Assembly and Senate at Odds over a Proposed $485 Million Cut at CUNY

March 16, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Albany legislators are divided over the state budget plan to cut $485 million in funding for the City University of New York and pass along that responsibility to New York City. On March 14, Senate Republicans approved a resolution that backs Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to shift one third of the state’s CUNY costs to the city. The change would end the state’s decades-long commitment to fully fund senior colleges. The Democratic-controlled state Assembly approved a resolution to restore the nearly half- billion dollar cut to the city’s university system. The Assembly resolution also demands a two-year freeze on tuition. The proposed executive budget increases tuition by $1,500 over the next five years—on top of annual tuition increases in the preceding five years. In a statement, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “The Assembly [More...]

Support the Mayor’s Housing Plan

March 12, 2016 // 0 Comments

BY MIKE LEE Later this month, the New York City Council will make a decision on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious and innovative housing plan, which he presented in late 2015. A final vote by the City Council is expected by March 22 on the housing package, called the Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning and Zoning for Quality and Affordability. The proposals follow on the heels of other de Blasio policy changes, including a first-ever rent freeze for a million rent-regulated tenants. Also, the mayor intervened to ensure tenant protections in the recent sale of Manhattan’s Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town apartment complex. The initiative is a clear break from the retrograde policies of previous mayors, and it requires private developers receiving tax breaks and state and federal subsidies to make a quarter of new housing units affordable for working families. Also included in the [More...]

Hundreds protest CUNY budget cuts and stalled contract talks

March 11, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Hundreds of CUNY workers, students and community activists turned out Thursday evening for a boisterous rally in front of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office, where they demanded ample funding for the City of University of New York and new contracts for its employees. The protesters directed their ire at Cuomo, who seeks in his executive budget proposal to slash nearly $500 million from the state’s contribution to CUNY and impose that funding obligation on the city. Clad in green union T-shirts, DC 37 members expressed their frustration and anger at the failure of Cuomo and CUNY administration to agree to a new contract. The latest economic agreement expired in 2008, and the workers have gone seven years without a raise. CUNY has offered DC 37 workers a 6 percent pay increase over six years. In its counter-proposal, DC 37 called for a 14 percent wage increase [More...]

Union gears up for CUNY rally on Thursday

March 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The union is mobilizing for a rally on Thursday to support the contract fight of workers at the City University of New York, where 10,000 DC 37 members have gone without a raise for seven years. On Thursday, demonstrators will also be protesting a proposed $485 million cut in state assistance to CUNY under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget. Please click here to RSVP for the rally. Protesters will gather at 5 p.m. outside the governor’s Manhattan office at 633 Third Ave. (between 40th and 41st streets). After the rally, demonstrators will march from the governor’s office to the nearby Community Church of New York (40 East 35th St.), where they will discuss the CUNY crisis and future action. On Sunday, March 6 in a show of solidarity, a group of members of Queens Library Guild Local 1321 handed out flyers about the demonstration and [More...]

Save big with generic drugs

March 8, 2016 // 1 Comment

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The DC 37 Health & Security Plan instituted its generic-based prescription drug program two decades ago in response to the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. Today, about 80 percent of the prescriptions covered by the plan are for generics. Over the years, as members have become more comfortable about using generic drugs, the greater usage of generics has helped the plan save millions of dollars. Still, with 20 percent of the prescriptions covering brand-name drugs, there is room for improvement. Despite the plan’s steps to control costs, drugs continue to eat up a growing portion of money that funds all of the plan’s benefits, which include education, counselling, vision, legal, podiatry, and dental services. Some members are under the mistaken belief that their dues fund their benefits. That is not true: the employer funds the benefits. Searching [More...]

Rally for a new contract and decent funding at CUNY on March 10

March 3, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 will join community activists at a rally on March 10 to call for full funding and a fair contract for union members at the City University of New York. Please sign up TODAY for this important event. Protesters will gather at 5 p.m. outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan Office at 633 Third Ave. between 40th and 41st streets. Demonstrators will march from the governor’s office to the nearby Community Church of New York (40 East 35th St.), where the CUNY crisis and future action will be discussed. The rally is sponsored by the CUNY Rising Alliance, a coalition of community groups, civil rights organizations and non-profits. Currently, DC 37 is pressing the New York State Legislature to reject a $485 million cut in CUNY funding under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed executive budget. If approved, the plan would shift the responsibility for $485 [More...]

Update: DC 37 organizing meetings set for March

March 1, 2016 // 0 Comments

  The DC 37 Organizing Dept. is hosting a series of work site meetings in March to inform members about their many union benefits. The meetings begin at noon and last until 2 p.m., unless otherwise noted below. The meetings will be at City University of New York and NYC Health + Hospitals worksites. “These meetings 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 or protecting coworkers in the workplace.” Come join us and get to know your union. Below is the meeting schedule. City University of New York lunch time meetings: March 4 @ College of Staten Island, (Green Dolphin Lounge) March 7 @ John Jay College of Criminal Justice, (Student Dining Hall E) [More...]

Excessive prices wallop union prescription drug plan

February 29, 2016 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES Years ago, the union’s dental benefit accounted for the greatest portion of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan’s budget. But today, the prescription drug benefit gobbles up nearly 80 percent of the plan’s annual spending, leaving fewer funds for other benefits, such dental, and vision and podiatry services. The relentless price increases of the unregulated drug industry now threaten to exhaust the plan’s reserves. “Prescription drugs are really hammering us,” said the plan’s administrator, Willie Chang. “We are exploring ways to improve the financial health of the drug benefit and how to protect it.” Earlier this year, the plan withdrew $10 million from its reserves in order to pay for the soaring cost of prescription drugs. It anticipates using at least $20 million more from the reserve before the end [More...]

Backed by DC 37, Salamanca wins Bronx City Council race

February 25, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Rafael Salamanca won his special election on Feb. 23 to represent the 17th district in the City Council. Endorsed by DC 37, Salamanca defeated five candidates and received 40 percent of the vote. Salamanca, whose district includes Hunts Point, Longwood and Morrisania in the South Bronx, was endorsed by DC 37 at a press conference in January. “We trust he will be a champion for working people in the City Council,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido at the press conference. During his victory speech, Salamanca announced that his first priority is to reach out to residents of the New York City Housing Authority. “I’m going to visit those same developments I was visiting to get out the vote, to get those elevators fixed and the garbage removed. Those are a major concern for me and then bring that information to NYCHA,” Salamanca said. An experienced [More...]

Free tax preparation available for DC 37 members

February 23, 2016 // 0 Comments

Through the Free Tax Preparation program, DC 37 helped over 4,000 members in 2015 get $10 million in refunds FREE. This year, DC 37 is again partnering with Food Bank, which operates centers (each with a professional tax preparer) in all five boroughs, near members’ workplaces, homes or transportation hubs. For details, call 311 or click here. For a map of locations, click here. To qualify for FREE tax preparation and electronic filing: A person with dependent children must have earned less than $53,000 total family income, including spouse income. A person with no children must have earned less than $20,000 total family income, including spouse income. FREE self-preparation option: For filers with incomes up to $60,000, regardless of family size, FREE self-preparation with electronic filing and back up assistance is available at certain New York Public Library [More...]