POLITICAL ACTION

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...]

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...]

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...]

DC 37 Endorses Letitia James and Tom DiNapoli for the 2018 Statewide Elections

May 31, 2018 // 0 Comments

District Council 37, the city’s largest municipal employee union, has endorsed New York City Public Advocate Letitia James for State Attorney General and New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for re-election, the union announced today. The candidates were overwhelmingly endorsed by DC 37 delegates, who comprise the union’s highest governing body, at their most recent monthly meeting. “We enthusiastically support Tom DiNapoli and Letitia James because they have consistently addressed the issues that are of utmost importance to our members and the working men and women of our state,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “Time and again, Comptroller DiNapoli and Public Advocate James have demonstrated their commitment to public service, workers’ rights and improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers. With these endorsements, we stand ready to engage and [More...]

DC 37 Carries Out Town Hall Meetings on the Value of Unions

May 29, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO There was standing room only as more than 300 union members jammed the conference room at the offices of the Human Resources Administration in Brooklyn for a town hall style meeting. Members came to hear DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido talk about the fight with the city for a new contract and the upcoming decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to make its ruling by the end of June. If the decision goes against AFSCME, it could cripple DC 37 and public employee unions throughout the country. Janus argues that the mandatory collection of union dues violates the individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech. “This decision is the start of a bigger attack,” said Garrido. He pointed to Wisconsin and how workers there lost their collective bargaining power once it became a right-to-work state. [More...]

City Comptroller Calls for Ban on Commercial Bond Companies

May 16, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has introduced a bill in the City Council calling for the banning of commercial bail. Earlier this year, Stringer’s office released a report on the predatory nature of the commercial bond industry in New York. His report showed that bail bond companies extracted between $16 million and $27 million from low income New Yorkers in 2017. And that money paid to private bail bond companies is non-refundable. “This industry is about making money off of misery,” he said. “It’s why we’ve called for commercial bail to be banned and have worked with our colleagues in government to propose state legislation that will do just that.” The comptroller’s report found that the use of commercial bail bonds increased by 12 percent over the past two years despite a decline in crime and arrests. DC 37 supports banning commercial [More...]

Union Calls for Additional Parks and School Workers

May 14, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS and ALFREDO ALVARADO DC 37 leaders are making their case on behalf of understaffed agencies and overworked employees at a series of City Council budget hearings. At a recent Parks Committee hearing, the union asked lawmakers to fully restore funds to the Parks budget to save 300 seasonal jobs and add 225 new hires to keep public parks clean and safe. Mayor Bill de Blasio presented his $88.7 billion preliminary 2019 budget for the city back in February. At the City Council hearings ,union leaders said more funds — not less — are needed. The preliminary Parks budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 is about $500 million, down from $531 million last year. More funding needed The funds, leaders said, would add more Urban Park Rangers, Parks Envorcement Patrol Officers, City Seasonal Aides, City Parks Workers and Gardeners to the Dept. Parks and Recreation workforce. [More...]