union, dealing with workplace conflict, and getting involved in politics. “The conference provided members with a wonderful opportunity to strengthen their skills in communicating with their coworkers and defending them in the workplace,” Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez said. “By gathering everyone in one place, the conference encouraged our stewards to interact and trade stories about what they do at work to be the voice of the union.” “We have this [More...]

Our Pensions and Renewable Energy

October 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO NEW York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and other trustees of the city’s pension funds recently announced a new goal to double the funds’ investments in climate change solutions to $4 billion, or 2 percent of the city’s $195 billion pension portfolio, over the next three years. This plan builds upon an earlier announcement to divest city pension funds from fossil fuels within five years. Opponents have engaged in scare tactics. In recent months, the Daily News has published two hyperbolic op-ed pieces criticizing these moves and falsely assailing the motives behind them. On the internet, opponents exploit the anxieties of pensioners and urge them to sign a petition, essentially just saying no to the future. Safeguarding our retirement As a trustee of the New York City Employees [More...]

Yes We Can. Yes We Did. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido on the Democratic Primary Victories of Gov. Cuomo And Public Advocate Letitia James

September 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

“Thursday’s primary election victories by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Public Advocate Letitia James were good news for the state’s working men and women. The Governor and the Public Advocate are true friends of DC 37 and the city’s labor movement. They are steadfast fighters against the extreme agenda of Donald Trump. They have fought for pay equity, protected immigrant rights and are firm supporters of working families. I am proud of our volunteers’ efforts to get out the vote that contributed to the high voter turn-out in New York City. As we enter the fall campaign, DC 37’s Green Machine will continue to work to help re-elect Governor Cuomo and to elect Tish James as the first African-American woman to serve as New York State Attorney General this [More...]

On the Eve of Primary, Governor Cuomo Calls in to Speak With DC 37 Members

September 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE As Primary Day elections loom, the union recently hosted a live telephone town hall with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. More than 14,000 union households dialed in to hear the Governor speak, and ask questions. In his introduction, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido lauded Cuomo’s stalwart efforts on behalf of the union in the wake of the Janus decision and for his efforts on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico last September. Referring to recent state legislation signed by Cuomo, he said: “The governor set an example for the nation by protecting our fundamental rights to collectively bargain and organize.” Cuomo noted the state’s progress since he was first elected in 2010. “Nobody has done what we have done here. We are the first state in the nation to pass a $15 minimum wage. Free [More...]

Union Celebrates Victory for Public Safety at City Hall Rally

September 7, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Hours before New York City schools reopened for 1.1 million students, Dept of Education Local 372 and a coalition of grassroots groups and elected officials rallied outside City Hall to celebrate a major public safety victory after Gov. Cuomo ordered the return of traffic cameras in school zones. “School Crossing Guards put themselves in the middle of busy streets every day to protect lives and keep kids safe,” said Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I. “We prevent traffic fatalities before they happen.” “There are just 2,500 School Crossing Guards in the city. We need more. We need crossing guards at every school,” said Francois. “School safety is a must. Crossing guards are a must. More cameras now!” Francois joined City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Lt. Gov.  Kathy Hochul, State Sen. Jose Peralta, Assembly members Robert Carroll and Felix [More...]

Help the Union Get Out the Vote

September 6, 2018 // 0 Comments

When hardworking public employees and union members ask how the politics of this country got to where they are now, much of the answer can be found in the midterm elections of 2010. That’s when the progressive agenda of President Barack Obama was critically wounded by insufficient turnout and the extreme right-wing took over Congress and statehouses across the country. This time around, we have the opportunity to thwart Trump’s agenda of nurturing the ultra-wealthy and decimating public services, Medicare and Social Security. It begins with the Democratic Primary on Thursday, September 13. Please note the date. Customarily, we go to the polls on the second Tuesday of September, but out of respect for the memory of those who perished on 9/11, it has been changed. The union urges you to support the Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James for New York State [More...]

The Contract Vote’s Message

September 6, 2018 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO I was happy, to say the least, that our new economic agreement was overwhelmingly approved. A lot of work went into this contract. Many union locals encouraged members to share their ideas about negotiations. We reported on our progress in the union newspaper and blog. DC 37 carried out an on-line survey. Our bargaining team stuck together. And our staffers provided important background to back up our case. The contract provides for a decent wage increase; protects our prescription drug and other benefits; maintains our premium-free health-care plan; significantly boosts funding for our education program — which helps members advance their skills and enrich their lives — and includes our new employer-provided paid family leave benefit — something only about 15 percent of the U.S. workers enjoy. [More...]

Grievance Victories for Local 768 Members at NYC H+H

September 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The union settled three separate grievances in favor of Local 768 members employed at New York City Health +Hospitals facilities, in an ongoing fight to protect unionized hospital workers from managers who would violate the contract. Kings County Hospital failed to pay Social Worker Level 2 Adam Turkel for the overtime hours he was assigned to work so Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals Division Council Rep Joel Viera-Vera filed a grievance for the Local 768 member. The case went to Step 2 when H+H finally agreed to compensate Mr. Turkel for two hours of overtime. “These members are relied on to make up for staff shortages,” said Local 768 President Fitz Reid. “So while it may seem small, on principle we stood up for Mr. Turkel and in doing so protected the right of every member to be fairly compensation for any overtime hours worked.” Woodhull Hospital [More...]

Members Outraged by Radical Right’s Anti-Union Campaign

September 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 members are angry that, in the wake of a politically charged U.S. Supreme Court attack on unions, wannabe union-busters are trying to dupe New York City public employees into giving up their rights. Janus v. AFSCME capped a decades-long effort by a nationwide anti-labor network to cripple public employee unions, cut government services and support anti-worker state legislators and governors throughout the country. A group calling itself NewChoice NY — which is supported by the Koch brothers and other ultra-rich labor foes — recently sent out an email blast to a total of 500,000 New York public employees — including DC 37 members — at their workplaces, trying to cajole public employees to leave their union. DC 37 also received reports of home visits by right-wing network representatives. “They try to sound as if they’re just doing workers a favor by [More...]