Paid Family Leave: A Dad’s Joyful Bonding

August 26, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Research Scientist Michael D. Zboray is among the more than 1,000 union members who are taking advantage of the new paid family leave benefit that went into effect at the beginning of the year. Zboray combined his vacation and sick days with his family leave time after the birth of his daughter, Polina, in January. “My wife Anna and I decided it was very important for me to take advantage of the benefit,” said Zboray, a member of New York City Police Department Civilian Unit Local 3778. “Having a baby, of course, changes your life. If someone were to ask me about the benefit, I would absolutely recommend it.” He has now returned to work and is taking days off periodically for the rest of the year. Zboray said he enjoys the flexibility of the plan, which allows you use the leave in one bloc or spread it out over the course of a year. The union won paid family [More...]

TA Worker Rescues Man Stuck on Subway Tracks

August 19, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Patrick Burke, an administrative project manager at New York City Transit, stopped by the Yankee Stadium station of the D subway line to do a routine check on construction. Such visits are a regular part of his job, which includes evaluating whether contractors are meeting city regulations. “Nothing was going on, so I was heading back to my work site,” said Burke, 59, a licensed engineer with more than 30 years on the job. But as he proceeded to make his way out of the station, Burke spotted someone –apparently intoxicated or high—sprawled out on the train tracks. Alarmed, Burke raced toward the man as he called for him to get up, fearing a subway train would be soon arriving at the station. But this didn’t turn into an easy rescue. “I got under his arms and was yanking him up on the platform,” Burke said. “But he started wrestling with me.” Burke [More...]

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Worker Wins Wage Hike and Back Pay

August 14, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS After eight months of labor-management meetings, DC 37 Local 374 has won a wage hike and retroactive pay that adds about $1,400 to the annual salary of a Brooklyn Botanic Garden employee. “I love this job and everyone who knows me knows that I love what I do,” said Claudia Navas, a Clerical 4 project coordinator who spreads the message that composting is good for the environment, leads workshops and offers technical advice. A team player, Navas shoulders extra responsibilities to help out when Brooklyn Botanic Garden is short-staffed. But when she asked to be compensated for her hard work, she unearthed a problem only her union could resolve. “I was surprised to learn that although I am the most senior employee, as a Clerical 4, I earned $1,285 less than my colleagues, who are all senior museum instructors. So I called my union,” Navas said. White Collar [More...]

Top National Honors for NYC Public Hospitals and Their Hardworking Employees

August 13, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS In August, the American Heart Association gave high achievement awards to all 11 NYC Health + Hospitals facilities for implementing AHA’s national standards to achieve healthier outcomes for heart failure and stroke patients. Some 18,000 DC 37 members work at NYC H+H, the nation’s largest public hospital system. They are committed to giving quality care to the one million patients treated each year. Also this summer, U.S. News & World Report named seven New York City public hospitals as high performing in their 2019-2020 Best Hospital issue, which compares outcomes at 4,500 medical facilities nationwide in 16 specialty areas. The study helps patients and their doctors make better informed medical care choices. The high performing H+H hospitals for heart failure are: Bellevue, Coney Island, Harlem, Jacobi, Kings County, Lincoln and Elmhurst, which is also [More...]

Contract Fight of Westchester County Day-Care Workers Heats Up

August 12, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES About 40 day-care center workers in Westchester County staged a one-day strike on Thursday, protesting years of frozen pay and their employer’s most recent outrage, a failure to repair a summertime breakdown of the air conditioning system. “Enough is enough,” said Kim Medina, deputy administrator of District Council 1707, which represents day-care workers Local 205 and will unify with District Council 37 in September. “Because of management’s failure to negotiate seriously, our members are struggling to meet their daily expenses,” Medina, who will become the special assistant to the executive director for the new Non-Profit and Private Sector Division of District Council when the unification of the two councils occurs. “The agency’s failure to address the scorching working conditions is only the latest abuse.” The parents of infants and toddlers [More...]

Education is Power

August 10, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES For three decades, Sherif Fawzy devoted himself to his job at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but didn’t take any particular interest in the union. He was okay with paying his dues, recognizing that the union fulfilled its responsibility to negotiate periodic wage increases and protect his rich packet of benefits. But he felt no need to get involved. His outlook changed a few years ago after DC 37 successfully defend him against unfounded disciplinary charges by managers. That’s also when he decided to educate himself about labor law and his contract. One day, while checking out the union’s website, he learned he was entitled to take courses for free at the City University of New York. And so he enrolled. Fawzy, an engineer who works in the Dept. of Subway Car Equipment at the MTA, is one of the nearly 30 DC 37 members in the first graduating class [More...]

Members Get Citizenship Info at Union-Sponsored Workshop

August 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

Union members received professional help towards obtaining U.S. citizenship earlier this summer in a workshop sponsored by the DC 37 Citizenship Committee and partner CUNY Citizenship Now! The workshop was promoted on the union’s social media outlets. Experienced immigration lawyers and professionals offered members and their families free confidential legal services, including naturalization application assistance, DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) renewal, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extensions. They reviewed documents and helped participants understand what they need to complete an application for U.S. citizenship. Juan Fernandez, president of Local 154 and committee chair said, “This is one of the many services the union provides to our members and the community in an ongoing effort to welcome immigrants and help them navigate the path to US [More...]

Day-Care Educators Win Pay Equity with City Teachers

August 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES By more than a 3-to-1 margin, members of Local 205 — early childhood educators who work for non-profit organizations — voted for a contract extension that puts them on a path to wage parity with their counterparts at the New York City Dept. of Education. The contract extension covers more than 4,000 members of the local and is the first demonstration of how the recently-announced unification of District Council 1707 and District Council 37 can increase the bargaining and political power of New York City public and private sector workers. “This is an historic achievement — after decades of hard work, early childhood educators are being recognized as true professionals,” noted Kim Medina, the executive director of DC 1707 who now becomes special assistant to the executive director for the new Non-Profit and Private Sector Division of District Council [More...]

Urban Park Rangers Find a Lost 83-year-old Man on a Search-and-Rescue Mission

July 17, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Local 983 Urban Park Rangers in Staten Island’s Ocean Breeze fanned out across the tidal marsh in a search-and-rescue mission to find a lost 83-year-old man on May 2. Headed to Staten Island University Hospital for a doctor’s visit, the elderly man missed his bus and decided to take a shortcut through the vast meadows he walked as a youngster. He told reporters that he had walked for almost 30 minutes only to discover too late that what he remembered to be dry land decades years ago is now 110 acres of wet marshland. Tired and disoriented, the man stepped in mud, fell backward, and began to sink. He used an old flip phone to call 911. UPR Sgt. Anne Marie Santos was at her post in Ocean Breeze when she saw police gathering. They told her about the 911 call that went out around 2:15 p.m. She radioed UPRs and PEP Officers Winston Farrell, Charles Williams, and [More...]

Moving UP Thanks to the Union’s Ed Fund: From Dietary Aide to Registered Nurse

July 15, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A unique Education Fund program opened a door to life-altering opportunities for Dietary Aide Yolanda Jeter and other hospital workers to earn college degrees and acquire skills leading to jobs, promotions and better salaries. “I went to a Local 420 membership meeting and that’s where I learned about this incredible program,” said Jeter, a per diem worker at Susan McKinney nursing home since 2013. “Attending that union meeting changed my life.” What Jeter learned about is the Food and Nutrition Worker Education Fund program for dietary aides and other employees with union titles at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities who are supervised by Sodexo management. The program helps NYC H+H employees advance through higher education and certifications, providing up to $2,000 in annual tuition assistance and reimbursement for education, professional development and [More...]