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Rookie of the Year Helps Find Where the Wild Things Are

June 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS For New Yorkers who want to roam the wild, public parks are urban forests teeming with over 600 species of wildlife. Tracking the migratory and breeding patterns of birds, bats and beasts is Community Coordinator Karolina Janik, a self-described computer nerd who works at North Arsenal of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. “I always wanted to work in public service and for my work to have purpose,” said Janik, a Social Services Employees Union Local 371 member, who was raised in Baltimore. “Before I moved here, I never realized how much wildlife exists in New York City.” Janik collects data on red-tailed hawk fledges nesting on a 96th Street fire escape and wild coyotes in Pelham Bay. She finds blue, yellow, and orange warblers that dart skyward and make New York City a stopover on their epic annual migration from South America to the Artic. Marshlands along [More...]

A $1.50 Pay Raise

May 28, 2018 // 0 Comments

So far, what critics said about the Trump tax plan is proving to be true: It’s a scam. After its unveiling last year, opponents last described the proposal as a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy with crumbs for the rest of us. Earlier this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan urged his colleagues to talk up the tax law by pointing out that a high school secretary in Pennsylvania was happy with her $1.50 weekly pay raise resulting the legislation. He abandoned that sales job when he realized how silly his spin was. As attention shifts to this November elections, Republican legislators in tough races are backing away from touting the plan, according to a Reuters study. It seems that they don’t want to be identified with their own achievement. As it turns out, the typical CEO is receiving an annual tax cut of more than $51,000. The bottom three-fifths of the population? They are [More...]

Stand with Spectrum Workers

May 26, 2018 // 0 Comments

This has gone on too long. This disgrace should be confronted and settled. What are we talking about? We are talking about the hardworking women and men at the cable provider Spectrum, who are on strike in a fight to protect benefits they’ve had for decades. A year ago, 1,800 New York City-area technicians walked off the job after Spectrum’s parent company, Charter Communications, demanded the workers give up their union benefits for company-controlled health and retirement plans—policies that would leave Spectrum workers far worse off. These demands by Charter were a consequence of its purchase of Time Warner Cable in 2016. As part of its anti-worker plans, Charter came into New York to gut contracts like they did with cable technicians nationwide, including unionized workers. The intent was to break contracts and bust up the union, in this case, Local 3 of the International [More...]

Members Demand Greater Financial Help for NYC H+H

May 25, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS At five annual meetings NYC Health+Hospitals held this spring, DC 37 leaders, members and public health advocates voiced concerns about the future of the largest public health care system in America. “We celebrate our success in convincing Governor Cuomo to protect and fund safety net hospitals, save MetroPlus from a $200 million cut, and let Medicaid money follow Medicaid patients, but our work doesn’t stop there,” said Renee Gainer, DC 37 Clerical Division director who spoke at Sea View Hospital and Rehabilitation Center on May 2. Dedicated DC 37 members work to make NYC H+H successful despite its financial woes: Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center is reknown for its program for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia and has received top rankings from the state Dept. of Health and U.S. News & World Report. In April, Leapfrog rated NYC H+H [More...]

Libraries Are What Unites Us

April 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DAN RATHER I love libraries. Always have and always will. They shaped my life from childhood onward. In my book What Unites Us, I dedicated a large section of the essay on books to libraries. And since tomorrow marks the beginning of #NationalLibraryWeek, I thought I would share an extended excerpt. I am grateful to all make libraries a continued part of our civic fabric. I recognize a quaintness in waxing nostalgic about libraries in an age when we have instantaneous access to more information than was contained in all the combined library collections of my youth. Still, libraries represent an aspirational notion of democracy. They were, and still are, civic institutions that welcome anyone who wishes to become a more informed and independent citizen. In books we can find expert and trustworthy scholarship on any subject imaginable. By reading books, we can continually challenge our [More...]

Union Organizing: a Civil Right

March 23, 2018 // 0 Comments

Now that the arguments were made — on both sides — in the Janus v. AFSCME case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 26, the waiting game for the ruling by the court begins. However, we want to make clear that our rights shall not be dictated by a majority of nine in a single legal case. Importantly, our right to organize, collectively bargain with our employers, and stand together as a solid bloc, is a civil right, one that cannot be denied or taken from us. A quote from the American Civil Liberties Union’s on its own stand on collective bargaining says it best: “Unions facilitate and enhance the ability of their members to exercise core civil liberties, such as the First Amendment rights of association, speech and petition.” The U.S. Constitution protects the right to association for individuals with common interests to unite and form organizations to fight — and [More...]

Communities and Unions

December 28, 2017 // 0 Comments

At DC 37, we want to shatter the myth, perpetrated by anti-labor forces, that unions are insular institutions and a “special interest” group. That’s why we continue to deepen our ties to communities where members live and work. A major step forward was to establish a new Office of Community Partnerships. How’s this embrace of “social unionism” being realized at DC 37? • In partnership with community advocates, we fought for and won universal free lunch, which now covers all 1.1 million children in our public school system. • In our 2016 City University of New York contract campaign, we were part of the CUNY Rising coalition that helped secure more than $300 million in state funding for our public university system. We are working with education advocates to make Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s free-tuition program truly universal. • In the fight-back campaign with NYCHA #NoCut [More...]

The Worldwide Need to Support Municipal Workers

December 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ROSA PANVANELLI Imagine a city with no access to safe water and sanitation, where bins overflow and rubbish piles up. A city without affordable child care or transportation, where children have no safe outdoor public spaces to play in and there are no green parks to enjoy. A city where pavements have cracks and holes, road traffic is a nightmare and pedestrians and cyclists are not safe. Without these, and many other essential urban services, cities collapse, local economies cannot run and inhabitants suffer a lower quality of life. And when people are in trouble, they turn to their closest level of government — their city. After Ecuador’s 2016 devastating earthquake, while national government was still assessing the casualties and damage, municipal workers were already digging through the rubble. Diego Celorio, a water worker in Pedernales, saw people trapped in a car still [More...]

South Asian Labor Group Sets Aggressive Political Agenda for 2018 Elections

December 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES A South Asian American labor group plans to aggressively build its membership and fight for a Democratic takeover of the U.S. Congress in the midterm elections in 2018. Participants at the Alliance of South Asian American Labor’s 10th annual convention on Dec. 9 celebrated their growing political strength and membership. But they also sharply decried the attack on immigrants, middle-class families and the poor emanating from the White House and U.S. Congress. The group expects to work with coalitions and to take part in voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts in 2018. Speakers highlighted the victories of South Asians in the November election in New Jersey, where ASAAL helped elect Democrat Phil Murphy as governor. Ravi Bhalla won the mayoral in Hoboken, becoming the first Sikh, a South Asian, elected as mayor in New Jersey and one of a few elected [More...]

“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...]