City Council Approves Union-Backed de Blasio Housing Plan

March 26, 2016 // 0 Comments

BY MIKE LEE After certain modifications, the New York City Council voted in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious and innovative housing plan, which he presented in late 2015. The City Council overwhelmingly approved the housing package — the Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning and Zoning for Quality and Affordability — on March 22. 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. The plan will [More...]

EMS Locals Hope to Fill the Void Left by a Bankrupt Private Ambulance Company

March 25, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO The drivers who worked for TransCare, one of the largest private ambulance companies in the city, had been kept waiting more than once for their paychecks before the company suddenly shut down operations on Feb. 24. The Brooklyn-based company not only failed its employees, but it also put thousands of New Yorkers in a life-threatening situation. Transcare operated 27 ambulances that provided services for upper Manhattan and the Bronx. “This is a public service,” said Israel Miranda, president of Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics of the FDNY Local 2507. “Do you hire a private security firm to do police work?” There’s a big difference between the precarious operations of private companies like TransCare and the service provided by the Fire Dept. of New York, Miranda said. “We have better training, better equipment, there’s supervision and most important [More...]

DC 37 Delivers Thousands of Signatures to Gov. Cuomo Calling for Full CUNY Funding

March 24, 2016 // 0 Comments

As state budget negotiations continue in Albany, District Council 37 leaders and activists today delivered to Gov. Cuomo’s New York City office the names of more than 5,000 City University supporters who have signed a petition urging state lawmakers to fully fund CUNY. The Governor’s January budget proposal called for shifting $485 million from the state to the city in funding obligations. “These signatures demonstrate the strong sentiment among New Yorkers to fully fund CUNY,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “For thousands of New Yorkers, CUNY’s quality, affordable higher education provides a path to upward mobility. Union officials also applauded a New York City Council resolution passed Tuesday, March 22nd which “calls upon the Governor and the State Legislature to increase State funding to the City University of New York and to reach a fair labor [More...]

Advocates Press City Council for Additional Library Funding

March 23, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Library advocates are pressing the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio to restore $65 million in funding to maintain and improve services at the city’s three public library systems. They are renewing a pitch they made last year for the city to make that commitment so that the library systems would return to the funding level before the financial crisis hit in 2008. The economic downturn led to years of downsizing, budget cuts and reduced services. To make their case this year, DC 37 leaders and activists joined community supporters and the heads of the city’s three library systems for a news conference on March 23 in front of City Hall and a later budget hearing. Speakers noted that last year’s campaign, the group convinced the City Council to add $43 million of the $65 million to the library budget. This year, they want the City Council to make the $43 [More...]

NYC Health + Hospitals’ Funding Crisis

March 21, 2016 // 1 Comment

By JUDY WESSLER Providing health care services for low income people who don’t have insurance coverage is expensive. There are federal and state programs that provide funding to help offset the cost of this care. But NYC Health + Hospitals does not get its fair share of state and federal funding. That’s one of the reasons the hospital system faces a never-ending budget crisis. NYC Health + Hospitals (until recently better known as the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation) was changed through state legislation from a city agency to a public corporation in 1970. About 18,000 DC 37 members work at NYC Health+Hospitals Despite the change in structure and leadership, the critical mission of the public health system has remained the same – providing health care to all who need it, regardless of race, ethnicity, language spoken, disability, or the ability to pay. New York City’s [More...]

Assault on ACS worker sparks union concern on safety issues

March 19, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE On the evening of March 4, Administration for Children’s Services worker Patria Ayton was assaulted at her mother’s apartment building in Manhattan’s Lower East Side by a former client. Ayton, a Child Protective Specialist and SSEU Local 371 member, suffered facial bruises in the vicious attack and received medical treatment. For months, Ayton was harassed by the former client through letters and via social media. The female client even visited the local ACS Staten Island office where Ayton works, according to Local 371 President Anthony Wells. “There were plenty of indicators there were problems. Too often threats are not analyzed or treated correctly,” he said. The attacker was finally arrested on March 15, and charged in the attack. “The former client was waiting for the CPS, and then physically attacked her. This was the culmination of over a year of [More...]

Local 372 President Pushes Back On Dubious Claims: “Don’t Scapegoat Our Members!”

March 18, 2016 // 0 Comments

BY ALFREDO ALVARADO Shaun D. Francois I, president of Board of Education Employees Local 372, blasted a March 17 NY Post article that claimed too many School Crossing Guards are calling in sick – with police officers taken away from their crime-fighting duties in order to fill in for them. The paper quoted an anonymous source and the article did not cite a single statistic. “We appreciate that police officers would rather fight crime than perform school crossing guard duties. But that’s no reason to scapegoat the hardworking men and women who make sure our kids get to and from school safely,” Francois said. “This is a smokescreen that’s masking the bigger issue – we need several hundred more School Crossing Guards (SCGs) but the city is not hiring them.” The local president has been fighting for more SCGs and has received the support of Public Advocate Letitia James, [More...]

The union wants to send a French multinational water management profiteer back to Paris

March 18, 2016 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS Veolia, the giant conglomerate that gave a clean bill of health to the poisoned water supply in Flint, Michigan, has for years drained New York City of millions of taxpayer dollars, critics charge. And with its hefty city contract set to expire in June, opponents of outsourcing public services are set to battle with Veolia, a $27 billion company based in Paris, over the future of how New York City manages its wastewater treatment system. “We urge the city to not renew, extend or issue new contracts to run any part of New York’s public wastewater system with Veolia — or any for-profit management company,” said Jim Tucciarelli, president of Sewage Treatment and Senior Sewage Treatment Workers Local 1320, whose members operate the Dept. of Environmental Protection’s 14 wastewater treatment plants and collections facilities. Since 2011, New York City has paid [More...]

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...]