Union Fights State Workers’ Compensation Changes

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The union is taking part in an all-out effort to fight proposed changes to the workers’ compensation system in New York — changes that affect all workers injured on the job. The NYS Workers Compensation Board has proposed medical treatment guidelines and regulations that would eliminate monetary awards for dozens of arm and leg injuries, while also denying workers the right to have an independent medical examination. The change would also deny benefits and care to workers injured on the job who fail to answer all the questions posed by an employer’s medical examiner. Workers’ compensation, which has been on the books in New York for a century, is threatened by right-wing business interests, such as the Business Council, that pressured the state Workers’ Compensation Board to issue proposed changes to longstanding regulations earlier this year. The board’s action [More...]

Why We Must All Fight for the Dream Act

December 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ROBERT B. REICH By repealing DACA — Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals — Trump has endangered these young immigrants and the economic security of America. In 2012, the Obama administration created DACA as a temporary way to address the needs of young people who came to America as infants or toddlers, and know no other country. To apply and qualify for DACA, these young people had to risk entering the system by giving their identifying information. Once approved, they were granted two years of “deferred action” on deportation, with the promise that they could reapply every two years indefinitely. This allowed “dreamers” to go to college, get a job, and pay taxes without fear of deportation. DACA was never perfect, but for 800,000 immigrant youth it meant freedom from fear and an opportunity to fully contribute to the country they were raised in. But now these young [More...]

“We’re Making a Big Difference in the Lives of Women.”

December 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

  Joanne Schmidt, Family Public Health Nurse, Local 436 Most of my time is spent in the field visiting our clients, with a day to do paperwork in the office. They live all over the city, in shelters, in Riker’s Island or they live with foster families. I work with first-time mothers. They can be anywhere from as young as 12 years old to 41-year-old women. I help them with developing their parenting skills and give them orientation regarding lactation support. I make a lot of referrals on their behalf for social and mental health services at clinics. We make a lot of referrals to the Coalition for the Homeless. There’s really no typical person that I deal with. Their main concern is finding permanent housing, then finding a job. A lot of them are interested in continuing their education but that takes a back seat to finding a job and a place to stay — those are the priorities. [More...]

Union Members Make Sure the New York City Marathon Runs

November 29, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Collecting his 11th New York City Marathon medal, Jorge Serrano, a senior accountant for Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375, said this year’s race was special because he completed it with his son. “Ramon is a doctor in Boston, but we planned to do this together,” Serrano said. Serrano has been a long distance runner since high school. He preps for the 26.2 mile, five borough race by logging dozens of miles on predawn and weekend runs. The marathon is a major revenue generator for New York City that attracts over 50,000 participants and millions of spectators and tourists. DC 37 members make sure the event runs safely. Union members in the Dept. of Transportation and the city Parks and Recreation Dept. map out the marathon course. Blue Collar Division Local 1455 members paint the blue line that guides racers, Parks locals 983 and 1505 install barriers to [More...]

Union and City Start Contract Talks

November 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 started bargaining talks with the city for a new economic agreement on Nov. 14 with both sides expressing hope to wrap up negotiations quickly. “I can’t overemphasize that we need a contract now,” DC 37 Executive Henry Garrido told Labor Commissioner Robert W. Linn at the opening bargaining session. “Our members deserve a raise as soon as possible.” Union wants a three-year contract. The union’s 13 demands include a three-year agreement with a fair wage increase. “We are looking to improve our standard of living,” David Paskin, DC 37’s director of research and negotiations said, commenting on the union’s overarching concern in these negotiations. Paskin noted that members feel under a lot of financial pressure because of high rents, rising food and transportation expenses, and skyrocketing drug prices. Members are also anxious about their [More...]

A Bridge Maintainer’s Mitzvah

November 21, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS For years Anthony Pisciotta, a Bridge and Tunnel Maintainer in Local 1931, drove past Bayside Cemetery every day. He saw the long neglected Jewish burial ground near Kennedy Airport that was overgrown with knee-high weeds and tangles of brush and trees. Pisciotta found felled tombstones scrawled with graffiti, mausoleums and coffins busted open and robbed of valuables. The grounds were littered with garbage and desecrated and exposed corpses. “I was incensed at what had become of this final resting place,” said Pisciotta, who lives in the Bronx. “I could complain or I could improve the situation.” The synagogue that owns the Bayside graveyard, Shaare Zedek, had stopped hiring groundskeepers years ago. So Pisciotta, though not Jewish, performed a mitzvah, a good deed. He began a restoration project that quickly became his consuming passion. Pisciotta’s [More...]

Metropolitan Museum of Art Workers Win Health-Care Dispute

November 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Thirty-four guards at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will have extra cash on hand for the holidays thanks to the resolution of a payroll dispute between the union and management. Each guard is due $1,200 as the museum acknowledged its failure to meet its obligation to compensate workers who declined to sign up for health-care coverage because they enrolled in an outside plan. Earlier this year, Metropolitan Museum of Art Local 1503 President Rawle Campbell started to investigate the problem after three members — Maria Mantzavinou, Lara Pink and Vera Quehaja — brought the matter to his attention. They had noticed their paychecks didn’t list the payments for the health-care waiver. Pink said the personnel department told her the payments weren’t made because the federal government adopted a new policy requiring recipients to request the opt-out every year. [More...]

DC 37 Organizing Sets New Round of Lunch Time Info Sessions

November 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

The DC 37 Organizing Department has scheduled upcoming lunch time information events to thank members for their activism, strengthen the power of our collective voice and equip members with the tools necessary to move forward together. Volunteer Member Organizers like those pictured helped get out the vote to defeat the NYS Constitutional Convention and elect DC 37-endorsed candidates. Continuing to protect worker rights and safeguard the union, along with engaging the union’s membership for the challenges ahead, will be at the top of the agenda for upcoming workplace activist sessions “Workplace info sessions are part of an effort to strengthen the union from the grassroots,” said Barbara Terrelonge, director of the DC 37 Organizing Dept. “With more active members, our union will be stronger, whether that involves our involvement in a contract fight, political activities, [More...]

Leading the Way: The Transformation of a Union

November 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The union has embarked upon an ambitious, multi-year program to improve services, amplify the voice of members, expand organizing, engage activists, and reach out to the communities where our members live. With this effort, the union seeks to lead the way for the city’s labor movement, even as unions around the country are being targeted by deep-pocketed, right-wing, anti-government groups. These groups and their corporate and political allies have devoted decades to silencing the voices of working families. So far, their work has been successful: In the 1970s, nearly 35 percent of workers belonged to unions. That number has since plummeted to 10.4 percent this year. After decades of attacks, unions now only represent 6.4 percent of private-sector workers.Today, the network is turning its sights on public employees and their unions. A new model of unionism “We [More...]

Lifeguards Mark Four Years Without Drownings

November 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS City Lifeguards in Local 461 and their Supervisors in Local 508 are credited for achieving an outstanding public safety record as they complete their fourth consecutive season with no fatalities or drownings at public pools and beaches while Lifeguards were on duty. “These first responders protect millions of residents and tourists who visit New York City’s beaches and pools daily during the summer,” said Local 508 President Peter Stein. The locals’ record is especially impressive when considering on average, 10 people die every day from unintentional drowning in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control names it the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury or death. “As first responders Lifeguards, most of whom are still in their teens when hired, have a tremendous responsibility beyond their years,” Stein said. “Most kids’ first jobs [More...]