New York City’s Retirement System Pulls Out of Hedge Funds

April 14, 2016 // 0 Comments

After months of urging by District Council 37 and others, the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) voted today to pull its hedge fund investments, now totaling more than $1.4 billion. DC 37 Executive Director and NYCERS trustee Henry Garrido introduced the resolution to divest, noting the funds charge enormous fees for high-risk investments yet yield tepid results. “As stewards of the retirement security of public employees of modest means, our role is not to facilitate luxury purchases for high-rolling hedge fund managers,” Garrido said. “It is incumbent upon the trustees to ensure that the pension funds are invested securely and responsibly. Today, we took a necessary step to do just that.” The NYCERS vote follows similar actions to pull hedge fund investments by pension funds in California and Illinois. An American Federation of Teachers analysis of 11 [More...]

A Call to Close the Gender Wage Gap

April 13, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS DC 37 joined Public Advocate Leticia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and the advocacy group PowHer New York at the 10th annual Equal Pay Day rally at City Hall on Tuesday April 12. Supporting equal pay for women was soccer champion Megan Rapinoe, who filed a complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation for wage discrimination. Even as the women’s team won the World Cup, the league pays female players one-fourth what male soccer players earn. “We’re demanding economic justice because women are still in the red,” said Powher New York leader Beverly Neufeld. She and City Council members Laurie Combo and Helen Rosenthal sponsored the rally. In April, New York state lawmakers passed nine bills that help women, including equal pay, paid parental leave — which was first proposed in 1999 — and the $15 minimum wage. “These are all pieces of the puzzle [More...]

Hillary Clinton for President

April 13, 2016 // 1 Comment

We urge our members and retirees to cast their vote for Hillary Clinton in the April 19 Democratic primary in New York. Clinton is arguably the most qualified candidate for U.S. President in modern times. Throughout her long career in public service, she has always been a stalwart friend of labor, including our union. We do appreciate the personal integrity of Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic race, Sen. Bernie Sanders. His deep commitment to working people is unwavering. We credit him with putting economic inequality at the center of our national political discourse. But we believe Clinton is the stronger candidate because of her greater experience and electability. In their debates, Clinton and Sanders have engaged in a substantive and civil discussion of such issues as tax fairness, health care, the minimum wage, Social Security and U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. [More...]

Two Parks Workers Save a Woman Assaulted by her Knife-wielding Boyfriend

April 9, 2016 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS On an otherwise quiet afternoon, two City Parks Workers protected a desperate and bloodied woman fleeing with her young children from a knife-wielding attacker in the Port Richmond section of Staten Island on March 24. “We were about to finish work when we heard a woman screaming for help,” said Edwin Medina,  a City Parks Worker in District 1 of the city Dept. of Parks and Recreation for five years. “She was running towards us, terrified and drenched in blood wearing just a tee shirt,” Medina said. “She had a toddler tucked under each arm. We ran to help her and rushed her into the truck to safety. Then we called 911.” “At first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” said his coworker, Mamadou N’doye. “Then it registered. We had to think fast because we didn’t know what was next, whether the man had a gun or what.” “They were all in [More...]

Labor and Faith Outreach Steps Up Spring Efforts

April 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO The New York AFSCME Labor and Faith Community Outreach program will be stepping up its outdoor organizing efforts this spring, delivering books to school children, distributing healthy produce in communities and helping to get out the vote for the November election. Last year, activists from the group distributed more than 4,000 books at the annual Harlem Book Fair and joined forces with the City Harvest Mobil Markets to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need of fresh produce. “The vision of this program is to support DC 37 members in organizing around common challenges impacting them through the faith- and community-based organizations they belong to,” said DC 37 Field Operations Director Barbara Ingram-Edmonds during the group’s first spring meeting, on April 4, at union headquarters. At the meeting, the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther [More...]

Mayor’s Plan Offers More Affordable Housing in East New York

April 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES and MIKE LEE DC 37 released an analysis of the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for East New York’s housing showing that proposed rent levels for new affordable housing to be significantly less expensive than apartments currently renting in that neighborhood. “The status quo is just not working — it’s leaving East New York without the tools or investments needed to protect against rising rents,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido on April 7. “We looked hard at the facts. And the facts are that under the city’s plan, East New York will become more affordable for working men and women such as our members.” The DC 37 report shows union members and other working families who live in the Brooklyn neighborhood are struggling with rising rents. Rents in the neighborhood rose 26 percent between 2000 and 2013. About 40 percent of residents in [More...]

DC 37 organizing meetings and trainings set for April

April 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

The DC 37 Organizing Dept. is continuing its series of work site meetings during April to inform members about their many union benefits. The meetings will take place during the hours noted below. The meetings will be at City University of New York and Dept. of Education work sites. The department will also hold two activist training sessions. [More...]

Activists Block $800,000 State Budget Cut to CUNY and city hospitals

April 6, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO In the state budget passed on April 1, lawmakers nixed plans to eliminate nearly $800 million in the state’s financial support for NYC Health + Hospitals and the City University of New York. The original proposal would have shifted much of the costs for NYC Health + Hospitals and CUNY from the state to the city. The loss of about $300 million in Medicaid assistance would have created a big hole in the city’s budget for the NYC Health + Hospitals, which is already struggling with a deep deficit. If the CUNY cuts had gone through, the university would have faced campus closings, according to CUNY Chancellor James Milliken. “This would have created an enormous financial burden on the city and a devastating impact on its public colleges and public health-care system,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “We couldn’t let that happen.” DC 37 [More...]

Bill Clinton Visits DC 37 to Support Hillary Clinton in the New York Primary

April 1, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Hundreds of activists came to DC 37 headquarters on Thursday to support Hillary Clinton in the New York Democratic presidential primary on April 19. Former President Bill Clinton received a boisterous welcome from the crowd when he arrived at the rally to urge activists to help Hillary Clinton to win in the primary. “You will never have a better chance to vote for a change maker in your lifetime,” Clinton said. As a former senator representing New York and former U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton is the most experienced and qualified candidate in the presidential race, he said. District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido recalled how as senator, Clinton worked to secure assistance from the federal government in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Throughout her tenure as senator, DC 37 could always [More...]

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...]