Members Outraged by Radical Right’s Anti-Union Campaign

September 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 members are angry that, in the wake of a politically charged U.S. Supreme Court attack on unions, wannabe union-busters are trying to dupe New York City public employees into giving up their rights. Janus v. AFSCME capped a decades-long effort by a nationwide anti-labor network to cripple public employee unions, cut government services and support anti-worker state legislators and governors throughout the country. A group calling itself NewChoice NY — which is supported by the Koch brothers and other ultra-rich labor foes — recently sent out an email blast to a total of 500,000 New York public employees — including DC 37 members — at their workplaces, trying to cajole public employees to leave their union. DC 37 also received reports of home visits by right-wing network representatives. “They try to sound as if they’re just doing workers a favor by [More...]

March to Fight Climate Change and Support Jobs, Justice

September 4, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 environmental activists are gearing up for a march on Thursday to protest against climate change and speak up for green jobs. Hundreds are expected to show up to “Rise for Climate Jobs & Justice,” occurring in advance of the four-day Global Action Summit in California later this month. The summit will bring together leaders and activists from around the world to accelerate action to put the brake on dangerous climate change and fulfill the Paris Agreement on the environment. “The Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice will begin at 6.pm. on Thursday, Sept. 6 in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. It will move north from the park. One of the march’s aims is to demand that New York elected officials step up the political pressure  to avert a climate catastrophe. Its principal demands of the demonstrators will be to call for: a just [More...]

Labor Day and Downward Mobility

September 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Since 1890, children could count on having a higher standard of living than their parents. Not anymore. Today–as we mark Labor Day–is a time to ask, why? Many factors account for this troubling trend: public policy, tax cuts for the wealthy, globalization, labor-saving technology, a corporate attack on worker benefits, and de-unionization. What are the consequences of the disappearing American Dream, the result of decades of the erosion of our benefits and pay? Here are some of the most disturbing signs of downward mobility: Only 50 percent of the children born 1980 earn more than their parents. About 90 percent of children born in 1944 surpassed the income of their parents. Black children from well-off families (the top fifth of income distribution) are more likely to fall behind their parents than white children, according to a study by Raj Chetty of [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...]

March With Us

August 21, 2018 // 1 Comment

The union invites you and your family to join with us on a very important day, Saturday, Sept. 8. When we march in the city’s Labor Day Parade, we do so to remember what it took to get there: the decades — in fact, more than a century — of at times heartbreaking struggles for unions to gain the power that it has. Things we take for granted, such as civil service protections, a guaranteed pension, a strong collective bargaining agreement, premium-free health care coverage, a safe workplace environment and a vast array of educational, housing and legal benefits, among others, are the culmination of the hard work and struggles of generations before–and this hard work of vigilance and fightback continues to this very day. The Saturday march offers an opportunity to celebrate those accomplishments, as well as an opportunity to show our gratitude for what we have gained over the [More...]

DC 37 Joins Rally in Philadelphia to Protest Trump’s Administration’s Abuse of Immigrants

August 17, 2018 // 1 Comment

By ALFREDO ALVARADO DC 37 members, immigration activists and union leaders traveled to Philadelphia for a rally to protest the abusive immigration policies of the Trump administration. Among the union leaders at the Aug. 15 rally at Penn’s Landing was Elissa McBride, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, DC 37’s parent union. McBride criticized the White House policies that have separated hundreds of children from their parents at the border. “A decent society does not traumatize children or treat people like caged animals,” McBride said. “The policy of zero tolerance is immoral and Trump should be in jail for it,” said Unite Here President D. Taylor. Unite Here — which represents workers in the food service, transportation and hospitality industry — was one of the main organizers of the rally. Members of the [More...]

98 Percent Vote ‘Yes’ on Contract

August 15, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 members voted overwhelmingly for a contract that provides for a total wage increase of 7.42 percent and preserves their premium-free health-care coverage with no givebacks. Members voted 31,133 in favor and 743 against the contract, an approval rating of 97.6 percent. The mail-ballot vote was tabulated on Aug. 14 at the American Arbitration Association’s office in downtown Manhattan. “Our members have spoken loudly and clearly in favor of a new 44-month economic agreement, which provides for a total pay hike of 7.42 percent, substantial funding for benefits, a new paid family leave plan, and a continuation of premium-free health insurance until at least 2021,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “The 98 percent yes vote was a powerful display of union solidarity.” The contract includes a new paid family leave benefit, which a growing number [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...]