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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...]

Volunteer to Become an Activist in Your Community, the Workplace and Politics!

August 29, 2017 // 0 Comments

“I convinced myself I didn’t have time to add a new responsibility to what’s already a pretty long “to do” list. But there are too many troubling things going on in the country right now and I believe that playing an active role in my union is a meaningful way to take a stand for my family, my community, my colleagues — and myself.” That is how Local 1549’s Teddy Jarrett describes becoming a DC 37 Volunteer Member Organizer (VMO). Despite their busy schedules, DC 37 members like Jarrett are getting involved in their union to help organize workplaces, strengthen alliances with community groups and back candidates who support working families. Their participation comes as public service workers are under fire around the country. Unless they get involved now, members risk losing rights that the union has built up over decades. Anti-labor politicians are passing legislation [More...]

Inmates at Rikers Island Jail Say “Thanks!” to a Dedicated Library Worker

August 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Stacks of handwritten thank-you notes for the New York Public Library’s mobile library and literacy program at Rikers Island underscore the value of the services Local 1930 member Louise Stamp provides to hundreds of incarcerated men awaiting trial. In their letters, the men at Rikers express profound respect for Stamp, a Library Administrative Assistant in Correctional Services at the George R. Vierno Center on Rikers Island and a vice president of Local 1930. “I would love to give thanks to a very blessed and brave woman for faithfully bringing books to men like me…locked up on Rikers Island 24/7. Ms. Stamp you are forever loved and appreciated,” one detainee wrote. “Many take the time to complain, I thought it was necessary to give thanks to Ms. Stamp and the NYPL,” said another detainee, who even offered money to support the unique library [More...]

Union Backs Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Tax the Wealthy to Fix the City’s Troubled Subway System

August 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO DC 37 members and activists joined Mayor Bill de Blasio at Brooklyn Borough Hall to show union support for a plan to generate more revenue to get the underfunded Metropolitan Transportation Authority back on track after a summer of constant subway delays and even several derailments that caused the system to be shut down. “It’s not just a subway crisis, it’s a human crisis and the status quo is not working,” said the mayor at his Monday morning press conference on Aug. 7 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The mayor called for Albany to pass legislation that would tax individuals with an income of $500,000 a year and married couples making $1 million a year. “We support the mayor’s plan for a fair fix,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “It’s time for everyone to step up to the plate. The irony is our 2,000 members who work as engineers and in [More...]

“Even Living in Less Than Ideal Circumstances, You Can Have a Healthy and Happy Baby”

June 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

Sandra Steiner, Nurse Home Visitor, Local 436 As a Nurse Home Visitor, there’s never a typical day on the job. I could be visiting a client at a homeless shelter, a foster home or Riker’s Island. People might think Riker’s is dangerous, but I actually feel safer there because they have lots of security. The clients we work with are first-time mothers. We begin providing supportive services when they are seven months pregnant until the baby is 2-years-old. I have a caseload of 15 clients that I visit twice a month. My clients live all over the city. We get referrals mostly from the Dept. of Homeless Services, the Prevention Assistance Temporary Housing program. There’s no typical client They can be as young as 12 and as old as 41. Sometimes they’re having twins or triplets. We make sure they follow up with their pre-natal appointments with their doctors. If they live in a [More...]

“I Look Forward to Helping Union Members on the Job”

June 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

Stacey Peyton, Records Access Officer, Local 1359 Do you remember that Verizon wireless commercial? The one where the guy would say “Can you hear me now?” And he would have millions of people behind him. That visual, all of the folks behind this one man asking if he can be heard, has always stuck out in my mind. To me, that perfectly represents what it is like being part of a labor union. It was 27 years ago that I started working at the NYS Homes and Community Renewal Office of Rent Administration. My coworkers and I process requests for access to public records about apartment buildings, rental histories, and anything else that may be necessary for people looking into where they live or may be considering moving to. This information is essential in many cases to help keep a safe, clean, and comfortable roof over the heads of New Yorkers. Together with a staff of 12 people who I [More...]

Mounted Unit Protects City Parks

May 25, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Keeping New York City’s natural jewels, verdant parklands like Van Cortlandt Park, Central Park and Prospect Park, safe are the equestrian detail of Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers. The Parks Mounted Unit consists of eight Local 983 Urban Parks Rangers and their supervisors, who ride and groom six horses that are used to patrol acres of meadows, wooded trails, ravines and sandy beaches. “We select UPRs with at least two years’ experience for training,” said lead trainer Jessica Cowan, a 20-year veteran Associate Parks Enforcement Patrol Officer in DC 37 Local 983. Parks trains its horses at HOOPH, a new heated stable on Staten Island that houses horses used to help people with special needs. The nonprofit organization lends two stalls to the city Parks Dept. to board horses. The grounds have an indoor rink and five miles of riding trails that allow the [More...]