“We are proud of what we do. We have seen the water get so much cleaner since the ’70s.”

September 1, 2016 // 0 Comments

William Edgar, Captain, Marine Workers Local 2906 Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera I love the water. I grew up in the Bronx near Throggs Neck. There was a private beach with a lifeguard and teenagers used to all have boats. My father and I fished on the grounds of SUNY Maritime College, where I ended up majoring in meteorology and oceanography. I started working at the Dept. of Environmental Protection on Feb. 29, 1988. Getting a job with the city was one of the best things you could do at the time. I have a very good job working in the harbor. I came in as a Mariner and worked my way up to 3rd Mate and was promoted to Captain. The Captain is responsible for the whole ship. I pilot the ship. I work with some very great people. The crew has a Captain, a Mate, two Mariners, a Chief Engineer and an Assistant Engineer. We all get along well. There are five ships in service. Being able to [More...]

Annual Housing Fair–Own or Rent?

August 30, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Over 1,000 union members found the key to homeownership at DC 37’s annual housing fair July 30, where a dozen housing experts were on hand to share advice on the ABCs of affordable housing. “The turnout and success of this fair and of the Municipal Employees Housing Program is impressive,” said Robert Ajaye, DC 37 Housing Committee chair and president of Local 2627. “To date we have helped members obtain over $100 million in mortgages. Not one person has been foreclosed on, which speaks to the program’s success.” The program offers financial counseling to help members qualify for loans and grants to buy one-to four-family homes and apartments in New York City and surrounding counties. The daylong affordable housing fair is a one-stop shopping opportunity for union members looking to buy into the American Dream of homeownership. Members met realtors, [More...]

Agreement Protects Pensions of Workers at Cultural Institutions

August 29, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The union reached a tentative agreement that protects the pensions of DC 37 members working at cultural institutions and other workers who are employed at day-care centers. On Aug. 11, DC 37 concluded talks on the five-year agreement with the employers’ representatives, the Cultural Institutions Group and the Day Care Council of New York, after months of tough negotiations to find a way to preserve the Cultural Institutions Retirement System (CIRS). “The members of our bargaining committee made the hard choices and took the responsible actions needed to protect our hard-won benefits for current employees and to preserve our pension benefits into the future,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. The agreement will maintain the benefits of the 9,000 current employees, including 1,200 DC 37 members enrolled in the pension system. They will still be able [More...]

Activists Collect Signatures to Support Safety Net Hospital Bill During Harlem Week

August 22, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS DC 37 had a great day in Harlem at the annual Harlem Week festivities in August as union activists kicked off the signature campaign urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to enact the new Enhanced Safety Net Hospital bill. The union petitions add community support for new legislation that would protect the safety net of public hospitals in New York State threatened by unprecedented funding shortfalls. Safety net bills (A. 9476-A)/(S.6948-A), which the state Senate and Assembly passed in June, creates a true safety net definition based on the number of Medicaid and uninsured patients served. With the definition, additional funding can be negotiated in the next state budget cycle to safety net providers, including the public hospitals, and would increase the opportunity for federal matching funds. Assembly Health Chair Richard Gottfried, and Assembly members William Colton, [More...]

DC 37 Establishes a Workforce Development Program with Medgar Evers College

August 15, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO District Council 37 and Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn have agreed to collaborate and develop courses to help union members become better prepared to compete for job promotions and advance in their careers. With one-third of the municipal workforce expected to retire in a few years, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido wants to make sure that union members are ready to compete for the best jobs that city government has to offer. The new Leadership Preparedness Program, an initiative by the union and Medgar Evers College, aims to address the wave of retirements and the challenges it poses to the city, Garrido said. “Together we expect to create courses that will help develop a well-educated and capable municipal workforce,” Garrido. Garrido wanted to make the courses available to the thousands of union members who live and work and Brooklyn. The main campus of [More...]

Union Trains School Shop Stewards

August 13, 2016 // 0 Comments

A review of the local’s collective bargaining agreement and the importance of knowing your Weingarten rights–which entitle workers union representative at meetings that could lead to disciplinary action–were some of the topics covered at a recent Board of Education Employees Local 372 shop steward training session at union headquarters. Council Grievance Rep Brenda Jimenez explained the importance of always referring to the contract when there’s an issue with management. “Our shop stewards need to be our most informed members,” said Shaun D. Francois I, the local’s president, during his welcoming remarks to the 190 members who attended the Saturday morning session. Barbara Terrelonge, DC 37 Director of Organizing, stressed to the shop stewards the importance of them constantly encouraging members to become more active in the [More...]

DC 37 Announces Key Endorsements in the City’s Primary Election for State Legislative Seats

August 10, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE DC 37 has endorsed candidates for six state legislative races in New York’s Tuesday, Sept. 13 primary. The union backs Sen. Roxanne Persuad, Democrat from Brooklyn’s 19th District. Born in Guyana, Persuad was a higher education administrator. Prior to serving in the state Senate, Sen. Persuad was president of the 69 th Precinct Community Council in Canarsie, a member of Community Board 18 and commissioner on the New York City Districting Commission. DC 37 also supports State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky of the 16th District in Queens. A fighter for social justice, Stavisky is the assistant Democratic leader and ranking minority member on the Senate’s Committee on Higher Education, working to improve public schools and programs for older adults. State Sen. Gustavo Rivera of the 33rd District in the Bronx also gets the union’s nod. Rivera is a native of Puerto [More...]

A Citizen Soldier and Dedicated Public Employee

August 9, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS To give back to his Harlem community, Corey J. Garrett Sr. a Local 1505 City Parks Worker and crew chief, mentors neighborhood kids, registers voters and is a citizen soldier with the New York State Guard, where he has served as an army command sergeant major, the highest enlisted rank, for two decades. In June, New York State Assembly member Keith Wright and members of the City Council chose Garrett, a New York County Democratic Committee member, for the 2016 Harlem Men of Distinction award. “I was surprised and speechless,” said the former U.S. Marine. “I reread the letter five times.” Helping others is a way of life for Garrett, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at 18, then joined the U.S. Army. Local politicians recognized Garrett’s volunteerism and outstanding spirit—semper fi—the Marine motto, always faithful. As a mentor with the Harlem [More...]

DC 37 Executive Director and Local 371 President Elected to Serve on National Union’s Board

August 3, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The District Council 37 delegate body unanimously elected DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Social Service Employees Union Local 371 President Anthony Wells international vice presidents of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at the 42nd AFSCME Convention last month. AFSCME international vice presidents (IVPs) determine the union’s agenda,  policies and procedures, and they weigh in on major national issues, such as privatization, fair taxes, health care and pensions affecting 1.6 million members and retirees that AFSCME represents in more than 3,400 local unions and 58 councils and affiliates in 46 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. “I am deeply appreciative of the tremendous confidence the DC 37 delegates have placed in me and the unity they have shown. Now let’s go and get work done!” said Garrido. Union [More...]

Queens Public Library: 100% Union

August 3, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The Queens Public Library is now wall-to-wall union. On June 6, Queens Library Guild Local 1321 President John Hyslop presented DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido with the last two membership cards the local needed to represent 100 percent of the workers eligible for membership. For months, Hyslop, Local 1321 Executive Vice President Margaret Gibson and other executive board members worked with union reps Cynthia Keyes-Padilla and Leo Morris to enroll members at the library’s 62 sites. “This was a great way to meet and talk with members, who we found were generally very supportive of the union’s mission,” Hyslop said. “What we learned will help us be more responsive to members’ needs.” Chris Wilgenkamp, director of technology and membership services, said the Local 1321 drive reflects precisely what the union hopes to accomplish with its DC [More...]