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Retired DC 37 Leader Helps Rescue Couple from Burning Car on Staten Island

November 25, 2019 // 0 Comments

Retirement has not slowed down former Local 1320 President and 9/11 Ground Zero volunteer James Tucciarelli, who put his own life at risk to help others Saturday, Nov. 23. That night, the long-time DC 37 leader, along with two police officers and a neighbor, helped save two people trapped in a burning car. Tucciarelli was driving home on Mill Road in the Oakland section of Staten Island when he saw a crashed vehicle in flames near his house. After pulling over and getting out his car, he heard cries from the woman in the front passenger seat of the burning vehicle and immediately went to help. The vehicle was starting to fill up with smoke as he pulled her out to safety. “She said he couldn’t move her leg,” Tucciarelli told WABC-TV Eyewitness News. ”I said, ‘It may hurt, but I’ll move it for you’—and I got her leg around.” As he was carrying her out, a [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...]

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...]

Public Support for Unions Continues to Surge

August 30, 2019 // 0 Comments

Labor unions are continuing to gain momentum, with the latest proof coming from a new Gallup poll, which shows that 64 percent of Americans approve of unions, a near 50-year high. More and more people, regardless of political party, view unions as essential to levelling the playing field, providing economic security and unrigging a system that’s for too long favored the wealthy and powerful. Recent union momentum isn’t just a passing fad. It’s the result of workers facing the facts about how much more powerful a union can make them, and of a broader desire for the voice on the job that only comes with being a union member. “Despite relentless anti-union attacks from wealthy corporations, more and more people recognize that unions are a force for progress and national strength, improving the lives of all working families and their communities,” said President Lee Saunders, [More...]

Quick-Thinking Local 2507 Saves a Man’s Severed Arm

July 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A fast-acting Emergency Medical Technician in Local 2507 saved the severed arm of a man who was struck by a train on Staten Island. EMT Francis Jost usually works in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, but on that chilly February night he was working an overtime assignment in his Staten Island neighborhood when the call came over the radio around 10:30 p.m. that a man was struck by a train at the Pleasant Plains station. “When I reached the train tracks someone handed me the arm and my mind went to ice. I need ice fast. ICE HOSPITAL GO!” recalled Jost. “I knew there was a bar nearby where I would go to shoot pool sometimes. If we could get ice and pack the limb, maybe we’d save it.” Turns out his idea worked. The call went out for ice. Jost ran down the station steps with the limb in his arms and met another EMT holding the trash bag filled with ice from Hot Shotz, the [More...]

Union Mourns Intern Killed in Car Accident

January 16, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE W. WILLIAMS The AFSCME family is stunned and saddened by the tragic death of 21-year-old Nadia Mourtaj, a 2018 summer intern in DC 37’s Organizing Department. Nadia and her sister Zeyneb, 15, were in a car accident on Dec. 31, in Charles County, Md. Zeyneb was killed on impact and Nadia died nine days later. They are survived by their mother, Sara Ghebre, and father, Abdelilah Mourtaj. “Nadia was a bright star whose enthusiasm for life and the labor movement was contagious,” said DC 37 organizer Nichole Laing, who helped train the young activist seen in this union video. After Nadia completed the internship, Organizing Dept. Director Barbara Terrelonge said, “Nadia visited New York City in September, marching with DC 37 in the annual Labor Day Parade.” “There were many reasons why I chose Nadia for AFSCME’s program, but what stood out to me was her extensive [More...]

Book Review: The Radical Right’s Plot to Take over America

August 31, 2018 // 0 Comments

  By KEN NASH The Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision in June and our current struggle over Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy are only the most recent manifestations of the Right’s decades-long game plan to not only unravel the New Deal of the 1930s and the civil rights revolution of the 1960s but also to establish property rights over democratic rights as the basis for our government. In “Democracy in Chains: the Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” Professor Nancy MacLean of Duke University traces the origins of this counterrevolution’s 60-year plan to eliminate unions, suppress voting rights, privatize public education, and stop action on climate change. The capitalist Right’s agenda is not only to alter specific legislation, court decisions or who gets elected but also to fundamentally alter [More...]

Members Participate in National Night Out Activities Around the City

August 13, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Union activists joined neighborhood residents and police officers around the city for the annual National Night Out. The first Tuesday of August police precincts around the country join with community residents in an effort to build stronger relationships and safer communities. In Harlem police officers from the 32nd Precinct closed down 135th Street between 7th and 8th avenues and set up games for the neighborhood children to enjoy. “This’s a nice thing to do for the community and the kids have a great time,” said Local 1549 member Nakisha Crown, who works as a payroll supervisor. “The police and the community have to work together, so this is a good start.” DC 37 activists joined the Police Dept. and community activists at Baisley Pond Park in Queens, Midland Beach in Staten Island, in the Bronx and at Restoration Plaza near the 79th Precinct on Fulton [More...]

New York City’s Black Women Earn 57 cents for Each Dollar Earned by White Men

August 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, Aug. 7, was a grim reminder of longstanding gender and racial income gaps, but data shows women who belong to unions fare much better than those who don’t. “The income gap and pay disparities between men and women and women of color are harsh realities,” said Carmen Charles, Local 420 president, who chairs the union’s Women’s Committee. “The sting of lower wages–and poverty–is especially felt by single mothers and their children,” Charles said. The National Women’s Law Center notes that a college-educated black woman can lose about $870,000 in potential earnings over the course of her career. In New York City, black women earn an estimated 57 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. “In a city like New York that touts its progressive ideals, it is an outrage that Black women in 2018 are still denied [More...]

Union Helps Members Fight Off Unscrupulous Debt Collectors

August 8, 2018 // 0 Comments

    By ALFREDO ALVARADO  President Donald Trump has rolled back financial regulations of all kinds. And now, thanks to his policies, the slimly debt collection business is back. Debt buyers are companies that purchase debt from an original creditor, usually a credit card issuer or a bank. They then try to collect the amount owed. Usually, they sue the debtor without notification. When the unsuspecting consumer does not show up in court, a default judgement is entered, paving the way for his or her salary to be garnished. Sheldon Barasch, supervising attorney for the union’s Municipal Employees Legal Services, does not think highly of the debt collection business. “These debt settlement companies are a total scam,” he said. “We’ve seen this going on for many years.” The MELS Bankruptcy Unit handles as many as 1,000 of these cases annually. A 2009 MELS study found that [More...]