Union Aims to Mobilize Upstate Workers

November 16, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The union’s Blue Collar Division and the Organizing Dept. will be in Kingston, N.Y., on Dec. 13 to bring the DC37/AFSCME Strong campaign to Dept. of Environmental Protection employees represented by the union. Two union meetings—one from 10 a.m. to noon and the other from 1 to 3 p.m. — will be at DEP’s Kingston lab. The sessions will help members get to know their union better  and learn about its benefits. The meetings also aim to spark greater participation and activism, as well as to encourage agency-fee payers to join the union. Agency-fee payers are workers who are covered by the union’s contract and receive benefits but haven’t signed a membership card. Organizers will offer training so members can have positive conversations about the union with their coworkers. The upstate meetings follow a major campaign by the union to reach out to members [More...]

Community Leaders Call on Cuomo to Sign-Safety Net Bill

November 15, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Governor Cuomo, sign the Safety-Net Hospital bill! At a noon press conference at Harlem Hospital on Nov. 15, a coalition of community leaders, working men and women, and elected leaders called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would give safety-net hospitals a fairer share of funds to care for the neediest New Yorkers.  “The money should follow the patient,” said Barbara Edmonds, director of field operations for DC 37. “All it takes is for Governor Cuomo to sign this bill and we’ll be that much closer to improving health care for everyone in our state — regardless of whether they live in urban or rural communities.” Last spring, the New York State Assembly and Senate unanimously passed the enhanced safety-net hospital bill (A9476A/S.6948-A). The bill defines safety-net hospitals and creates a chance for a more equitable funding formula for [More...]

Archival Library Named for Deceased DC 37 Research and Negotiations Director

November 15, 2016 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES The union has dedicated one of its research libraries to Evelyn Seinfeld, the deceased director of the DC 37 Research and Negotiations Dept., who passed away earlier this year. Coworkers, union leaders, family members and city officials paid tribute to Seinfeld during a ceremony on Nov. 3 that celebrated the naming of the archival library after her. “Today is not about acknowledging a death but rather celebrating the life of a wonderful person,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. Garrido noted that Seinfeld — who worked as a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library before joining the union’s staff — liked to refer to the archival library as “the brains of the operations of the Research and Negotiations Dept.” As a librarian, Seinfeld was particularly interested in preserving the union’s historical documents and records. This motivated [More...]

DC37 and The City College of New York Establish a Program for Union Members

November 14, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The DC 37 Education Fund has signed an agreement with The City College of New York for the school to offer basic computer courses to DC 37 members. This follows a similar agreement with Medgar Evers College, announced in August, to develop programs and courses to help members prepare for job promotions and certification tests. This latest partnership between the Ed Fund and City University of New York institutions will provide opportunities for members to learn and enhance computer skills, as well as provide training to bolster work skills they need as city workers. The initial program includes classes in introductory computing and such vital program applications as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and for Microsoft PowerPoint. The program will be offered through the university’s Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education. The Center and DC 37 [More...]

Unions Get Ready for Fighting to Protect Worker Rights Under the Trump Administration

November 10, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Lee Saunders, president of the 1.6 million member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has vowed to hold Donald J. Trump’s feet to the fire when the Republican president-elect moves into the White House on Jan. 20. “We will do what we do best to hold President-elect Trump accountable on his promise to restore the American Dream,” said Saunders, the leader of District Council 37’s national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). “We will organize and advocate for solutions for all working people, from affordable health care for all, to reducing student debt, to rebuilding America’s infrastructure,” Saunders said. Organizing to protect to the Affordable Care Act from being dismantled by Trump is a top priority. The ACA provides health care for 20 million Americans. During a campaign stop [More...]

Local 1455 Members Prepare the Street Guide for Runners in the New York City Marathon

November 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Days before an international crowd gathers to run the race, Dept. of Transportation night crews hit the road to mark the course that guides runners safely through city streets for the annual New York City Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 6. Crews of Local 1455 Traffic Device Maintainers work with the New York City Road Runners Club and the city Dept. of Parks and Recreation to paint the street line of the world-famous 26.2-mile foot race. The thin blue line points runners to the finish. “We have about a dozen TDMs assigned to paint the New York City Marathon line,” said President Mike DeMarco. “Streets are full of traffic the nights we’re working and the crews are moving along at about 20 miles an hour. We make sure impatient drivers don’t cut us off. This assignment coordinates TDMs in advance trucks and the night-liner spray truck to hit all five boroughs until [More...]

DC 37 Volunteers Get Out the Vote on Election Day

November 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO On Election Day, volunteers packed the phone bank room at District Council 37 headquarters where they made calls to members reminding them to get to the polls before they close at 9 p.m. “We started at 9:30 a.m. and will go until around 6 p.m.,” said Savion Gainer, a Political Aide from the DC 37 Political Action and Legislation Dept. Since the early morning on Nov. 8, Gainer was busy helping new volunteers with their scripts and adjusting their headsets. Some volunteers, like Dorothy Lorenzo, voted early so they would not have to rush back home to vote. Lorenzo was in Florida last month and saw a lot of support for Donald Trump around Tampa and Clearwater. “People that are not doing well think he’s going to make them rich,” she said. “What he’s going to do is come after their Social Security and repeal their health care.” Family Assistant and Local [More...]

Union Speaks Out Against Scapegoating of Child Protective Workers

November 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE SSEU Local 371 is pushing back on the scapegoating of Child Protective Services workers surrounding the tragic case of a 6-year-old boy whose death at home was ruled a homicide. Union leaders and social services workers spoke out on behalf of the Child Protective Services workers at a City Council hearing at City Hall on Oct. 31. The testimony before the council’s Committee on General Welfare followed an often contentious grilling of city Administration for Children’s Services officials by committee members, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Public Advocate Letitia James. The hearings focused on accountability and reforms in the aftermath of the death of Zymere Perkins. Perkins, 6 years old, was found dead in his home in September. The New York City Medical Examiner’s office ruled his death resulted from child abuse. Several CPS workers, supervisors [More...]

Hillary Clinton: A Friend of Working Families

November 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Our union is part of a movement that has stood steadfast in many crises and been through long, daunting struggles. Together, we have won major victories and suffered defeats. Yet with each battle, our union has endured and overcome challenges in order to win better pay, medical care and benefits for public sector workers in the city. But there is no immediate challenge facing our union more critical than the upcoming presidential and congressional elections on Nov. 8. It’s not only the balance of political power in Washington that is at stake. What matters to us is the very survival of the labor movement — and therefore the ultimate fate of millions of working Americans. A fight for democracy The election this November is more than a battle between former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the authoritarian billionaire Donald J. Trump. This [More...]

Local 372 Pays Respect to Hempstead School Crossing Guard Killed by a Speeding Truck

November 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

Local 372 School Crossing Guards attended the memorial service for Hempstead, Long Island, School Crossing Guard Virginia Leviner, who died on the job on Oct. 28 after being hit by a speeding 14-wheeler truck. Known to the community where she worked as “Miss Carol,” she was struck at the intersection of South Franklin and Groove streets in Hempstead while performing her job to protect schoolchildren crossing the street. Leviner, 67, worked at the intersection for 28 years. The service was held Nov. 3 at Antioch Baptist Church in Hempstead. “It was important for us to go to Long Island and pay our respects to Miss Carol and her family,” said Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I. “This is a reminder of how dangerous this job can [More...]