DC 37 Launches Office of Community Partnership

May 16, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Immigration reform, affordable housing and the city hospitals budget crisis are among the issues the union’s new Office of Community Partnership plans to address. DC 37 launched the OCP at union headquarters during a breakfast meeting with union leaders and community activists on May 16. “This is just the beginning of a conversation we need to have as we begin to develop a plan of action,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido at the meeting. Since becoming executive director, Garrido has emphasized the need for labor unions to reach out beyond their own membership and work on issues that concern the broader community. “A good labor union fights for all workers,” Garrido said Sondra Youdelman, executive director of Community Voices Heard, was one of the many activists who attended the meeting and was encouraged by the union’s new initiative. [More...]

Unmasking the Gig Economy

May 16, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES What does the growth of the gig economy mean for American workers? Years from now, how many of us will earn our livelihood as online contingent workers without stable jobs? Those questions were addressed on May 6 by a panel called “Unmasking the Gig Economy: Harmful or Helpful?” at the 41st annual convention of the Metro New York Labor Communications Council, an organization that represents labor and community communications professionals in the New York City area. Once upon a time, most American workers could count on finding a steady full-time job, even a unionized one. But the age of manufacturing is no longer as the United States transitions to service economy. In the Information Age, workers are increasing employed on their own, in part-time gigs that lack regular schedules and don’t include benefits or a union. This presents a challenge to unions, [More...]

Asian Americans and the Labor Movement

May 11, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MAF MISBAH UDDIN May is Asian Heritage Month, an opportunity to reflect upon Asian Americans’ growing contributions to the nation’s economy, politics, culture and the labor movement. The continent of Asia comprises 48 countries, including parts of Russia and Turkey, and it extends to Europe with a 4.4 billion population, or nearly two thirds of the world’s population. The 17 million people from Asia who call their home America are known as Asian American Pacific Islanders. AAPIs have made their way to the United States to pursue a better life, as have millions of other immigrants. Asian American Pacific Islanders have become an important voting bloc as we have become more active. In some states, including Nevada, Michigan and New York, Asian Americans constitute more than 5 percent of the voting population. This is a substantial number of voters, and they are large enough to [More...]

Union Pushes For New Plan on Provisional Workforce

May 11, 2016 // 0 Comments

BY GREGORY N. HEIRES The union is pushing for a new plan to reduce the ranks of provisional employees by moving thousands of them into permanent positions. A high-level union negotiating team is working with the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services and the Office of Labor Relations to gain job security and civil service status for the workers. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said he hopes the plan will be a breakthrough chapter in the city’s long saga of trying to pare down the number of provisional employees on its payroll. The city began this effort after a court ruling known as Long Beach which upheld the civil service rule that restricts municipalities from employing provisional workers for more than nine months. When provisional workers reach that time on the job, local governments are supposed to let them go or move them into permanent positions. “We want to work [More...]

Homeless

May 10, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Employed and homeless. This is not supposed to occur in the United States, the self-described richest country in the world. But put together a little bad luck, a low-wage job and years of frozen pay, and you have a recipe for falling down. Welcome to Deborah Mars’ world. She lives in a Bronx homeless shelter with her 15-year-old son, Kobie. They became homeless after a friend of Mars’ moved out of the apartment they shared to live on her own. A Custodian Assistant at City College of New York, Mars scratches by on her modest pay, which is less than $15 an hour. What’s more, she earns $150 less than she used to earn until 2011, when she started working during the day and lost her nighttime pay differential. Most of her pay is eaten up by transportation costs, daytime meals and the occasional dinner outside the shelter and school expenses, along with a storage [More...]

Bronx Book Lovers Organize

May 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Dr. Ilana Breslau, a Senior Psychologist at North Central Bronx Hospital, works with patients dealing with mental health issues. She also leads groups that meet weekly to discuss women’s and substance abuse issues. During her eight years on the job, the Psychologists Local 1189 member has always tried to look for new ways to connect with her patients, sometimes even trying things not suggested in the textbooks she studied while earning her Ph.D. at Fairleigh Dickinson University. An avid reader since she was a child and a member of several book clubs, Breslau decided to start a book club for the patients at the Bronx hospital and last year launched the Outpatient Book Club. Through discussion of the characters and themes in the books, Breslau hoped the participants would relate to shared experiences and feel less isolated. “Reading about universal themes such as [More...]

Trump: A Zero for Working People

May 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

When an erratic billionaire and reality TV star known for bizarre, contradictory utterances, self-pitying victimization and overblown arrogance becomes a presidential candidate, you get a clown dressed as a prince while remaining a clown — a destructive one. A charlatan with a history of questionable business and personal decisions, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate, lent his name to a fraudulent “university” that burdened its students with debt; filed multiple bankruptcies, leaving debt holders in the lurch, and has compiled, instead of accomplishments, decades of negative press in tabloids and gossip columns. All of this should have ended his campaign on its second day. Instead, Trump rode a tidal wave of anger that now engulfs the Republican Party. His campaign for president is predicated on blame; its central strategy is the art of the attack. He has [More...]

An Appeal For Unity

May 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

Hillary Clinton has virtually ensured her nomination as the Democratic candidate for president. The numbers tell the story: The delegate count after her recent victories in New York, Pennsylvania and other states make her a lock for the nomination. Though Sen. Bernie Sanders probably will not drop out of the primary race before the Democratic convention, we believe the time is now to end the rancor that has split progressives during this election season. After the vote in New York, Clinton appealed to Sanders’ backers. “To all the people who supported Senator Sanders, I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us,” she said. Indeed, both candidates want to curb inequality while supporting unions, creating jobs and reforming Wall Street. Polls currently indicate a quarter of Sanders’ backers say they would never vote for Clinton. Others say they may stay home on [More...]

Fighting For Fair Budgets

May 6, 2016 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO As part of a coalition we played an important role in stopping nearly $1 billion in combined cuts in the state budget to the City University of New York and the city’s public hospitals. The fight-back is an example of how we participate in the political process to protect our jobs and the services we provide. The campaign involved demonstrations, lobbying, and social media, including collecting thousands of signatures for an on-line petition. Now that the Albany fight is over, we focus our attention on the city’s budget. We expect a busy couple of months ahead as the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio work out an agreement on the budget, which should be signed by the end of June. We have a number of priorities for the city’s fiscal 2017 budget that I want to share with you. ● We seek $65 million more [More...]

New York City Scraps Veolia Contract

May 5, 2016 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS In a victory for providers and consumers of public services, city officials say a multi-million dollar contract with a private French conglomerate to manage the city’s 14 waste­water treatment plants will not be renewed. The contract with Veolia, a $27 billion company based in Paris, is set to expire in June. The contract came with a couple of one-year extension options that will not be exercised, city officials told DC 37. Union leaders and privatization oppo­nents hailed the decision. “We are pleased that the city has decided to bring this contract to an end,” said Jim Tucciarelli, president of Sewage Treatment and Senior Sewage Treatment Workers Local 1320, whose members operate the Dept. of Environmental Protection’s wastewater treatment plants and collections facilities. DC 37 locals worked with their national union, AFSCME, and advocacy groups, such [More...]