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Vote “Yes” to Protect Your Drug Benefit

February 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mail ballots went out today  to more than 90,000 members for a vote on a contract extension to protect the union’s popular prescription drug plan, which has been rocked in recent years by the pharmaceutical industry’s pursuit of excessive profits. The contract extension, which the union and city agreed to in January, will enable the DC 37 Health & Security Plan to continue to provide stable benefits to members and retirees. During the past eight years, the pharmaceutical industry has raised prescription drug prices by 105 percent. Today, prescription drugs consume 76 percent of the costs of the welfare fund, which also covers the dental benefit and other benefits managed by the plan. The DC 37 Health & Security Plan faces a $55 million deficit. The contract extension is one of a number of critical steps the union is taking to protect the drug [More...]

I Have My Dream Job Training Animals in New York City

February 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

Andrew Egyud, Animal Trainer, Wildlife Conservation Society Local 1501 I’ve been working with animals for about 10 years. I came to the New York Aquarium as an Animal Trainer a year ago. I’ve always liked animals. Growing up I did not know what I wanted to do for a living. As a teen I watched a show on Animal Planet, the Croc Hunter Diaries with the late Steve Irwin. I admired all the work, education and passion he had. He inspired me. I went to college and studied biology. Being a Zoo Keeper is not viewed as a real job by most people. In the summer of my freshman year, I got a job at Busch Gardens in Virginia, where I am from. I fell in love immediately! I was determined to become the best animal care specialist I can be. Over the years, I’ve worked with gray wolves, hawks, and beluga whales at Sea World in San Antonio, Texas. But of all the animals, I really get sea lions: I can [More...]

Local 372 Backs Mayor’s Plan to Hire 300 New School Crossing Guards and Supervisors

February 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO For three straight years New York City has seen a reduction in traffic fatalities, with 2016 being the safest-ever. Aiming to make sure accidents continue to drop, Mayor Bill de Blasio has included $400 million in the proposed 2018 budget for the Vision Zero traffic enforcement program. The funds will used to improve street designs, lighting and add 300 School Crossing Guards. De Blasio’s new budget will allow for the hiring of 100 School Crossing Guard supervisors and 200 additional part-time School Crossing Guards. With these additional positions, all schools will now have a School Crossing Guard. A mobile replacement squad will also be created to make sure schools are covered in the event a SCG is absent on a particular day. “Every school now will have a School Crossing Guard assigned to them, this is what we have been fighting for the last couple of [More...]

DC 37 Launches “100 Days of Resistance” Campaign

February 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) They are coming for us. Today, Republicans introduced national “right-to-work” legislation. Last night, Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. These are just the latest assaults against labor emanating from the White House during the new president’s first 100 days in office, and we anticipate these attacks to intensify. Trump pledged to roll out his agenda right away, and he is moving at a quick pace, catching the progressive community off-guard. Through executive orders, [More...]

DC 37 and Medgar Evers College Announce Training Program

January 21, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO With 100,000 workers getting ready to retire from the municipal workforce in the coming years, District Council 37 is planning on offering courses to train the next generation of city employees who will take their place. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido announced that the union will be collaborating with Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn to offer courses to retrain the next generation of city employees. Garrido and Dr. Rudy Crew, the president of Medgar Evers College announced the partnership on Jan. 19 at the City University of New York campus in Crown Heights. “Unions have played such an important part in building communities like Crown Heights,” said Crew. “Together with DC 37, we can continue to build on that tradition.” Garrido wanted to partner with the Brooklyn school because 42 percent of the union’s members live in the borough. “The members [More...]

Garrido Speaks at an anti-Trump Rally in Manhattan on the Eve of the Inauguration

January 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE At a nighttime demonstration and rally on Jan. 19, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido demanded action to protect health care for millions of Americans, against the onslaught promised by President Donald J. Trump, and the expected repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a decision that threatens the health insurance of tens of millions of Americans. Citing the story of his grandmother, who was unable to receive affordable treatment for a rare form of cancer and had to leave her home in Virginia to receive treatment in Europe, Garrido spoke fiercely of the possible dangers ahead if the threatened repeal of Obamacare is carried out. “Are we going to allow this man [Trump] to take away our health care? Are we going to allow him to take away the health care for 30 million people without a replacement plan?” Garrido told the crowd. “Are we going to allow him to dismantle [More...]

Commemorating Ten Years of Fighting Gun Violence

January 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE WILLIAMS Harlem Mothers SAVE, founded by Local 299 President Jackie Rowe-Adams, marked its 10th anniversary in Harlem on Nov. 10. The anti-gun violence support group honored the newly appointed New York Police Dept. Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “The packed room was a sea of blue, we had so much support from the NYPD, who stand with us on getting guns off our streets,” said Rowe-Adams, who founded the nonprofit organization after she lost two young sons in two separate acts of gun violence. Harlem Mothers SAVE provides counseling, education and victim services; their professionally-trained first responders are called upon to help grieving parents of shooting victims in New York City. They support Sandy Hook School shooting victims killed in Connecticut four years ago. Feisty and undaunted, Rowe–Adams challenges the National Rifle Association “to consider how [More...]

A Review of 2016: A Year of Key Victories for DC 37 Members

January 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

District Council 37 had a banner year in 2016. Here are some of the union’s achievements. Insourcing victory: DC 37 is working with the de Blasio to reduce the city’s employment of consultants and bring work in-house. The city has so far hired several hundred information technology workers. The union expects the city to hire up to 1,000 IT workers in the near future. We won our Fight for $15 campaign: Union members have participated in demonstrations to support food service workers in their struggle for a living wage and union representation. At home, the union backed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s adoption of a $15 minimum wage that covers 50,000 low-wage workers in the city, including a few thousand school workers in Local 372. As bargaining for a new contract concluded, the union convinced the City University of New York to match the pay hikes of the state minimum wage law, which [More...]

DC 37 Applauds Cuomo’s Plan to Increase the State’s Tax-Credit for Child Care

January 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 5 announced a plan to boost the state’s tax-credit for child care, which will reduce the financial burden faced of an estimated 200,000 middle-class families across the state. The enhanced tax credit will more than double the credit for families with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000. “Far too many parents have to sacrifice working to build their family’s infrastructure because affordable, high quality day care is financially out of reach,” Cuomo said. “This newly enhanced credit will make it easier for more New Yorkers to be able to secure day care for their children and will be able to enter or stay in the workforce with peace of mind.” In fiscal year 2014, nearly 520,000 families received almost $189 million in tax savings through the state’s Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Currently, the maximum benefit [More...]

Fight Big Pharma’s Price Gouging

January 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The January copay increases of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan’s prescription drug benefit show how we all are victims of the voracious pharmaceutical industry. For years, the plan struggled to maintain the old copays. But with the skyrocketing cost of drugs, the plan’s trustees finally felt they had no choice but to approve the copay hikes. As DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido has pointed out, drug costs will likely continue to rise until the government steps in to control the prices of the unregulated pharmaceutical industry. “The pharmaceutical industry’s track record of corporate greed is reprehensible,” said Willie Chang, administrator of the plan. “We need to do whatever we can as consumers and individual activists to slow down price increases.” Although consumers have little or no control over prices in the absence of a nationwide [More...]