The Trump/GOP Plan to Attack Public Workers

January 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LISA REIN President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are drawing up plans to take on the government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation. Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions — these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control of Washington in January. These changes were once unthinkable to federal employees, their unions and their supporters in Congress. But Trump’s election as an outsider promising to shake up a system he told voters is awash in “waste, fraud and abuse” has conservatives optimistic that they could do now what Republicans have been unable to do in the 133 years since the civil [More...]

“Recreation Centers Strengthen Communities.”

January 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

I am a Recreation Supervisor at St. Mary’s in the Bronx. I’ve worked for the Parks and Recreation Department since 1999. My job is to make sure the center meets the needs of the community. As a kid I frequented the rec center in Morningside Heights. I have lasting memories of playing sports there and hanging with my friends. We built lifetime friendships and had good role models. Those experiences define me, so when I was figuring out what I wanted to do it helped me choose a career in public service. People of all ages—from 18 months to seniors—come to St. Mary’s and feel welcome and safe. They learn to swim, dance and play sports. We run basketball and billiards tournaments and our dance program has about 450 kids enrolled. We offer free after-school programs and field trips for youth under 17. We offer a range of low-cost memberships for adults, seniors and people with [More...]

“We are equally despised by the landlords and tenants. We must be doing something right!”

January 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

I kind of fell into public service. I started out as an attorney at the state Department of Labor to get my loans deferred. You will find that a majority of African Americans who graduate from law school end up in the public sector. There are no jobs in the private sector. I have worked for the state since 1994. I worked at the Department of Labor until 2000. Now I am at the Office of Rent Administration at the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. We handle cases involving rent control and rent stabilization. There is only one place where landlords and tenants can go—and that’s here. People come here with complaints. They may be overcharged for rent. The landlord might be denying them their succession rights to remain in an apartment after the lease holder died. After rent administrators issue an order, we review it to make sure everything is accurate. We write our decision [More...]

“A Garden of Unexpected and Overwhelming Beauty”

January 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

Walk from the parking lot to enter Wave Hill, and it’s like ‘Wow!’ You see the expanse of the Palisades, the Hudson, and a garden of unexpected and overwhelming beauty. Gardening is all about the layers — layers of plants, shrubs, and trees. Layers of textures and colors, flowers, leaves, bark. As one species fades another blooms and that occurs spring, summer, fall and winter—there is perpetual flowering. The Englewood Cliffs across the river frame a backdrop and now with the beautiful fall color it adds to what we do. As one of seven Gardeners at Wave Hill, we each maintain about 4 acres of the 28-acre grounds. I care for three major areas including the Visitors Center, pruning, mulching, planting, and composting. I drive a tractor, a bobcat, I fix machines. I am the go-to guy — if it needs fixing, it comes to me. I used to work in a high-end bike shop as a mechanic. I [More...]

DC 37 Celebrates Chanukah at Union Headquarters

December 30, 2016 // 0 Comments

DC 37’s annual celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, drew dozens of members and retirees to the union hall Dec. 27. “The Maccabees fought their oppressors and won,” said Jewish Heritage Committee chair Dr. Lenny Davidman, president of NYC Psychologists Local 1189. “There is a lesson for labor: fight back and bring light to darkness.” “We think of the miracle of Chanukah some 2,000 years ago and it reminds us to stay united,” said DC 37 Associate Director Oliver Gray. “Over the next four years we will need to fight harder than ever, determined to move labor’s causes forward.” “Chanukah’s dreidel game has a message of hope– when negative forces seem overwhelming, one spin can bring change and keep us going,” said Rabbi Alvin Kass, as he lit the menorah. The New York Police Dept. recently honored Kass, a member of Local 299, for 50 years of [More...]

The Fight Ahead in the Era of Trump

December 29, 2016 // 0 Comments

When we stand up, we fight, and when we fight, we win. District Council 37 has survived many crises that have threatened our existence. Our struggles define us as a union, and in the end we more than just survive, we stand victorious. We are a proud people, and a caring people; we stand not just for ourselves, but for the communities we serve. This union is strong because of its members. From that strength we accomplish many goals and have turned back many assaults against us, the quality of our services we provide the citizens of New York City, and have blunted attempts to diminish our power, and the rights for all working families to claim justice and equal access to basic services. Never forget who we are.Never forget that DC 37 saved New York City from bankruptcy decades ago. We made sacrifices to ensure the well-being of our city. These measure came not from weakness, but a full [More...]

Our Fight Ahead in an Anti-Labor Era

December 28, 2016 // 0 Comments

When we stand up, we fight, and when we fight, we win. District Council 37 has survived many crises that have threatened our existence. Our struggles define us as a union, and in the end we more than just survive, we stand victorious. We are a proud people, and a caring people; we stand not just for ourselves, but for the communities we serve. This union is strong because of its members. From that strength we accomplish many goals and have turned back many assaults against us, the quality of our services we provide the citizens of New York City, and have blunted attempts to diminish our power, and the rights for all working families to claim justice and equal access to basic services. Never forget who we are. Never forget that DC 37 saved New York City from bankruptcy decades ago. We made sacrifices to ensure the well-being of our city. These measure came not from weakness, but a full [More...]

DC 37 Plans Legislative Agenda for 2017

December 28, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO The financial crisis at NYC Health+Hospitals, reducing the number of provisional employees and mobilizing against the proposed constitutional convention were the top priorities laid out by DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido at the union’s 41st annual Legislative Conference. A vote on whether to hold a constitutional conventional will be held in November 2017. The New York State Constitution mandates a vote every 20 years to decide whether to convene a constitutional convention. DC 37 does not support a constitutional convention. “We say no because it’s an opportunity to use public workers as scapegoats,” said Wanda Williams, legislative director of the Political Action and Legislation Dept., at the conference. “Our pensions are protected now, but that could change with a constitutional convention.” Supporters say they would like to convene a [More...]

Trump: A Wake-Up Call for Unions

December 25, 2016 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO The election of Donald J. Trump as president distresses us because we fear his policies will allow the decades-long nationwide attack on working people to continue. District Council 37 and its national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, worked tirelessly for Hillary Clinton because we were convinced that she was the candidate who would best support the interests of our members. We were shocked and deeply saddened by her loss on Nov. 8. But rather than allowing her defeat to leave us licking our wounds and turning us into outliers in the political process, we view this setback as a wake-up call. Trump’s election is an indication of our need to step up our own effort to make DC 37 a more dynamic and powerful union. DC 37’s history is to never quit. The disturbing rightward shift in the country shows how important it is to stick [More...]

DC 37-backed Law will Help Provisional Workers Become Civil Servants

December 22, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Under a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in late November thousands of provisional city employees will have the opportunity to become civil servants with layoff, seniority, and disciplinary  job protections. The law allows the city to extend a plan for reducing the ranks of the 22,000 provisional workers on its payroll. By law, municipalities are only supposed to employ provisional workers for up to nine months. At that point, the workers must be hired into a permanent position or be let go. “This is a tremendous achievement for the union,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “It will eliminate the specter of job loss that is always in the back of the mind of provisional workers.” The city began trimming its provisional workforce after a 2007 court ruling, which upheld the civil service rule that restricts municipalities from employing [More...]