DC 37 Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

March 30, 2016 // 0 Comments

BY MIKE LEE With the New York Democratic Party presidential primary in three weeks on Tuesday, April 19, DC 37 has endorsed former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for president. Last night, the DC 37 delegates voted overwhelmingly to endorse her candidacy at their monthly meeting, after impassioned speeches in her support by local presidents Dennis Ifill of Local 1359, who is also chair of the DC 37 Political Action Committee, and James Tucciarelli of Local 1320, as well as Local 1549 Executive Vice President Alma Roper. “We are proud to endorse Secretary Clinton as the next president of our great nation,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “We supported her first run for office back in 2000, when she was elected to the U.S. Senate. We know her serious commitment to public service and her history of fighting for others, especially children and working families. She can [More...]

Bill Clark Always Delivers

March 30, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO City workers are familiar with employees who anxiously wait for that special date when they’ll retire. They count the days left and announce it to anyone who will listen and have the date circled on their calendar. Bill Clark has been on the job since 1959, turned 76 on Feb. 10 but doesn’t mention retirement. For almost six decades he’s worked as a Loader and Handler for the Dept. of Education, delivering meals and kitchen supplies all over the city to make sure hungry school children are feed. Clark leaves his Bronx apartment every morning before dawn when it’s pitch black for the train ride to the industrial section of Long Island City in Queens to DOE headquarters. He joins a crew of 20 Loaders and Handlers to start loading the trucks at 6 a.m. then hit the road to make their deliveries. Given his seniority, the 76-year-old Clark could stay in a nice warm [More...]

New York City and Municipal Unions Agree to Health-Benefit Changes

March 29, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Municipal unions and the city agreed to major benefit changes in February under a $3.4 billion plan to hold down health-care costs. The Municipal Labor Committee (MLC), which is comprised of public sector unions in the city and negotiates on health-care matters on their behalf, approved the benefit modification package on Feb. 22. The changes will go into effect July 1. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido discussed the modifications – a series of co-pay changes – at the Delegates meeting on Feb. 23. Garrido noted that the agreement maintains the quality of the city’s health-care plans and avoids premium contributions. “We remain the only major municipality in the country with free coverage,” Garrido said. In addition to maintaining coverage and avoiding a premium contribution by the members, the agreement calls for the city to make a [More...]

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...]