Unions, City Meet Target for Savings; Health Care Coverage Still Premium-Free

June 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mission accomplished. The Municipal Labor Committee on May 18 approved the last of a series of coverage changes that will enable the city to save $3.4 billion in employee health care costs. The city and MLC — which represents city unions on health care matters — agreed to the four-year plan in 2015. The saving plan enabled DC 37 to maintain the premium-free health care coverage that members and retirees enjoy through Blue Cross Blue Shield/GHI-CBP and HIP/HMO. “There were doubts in some circles that the union and city could achieve this, but we succeeded,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “The plan preserves our premium-free coverage at least through fiscal year 2018.” Here are the changes: ● The co-pay for members enrolled in HIP/HMO who use Urgent Care centers will increase to $50 on July 1. Currently, the co-pay at the centers ranges [More...]

DC 37 Pushes Budget Agenda at City Council Hearing

June 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO As the deadline to approve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.6 billion proposed budget for 2018 draws closer, four leaders from District Council 37 appeared before the City Council’s Finance Committee to advocate for more funds to expand city services. John Hyslop, president of Queens Library Guild Local 1321, pressed for more funding to modernize the libraries’ dated computers and install additional electrical outlets so customers can recharge their electronic devices and use their laptops. “The public wants better services in their libraries and we want the resources to provide those services,” said Hyslop, at the committee’s hearing on May 25. The network of libraries continues to provide an array of services for New Yorkers from adult literacy classes to programs for children and senior citizens. Our branches are overflowing,” added Hyslop. United [More...]

Union sets June 2017 workplace info sessions and Union Day

May 31, 2017 // 0 Comments

The DC 37 Organizing Department has scheduled workplace information sessions throughout June to strengthen the power of our collective voice and equip members with the tools necessary to move forward together. At the top of the agenda: voting “NO” on the New York State Constitutional Convention to protect worker rights and safeguard the pensions of members and retirees. The union will also hold a Union Day event on June 28 at Coler Rehabilitation & Nursing Center on Roosevelt Island, where members can learn more about union benefits and how to become active with the union. In addition, the next general activist training is scheduled for Sept. 6 at DC 37 union headquarters. A second session will be scheduled about two weeks after the first session. To register for the training or for more information, call DC 37 Organizing at (212) 815-1095.  “Workplace info [More...]

Local 371 Expects Help for Workers from New Chief of Administration for Children’s Services

May 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By MIKE LEE The new commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services is ready to work with the union in helping the embattled agency, and he promised new money in the mayor’s executive budget for additional Child Protective Specialists, members of SSEU Local 371. These workers endure low pay and heavy caseloads, while doing some of the most dangerous jobs in New York City: investigating cases of child abuse and monitoring at-risk families. ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell took over the agency in March after the resignation of Gladys Carrion, who left in the wake of high-profile child deaths, most notably Zymere Perkins in September 2016. Hansell has a distinguished three- decade career in public service. Before being named by Mayor de Blasio to head ACS, Hansell worked for President Barack Obama at the Dept. of Health and Human Services and also served as chief of [More...]

Union Backs Legislation Requiring Automatic Sign Up for School Pension

May 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO City employees are usually enrolled automatically in the retirement system when they are hired. But that’s not true for many members of Board of Education Employees Local 372. New Local 372 members are required to sign up. But many members who work for the Dept. of Education neglect to enroll and therefore don’t receive pension benefits when they retire. District Council 37 and Local 372 announced their support of legislation, sponsored by New York state Sen. Diane Savino and Assembly member Nick Perry, that would automatically enroll members in the Board of Education Retirement System. “Under the current enrollment process, too many of our members at the Dept. of Education have missed out on the full pension benefits they are entitled to,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I applauded the Albany [More...]

Mounted Unit Protects City Parks

May 25, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Keeping New York City’s natural jewels, verdant parklands like Van Cortlandt Park, Central Park and Prospect Park, safe are the equestrian detail of Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers. The Parks Mounted Unit consists of eight Local 983 Urban Parks Rangers and their supervisors, who ride and groom six horses that are used to patrol acres of meadows, wooded trails, ravines and sandy beaches. “We select UPRs with at least two years’ experience for training,” said lead trainer Jessica Cowan, a 20-year veteran Associate Parks Enforcement Patrol Officer in DC 37 Local 983. Parks trains its horses at HOOPH, a new heated stable on Staten Island that houses horses used to help people with special needs. The nonprofit organization lends two stalls to the city Parks Dept. to board horses. The grounds have an indoor rink and five miles of riding trails that allow the [More...]

Federal Safety Agency Blasts Brooklyn Public Library for Asbestos Exposure

May 23, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Justice has been served in a case of a Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild member exposed to asbestos at work. The incident occurred in November 2015, when the member — a custodian at the Eastern Parkway branch of the Brooklyn Library in Crown Heights — was cleaning up debris left by an outside contractor. The custodian was not informed the debris contained asbestos. As reported in the September 2016 issue of Public Employee Press, the union’s Safety and Health Dept. assisted the custodian. After an extensive inspection, the union filed a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), charging that management exposed workers to asbestos fibers and failed to test the employees for exposure and inform them of the hazardous situation at the library. The agency issued its report on May 10, 2016, finding the workers at the [More...]

Library for the Blind Clerical Workers Receive Promotions

May 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES After settling a grievance with New York Public Library, the clerical staff at the Library for the Blind received title upgrades and salary increases. The grievance contended the DC 37 members were working out-of-title since their job responsibilities includes different and more tasks than that of their counterparts at neighborhood branch libraries. The library, New York Public Library Guild Local 1930 and District Council 37 signed the settlement in January. This agreement assigns the six covered clerical workers at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library — the formal name of the Library for the Blind — to collections processing titles, which better reflects their work. “The staff at the Library of the Blind do a lot of behind the scenes work in addition to their traditional clerical duties,” said Louise M. Stamp, Local 1930’s vice president [More...]

Constitutional Mischief

May 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES As right-wing interests push for a constitutional convention in New York, a similar move is afoot around the country. But that effort has a different target: the U.S. Constitution. Whether the goal is to change a state constitution or the nation’s constitution, the risk is the same: Government services along with our personal liberties, civil rights and right to bargain collectively could be put on the chopping block. The anti-government American Legislative Exchange Council is working with state legislators on resolutions calling for a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states can convene a constitutional convention when two-thirds of the country’s 50 states pass resolutions in support of a Convention of the States. Supporters have managed to get the backing of 28 legislatures. Right-wing [More...]

Advocates Call for More Library Funding

May 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Before today’s City Council budget hearing, library advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall this morning to demand more funding for the city’s three public library systems. Union and city leaders, along with the heads of the library systems, joined community activists and library workers to call on the City Council to provide an extra $24 million to fund seven-day library service. Only 15 of the city’s 216 libraries are open seven days a week. They also asked the council to approve an additional $150 million to help the library systems continue to carry out their long-term $1.1 billion capital plan. The funding would be used to address chronic flooding, faulty air conditioners and heating systems, overcrowding, outdated electrical systems, broken elevators and insufficient space. “Our communities need funds for seven day service in this [More...]