Cultural Trust Restores Union’s Legal Services

February 3, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Beginning March 1, DC 37 will resume offering legal services to members employed at and who have retired from New York City’s cultural institutions. “We are geared up and excited to offer much-needed legal services to these DC 37 members with no increase to their dues,” said William Whalen, the director of the Municipal Employees Legal Services. About 3,000 DC 37 members in six locals: 374, 1306, 1501, 1502, 1503, and 1559 and retirees will have access to MELS lawyers. These union members work at the American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, Wave Hill, the New York Aquarium, Brooklyn, Queens and NY Botanical Gardens, and other cultural sites. They should expect to receive a letter from DC 37 explaining the benefit shortly, Whalen said. After the 2008 stock market crash, the Cultural Trust lost a [More...]

MELS Highlights Income Tax Changes

February 1, 2020 // 0 Comments

MELS, the DC 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services, held a tax workshop in January providing advice for members and retirees about significant changes in the tax law. These changes will impact those filing their 2019 tax returns, due on April 15. Here are the highlights: The standard deduction has increased. For those filing Single, and Married Filing Separately, the deduction is $12,200, while for couples filing Married, Jointly, the deduction is $24,400, and for those filing as Head of Household, the deduction is $18,350. For divorces after Dec. 31, 2018, alimony received is not taxable, nor is it deductible by the person paying. The child tax credit for dependent children under 17 has been increased from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. There is a new form, 1040 SR, for seniors over 65. The penalty for not having health insurance has been abolished. Also new for 2018 and 2019, the maximum [More...]

News You Can Use: Payday Loans: A Trap for Working People

January 31, 2020 // 0 Comments

Payday loans are short-term loans with huge interest rates (often exceeding 400 per­cent annually) and high application fees. They typically last for two to four weeks, and if the borrower is unable to pay in full, lenders renew the loan with another application fee. Payday lenders often insist the bor­rower agree to automatic payments from a bank account. The only qualification to take out a payday loan is a regular check, typically a pay­check. Payday lenders also target senior citizens who receive a social security check. New York has a 25% interest rate cap, which in effect makes payday loans illegal. That is why we do not see payday lenders operating from storefronts as in some states. However, payday lenders market their loans through the internet and by phone. Many thousands of New Yorkers, who need funds for an emergency or for everyday expenses, have fallen into the payday [More...]

Calendar of 2020 DC 37 Black History Month Events

January 30, 2020 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS DC 37’s 39th Annual Black History Month celebration, honoring African-American achievement, culture and contributions, kicks off with a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony at 6 p,m. on February 3 at 125 Barclay Street in lower Manhattan. Union members and their families, coworkers and retirees are invited to share in the festivities. Local unions will sponsor events throughout February to commemorate the African American legacy of struggle and advancement that has helped shaped our country and the labor movement. All events listed below start at 6 p.m. at 125 Barclay Street in lower Manhattan. Feb. 3 Committee ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 6 Local 1930 New York Public Library Guild at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7 SSEU Local 371 Social Service Employees Union Feb. 10 Local 1407 Accounts, Statisticians and Actuaries Feb. 20 Local 372 Board of Education Employees Feb. 21 CBTU NY [More...]

DC 37 Endorses NYC Congress Member Carolyn Maloney

January 29, 2020 // 0 Comments

District Council 37 has endorsed Rep. Carolyn Maloney in her Congressional re-election bid. “At a time of turbulence and tumult in Washington DC, where the Trump administration continues its assault on the rights of working men and women, we need strong labor advocates who can be counted on to walk the walk,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido.  “Carolyn Maloney has always been such an advocate, a longtime supporter of pro-worker legislation.” Her record in the House of Representatives includes supporting the Family and Medical Leave Act, increasing the federal minimum wage, expanding workforce protections and providing American families with access to safe, affordable, quality child care. She has authored landmark legislation including the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and its reauthorization to make sure all those suffering health aliments [More...]

Nightmare Ends With Citizenship

January 29, 2020 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Almost seven years to the day his immigration nightmare began, Local 983 member Jose Molina began 2020 with the oath of citizenship. His family, union leaders, and a cadre of immigration lawyers and supporters witnessed the swearing-in ceremony at Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan Jan. 17. “I am just so happy and thankful that this day has come and I am finally an American citizen,” Molina said. He came to the United States as an infant and faced deportation to Panama for a crime he committed and served time for more than 20 years ago. Molina, an Associate Parks Service Worker, was initially detained in 2013 after an early-morning raid of his home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He was arrested again after he reported to immigration court to comply with a judge’s orders. DC 37 monitored his immigration case and fought on his behalf in union [More...]

Union’s TV Show focuses on New State Enhanced Tenant Protections

January 17, 2020 // 0 Comments

By RUDY OROZCO Tune in to “State of the Union”, DC 37 television show hosted by Executive Director Henry Garrido this January 2020 when he welcomes DC 37’s Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS) Director and Chief Counsel Bill Whalen and MELS Housing Unit Co-Supervisor Anette Bonelli to explain New York State’s historic new law which gives tenants new rights and benefits. The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 was passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in late Spring, 2019. The program, which focuses on the issues that impact the working men and women of NYC, the labor movement and the progressive movement, is produced at Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), and airs in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. The show’s January airing schedule: Manhattan (MNN) –Thursday, Jan. 16 at 9:30 p.m. on Spectrum Chs. 34 [More...]

DC 37 CUNY Days: We Can Help You Jumpstart Your Career!

January 16, 2020 // 0 Comments

Worker Education at the CUNY School of Labor & Urban Studies (SLU) is here to help you achieve your academic and career goals. Our experienced advisors are available to meet one-on-one to discuss: Academic requirements for specific jobs Choosing a CUNY campus and major Applying to and financing a CUNY degree Certificate and non-credit options at CUNY Transferring previous credits Long-term career planning Fastest-growing industries in NYC Each session is free and caters to your specific goals and needs. Schedule your CUNY advisement session now! Can’t find a date/time that works for you? Please contact WorkerEd@slu.cuny.edu or call: 646-313-8531 for more [More...]

Remembering Dr. King

January 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS On the 91st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth January 15, we reflect on his life’s pursuit of liberty, justice, equality for all and service to others. Dr. King’s life was cut short in 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tennessee. At the invitation of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, DC 37’s national union), Dr. King traveled to support Black sanitation workers who were striking for fair wages, safe working conditions and the right to belong to a union. AFSCME pressed Dr. King to speak to Local 1733 members who daily bore humiliations and earned poverty wages. The last speech he ever gave, in which he famously declared that he had “been to the mountaintop,” was to the striking workers at the Mason Temple in Memphis. He embraced labor’s cause as a microcosm of the struggles his upcoming Poor [More...]

DC 37 union backs Councilman Donovan Richards for Queens borough president

January 8, 2020 // 0 Comments

This article originally appeared in the New York Daily News on Jan. 6, 2020. By ANNA SANDERS The city’s largest public employee union endorsed Councilman Donovan Richards for Queens borough president on Monday, promising a boost for the pol from thousands of its members. District Council 37 has some 46,000 members, retirees and their family who live in Queens, where a special election for borough president will be held March 24. “Our support is going to make a significant difference in this race,” DC 37 executive director Henry Garrido said in a statement, noting Richards has served his constituents in Southeast Queens and the Rockaways “with distinction.” “He has labored tirelessly for improved public safety and more affordable housing in his district,” Garrido said. “We believe that he will take this level of energy and commitment to Queens Borough Hall.” DC 37 [More...]