Uncategorized

“I Hope Members Grasp a Fuller Picture of What a Union Does for Them and the Community.”

December 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

Patricia Peterson, retired Senior Police Administrative Aide, Local 1549 By DIANE S. WILLIAMS After 38 years with, the New York Police Department, I retired in February 2017. I was a Senior Police Administrative Aide in the 33rd precinct in Washington Heights since 1994 where I was responsible for crime analysis, reviewing complaints and classifying them as homicides, shootings, break-ins, noting any trends detectives and commanding officers should know about. A friend invited me to my first union meeting in 1988. I had questions I wanted answered, so I went. I became a Local 1549 shop steward and, later, a delegate. I shared information with my coworkers because not everyone can attend every union meeting. This year I was invited to become a Volunteer Member Organizer. It gives me purpose to visit worksites and talk to members about the importance of belonging to a union. I share my [More...]

A Progressive Housing Plan

December 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that the city is on track to build and protect 200,000 affordable homes by 2022 — two years ahead of schedule — and is taking on a new goal of 300,000 affordable apartments by 2026. The city has secured 77,651 affordable homes, enough for more than 200,000 New Yorkers, since de Blasio took office, according to the mayor’s office. The city also boasts more housing for low-income New Yorkers than ever before, and more protections to keep New Yorkers in their homes. “We are building an engine that will keep families in safe, decent and affordable homes for decades to come,” the mayor said. “We will keep this a city for seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class.” All this is welcome news, indeed — and more evidence of the mayor’s focus on making the city livable for all of its residents. Back in January 2014, the mayor [More...]

Want to Get Back to Normal? Strong Unions are Key

December 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS Daily flirtations with nuclear war. Suspending freedom of the press. Fifty-nine people executed during a country music concert. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching openly in the streets. American citizens begging for their government’s help after a storm wiped their hopes and dreams off the map, only to then be threatened with revocation of that aid because Wall Street wants its money. Foreign powers sabotage our elections; our leaders sabotage our health care because of an ill-conceived campaign promise. Saying “This isn’t normal” has become clichéd, but finding solutions to get us back to normal isn’t yet commonplace. We don’t have to look too far to find those solutions. They are right beneath our feet. At their best, labor unions provide the stability that allows democracy to flourish. When working people organize, they can call out corruption and [More...]

Union Fights State Workers’ Compensation Changes

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The union is taking part in an all-out effort to fight proposed changes to the workers’ compensation system in New York — changes that affect all workers injured on the job. The NYS Workers Compensation Board has proposed medical treatment guidelines and regulations that would eliminate monetary awards for dozens of arm and leg injuries, while also denying workers the right to have an independent medical examination. The change would also deny benefits and care to workers injured on the job who fail to answer all the questions posed by an employer’s medical examiner. Workers’ compensation, which has been on the books in New York for a century, is threatened by right-wing business interests, such as the Business Council, that pressured the state Workers’ Compensation Board to issue proposed changes to longstanding regulations earlier this year. The board’s action [More...]

“We’re Making a Big Difference in the Lives of Women.”

December 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

  Joanne Schmidt, Family Public Health Nurse, Local 436 Most of my time is spent in the field visiting our clients, with a day to do paperwork in the office. They live all over the city, in shelters, in Riker’s Island or they live with foster families. I work with first-time mothers. They can be anywhere from as young as 12 years old to 41-year-old women. I help them with developing their parenting skills and give them orientation regarding lactation support. I make a lot of referrals on their behalf for social and mental health services at clinics. We make a lot of referrals to the Coalition for the Homeless. There’s really no typical person that I deal with. Their main concern is finding permanent housing, then finding a job. A lot of them are interested in continuing their education but that takes a back seat to finding a job and a place to stay — those are the priorities. [More...]

New City Program Places Homeless with Host Families

November 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES An innovative new city program backed by the union will help the homeless to leave their shelters to live with a host family. The city will run the program through its Pathways to Housing service, which addresses homelessness by combining housing with treatment for mental and physical health, substance abuse, education and employment. The new Pathway Home Program will encourage homeless individuals and families to live with friends or family members (host families). Host families will receive $1,200 to $1,800 a month in compensation, depending on their household size. In October, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Commissioner Steven Banks of the Dept. of Social Services sent a joint letter to the union’s members about the Pathway Home Program. The union is partnering with the city to alert members who might be interested in serving as a host family. The [More...]

Delegates Elect Deborah A. Pitts as DC 37’s Secretary

September 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Deborah A. Pitts, president of Finance Administrative Employees and City Investigators Local 1113, was elected on Sept. 26 to serve as secretary of the District Council 37 Executive Board. Union delegates elected Pitts at their monthly meeting. Pitts defeated Local 375 member, former 1st Vice President, and DC 37 delegate Michelle Keller-Ng. The election was held to fill the secretary’s seat on the union’s executive board, made vacant by the retirement earlier this year of Local 957 President Walthene Primus. “It is an honor to serve DC 37 and our members–that’s the most important thing for me, helping our members,” said Pitts. Pitts also serves as the chair of the DC 37 Black History Committee, which every February coordinates a month of activities for members. Pitts has spent more than 30 years as a union activist, and she has been active with the [More...]

City Launches Free School Lunch Program with Help from the Union

September 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO After DC 37 spent years battling City Hall to make sure all students, regardless of their ability to pay, receive a hot meal at lunch time, free lunch will now be available to all of the city’s 1.1 million students. “We are extremely proud to have played a role in making this happen,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “With this change in policy, learning just became easier for many kids in our schools.” Garrido joined Chancellor Caren Farina, Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James and activists from the Lunch 4 Learning coalition on Sept. 6–the day before the beginning of the new school year–at PS 51 in Manhattan to mark the start of the new program. “This is about equity,” Farina said at the press conference. “All communities matter.” DC 37’s Local [More...]

DC 37 launches new, enhanced website

September 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

District Council 37 has launched a new, redesigned website. It’s at the same web address www.dc37.net — but with a whole new look and feel that aims to offer our members an enhanced user experience, whether they visit to learn about union activities or to access benefits and services. Here are a few highlights of the new District Council 37 website: A new home page slide show focuses on union news – from profiles of DC 37 members and the work they do to upcoming events and valuable benefits. An interactive calendar, on the right side of the home page, gives details of upcoming events, links to leaflets offering more information and a map showing the event location. The DC 37 blog is front and center on the home page with regular updates so the members always know the latest union news. A new blog feed on internal pages assures that this news is always visible no matter [More...]

DC 37 Annuity Funds Shows Strong Growth

September 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

DC 37 Annuity Fund Growth 1999-2017 By GREGORY N. HEIRES Since its inception, the District Council 37 AFSCME Annuity Fund has grown annually by nearly 6 percent. “The annuity is a painless and cost-effective way to save for retirement,” said Audrey Browne, associate administrator and counsel at the DC 37 Health & Security Plan, which oversees the annuity. The annuity was established in 1999 after DC 37 won the optional benefit — which requires the approval of locals — in an economic agreement. Each DC 37 member from locals that opted to participate received a $522 one-time contribution from the city for the annuity. The $522 in seed money for individual accounts has grown to $1,467 since 1999. The annual interest rate of the fund is a healthy 5.99 percent. By comparison, in July, investors in U.S. Treasury notes and bonds could count on 1.99 percent in earnings over 10 [More...]