March 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO We cannot sit on the sidelines. The stakes are too high. The attack against working people— bankrolled by people like the billionaire Koch brothers—is relentless. And they are closing in on us. Last year, we won a temporary reprieve when the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the Friedrichs case, which aimed to defund public employee unions by allowing workers to withhold dues payments despite receiving union services. The anti-union National Right Work Legal Defense Foundation is now behind several similar lawsuits making their way up the judicial pipeline to the Supreme Court. With the financial support of the foundation, government employees in three states — school workers in New York, teachers in Pennsylvania and medical center workers in California — simultaneously filed lawsuits in January that challenge the constitutionality of the right of unions to [More...]

Training Health-Care Workers in Patient and Worker Safety

March 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Members of locals 420 and 768 work hard in providing quality care at NYC Health+Hospitals facilities. Some of the tasks involved in making patients’ lives better under their care may seem mundane to outsiders, but their work makes a huge difference in patient care. It can also injure health-care workers providing these services. DC 37 members assist in daily routines to make hospital patients’ lives better, such as moving them from their beds to a chair, or helping patients in physical therapy. While these day-to-day routines for our city hospital workers is a normal practice in health-care settings, workers face risk of bodily injury. Many of these injuries are caused by repeated pressure on the back or knees — both can lead to chronic pain and long-term physical damage. Also, there is a risk of patient injury if staff cannot prevent a fall. Work injuries can end a [More...]

New clerical unit contract addresses inequality among workers

March 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The new contract for the DC 37 clerical unit addresses inequities within the group by making all titles eligible for recurring increment payments, (RIP) which are pay increases added to members’ base salary. Until now, about two-thirds of the 12,000 covered workers received the increase. “In this round of bargaining, the committee agreed to use the additional compensation fund to deal with inequality within our own group,” said Fausto Sabatino, president of Court, County and Dept. of Probation Employees Local 1070. “We were happy to work out an agreement that reflects one of the most important principals of unionism: fairness,” he said. The RIP schedule is a mini-step-pay plan that rewards workers for their years of dedicated service, and it encourages them to stick with their careers. RIP payments begin after an employee completes six years of service and [More...]

Black History Month: Heartbeat of America

March 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

  Photos: Mike Lee By DIANE  S. WILLIAMS The Motown Show’s two sold-out performances on Finale Night Feb. 27 ended the union’s month-long celebration of Black History. Motown Spectacular is a musical co-written and directed by DC 37 member Yolanda Brooks-Ruiz, a Local 768 Public Health Sanitarian, and retired New York City Firefighter Juan Ruiz, who studied with renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg. Black History Committee Chair and Local 1113 President Deborah Pitts emceed the night with DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Local 768 President Fitz Reid. Local 768 and the DC 37 Black History Committee sponsored the event. Brooks-Ruiz’s Motown show highlights the genius of producer, songwriter and music pioneer Berry Gordy, who with writer Smokey Robinson, and later with the team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, crafted tunes and smooth stylings that leaped past longstanding [More...]

Local 983 Wins Higher Pay and Better Benefits for Urban Park Rangers

February 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS From March 1 to March 27, New York City will offer an open competitive exam for Urban Park Rangers. To apply, file an application with the Dept. of Citywide Services (DCAS). Once you apply, you may register for prep classes at “We urge all provisional UPRs to take the exam and the test prep courses offered through the DC 37 Education Fund,” said Local 983 President Joseph Puleo. DC 37 and Local 983 have made outstanding strides improving salary and benefits for its members. Puleo said, “Newly hired Urban Park Rangers start with a 15 percent salary increase.” The union negotiated: A $41,200 new annual starting salary for UPRs, up from $32,700. After five years, UPRs get a $1,500 raise to bring them to $42,700, plus future increases negotiated in the citywide agreement. Longevity pay of $800 annually and pensionable Recurring Increment Payments [More...]

Activists Flock to Organizing Summit

February 18, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By ALFREDO ALVARADO The increase in “right to work” legislation being passed around the country, the threats to immigrants and the upcoming constitutional convention vote in November were some of the urgent issues DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido addressed during his welcoming remarks at the union’s first organizing summit. “They say New York is not Wisconsin and it can’t happen here, but I’m not so sure,” said Garrido, referring to the union-busting legislation introduced in Wisconsin by Gov. Scott Walker. Garrido shared his comments at the Feb. 11 summit for union activists sponsored by the DC 37 Organizing Dept. Encouraged by Walker’s success in Wisconsin, anti-union activists around the country are working hard to introduce similar union-busting legislation in other states, Garrido said. “Wages in Wisconsin are down and raises are capped, thanks to [More...]

Vote “Yes” to Protect Your Drug Benefit

February 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mail ballots went out today  to more than 90,000 members for a vote on a contract extension to protect the union’s popular prescription drug plan, which has been rocked in recent years by the pharmaceutical industry’s pursuit of excessive profits. The contract extension, which the union and city agreed to in January, will enable the DC 37 Health & Security Plan to continue to provide stable benefits to members and retirees. During the past eight years, the pharmaceutical industry has raised prescription drug prices by 105 percent. Today, prescription drugs consume 76 percent of the costs of the welfare fund, which also covers the dental benefit and other benefits managed by the plan. The DC 37 Health & Security Plan faces a $55 million deficit. The contract extension is one of a number of critical steps the union is taking to protect the drug [More...]

Local 1549 Activists Consider Political Agenda

February 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By JOE LOPEZ The troublesome political climate of our nation and the imminent threat to labor were the topics of conversation for the 260 activists, staff and politicians who gathered at Union Headquarters on Feb. 4 at the 16th Annual NYC Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549 Advocacy and Political Action Conference. Coordinated by Local 1549 2nd Vice President Ralph Palladino, the conference included guest speakers included Rev. Terrence Melvin, Secretary-Treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO and President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We have a lot of work to do and we are the right people in the right place at the right time to do it,” said a fired-up Rev. Melvin. Referring to Donald Trump as a “monster of a problem,” he said that it was now time to fight and make sure his stay in the White House is [More...]

No To a Constitutional Convention

February 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

On the November 2017 ballot, New York voters will be asked to decide whether to call a convention to rewrite the New York State Constitution. The constitution mandates that this question be put to a vote every 20 years.  If the measure passes, the state must then schedule another vote in 2018 to choose delegates for the convention. This convention would open in Albany on April 2, 2019, and proposed changes to the state Constitution would likely be put before the voters in November 2019. If this sounds like a long and cumbersome process, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This is also a wasteful process that would give big business interests and anti-worker interests the opportunity to attack public services and the retirement security of the men and women who provide them. A convention would cost taxpayers more than $300 million. That is a ridiculous price to pay to give special [More...]

I Have My Dream Job Training Animals in New York City

February 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

Andrew Egyud, Animal Trainer, Wildlife Conservation Society Local 1501 I’ve been working with animals for about 10 years. I came to the New York Aquarium as an Animal Trainer a year ago. I’ve always liked animals. Growing up I did not know what I wanted to do for a living. As a teen I watched a show on Animal Planet, the Croc Hunter Diaries with the late Steve Irwin. I admired all the work, education and passion he had. He inspired me. I went to college and studied biology. Being a Zoo Keeper is not viewed as a real job by most people. In the summer of my freshman year, I got a job at Busch Gardens in Virginia, where I am from. I fell in love immediately! I was determined to become the best animal care specialist I can be. Over the years, I’ve worked with gray wolves, hawks, and beluga whales at Sea World in San Antonio, Texas. But of all the animals, I really get sea lions: I can [More...]